A friend of mine recently made a post on his blog entitled, “Naked Time.”
For simplicity’s sake, I’ll just repost the content here. He writes,
Some friends and family of my church community are currently missionaries in West Papua. As they have been dedicated to an extremely remote village, the indigenous people whom they live with wear very little clothing. The women only wear grass skirts (nothing on top), while the men wear strings around their waist and a small flap hanging from the front.
A while back I called our missionary friend on the phone to see how he deals with the “nudity” while raising a family, and he brought up three interesting points: 1) It is against the law to seek to try to cloth the people of these remote tribes (they don’t know how to take care of “normal clothing,” ending in sickness), 2) The missions agency they work with has a fairly strict dress code for women to wear long skirts (necessary for certain locations this agency stations their missionaries at), and 3) The long skirts are so unusual and mysterious among the tribe, that they serve as an enticing, stumbling block for the tribal men, becoming a constant distraction.
So what would you do? Seek to eventually fully-dress these tribes? And what about the obligation to follow your agency’s guidelines, when in turn they are creating the effect they were meant to stop?
If you read his post and the comments following, you’ll see my feelings on the topic as well. So I’m curious, what do you think about this sticky issue? Am I right, or am I wrong-headed?