Sunday, October 29, 2006

USAToday on Covering

An article recently appeared in USAToday about women of many faiths beginning to cover and wear modest apparel. The gist of the piece seemed to say that there is a movement, a zeitgeist if you will, that crosses religious and cultural boundaries.

My husband used this article in a recent composition class which he teaches at a local university. The discussion brought up some interesting conclusions:
· Covering is the opposite of the slut look
· It’s an anti-Madonna [the singer] statement
· It’s a feminist statement [as in feminine but modest vs. androgynous and ugly]

Further discussion revealed that if it is, indeed, an opposite pole from looking like you’ve just crawled out of bed [some people pay a lot of money to get their tousled locks and off-shoulder looks], then one can expect to see as many women covering and dressing modestly as those who flaunt their sexuality in dress [or lack thereof] and unkempt hair.

Perusing other blogs about plain dress and comments to these posts can find even lesbians feeling the need to cover [but sadly not the need to repent] and going so far as to consider nudity as a means of “plain dress.”

I hope my husband's class discussion is right--it will be a blessing to begin seeing more modest dress and coverings as American women of all faiths begin to respond to the Spirit.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

R E S P E C T . . .

Brittany bonnet, similar to what I wore that night.

Women who wear headcoverings are treated differently than those who don’t.

One evening in March 2001, while returning to Illinois from Old Fort Niagara, NY, I pulled off the freeway in Ohio seeking shelter from a blinding storm of lake-effect snow. I had been reenacting F&I and had delivered a lecture on French Colonial Housing at the Fort on the shore of Lake Ontario and had left the fort as the storm was approaching–I was in a hurry and had not removed my headwear, a “Brittany Bonnet,” made from a pattern purchased years before from a museum shop, one of a series of so-called French regional bonnets. My bonnet was warm and comforting and I still had the several layers of linen clothing on, as well; chemise, corset, two petticoats and a manteau-de-lit or bed jacket of cotton. I was warm and toasty and the layers were a good foil against the wind and swirling snow.

As I struggled through the lobby door to register for a room, the desk clerk looked up, and with a somewhat startled look upon his face, asked me who I worked for. At the time it was S7HD, a health department in Southern Illinois. That answer seemed to satisfy him, but he immediately asked someone from the room behind the desk to help me carry my bundles (reenactors do not carry suitcases) to my room. Now keep in mind, this was a Motel 6, and this service was out of the ordinary. When I reached my room and after I had shut the door and looked in the mirror, I realized what must have been the reason for the look on the clerk’s face–my bonnet looked like a nun’s coif–hence the “special” treatment.

Since I have begun wearing a head covering every day now, I notice that which ever man is next to me as I reach a doorway almost ‘busts his buttons’ to reach for the door first and hold it open so I may pass through. This gesture of respect did not occur, except as a rare occurrence, before I wore a covering with men other than my husband. I am thankful for the respect–I can only conclude that the sign upon my hair is responsible for this gesture.

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.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nasty, Nasty . . .

Debate: Nasty, Nasty

Last evening Michigan’s Democratic Governor, Jennifer Granholm, faced her Republican challenger, Dick DeVos, in the first of several televised political debates. This occurred at the end of a terrifying day filled with news of yet another school shooting–this time in peaceful Amish country–Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. After much rancorous mudslinging, each opponent was asked in conclusion to name an interesting fact about themselves. Granholm’s answer appalled me so that I do not remember what DeVos offered. And it is in response to her quip that I must take a stand and make a political comment.

With a cutsie look and a twinkle in her eye, she gave her interesting fact, “Before my husband met me, he wanted to be a priest.” Several awful possibilities immediately traipsed through my mind;
• her husband had so little character that he could not stand on his convictions
• she lured him from his faith by enticing him with her wiles
• she set her cap for him, even though he had expressed his desire to serve God–but wait–she doesn’t wear a cap

And maybe that’s the problem–she is not in subjection to God or man [her husband] and as a result, flaunts the desire of every Catholic family in Michigan, let alone the country or the world–that desire to have a son of the family serve God in the priesthood.

1 Timothy 2:1-31 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

And so, Governor, I pray that you will
• lead a peaceable life
• let your hair grow
• and cover it to redeem yourself from shame

Monday, October 02, 2006

Death comes a callin' . . .

The quiet lives of the people I see in my mind in P. Buckley Moss' art were visited by death today--black bonnets no longer mean contented lives for me.

If you wish to make a donation to the girls' families or for the sake of the community, you may do so by mailing a check to:

Nickel Mines Children's Fund
Coatesville Savings Bank
1082 Georgetown Road
Paradise, PA 17562

Roberts Family Fund for Children of the Roberts Family
Coatesville Savings Bank
1082 Georgetown Road
Paradise, PA 17562