One of my dear readers brought up a great point on my previous post on Being Feisty which I sum up as follows,
“So if I (or my wife or sister or daughter) do not see it as obligatory to cover their heads/hair, are they less or even not a Christian?”
This might seem to be the next logical step of my argument. If I am willing to argue any positive statement at all, must not there be some consequence for not doing (in this case, head covering) that thing? I will refer to 1 Corinthians 11 to see if there is an eternal consequence. The only word I see used is “Dishonor” when referring to a woman who does not cover while praying or prophesying (speaking out for the Truth). This word means to blush at or be ashamed over. I do not see in any other context where a woman who dismisses the head covering injunction receives some eternal reward or punishment.
[Blueletter Bible has a great clickable Greek/Hebrew concordance built into their search records.]
You are no less a Christ-follower if you do not cover your head.
Now that we are clear on that ground rule in the debate, let us turn to this idea of blushing at something one may do or not do. This is a tricky matter, because this idea changes from one context to the next. Aha! you might say, then the HC issue was cultural/contextual! Because we no longer blush at a woman wearing brazenly bouffant hair to church (being facetious here – sort of), then we are “free” of the injunction. Not quite so fast, my friend.
My belief and practice surrounding the head covering stems from the Bible and from Tradition. Yeah, I lost many of my fundamentalist friends with the “T” word. They don’t like doing something because other people have been doing it for 1960 years. They’re different. Oh. Really. We can argue over that at another time. 🙂 What I see in the Biblical text and from the practice of my Christian ancestors in both the Catholic/Orthodox and Protestant camps is that the veiling of women is a cultural practice born out of a Biblical injunction. It is both. One created the other. We cannot jettison one thing without losing the other.
Wendy Shalit does a much better job (though from a Jewish perspective) illustrating how losing the ability to blush is a consequential series of acts. She wrote Girls Gone Mild.
Is there anything to gain from veiling yourself? Speaking as a lone-coverer, I can list some benefits:
- You can’t hide in your closet from Sunday to Sunday. You must be transparent with everyone about your faith. It is an awesome responsibility. This is a good thing because I learn how to be honest about my faults. People like that.
- Interfaith relations are much easier with Muslims and Observant Jews. They are rather surprised and pleased to meet a Christian woman who not only respects her body by being fully-dressed but that she respects them in the process.
- Door opening and yes ma’ams. Random hugs from other women in Wal-mart. Wow.
- Questions. I get asked daily who/what I am. I tell them. Wearing a Jesus t-shirt usually does not illicit this type of response. 😉
- Prayer is easier for me to remember to do. Not sure if this is strictly an HC thing, but the cloth reminds me that is what I should be doing.
- It makes Jeff happy. He didn’t tell me to do it, but he likes that I am doing it. What is good for him is good for me, too.
Here is a discussion point: What would be one thing that a person could do in your church service that would make you blush? Why?