Saturday, December 13, 2008

A question from a reader and an answer from me. :)

Question: "There is also the consideration at the end of the text where it reads that 'For long hair is given to her as a covering' hmmm??"

My answer:
Paul is appealing here to the very nature of being a 'lady' as another reason for women to cover their heads to pray. In all of the cultures I know of, women wear their hair longer than the men of the same culture. You might think, "Yeah, maybe you have long hair, but what about Sinéad O'Connor?" Well, she's not the norm, is she? Neither is Bill Choisser, whose website says men with long hair constitute 2-3% of the adult male popluation in the USA. In the 1960's-1970's hippie culture, when more men wore their hair long (at least longer than they do now), women usually wore their hair longer, at least from what I can tell--I wasn't born until '79!

From a less cultural standpoint, the hair given to women as a covering cannot be the covering required for prayer because of the rest of the passage. If hair was the only covering Paul was talking about, then a couple of his other points wouldn't make sense.

1. Men are told to pray with their heads uncovered in the sentence just after women are told to cover their heads for prayer. If hair was the only necessary covering for women, but men are to have their heads uncovered, then each man trying to obey God would shave his head before each prayer.

2. If the consequence for a woman's refusal to cover her head is to have her hair cut or shaved off, she apparently has hair which was - until the time of her refusal to "cover" - covering her head. So if the hair was the covering, there would be no 'refusal' because she would be automatically obeying.

3. It was at A Pilgrim's Ponderings that I recently read Paul's (not the apostle *smile*, but a former pastor) thoughts about automatic obedience. It occurs to me, too, that there really are no other commands of God which we are, as he puts it, "naturally endowed to obey." Considering hair as the only covering necessary for a woman in prayer seems inconsistent with the rest of Scripture.

AN UPDATE ON MY CURRENT PRACTICE: I have been covering my head still in nearly every (not in the shower or the dentist's chair) prayer situation. A couple of times recently I've been 'prayed on' (or was it 'preyed on?') when I wasn't expecting it. I didn't have my scarf anywhere nearby and wasn't wearing a hood. But, in a couple of cases, I had my husband's hand. So I asked him to put it on my head. I figured that it was better than nothing. Also, since a main reason to wear a covering is to show submission to my husband, I decided his hand would help show that better than my hand and better than nothing. A couple of other times I have put my own hand on top of my head and find it awkward, but I feel like it's also better than nothing.

Hopefully in my next post I'll be able to tell you about wearing my scarf in front (as in, "on the stage") of the whole church and at a ladies' tea.


Our family said...

I look forward to hearing how it goes when you wear your coverings at church and in public. Thanks for sharing about your journey!

Melissa : ) (Plain or fancy headcoverings, headbands, and more at an affordable price) (Christian resources for women about marriage, children, headcovering, and more) (Christian resource site)

Squirrel T said...


I'm researching headcovering and came across your blog. I look forward to reading more.


Ryan and Sandi said...

Thanks, Squirrel T. Glad you found the site, and please let me know what you're learning, too.

Hopefully I'll post again in a couple of weeks. We're in the midst of an international move, so blogging's on the FAR back burner for now. :)


Momma Jo said...

I appreciated reading your journey. This is something God has stirred in my heart also. You can read about my journey and where I currently stand on this conviction at:
Blessings for sharing!

Sophi301 said...

I enjoyed your blog very much. I found an interesting video on youtube and a christian man explains 1Chorinthians 11. The part about nature, he explained long hair being a cover in nature in that a womans hair would fall over her shoulders and cover her breasts..i can't find the link but there are several videos from christian women who cover themselves.

How much thought have you put into this issue?