What if I do not cover my head?

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?

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8 Responses to “What if I do not cover my head?”


  1. 1 karen March 14, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Once when pastor was away, they did intro for a new ladies Bible Study (WOW (Women of the Word)) by eating Wow potato chips and the song leader read the warning label – “may cause Loose stools”
    That made me blush.
    Actually, the real test of loosing your ability to blush would be in the work place/outside world. Many people would blush (or at least be embarrassed – most men don’t blush) if someone told a dirty joke at church, the ? is would they blush if someone told it at Work?
    I have found myself losing my ability to blush at things, and I have even said things that I would have blushed hearing in the past. I have found since starting to cover (not full-time) that I watch myself more. And on days I know are going to be hectic at work, I’m trying to make sure I cover, just as a reminder for me. Well, that and people should get used to me wearing scarves etc.

  2. 2 covered by the blood March 15, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I began covering for church and ministry last year, and eventually began covering daily, as well, but after some months, I stopped, and now I do so rarely. The men in authority in my life (in my family, in my church, and in the ministries in which I serve) were not supportive of my head covering, and some showed disrespect or expressed disapproval. (In order to share my experience without casting aspersions on them, I chose not to sign my name to this comment. Thanks for respecting my privacy on this, Anna.)

    Although I initially received several supportive comments from non-covering Christian female friends (I don’t know anyone who covers, other than Muslim friends), I found that a number of my dear, committed, sisters in Christ (both in my earthly family and my eternal family) were wounded or put off by my explanation that I had begun to cover after studying and praying over Scripture. Although the veil should represent humility and modesty, it almost felt like I was displaying the opposite of that, when I was the only woman on several ministry teams who covered, because it separated me from my team members, and I fear that some of those I served with or some of those we served interpreted it as a statement of “look at me and my piety.” For me, at least at that time, it built more walls than bridges.

    I continue to pray and seek the Lord about it, and to ask Him to examine my own heart. I love the veil and respect my sisters who wear it. I am unsettled, but I wait and trust in the Lord. I will wear it again when and if I can do so wholeheartedly and with a pure heart before God, with assurance and peace. Until that time, I trust in the covering of the shed blood of our precious Jesus.

    Thank you for allowing me to share, Anna. And thank you for encouraging your sisters in Christ. You are a blessing!

    Peace and love to you in His name.

  3. 3 Christine March 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    I have to agree that I seem to find myself saying stuff that would make me blush if someone said it to me. Sometimes I find myself not blushing at stuff that I should be blushing at.

    I think dirty jokes or flirting would have me blushing in church because the environment seems to be the wrong place for things like that. Outside world you tend to expect that type of behavior.

  4. 4 cbrunette March 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Covered,

    Though I was slightly shocked over your experience with authority figures while wearing a covering, it isn’t altogether uncommon. The Lord has been somewhat gracious to me in that respect. While I have escaped open disrespect, I have not encountered full inclusion in churchy-circles either. It is hard to discern why, but I know it is partly because I look different.

    A sad catch-22 we find ourselves in! To desire obedience to God but to be cast down by those who should support us.

    Thank you for sharing were you are at with this part on your path with Jesus. I will lift up your struggle in prayer.

    ~Anna

  5. 5 Rachel March 16, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Hi! I love your blog! It is what got me started on what my mother calls, for lack of a better word, a religion identity crisis. I was wondering how you feel about dressing modest way, but in today’s fashions, insted of taking dresses out of a closet on a farm in the 1800’s. Needless to say I’m not quite ready to just give everything but I’m getting better. I have gotten to the point where I always wear 3/4 length, or long sleeved shirts, though sometimes I feel I haven’t really made that much of an achievement due to the fact that it is currently winter.But I got shirts that I knew would be light so I would be able to wear them in the winter. I wear skirts as much as I can, but when it snows or rains on campus I wear jeans for the ease of keeping clean and warm. My skirts have grown in length, they are below the knee now, they were never that high to begin with stopping just above the knee, so once again this feels like nothing. I just can’t get to the point of wearing ankle length skirts, mostly because I don’t like the way a lot of women look frumpy and boring in them. I am a very loud person and I want to reflect that. I find that I can find colorful and fun prints on skirts shorter than that. I also have tried to start covering, but I just can’t bring myself to get to that complete point. On a few headcovering sites I have found that some of the coverings were simply wide headbands. So I thought I’d start there. I do wear a headband everyday and I have begun to grow my hair out. Do you haver any input or advice? I pray everyday for guidence, but I’m new to all of this and would love to hear from you. Thanks
    Rachel

  6. 6 Rachel March 16, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    oops there are a couple of misteaks in there lol. I meant “so I would be able to wear them in the summer” not winter sry.

  7. 7 Rachel March 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I promise this is my last comment. I forgot to ask. In dance class I make sure to wear long sleeve leotards whenever possible, but since I am mostly with girls I’m not too worried, but I’m not sure what to do in pas de deux class I have a boy with his hands all over me and I am not allowed to wear skirts/shorts/pants ect. Any suggerstions? I know it may be hard to answer not coming from a dance world. Do you think it can be excused? Help!!

  8. 8 Paula March 31, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Note for Rachel,
    If you are looking for non frumpy long skirts, check out the wrap skirts in http://www.tznius.com
    If you sew, here are simple directions on how to make one.
    http://www.xanga.com/connimom/549154186/how-to-make-a-wrap-skirt—part-1-cutting.html
    http://www.xanga.com/connimom/550031672/making-a-wrap-skirt—part-2.html
    They are a cinch to make.
    Paula


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