Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why I || Don't Wear a Headcovering (Yet)

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Okay... So, way back on my post when I first asked for ideas, (HERE) Brigid Boyer asked what my thoughts on head-coverings were, nothing in specific, just in general I assume. Well... I'm here today to tell y'all what my thoughts are on the subject of covering hair vs. covering your head, and why I don't actually wear a covering (yet)!

Shall we begin with the Bible verses that pertain to these matters? Yes, we shall.
1 Corinthians 11, verses one through sixteen:
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ, Yahshua.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances (law), as I delivered them to you.
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
I'll just let that sink in for a minute, or, if you're like me, you didn't actually read all of the verses and kind of skimmed over them, I suggest you go back and read them in more depth! :-D
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Okay! Did you read the 16 verses pasted above? Good! Now we can continue.

Paul began by bidding the people of Corinth to follow the Messiah and keep the Law as he gave it to them, and then starts reminding them that they are not under his authority, but under the authority of God as was he! He goes on to say that if man prays with his head (in the literal context) covered it is dishonoring to his head (his "head" Christ). And since a woman's head is her husband, we should not give them the same honor as due Christ, therefore, Paul says our heads should be covered when we're praying or prophesying! Pretty simple eh? Um, no. You see, since this isn't given directly from God, it is not required of us. I mean, God doesn't care if we put a little lace doily or a headscarf on does He? If I stopped here, we'd both remain uncertain, so let's take a look at the rest of the scriptures.

For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
To me, this makes it pretty clear that our hair is not the covering Paul speaks of us wearing.

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
To me, this makes it clear why we should cover, besides the fact that not doing it dishonors our husbands, *we are the glory man, and therefore should not be flaunting our beauty when we are in a situation that is supposed to be focused on God, such as prophesying or praying. (*I want to make it clear that this is only my interpretation and understanding of it, and I could very possibly be wrong about the last point.)
Verses 8-12 explain further exactly why there is a difference between men vs. womens' way of honoring God while praying.

In verse 13, Paul apparently leaves it up to us to decide whether or not it honors God to pray uncovered! ...or does he? To me, that verse sounds so sarcastic. Paul is pretty much saying,"I just told you all you need to know but whatever, you decide if it's true or not. *written eyeroll* "
Hahaha! Sorry, it just registers that way to me! Especially since in the next line he says-
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
In the first verse he's like, "Isn't it kind of obvious people? Even nature has it figured out!" :-P :-D And then the bomb drops. Our hair is the covering??!! What! Before you say "I knew He didn't want me to put fabric on my head all the time!" please read this explanation:

The fact that Paul only commands covering for certain times (1 Cor 11:4-5) hints that he has a removable covering in mind. Additionally, if long hair were the only covering mentioned in this chapter then there’s a major problem with verse 6.
Let me show you what I mean.
If long hair were the same as being covered according to Paul, what would be being uncovered? It would mean having short hair, right? The opposite of covered is uncovered and the opposite of long hair is short hair. So if that’s what Paul had in mind, let’s do some word replacement in verse 6. Where we see the word “cover her head”, let’s replace that with “have long hair”.
For if a woman does not [have long hair], let her also have her hair cut off (NASB)
For if a wife will not [have long hair], then she should cut her hair short (ESV)
For if the woman be not [long-haired], let her also be shorn (KJV)
 If you refuse to have long hair, you should cut your hair short? You’d already have short hair! This argument wouldn’t make any sense.
Some then object to the ESV rendering of “cut short”. They would understand “cut off” (NASB) as a synonym for shaved making this argument less nonsensical. Paul’s argument would then be transformed into “if a woman has short hair, she should shave it all off”. The problem with this argument is “cut off” cannot mean shaved in this context.
The Greek word translated “cut off” is keirō. This word is used again later in this very same passage and it’s differentiated from “shaved” which is the Greek word xuraō.
Here’s what it says: “…disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off (keirō) or her head shaved (xuraō)…”. Did you catch it? He said “or” shaved. So while “cut off” (keirō) can be used to describe a shaved head, Paul couldn’t have had this in mind here. If we were to understand it that way his argument becomes “…disgraceful for a woman to have her hair [shaved] or her head shaved…”. Shaved or shaved? Once again this just wouldn’t make sense. Also, if hair is our covering as women, and men should not pray covered, do all men have to shave their heads before they pray?? No. Because Paul was not speaking about our hair.

So, now that I feel we have pretty well established the fact that Paul did not mean our hair is our "covering", I feel I should move on to my thoughts concerning why covering hair vs. covering your head is not the same thing. I know women who wear a "head-covering" that actually covers their entire head, and consequently all of their hair- which is their purpose! :-) But, I also know women who are fine with showing their hair and wear a symbolic scrap of lace or wide headband! And, to be honest, I also know women who believe our hair is our covering or who don't actually have an opinion on the matter! *gasp* We're all in a different spot in our walk with the Lord, and as long as we are reading His Word and walking it out accordingly, you're doing it right.

Now, if you aren't familiar with the subject I am talking about, then you probably don't have a clue why someone would cover all of their hair up! I will now show you one woman's reasons for covering her hair:

It’s always scary doing something ‘out of the ordinary’. It’s also scary standing out like a sore thumb! But we are called to be set apart and not to conform to the world- covering is the quickest way to do that. Think of the opportunities you’ll have to share your faith. It’s been really hard visiting certain family/friends, because they don’t get it. One literally burst into laughter thinking it was a joke, and one gave me a dirty look and just said ‘why’.. But since I started covering, I have felt God so much more. I hear Him, I feel Him, I’m constantly reminded that I belong to Him.. The joy I have had since covering has made it all worth it. And when those situations happen that make it painful, just wait. God is going to bless you for this. When you wear a covering, you set yourself apart as a woman of God. While strangers might not know exactly what you believe or who you believe in, they know you’re a woman of religion and that demands respect. It also gives you an obligation to carry yourself as a woman of God, so it’s a great mnemonic device to keep your attitude in check and your behavior in line with God’s word.. Not to mention, fixing my scarf instead of my hair every day helps me focus on my identity in Christ rather than my external beauty.. [This was taken from The Headcovering Movement website]

At this point you may now be thinking about whether or not you should cover, I know I am! I am going to give you one more testimony before telling you why I am not wearing a covering yet. (The following text was also taken from the Headcovering Movement site)

When my family returned to England in the late 70s, we attended a brethren church where many of the women wore hats. It all seemed rather legalistic at the time and I picked up some scornful habits towards headcovering in church. I went to bible college in my late 20s where we were taught only an egalitarian point of view in regard to women in the church and I wrote a paper regarding this and mentioned headcovering. I dismissed it as cultural and irrelevant using only my own thinking and was not open to another point of view of what the scriptures said as I had never really heard another view point taught before.
Up to the age of 30, I was influenced by the world and feminism which had unknowingly affected me. In my 30s, I drew closer to the Lord and desired to love and serve Him more. Later I worked in Israel for a season and observing women with headcoverings both within the church and in society. On returning to England I met a man (later to become my husband) and he briefly mentioned the subject of headcovering. The Lord had been humbling me over portions of scripture which I had previously misinterpreted so I was immediately open to believe that I could also have got this portion of scripture wrong. I was ready to look again at it and to also look at other reading materials on it such as writings by Derek Prince, Watchman Nee and W Henderson. I was convicted that contrary to what I had thought, the passage was not ‘difficult’ to understand, it was there in the bible for a reason and that ‘because of the angels’ was not cultural but relevant for today.
These woman both have something in common which I do not share with them- they're married! In my research on this topic, I have found little evidence that unmarried women should or do cover their heads before marriage! On the other hand, I personally see nothing contrary to Scripture in covering your head before having a husband. So where does that leave us single gals who were all geared up to, pick up the staff so to speak, of covering our head in respect for whatever man has the husband-authority in our life? Well, let me share with you another scripture that I believe may solve the 'problem' entirely:

Isaiah 54:5 - For thy Maker is thine husband; the Eloheim of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called.
Here and in many other places we find that we are called the bride of YHVH! Should we not show Him the same respect we will show our earthly husbands? The answer is yes- and even moreso! How we go about that is where the issue becomes each to his (her!) own. My purpose with this post, as with many, if not all of my posts is to stir up a desire for my readers to dig deeper into the scriptures and find out His truths for themselves first hand, all the while showing you what I think about it, how I understand the scriptures I discuss! But, I feel compelled to admit that in the process of writing this post, I have discovered that I have some things that I can't just explain away now. Some things I hadn't thought about before. In my mind I already had a conclusion for this post all set - I will start covering my head when I get married - simple and easy, something that allows me to indefinitely delay carrying out the bidding of these particular inspired words of God. But the more I think about it, the more ironic it seems to me that I, of all people, can have two opposing opinions concerning virtually the same matter! Let me explain... I wear a 3-strand silver ring on my left hand. I tell myself and people who inquire about it that it is because I am the bride of Christ, I am keeping myself pure and *holy (*set apart) for Him. Yet when I take a step back and look at the situation objectively, there really isn't difference between the two things (My ring and covering my head) except one has a scriptural precedence! I guess you could say that while trying to reveal some things to you in scripture, all I did was put my foot in my own rambling mouth!

Well, that's all there is, there ain't no more! (Excuse my grammar!) I leave you to continue the search alone, and I shall do the same.


Have you studied this before?
What do you think about covering exclusively in church while taking 1Thessalonians 5:17 into consideration?
Do you cover?

Rebekah
~Trying to Honor Him~

Proverbs 3:5 and 6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him; and he will make your paths straight."

16 comments:

  1. Very interesting topic and one I've been interested in doing more research on. This was definitely an intriguing post! Very well explained. :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you commented!

      ~Rebekah, for Calico Sisters

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  2. Hi Rebekah,
    Wow, there is a lot of information in this post! I had to read it through a couple times, but now I think I get it. I come from a similar place as you when it comes to headcovering. Currently, I cover my head during times of worship/when the church comes together in any sort of group. I basically came to my conviction through actually reading the Scripture (I have a tendency to skim passages that confuse me) and my conviction was that I should cover my head during times of worship upon immediate reading. I researched all the arguments on both sides, and no one was able to "unconvince" me when it came to head covering. When it comes to the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 passage, I am not sure where I stand as of yet. Based on the rest of 1 Corinthians 11, it seems like Paul is referring to when the church comes together, but I am not positive on this one. For me, I see it as a public profession of submission to my God and my father in church settings for right now. Maybe I will cover full time later on, but for now my focus is on covering during worship. As one of the quotes you incorporated said, it is hard to look different. There have been many days when I hated my head covering and felt like I was different from anyone else. I am a shy person by nature, and I hate drawing attention to myself. My perspective totally shifted while I was on a mission trip in India just a couple weeks ago. There, all the women cover their heads in Christian church and worship services out of respect for God. I don't think many of them have heard the logic behind covering vs not or even read the passage as many of them never learned to read. But here is the thing that really hit me: They hold God, his people, and his house in such respect and honor that they would rather cover their head with a dirty dish rag than come into church with their head uncovered. And here I was complaining because I thought my wide headband or scarf made me look different. Those ladies inspired me to be strong in my faith and my convictions.
    Anyway, thanks for the post and sorry for the long comment. I was actually thinking of doing a post about this myself on my blog, so I think I might link your post in it.
    -Abby

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting Abby! One thing I didn't mention in the post is that Paul was very specific in the rest of the chapter\book whenever he told the Corinthians something they had to do if it was only when their church was gathering, which is why I don't really think he meant to cover only at meetings... For me, I would feel like a hypocrite (I'm NOT saying you are at all!!) if I only wore one on Sabbath because there are other women there who cover full time and I would feel like a copy cat! ;-) Also, the people there are already aware of my testimony and submission to God, so I feel like it would mean more if I wore it day to day in the presence of unbelievers... That is very interesting about the believers in India! What a good opportunity that was for you! I have been on one work-mission-trip to Lithuania, it was so great to go! Thanks again for commenting! Have a swell day!

      ~Rebekah for Calico Sisters

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion on this Rebekah! You did indeed explain it very well as Jill said. I don't cover in Church, just because my Dad doesn't necessarily agree with it (that's a long explanation that I won't go into). But, if I marry a man who wants me to cover my head, I think I would be willing to do so.

    Blessings,

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer
    boyerfamilysingersblog.com

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    1. Thanks ever so much for your compliments Brigid! The same here, if my future husband wants me to cover, I surely will! ;-)

      ~Rebekah for Calico Sisters

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  4. Just had to say something, You girls give me such joy. You amaze me with your insights. Wish I would have been so mature at your age. You pointed out something that I have not noticed before. I am going to share this,with one of my covered groups.

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    1. Thank you! What was the thing you hadn't noticed before? I will have to ask you when next we meet! ;-)

      ~Rebekah

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  5. Hi Rebekah,

    I applaud your bravery and willingness to write about some potentially controversial topics as well as your discussion and encouragement for us to examine our thoughts and dig in to the scriptures. How often we do things without really asking why and being willing to seek God’s perspective / direction on the matter. May we all be willing to be sensitive to His leading and direction!

    So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin. (Jas 4:17)

    If you would like another topic for your “Why I” series, here is one: Why do you believe / follow the Bible?

    Blessings.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion! You can expect to see a post about it in the not-too-distant future! See you next Shabbat- have a blessed week!

      ~Rebekah

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  6. Rebekah,

    It might be interesting to you to read Tertullian's arguments on the veiling of unmarried women in the book "On the Veiling of Virgins," found at http://books.google.com/books?id=qscNTkavWugC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Blessings

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    1. I almost included a quote from him in the post! Thanks for the link- I may just have to find that in the library!

      ~Rebekah

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  7. You know my opinion about it ;-) but yea, I agree with you ;)

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  8. Hi dear!

    Thank you for the very thought-provoking post!

    No, I don't wear a head covering, but I do see the Biblical basis for it, and would be willing to if my father or future husband were to want me wear one. It's a very interesting study topic, and I thoroughly enjoyed how comprehensive your post is on the subject!

    Have a good day!

    Love,
    Kimberly

    modestonpurpose.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Kimberly! Same here- I may start wearing- we'll see! ;-) I haven't decided yet!

      ~Rebekah

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  9. I don't entirely agree with you that Paul began by bidding the people of Corinth to follow the Messiah and keep the Law. He is in fact doing the opposite as they were carnal Christians My view is that this is all given directly from God because in 2 Timothy 3v16- The Bible says "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" & 2 Thessalonians 2v13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
    To me the context of this not cultural but has everything to do with headship. It is recognising that the responsibility of leadership within the church congregation is male. (1 Timothy 3v1-2 "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good1 behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;") Paul states that if a woman prays or prophesies with her head uncovered she disgraces her head. it is in my understanding the "head" here means male leadership "…the head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." - 1 Cor 11v3 If a woman prays with her head uncovered, she is in effect thumbing her nose to them. Paul then states that "she is one and the same with whose head is shaved". To me this seems to be referring back to the instructions in Deuteronomy 21v10, concerning the women captives following a city's defeat in war. The woman who was taken captive was first shorn, and only after a month could she be taken as a wife. Having her head shaved could be a matter of great shame. Paul, therefore, is making it clear that in failing to respect the headship of the church in not covering her head , a woman is not only dishonouring the leadership but also bring as shame upon her own head in flaunting authority. Now in 1 Corinthians 11v15, I believe Paul refers to a lady's hair as her glory. More than men, women see their hair as a there crowning glory. It seems that he is referring back to a woman's hair being shorn. He says her hair is given as a covering. Now, I don't usually like to "run to the Greek" but as you did so yourself I will do it just this once. The Greek word here for covering is meaning "cast around " her face. The other Greek word for covering her head means "to cover fully" - she veils her head!) Her hair is seen as a beautiful covering, therefore she should respect the difference between male and female and cover her glory. Now in 1 Cor 11v10 Paul states that a woman should "have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels" Perhaps it is a reminder going as we worship God, we join with the angels around the throne of God as mentioned in Psalm 103:19-22. I know that 1 Cor 11v9 says that woman was created for the man, and men and women cannot be independent of one another (1 Cor 11v11) We all need each other in the Body of Christ. If you think about it, "head coverings" doesn't cover your head it covers your hair. The Niqab to me is really more of a head covering.

    - Leeon S. Andrew

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