***Disclaimer: This is a very personal topic for me. I do not mean to start any kind of argument or be divisive or imply that this is a primary doctrine relating to salvation. My head covering does not save me, make me a better person, or give me brownie points with God. This is simply my explanation for a question that a lot of people ask about me but few people ask to me. And I believe they mean well; they just don’t want to hurt my feelings or be rude. Am I Amish? Am I in training to become a nun? Am I Mormon or Muslim?, etc.***
So, why do I wear this thing on my head?
I am a Christian. I attend a Southern Baptist church. And, I wear a head covering in accordance with my understanding of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. I began doing this in September of 2009. In the NIV it reads like this:
“I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you. Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head – it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves; Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does no the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice – nor do the churches of God.”
I believe this passage is to be taken literally. When I first stumbled upon this passage, I wondered about it. It seemed so clear-cut. Why don’t we wear head coverings any more? I prayed about it a lot. I researched the issues. I read every version of the Bible I could come across. I read everything I could possibly find on the issue from current blogs to older commentaries. I studied Greek words and writings of the early Church fathers. Was this a practice we should do today? Was it a physical or spiritual covering? Was my hair the covering?
When it came down to it, I was mostly worried that I would just be embarrassing my husband instead of honoring him. I prayed and pondered and talked it over with Adam.
And, this is the conclusion that I came to. I needed to wear a physical covering over my hair. I just couldn’t reconcile what I was reading with not wearing a head covering. It is a practice that was carried through most of Church history and only abandoned around the 1950’s. Pastor R.C. Sproul puts it this way. “Sometimes, after we have studied the background of a text thoroughly, we are still not sure whether it is giving us a principle or a custom. But it is better to treat a custom as a principle than a principle as a custom. If we think a custom is a principle, we are only guilty of being overtly scrupulous. However, in disregarding what is really a principle because we say it is a custom, we disobey God. When faced with unclarity, treat the biblical teaching as if it is a principle.”
I knew that even if it wasn’t a practice that God was telling every woman to do, He was telling me to do it. It was hard at first. I knew people, especially at my church and probably family would think I was just even more weird than they had previously thought. At first I just covered in church, which was awkward. But then, God impressed upon me that I was to cover all the time. I resisted for a while, but I couldn’t deny that I frequently prayed at work, in the car, at the store, etc. What about those times? The more I researched it and prayed about it, the more I knew that I had to cover full-time.
At this time, I had also begun to wear skirts full-time. In my opinion, I just didn’t look right wearing jeans with my head covering. And, a lot of the things I read that convinced me that covering is a practice for today, also talked about modesty and dressing in a distinctly feminine style.
As far as I know, I’m the only woman in my local church who covers full-time. And, while I pray that other women will someday join me, if they don’t, I’ll just keep on doing what I do. I truly don’t ever want this to become an issue that causes division between me and other Christian sisters.
On a side note, I recently discovered via YouTube that some Pagan women, or witches, are starting to wear head coverings to show their devotion to a particular goddess. This does not discourage me. I know that the Enemy is always trying to counterfeit God’s work.