Monday, April 21, 2008

It's a Many Sided Thing

The subject of Christian headcovering itself covers many different areas. In reading 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, one finds themselves faced with the subjects of headship and authority pertaining to God, Christ and men, hair length of men and women, covered and uncovered glory, worship practices, interdependence of men and women, appropriateness and opinion, the concept of culture versus eternal truth, the veiling itself, and even contentiousness. I'm sure there are a number of "rabbit trails" to follow from these verses in Scripture.

The blog links for today pertain to various ways of looking at headcovering for Christians, both Catholic, Protestant and otherwise, since the Scriptures were written to "all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours" (1 Corinthians 1:2).

First, from "Frugal Abundance" at wordpress, is the sweetly titled entry: "Headcovering as Civil Disobedience". Including the thoughts that: "I’m not able to start a nationwide strike, but I am able to wear my headcovering. It’s a simple piece of fabric (or more often these days a snood) but it carries so much weight behind it. My headcovering tells the world that I will not join in with the crumbling morals and distorted values of mainstream society. I separate myself", the author reminds herself and her readers that a headcovering for a Christian is indeed a symbol of more than just submission to her husband. In fact, it "symbolizes a return to morality, a return to traditional values. Which makes me think, of course a headcovering makes people uncomfortable. It’s supposed to. It acts as a wake-up call to everyone who sees it." This is not the reason to cover, but it is a result. We are often reminded that Muslim women in Western countries are dressing out of respect for their faith, and for modesty, because our first thoughts are usually that these women are merely "showing off" their faith, pushing it in our faces, disrespecting our culture and hoping that they can convert us. I think the author of this post has a point here - our Christian headcoverings are indeed a symbol of much more than just our submission to God and our husbands. To the outside world, in a way, they are an outward show of "civil disobedience". Please read the entire article at the title link.

How we and others view headcovering for Christian women can be so different. I liked the entry from "True Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter" at blogspot, who writes in "My First Latin Mass": "As soon as I walked in and saw many women wearing veils on their heads, I knew I was in a good place. I was with people who take the Mass seriously. It isn't rote for them. It isn't a drudgery. It's desirable, it's vital. It's life." It struck me that this woman was initially impressed by the seriousness of the group worshiping there, because of the first impression that was given by the many women wearing veils. It reminded me of the topic of modest dress, in which women respond with the saying that "God doesn't look at the outside, but at the heart". Which quotes from the book of Samuel in the Old Testament, and is of course true. But you know, the beginning of that verse says that "man looks on the outside". (See 1 Samuel 16:7) We so often forget that the outside really does matter, because man cannot see the heart. Consider on this, and please read the author's full report on her visit by clicking the title link above.

I also would like to suggest that if you have a chance to read the article by "Blessed Motherhood" on blogspot, titled: "Of Headcoverings, Dresses, Birth Control, and Holidays: Part I". She doesn't even mention the word "headcovering" in this part 1 (of what looks to be an interesting study of some Bible ideas), but the conclusions she reaches are clear: "We have found that our simple definition of sin as being any transgression of the law has become a little more complex. It also includes the essence of the law and personal direction by the Holy Spirit. We have also seen that one of the easiest ways to determine the answer is to examine our motives. Even something that would not usually be sin, if it is done out of rebellion, becomes sin. That makes our personal communication with the Trinity and an understanding of the Bible for ourselves essential to working out our salvation daily." Definitions, sin, the Holy Spirit, self-examination, motive, rebellion, salvation, and daily - are the key words here. Are there not many facets to the jewel which is headcovering? Please read this article, full of scripture and admonition to go beyond what is seen.

No matter how you look at it, it's not just about putting something on your head at church.
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