Sunday, October 15, 2006

On Returning to Headcoverings . . .

I was raised an Episcopalian, and most every Sunday found me in church, wearing a hat and my best outfit. In my mind I remember seeing Communion celebrated about every other week, and as part of the service, the priest would chant each of the 10 Commandments and the congregation would chant back that we would/will keep them. When I was in third and fourth grade I attended a Christian school whose teachers were Quakers and whose students were mostly 1st Baptist. My brother and I were the only "heathens"--Episcopalians could smoke, drink but not get drunk, play cards, go to movies--we were definitely not like the other kids. Part of the schooling was scripture memorization and at 9, I had to memorize and recite the 10Cs. As soon as the assignment was given, I raised my hand and offered to recite them--I had already memorized them and "knew" that I kept them, including the 4th--the Sabbath. When I had finished reciting them perfectly to the Quaker teacher, Mr. Denzel Davis, I asked him if everyone still keeps the Sabbath--he said no, we kept Sunday instead. My 9-year old brain went on tilt like a pinball machine! I knew that wasn't right--that was not what I said I would do each Sunday in my mind. But it wasn't until I was 15 that I made a decision to keep the Sabbath, no matter what.

I first attended an Adventist church as it was the only one I knew of besides Jews who kept the Sabbath. After several months my family and I began attending the Church of God-7th Day, and still later that year with Herbert Armstrong's group, Radio Church of God, which became the Worldwide Church of God, and has since splintered into hundreds of competing churches and denominations and many no longer keep the Sabbath.

In August of this year I was doing some research for my husband on Anabaptists for an article he was writing and came across a site with two articles on headcovering on a Mennonite site from Montana. As I was raised in Idaho, I read them both, and immediately was convicted to seek to wear a headcovering again--not just a hat--which no one of my acquaintance had worn for at least 45+ years. I gave the articles to Homer, my husband, and asked him to read them and give me his opinion of them. This article resulted, with a small piece of my own attached at the bottom. I also started a blog regarding my plain dress and headcovering experience/journey. During the time that Homer was reading and writing the response, I was asked in the store if I were a "Frieda," a Mennonite of the acquaintance of the questioner. I told her no, but she continued that I looked like I should wear a bonnet--I now do and it's like coming home. No one in my past Sabbath-keeping faith group wears one but me [that I am currently aware of], nor is plain dress a practice. So it's back to being a pioneer again.


Anonymous said...


My only question would be - WHY?


Carolyn said...


That you would even ask is very telling. Maybe because I am a woman, I am willing to listen to someone other than myself. But since male and female tents of flesh housing sons of God are to be the bride of Christ, why not cover as a sign to angels that I am willing to be submissive?


Tony said...

My concern with religious groups that insist on head coverings for women is that no equivalent restriction is placed on the men.

Carolyn said...


In 1 Cor 11, Paul tells us that the tradition of the time was for men to not cover their head while praying, but that a woman did wear a covering while praying.

While reading the entire chapter, I came to believe that a Christian woman would cover her hair as a sign to angels that she is in submission--not just when she is praying, but all the time.

I am not familiar with the reasons why Jewish men wear coverings when they pray today, but it does not appear that they did at the time that Paul speaks of his delivery of traditions mid-1st Century.


Tony said...

My original concern remains. Religion has a tradition of misogynistic views that are morally corrupt.

Galatians 3:28 provides biblical support for removing misogyny but alas ignorant and corrupt believers still stick with treating women as second rate. Quite sad and not needed.

Carolyn said...

Dear Tony,

If you are a Chrisian, you are born again, as in you are killing the old man daily by crucifying the desires of the flesh. But Paul said that he had to continue to fight his flesh. His flesh and the new creature inside him--Christ living inside his mind--created character development by the new creature growing in grace and knowledge. It is the new creature who is neither Jew, nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free. Christ said flesh and blood could not inherit eternal life--so the flesh is nothing more than a tent, a temporary dwelling. Because my tent is female, I do female things. But as a developing son of God, I have the right to speak, even in assembly, as long as I speak the Father's words, and do not harrange on sexist issues. It is no skin off my nose to wear my cap. I am not the slave of my husband, nor am I put upon by drawing attention to my femininity by wearing a prescribed cap.

BTW: since I am not Amish or Mennonite or Muslim or Jewish, I do not wish to offend them, so I do not wear their cap styles. My ethnicity is French, so I wear 18thC French caps.


Lily said...

I'm certainly not against headcoverings, although it's not a personal choice in my life. I do wonder, however, what is submissive about them? Don't take this as an insult, because I am genuinely curious as to the FULL meaning of the head covering. I've read of women so obsessed that they throw their blankets over their heads at night just so they can pray. That doesn't make sense to me. I feel more as though covering the head is covering something God made that is wonderful. And, like I said, I'm not against it - just would like to understand more fully.

Carolyn said...

Dear Lily,

The symbol representing that Adam was created first, then Eve; that the man was not made for the woman but the woman for man is the hair on a woman’s head, with long hair on the head of the woman disclosing to humans and angels that the woman understands she remains, in or out of marriage, as a disciple’s body is to its inner self. Therefore, since the woman’s long hair relates to the relationship between the inner self and the body, the fabric covering with which the wife covers, or should cover her long hair shows that the wife is under the authority of her husband.
Two coverings, one physical, one spiritual, with both coverings on the head of the woman where they function as one covering.

Because outward circumcision made the head of a male naked, short hair on a man’s head represents circumcision of the heart; for the foreskins of hearts—the sack holding the heart—cannot be removed and the person still live. Hence, a man’s short hair and a woman’s long hair, both, symbolize that these two Christians desire to be obedient to Christ Jesus, their spiritual Head. But the hair on neither the husband’s nor the wife’s head says anything about the wife being obedient to her husband as the body is to obey its head, the inner self. And for this reason, the wife is to have a fabric covering that covers her hair.