Monday, June 09, 2008

Would it surprise you to know...

...that I own a headcovering (I made mine, but it's very similar to the one pictured above) and have used it regularly? And, would it surprise you that I keep it handy since I have no Biblical or personal objections to covering my head if the leadership of a church we visit/attend determines that it is fitting for women to cover their head during worship?

I recall my first encounter with a sister-in-Christ who practiced covering her head in the assembly, it was in the mid-80's while my husband was attending Dallas Theological Seminary. Up until that time the only women I'd ever seen cover their head for 'religious reasons' was the occasional Mennonite women at the grocery or discount store--and even then I'd 'written them off' as odd and old-fashioned.

So when my friend and neighbor, Gaye, came knocking at our apartment door one evening I was more than a bit puzzled when she asked if she could 'borrow a doillie' since she was scheduled to sing in one of the upcoming chapel services at DTS (DTS did not require this, it was Gaye's practice). Keep in mind that this was the 80's and the "country" style of decorating was still quite popular, so I actually had a number of doillies for her to choose from. She selected one that covered just the crown of her head, thanked me and promised to return it in a few days. Thus began my initial quest to understand, and submit to if necessary, the practice of Christian women wearing headcoverings.

I soon found out that I was not alone, as I met other seminary wives (women married to seminary students) who were curious about this practice and were eager to know if it was something they should also consider and embrace. While we enjoyed countless conversations and many 'working lunches' together studying the topic in light of scripture, none of us came to a firm conclusion or conviction that headcoverings were required of us.

However, what I did walk away with was the desire and willingness to submit to--and embrace--the practice if/when I (or my husband) confidently came to a Biblical understanding of it's necessity. Consequently, when we began to attend a small 'Brethern' assembly in the early 90's I was glad that I'd decided to wear a hat that first morning, and subsequently made a trip to the local Wal-Mart where I bought some lace fabric for my own headcovering.

Thanks the time devoted to discussion and study, and time among the 'Brethern' assembly (who by the way, welcomed us in spite of our 'reformed/Calvinistic' theology), I have absolutely 'zero' problem and no reservations whatsoever with joining other Christian women in covering my head when/if called for by the leadership of a church.

I realize that this is not a common or even a popular topic, but I'm still surprised when I hear an attitude of scoffing--even scorn--among women (professing believers) who have admittedly given little to no careful consideration of the practice, but steadfastly renounce it as something 'I could/would never do!'. As Bereans wouldn't the better response and attitude be, 'Maybe I need to study and consider that...'?

Sidenote: while we were in Russia adopting our daughters our translator and our host took us to visit a number of Russian Orthodox churches--I wonder if it surprised them how willingly I (a thoroughly 'modern' American woman) followed their lead and covered my head as we entered their places of worship?

Headcovering photo found at,


Shawn Abigail said...

Doesn't surprise me. My understanding is that it is Biblical, not all that difficult to do (unless one sets out to make it difficult) and has great symbolic purpose.

I guess the thing that I marvel at is that there are people who profess to be evangelical Christians, who say they read the Bible, and who are completely unfamiliar with this practice. Now let me be clear. I know many fine Christian women who don't wear a headcovering. My amazement is not for those who don't wear a headcovering; it's for those who seem to have no idea that some Christians follow this practice.

Kim from Hiraeth said...

I am of precisely the same opinion as you are re: head covering. I have no qualms and would readily submit if my husband came to that conviction.

Renee said...

Great post! I had not thought much about headcoverings before but this really gives me something to think about. I know its getting popular among Christian women to wear only dresses/skirts but really had not thought about the headcoverings.

Thank you for your thoughts on this.

Jennifer said...

Great article -- I myself am a single woman who choses to cover. I have encountered married women who have expressed a desire to cover also but their husbands won't let them. I have experienced the scoffing you mention by other women, but I was surprised at the scoffing by men. While I think the female scoffing is probably a hint of feminist pride, the male scoffing is probably a sign of fear (i.e. "I don't want people thinking I forced my wife to wear that thing!") The good news is, most of the men I encounter are really excited and encouraged by the practice. The ones who mock it are few and far between.

Connie said...

jennifer: I understand what you mean about men possibly being fearful that others will think they forced their wife to wear a head covering--more 'fallout' from the feminist thinking.

Kim said...

I like the headcoverings I see some women wear, and I would wear one if my husband asked me to, or if we went to a church which practiced the tradition.

Lauren said...

Hey Connie!

I enjoyed reading this post--it was, as you know, of particular interest to me. ;-) I also enjoyed reading the comments from other ladies.

My mom was raised Roman Catholic, so all I knew of headcoverings was that old Catholic ladies wore them. I had to deal with it when I went to college and heard that Nathaniel's mom and sisters wore them--I immediately thought, "Cult!" I went home and noticed a woman at my own church wearing one, so I opened up the Bible and wrestled with the passage. The "cultural argument" wasn't satisfactory--that's what people used to justify homosexuality and feminism. Deligating new testament commands to that era never seems to work well. And the passage itself seemed to speak of some article placed on the head rather than the hair itself. So there went that one.

So, toward the end of my freshman year of college, I began to wear a headcovering by my own conviction. My parents thought it was weird but permitted it. And, as you probably assumed, Nathaniel holds the same conviction.

So there's my story. It really is a beautiful symbol God has given--and a good reminder to me! I really appreciate knowing that you respect the practice! :-) The scoffing, stares, and labels get discouraging at times.