Q and A with Veiled Glory Part 2

Angela asked this question:

I am curious as to whether or not you believe there is a Scriptural mandate to wear a head covering at all times. I can easily see the mandate to wear a head covering while at prayer or in worship service. My husband and I discussed the topic at length over the weekend, esp. as to why no one in our very conservative church even wears a hat or scarf during the worship service. Thanks!

This is a major issue to those of us who have decided to cover….Where and When? [Ooops,  I am delving into the questions regarding hijab down towards to end, but I want to do more in a separate post, cause its a hot topic.]

Strictly following the Scripture commentary, you could say its only for formal prayer (when in a group) or worship (again, in a group). The Church Hat Wearing Ladies fall under this category. [An Aside – I still like watching, though not listening, to majority Black congregations on tv, just for the artistic hats. I know, I know, I roasted ladies who spend a month’s rent on completely matching outfits vis-a-vis Church Ladies. Guilty for admiring from afar.] You can granulate this more finely to covering for semi-formal prayer at home with family and small group Bible studies, for instance. Any which way, somebody else has to be in the room for the intent of worship & prayer in order for you to affix fabric to your cranial region.

The next “step” in covering application is to combine other verses on prayer, such as “…pray uncessingly” (look it up, I am lazy) with 1 Cor. 11. So…the logic here is that even if it is just me praying alone, I should cover, because it is p-r-a-y-e-r. Or having a worshipful attitude? Or reciting Scripture from memory? Do these count? Sticky stuff. In practice, you could tie on a scarf when its just you around the house singing songs of praise while you sweep the floor. Going about your regular errands or shopping or participating in non-worshipful group activities does not requisite a covering in this level of understanding. The angels will not ignore you if you utter a sincere prayer outside without a covering.

Onward and upward…

Here we have reached what I would term, Always Keep Your Bun Covered, or the Anabaptist practice of wearing a covering during all waking hours where-ever and when-ever, except during hair washing and birthing a baby (?). You might breathe a prayer of thanksgiving whilst digging in the garden and that counts in the eternal scheme of things, so be covered. The style of covering, generally, is not geared for complete modesty (some hairline showing or transparent), but more functioning within the symbolism realm. Aha, a Christian woman! the angels might say.

To mess with the above neat categories, I will share with you how I approach headcovering. 🙂

  1. I wear a headcovering when in any worshipful setting, church building or no, group or no. If uncovered (see below) and I take up the Bible to read and to pray (generally I do both at the same sitting), I put one on. Or wrap up in a shawl.
  2. Uncovering: I take it off when I get home from work or from a major trip into the great wide world. I literally let my hair down and put on comfy clothes. Makes a nice transition to a private world all of our own.
  3. In the rare occasion when I am home all day, I generally dress in street clothes (read, dress or skirt) and put on a kerchief or bandanna. You could say its a Fly Lady thing.

Given the broad categories above, how did I reach this particular application?

I am going to disturb a few ladies here by saying I have been informed through church Tradition. The “t” word isn’t what you think it is [smooth those feathers!] and I do not know how to adequately explain it to you. Just roll with the idea that because the general breadth and depth of the Church has indeed exhorted modesty and coverings for women for millenia(s) is because God might have instructed all in every generation. Think of a pearl which is a layer upon layer of accretion, building upon each other until something beautiful is produced.

The beautiful thing I try to live out is modesty in dress and behavior. Headcovering has taken on an additional “accretion” of protection from the untoward gaze of men (or women, egad). The early church fathers were quite detailed, in fact, about the scope and practice of modesty and veiling. Try looking up (Alana did this before she closed her blog – heart!) Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria. They had some clear teachings on what was expected from Christian women. In general, the “veil” they described was rather akin to a hijab or more. Yeah, I hear ya, that was the dark ages of the Mediterranean, and this is now, so you don’t need a burqa. Here is where I pose a Socratic question to chew on, “Have we changed so much?”

My answer is no. The reasons for adopting a veil for modesty and symbolism are still there: sin. I want to do my utmost to guard my own heart and body in purity before God and his angels. And to love my brother enough to spare him obvious occassion to sin. The pearls of church tradition have been preserved for us to apply (and not wily-nily, yikes, must save for another post!). May God have mercy on me.

Clear enough? Need more? Questions?


14 Responses to “Q and A with Veiled Glory Part 2”

  1. 1 Amber May 6, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Very nice post! The progression you listed from covering for group prayer down to covering full time is sort of how it’s progressed for me. 🙂

    Though, I do find it amusing (to me anyway), that the exception of giving birth is mentioned! I can’t tell you why, I just sort of find it funny.

    • 2 Anna May 6, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      The point about giving birth was from my foggy recollection of reading a story about a midwife in an Amish community. The ladies let down their hair when they gave birth.

  2. 3 Kristen May 6, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Wonderful post.


  3. 4 Amy May 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Lovely post! I had a good giggle at the Fly Lady comment 😛 That’s why I typically wear my tichel even when I’m not going anywhere. You just never know what the day might bring–even a surprise flower delivery to your front door..sometimes with chocolate. ;o)

  4. 5 Stacy aka Fahiima May 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    A really nice post. I think you covered both some of the scriptural issues as well as personal issues that may change how one may cover in a personal situation. I can identify with not wanting to wear anything while giving birth. You don’t really feel like your body is yours anyway.

  5. 6 Hajar Zamzam Ismail May 6, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    What a beautiful spiritual progression towards increasing your modesty! You have a beautiful spirit, and I love that you listen to that little inner voice to determine what you need to do to protect yourself and glorify God. Big hugs.

  6. 7 S. Marie May 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I love the hijab…its intresting to know that is what our Church fathers were talking about. hmmmm, have to chew on that one

  7. 8 Renee (Ms. Modest Fashion Cents) May 8, 2009 at 10:56 am


    I came to this posting through another blogger who I follow and I suppose I will dare to post my two cents on the Greek of the Corinthian passage.

    Since starting my own blog – I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and stuff posted on the internet and so for curiousity sake – I went back and looked at the Greek in the Corinthian’s passage about head coverings.

    This may not make some people happy – but outside the church traditions (I know you mentioned Tertullian and Clement of Alexander.) the Greek language in regards to the custom that Paul is referring to – is along the lines of a full hijab or even something that may more resemble a Burka. The individual was fully covered (most likely) including the face (in some customs). The attire probably more resembled what women in Saudi Arabia wear; with the exception of the color. Most of the people in the anchient world wore white garments.

    Customs varied greatly from place to place and even Paul states that the Burka style covering did not originate out of Judiasm; nor did it originate out of early Christianity. If someone chose to wear that style – that was totally left up to their individual choice and comfort level. The other extream they were dealing with was women who wore no head covering, no shawl, and sleevless togas that probably fell about mid calf. That was common attire in Rome, but seriously scandalous in Judiasm.

    So, between those extremes was a large spectrum of people with quite a variety of ideas. And the challenge was finding a “happy medium” that everyone was satisfied with and didn’t cause other people to stumble. I will readily confess that it is sometimes distracting to me – even being female – to contend with what some women (and / or even teenage girls) – wear to church. No, you don’t have to conform to my standard of modesty – but you look ridiclous in a night club dress honey!

  8. 9 organictruth May 15, 2009 at 1:15 am

    I’m wondering what you meant by your comments about black women in churches with their hats and ‘rent’ payments. Also why do you feel the need to share that you always watch but definitely never ‘listen’ to black sermons? Are they heretical or something?
    I’m sure you didn’t mean anything too much by it, but I just think it prudent to be more lighthearted in your humor, or to phrase it so that fellow sisters in Christ who don’t share the same background as you can feel welcome.

    In any case, I found your post very enlightening and your blog, on the whole, very inspirational.Thanks for the wonderful words and I pray that God would continue to bless you!

    in love,

    • 10 Anna May 15, 2009 at 5:42 am

      M. ~ Thank you for pointing out my unintentional singling out of a particular group. I did not mean to infer this is how all Christian people of differing skin tones behave. As an outsider, I often wonder the whys and hows of peoples’ choices.

      I generally do not listen to any TV preachers because their messages are less than helpful to my spiritual journey. In the past, I have enjoyed my visits to congregations where I am in the minority and have been treated lovingly.

  9. 11 organictruth May 15, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply…you’re a real trooper! =)

    I’m certain they would treat you lovingly…it would be hard not love someone who seems so lovable! =)

    Have a fabulous week, and good luck with the move


  10. 12 Nikki September 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    As a former Christian who recently embraced Islam, this post was very helpful to me. I view Islam as an extension of Christianity just as I viewed Christianity as an extension of Judaism. I wear hijab when I can, but my Christian family detests it, so I often don’t wear it in order to ‘keep the peace,’ persay.

    You’re post has helped me to 1) connect the Islamic practice of hijab to the two preceeding Abrahamic faiths and 2) find hope that maybe one day my Christian family will be comfortable with my idea of modesty.

    God Bless!

  11. 13 Ilka October 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I’m just an occasional reader, so maybe you cover (no pun intended – LOL) this elsewhere. But I wonder why you refer to your covering as _hijab_?? Is there no – well, “better” word for it? Hijab is what muslim women wear. I’m not muslim, and I don’t (want to) wear hijab (BTW, a friend of mine covered in a muslim way to visit a muslim neighbor and got an earful from a true muslim woman who felt deceived) – unless I should be travelling in a muslim country where such is required for women.
    BTW, I do cover myself, as you described it in worshipful settings, and sometimes during the day, like right now. Just came back from Ladies’ Bible Study not too long ago and didn’t bother to take the covering off! ;-))
    Please note that I do not want to step on your toes. I just wonder and honestly would like to know why you’d want to call your covering/modest gear a “hijab”. 🙂

  12. 14 Ruth Erickson November 8, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Thank you for posting about the history of covering in the early church. I am interested in this subject to understand it more.

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"I can't say I don't believe in your God, but I don't believe He meant the world to be as it is." ~Nicholas Higgins. North and South.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you are licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." No idea where that last quote came from, but I like it!

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