A good resource on Christian headcovering in worship...

As everyone in Clearnote Church, Bloomington knows, in obedience to Scripture and in conformity with 99.9% of Christian women across two millennia, my wife Mary Lee wears a headcovering in worship, even when she's not praying or prophesying.

We began to consider the matter seriously when we were reading R. C. Sproul Sr.'s great book, Now, That's a Good Question!as part of our family devotions and learned there that Mrs. Sproul confesses her Christian sexuality by wearing a headcovering in worship.

Mary Lee and I began this practice and commend it to each of you who are married. It is a clear confession of the Christian faith to postmoderns who are so twisted by our culture that they find themselves most comfortable with femininity in men (doubting themselves, using hedge words and phrases, wearing jewelry, abdicating authority, shedding tears, being vain in their appearance) and masculinity in women (taking leadership and authority, working out, getting ripped, teaching men, playing soldier, playing cop, playing pastor, being brash).

Now, I'm guessing about 20% of Clearnote's women cover during some or all of our worship, although it's no requirement within our congregation.

One of our pastors just sent me a link to this web site titled The Headcovering Movement, and I thought some of our readers might find it helpful... I haven't read it all, but any discussion of a Christian confession of God's Order of Creation in Christian worship today—any discussion at all—is better than no discussion. So those of you who don't practice covering, open up your minds and let some fresh air blow through. Try something new and hopeful. Break out of your conformity to the androgynous patterns of our evil world. Be handsome and beautiful. Be man and wife. Take your manhood and womanhood to corporate worship this week and use them there to glorify God.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Though I've never attended a church that suggested women might consider wearing a headcovering, I've always thought church leaders, if they were going to be consistent in interpreting scripture according to the very words therein, should at least give credence to the thought that headcoverings were STILL appropriate in conservative churches today.  Truly, even within the conservative church, feminism has bound us head and foot.

Yes, when we were in Orlando and at RC's church, Vesta Sproul wore headcoverings in church...some of the cutest, most elegant and attractive hats one would ever want to see on a godly woman. So much so, in fact, that one sometimes has to actually think about 'what is going on here.'

This is a matter not to be taken up unadvisedly, but in discussion with the elders. More than one church has been forced into turmoil by those whose newfound wearing of headcoverings is a matter of assertiveness, as opposed to submission...at that juncture it becomes an 'immodesty,' as opposed to an expression of modesty, a functional equivalent of the 'homeopathy is next to godliness' mindset.

Thirty-five years ago, I enrolled in a course course in 1 Corinthians, taught by the late, great S. Lewis Johnson (of blessed memory among the Reformed). He assigned us three passages, and during the semester we were to prepare an exegetical commentary on each one and to prepare a 10-minute sermon on the same passage. I drew the "deliver to Satan" passage in chapter 5, the headcovering passage in chapter 11, and the baptism for the dead passage from chapter 15. A trifecta! An appeal was denied. Dr. Johnson got a good laugh out of telling me I should fault mere happenstance.

My labors in chapter 11 changed my mind on headcoverings (it had been what is today the default evangelical understanding, viz. that it's interesting but ultimately irrelevant as far as Christian praxis is concerned). About the same time, the woman I would eventually marry, while teaching 1 Corinthians to college girls, reached a similar conclusion. Since then, she's covered in any Christian gathering where communion would be appropriate AND whenever she's been teaching or reading Scripture in a group (a low-octane form of prophecy) or when she's praying in public. Most of these last 35 years, she's been almost totally alone as she's done this.

She has often faced various degrees of rejection -- from condescension to challenge. Indeed, I was initially rejected as a pastor in a church where I was candidating because my wife covered in the worship service where I preached! The elders of the church told me in a meeting afterwards that they would not issue a call unless Barbara agreed to cease covering! After explaining that she did what she did in obedience to the Apostolic teaching and that I would not consent to come to them under these terms, they relented, requiring instead that Barbara never teach in that congregation on "womanhood" subjects. That prohibition was lifted after a couple of years, but that's another story.

The point: defacto feminism was well established within evangelicalism long before the egalitarian hegemony of today. And all it takes is a few square inches of fabric strategically displayed in order to show that hegemony's virulence against patriarchy in most places within evangelicalism. 

I have never thought to make an issue of this, to be honest; but I have to say that it does irritate when I see men wearing hats or other headcoverings in church. Many of the younger generation seem to like baseball caps, in particular. This reflects how I was brought up, no doubt, but I would be interested to see others' views/practices on this.

I am trying to get a clearer picture on this, including various comments above. What is a considered a headcovering? A scarf of some sort, or a hat or even a baseball cap? Tom says that Mrs. Sproul wore hats, I can't figure out what Mrs. Bayly wears, and I think it is common in the black church to wear hats--big hats--on Sundays, but I don't think this is more out of fashion than obedience. I think if a female were to wear a baseball cap, there would be no way to consider it submission or obedience, and if a male were to wear one I would hope that an elder or deacon would ask him to take it off, but then again, in churches wear we slurp our Starbucks during the service, this is unlikely to happen.

Wearing a hat would only be making a fashion statement. We believe a cloth covering most of the woman's hair would be more biblical. 

Wearing a hat would only be making a fashion statement. We believe a cloth covering most of the woman's hair would be more biblical.

The first statement doesn't follow from the second statement.  Your personal interpretation regarding a cloth covering doesn't create a motive for those wearing hats.  This is a good example of how to form a circular firing squad.

Dave, I was totally open to the discussion on head coverings. In fact, I even agree that, as a society, we are trying to blur gender identities - encouraging "maleness" in females and vice versa. BUT, I was astonished at your examples!! How is doubting yourself or using hedge words inherently FEMALE??? How is working out -  something that leads to good health - inherently MALE??? It's not the main point, but sometimes good ideas get drowned out by such comments. Sorry.

Lyn wrote:

How is working out -  something that leads to good health - inherently MALE???

I wondered the same thing. But I thought Tim might be referring to women who wear skimpy workout wear around guys in a health club or who bulk up muscles way past what is necessary for good health. Of course, he'll have to speak for himself :-)

#Ross: Just as 1 Corinthians 11 teaches that women ought to wear coverings in worship gatherings, it also teaches that men OUGHT NOT to wear coverings in worship (verse 4). 

#David Gray, I am not so sure Freida was making a connected series of propositions. She may have been making independent statements.

I didn't mean to impugn the motives of those wearing hats for headcoverings. Because a hat is commonly worn as an accessory, it may not come across as a headcovering. 

Dear Sue,

Let history books record that you defended me! I love it.

And of course, you're right.

Love in Christ,

Quick question; given that 1 Cor. 11 refers to "woman", and not "wife" (which I admit would just be the possessive of gyne, no?), should headcoverings be limited to wives, or are we talking about all women?

Feel free to respond with links, as there is no need to wear yourselves out for someone who hasn't totally researched this.

I would think the latter - a woman not under the authority of her husband would otherwise have been deemed to be under the authority of her father. Independent women in the ancient world were not unknown, but I imagine very rare (Lydia, possibly Damaris, are two in the NT who come to mind).

comfortable with femininity in men (doubting themselves, using hedge words and phrases, wearing jewelry, abdicating authority, shedding tears, being vain in their appearance) and masculinity in women (taking leadership and authority, working out, getting ripped, teaching men, playing soldier, playing cop, playing pastor, being brash).

I find these specific examples and applications very helpful for myself. Almost nobody gives specific examples and applications anymore.

The Headcovering Movement website was advertised on The Gospel Coalition website sidebars a few weeks back. From the little I've read I think the guy behind the website is quite tech/media savvy. I hope it prospers.

David Gray, I think Freida has a good point.

Consider this single line:

"For her hair was given to her for a covering" (1 Cor 11:15)

It is a clue as to the scope of the headcovering Paul has in mind - he likens the covering to to long hair. Thus a hat, although a step in the right direction, does not correspond as fittingly as a cloth covering which flows down with the long hair.

I understand Paul to be saying that woman's long hair is a natural drape, which is God's hint in nature of the appropriateness of another drape (a headcovering). John Chrysostom comments on this verse:

“And if it be given her for a covering,” say you, “wherefore need she add another covering?” That not nature only, but also her own will may have part in her acknowledgment of subjection. For that thou oughtest to be covered nature herself by anticipation enacted a law.

I also wonder that if a woman's headcovering is only a hat (which covers the only the upper part of the head) then why does not a man's short hair suggest he should wear a hat also? It is easier to see long hair being suggestive of a drape than a hat.

I think that reasoning is labored and even if I accepted it I wouldn't be dogmatic about it.  But if we want to set aside critiquing the 99% of the Reformed world that doesn't practice headcovering in order to focus on a subset of those practicing headcovering but doing it in a manner we think inadequate then perhaps we are back with the circular firing squad.

But if we want to set aside critiquing the 99% of the Reformed world that doesn't practice headcovering in order to focus on a subset of those practicing headcovering but doing it in a manner we think inadequate then perhaps we are back with the circular firing squad.

I don't think you have gotton the spirit of my post. A step in the right direction is a good thing.

How is doubting yourself or using hedge words inherently FEMALE??? How is working out -  something that leads to good health - inherently MALE???

Lyn, it's funny someone would even ask.  Surely you know a lot of men and a lot of women, so you see that in our personal experience these are male and female. And you probably know some foreigners, so you can see it is in other countries too. You've probably read enough to know it's been true in England and America since the time of Shakespeare, at least.  And then looking deeper and thinking how this fits with masculinity and femininity generally, see how this fits with the other male and female characteristics. 

      I was just thinking of the hedge words difference the other day. It's *so* common for mothers to tell their little boys things like, "Don't you want to eat your vegetables," for the boy to reply, amazed at her stupidity, "No," and for the mother to be disappointed at such impudence. (What the boy wants is for the mother to say "Eat your vegetables" if that's what she wants to order him to do). 

Wearing a head covering can also have a nice self-referential aspect to it, in the case where it is the husband or father who makes the decision. Telling one's wife or daughter---well, any woman, really--- how to dress takes courage. At my kids' school, many parents don't have the guts, and one reason they picked a Christian school is so somebody else would tell their daughters to dress modestly and they wouldn't have to.  So when a girl or woman wears a head covering and she doesn't want to, that is a genuine symbol of authority, a testament to a man's willingness to stick his neck out in obedience to God, and to a woman's willingness to submit even when she thinks the authority is stupid and intrusive. (My wife and daughter haven't used those words, but I bet they've been thinking them, especially since I admit that the command's validity is unclear enough that I waver.) 

     For a single woman, this can work too.  If done with the right attitude, this can be a glorying in submission to a command of God simply because it is a command, even when the woman starts with an initial resentment.  And even if done with the wrong attitude, it's still a virtue to obey without external compulsion, and still good to act as God commands even if you're forced to. 

Wow,

I was really impressed to see my former Pastor's Wife Mary Lee wears a head covering.  My wife has also been practicing this.  The way I found out was during a session of deliverance,we had a demon named Jezebel on the ropes in a woman. We asked Jezebel why she didn't like head coverings on Woman. Her response was obedience. Of course obedience to God what a good reason to wear a head covering.  I would suggest any woman praying or in church to wear head coverings.  If it upsets the Devils that good enough reason for me.  Agape, In Christ Bill Stephens

Love this, Bill Stephens! I have been upsetting demons since I was 12 years old!! :) I am now 32. I am part of a mennonite church and we practice covering almost all the time! I feel that I have been protected from evil in some situations because I have the power of the angels on my head! God bless!! Tina

I have been intensely interested in this discussion and was wondering if I may quote the following on my Facebook page?

The point: defacto feminism was well established within evangelicalism long before the egalitarian hegemony of today. And all it takes is a few square inches of fabric strategically displayed in order to show that hegemony's virulence against patriarchy in most places within evangelicalism. 

Wearing a hat as a head covering  can be an 'in camouflage' kind of thing. Are you covering in such a way so as not to look like you are covering? Where is your heart and what is your motivation are two good questions to keep in mind when doing anything that can be looked upon as controversial.

If a woman's hair is her covering and not a separate cloth, then by that example a,one, why is not every male head in church not shaved? A woman's hair is NOT the covering to which Paul is referring. It is her glory. If a woman's hair was all that was needed, and since every woman is born with the ability to grow hair, there would not have been a need for, Paul to mention a separate covering for women, but he does.

Again, a woman's hair is not the covering to which, Paul referred in his letter to the Corinthians. He is referring to a separate covering.

<i>Wearing a hat as a head covering  can be an 'in camouflage' kind of thing. Are you covering in such a way so as not to look like you are covering? Where is your heart and what is your motivation are two good questions to keep in mind when doing anything that can be looked upon as controversial.</i>

The circular firing squad continues its work.

You go to any evangelical megachurch or even pretty much any church where women don't cover their heads and wear a hat and you'll draw attention.  At a Lutheran church my wife had an elderly woman approach her and ask her about the hat saying that sh had covered her head when she was a young woman.  Whatever else it was it wasn't camouflage. 

>>> circular firing squad

Dear David (Gray),

I don't think we should try to shut down this conversation. There are precious few forums where details like this can be hashed out, and none that I know of that have any kind of pastoral oversight. It is good for these arguments to be brought to light and be corrected as necessary. Having these discussions here is a help to those involved now, and it will also be a help to churches that begin to teach headcovering in the future, as whatever issues are raised here help pastors anticipate questions and difficulties beforehand.

Love,

Having a discussion in which women wearing hats are described as trying to camouflage their obedience would be like a discussion amongst churches who are sufficiently faithful to the scriptures to use wine as an element in the Lord's Supper rather than pasteurized grape juice, in defiance of the massive disobedience of evangelical culture, and then to argue that people who use use one type of wine are less faithful because they aren't using the right sort of Bordeaux.

Above somebody wanted to argue that hats don't cover as much of the head as head scarves so head scarf wearers are being more obedient or something to that effect.  (Ironically from what I've seen a hat and a head scarf probably both cover approximately the same amount of surface area.)  That doesn't strike me as useful nearly as much as it does pietistic error.

Sometimes details are important too, but I think you're right that they're not in this instance.

In discussions with my wife I've said, yes, past church fathers have specified that the covering must be a veil, must cover the whole head must...(etc.) -- but all God's Word says is "a covering", which is less specific, and I believe that God was purposeful in that lack of specificity. I do think something scarflike serves God's stated purposes better than a hat since women's hats are often gaudy, kind of working at cross purposes to what the symbol is supposed to mean.

I'm excited for when women cover again in the churches. Think of the girls growing up in the church, each excited to be a girl and to get to wear a beautiful covering, as becomes her sex, during worship. None of the struggle their mothers went through, just joy and gladness, and beautiful submission on display as God has commanded. Glorious!

I am encouraged when any woman makes an effort to obey God's word concerning headcovering, and also when the men obey God about staying uncovered during prayer and prophesying. Interestingly, I visited a fellowship recently where headcovering is practiced and most of the women wore hats. My friend had brought a hat for me, but I routinely prefer to wear scarves on my head, and had brought a scarf as usual. She seemed a bit taken aback that I would prefer a scarf to a hat. But, it's just a personal preference for me. As has been pointed out in a previous comment, the Bible doesn't seem to define a specific style of headcovering. I think hats get a bad reputation because sometimes they can be very ornate and draw attention to the wearer. But I have also seen modest hats. The key for me is to be sure that I am in obedience to another Scripture which does clearly define how we should adorn ourselves: "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But which becometh women professing godliness with good works." 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
Apart from this, there may be only one other consideration to think about regarding this "hats vs. scarves" discussion, and that is the translation of the Greek word for headcovering (katakalypto) which I have read in some texts can be interpreted as "hanging down" from over the head. This is why some translators have called it a veil. Maybe someone has a better knowledge of Greek and might care to comment on whether or not the Greek word that is used gives us any specific clues as to a type of headcovering. But meanwhile, I personally use scarf type coverings and appreciate my sisters who use hats. In either case, both scarf or hat should be "modest apparel".

I actually think that's a great reason to wear a hat. Wearing a head covering is NOT about trying to be seen by others as different. Yes, if someone is around you often enough they'll probably go... ah ha, she head covers. But I think those wearing head coverings to be noticed as "especially Christian" have to be very careful not to fall into the traps that snared the Pharisees- the Law told them to wear tassels on their garments, but as Jesus said they wore HUGE ones. The Law told them to give, so they sounded trumpets before they did. The Bible tells us to head cover... it does NOT say we have to draw attention to ourselves in doing so. A hat can be a truly modest head covering in that Biblical modesty is about not drawing more attention to yourself than to the Lord shining out of you. Worldly modesty is more about inches of skin (or hair.) 

I said the above in response to:

<i>Wearing a hat as a head covering  can be an 'in camouflage' kind of thing. Are you covering in such a way so as not to look like you are covering? Where is your heart and what is your motivation are two good questions to keep in mind when doing anything that can be looked upon as controversial.</i>

Not the post in general.

(By the way I head cover, and I often wear scarves. I also wear hats. Or even head bands.)

Can you be so positive that the newfound wearers issued assertiveness?  Meaning have you heard the account of the other party to speak so assuredly that the church was forced into turmoil? With zero insight of the hearts and minds of fellow believers who donned a head covering? Hear say and by ways never come out to the same equation when adding it all up, and foolishness belongs to the carrier of a gossiper's luggage.  I encourage you to exercise what you relay of your knowings, esp. if they are halfway story telling to be sure that you are not maligning saints with your second-hand knowledge.  Just some caution brother.  :)

Tom Brainerd Wrote:

"This is a matter not to be taken up unadvisedly, but in discussion with the elders. More than one church has been forced into turmoil by those whose newfound wearing of headcoverings is a matter of assertiveness, as opposed to submission...at that juncture it becomes an 'immodesty,' as opposed to an expression of modesty, a functional equivalent of the 'homeopathy is next to godliness' mindset."

In reply to Tom: Can you be so positive that the newfound wearers issued assertiveness?  Meaning have you heard the account of the other party to speak so assuredly that the church was forced into turmoil? With zero insight of the hearts and minds of fellow believers who donned a head covering? Hear say and by ways never come out to the same equation when adding it all up, and foolishness belongs to the carrier of a gossiper's luggage.  I encourage you to exercise what you relay of your knowings, esp. if they are halfway story telling to be sure that you are not maligning saints with your second-hand knowledge.  Just some caution brother.  :)

The list of things that people in the church can and have used to violate the principles of Philippians 2:3 is pretty long. Folks on either side of: homeschooling/day schooling; homeopathy/antibiotics and doctors; headcoverings or none. People on both sides of all of those issues have done it right, and done it wrong.

Feel free to contact me Anonymous. I'm not hard to find.

As for the whole hat/scarf/doily (however that is spelled)/whole head/part of head issue...perhaps it would be instructive to consider how much the 'headcoverings' referenced by Paul  would have differed from what a woman might otherwise have worn outside of the worship. The words of Scripture are, in many places, less than satisfying in their instructiveness.

Sometimes you have love liberal theologians for their intellectual honesty. in Conzelmann's Hermeneia commentary he admits up front something along the lines of 'This is all about submission and I hate it.' He runs boldly where many a conservative fears to tread.

If a woman is showing submission to her husband by wearing a pinwheel in the third row as a 'covering,' praise God and don't sit behind her if you want to see the choir. Please don't start to tell her she is not 'submitted enough.' If anything, that is now a discussion to take up with her husband.

"If a woman is showing submission to her husband by wearing a pinwheel ..."

Tom, my observation over ~40 years~ among evangelicals across the country is that ~anything~ on a woman's head, if it is parsed as a compliance with 1 Cor. 11, is perceived by most evangelicals and by ~all~ their leaders as wearing a pinwheel on her head.  Or, as I usually put it, putting a freshly slaughtered chicken on her head.

Actually, the reactions I've seen for so long favor the slaughtered chicken perception, not the pinwheel. 

Thus, I've rightly seen the headcovering -- any headcovering at all, any fashion, any form, ANY thing at all -- as a touchstone that reveals the unconfessed and unrepentant feminism in the heart of American evangelicalism.

A pinwheel is a style of hat.

I stand corrected by my wife, who tells me that what I meant to put in the post was "cartwheel." A wide-brimmed pretty flat hat. Please forgive my error and lack of fashion sense.

Well, Tom ... if a woman in front of me at worship were wearing a pinwheel (i.e. that little doodad that spins on a pin attached to a stick) on her head (the stick stuck into her coiffure?) I too would want to move to another pew. A cartwheel hat would block the field of vision, of course. An authentic pinwheel in a woman's hair -- even if it were demure in size -- would attract attention.

As does a proper -- nay, even a modest! -- headcovering worn in order to comply with 1 Cor. 11.

A 14-year old girl recently visited our parish one Sunday morning. Her father told me that her previous exposure to Christian worship was a smattering  of the run-of-the-mill evangelical fare, and in none of it had any woman ever had anything on her head. In our parish, every woman was covered and the mode thereof varies quite a bit -- hats, scarves, chapel caps (like short mantillas), doily-looking things, even small bits of netting the same color of the woman's hair, so as to be almost invisible. 

I spoke to the girl's father later in the week and I asked him what impressions the service made on his daughter. In a smellsy bellsy sort of Prayer Book service, she must have encountered scores of things she'd never seen before. He said immediately with a hearty laugh, "She couldn't shut up asking me about the things on all the women's heads." Inquiring further, I got a shock -- "She said she wouldn't come back with me to that church unless I got her something to put on her head too."

This father and this daughter ended up in a long discussion of 1 Corinthians 11, which the undiscipled girl had never seen before. It turns out, according to this father, that the young girl perceived the coverings as an expression of femininity, and she didn't want to appear unfeminine! 

If only evangelicals generally could grasp what was immediately obvious to an otherwise worldly-minded young girl!

Well, Fr. Bill (whoever you may be), Let me try a last shot at this whole thing.

The headcovering, like all other 'signs,' is a sign of something. I don't think I would say it was a sign of femininity, but of something deeper from which 'femininity' proceeds. If one reads in 1 Peter 3, Peter writes of the holy women who hoped in God as being adorned in the inner person of the heart with a quiet and gentle spirit. That quiet and gentle spirit can be seen without the covering of the head, and if it not there, no degree of covering can make up for it.

We could get into all kinds of metaphorical descriptions of what it points to. But at the end of the day, We all 'wear' our submission day-to-day, whether to husbands or to those who rule over Christ's church, or we don't.

That girl you refer to likely saw something of the power of God at work, although she did not know quite what it meant...yet. That's not a bad thing.

Thanks for the encouraging anecdote.

"Well, Fr. Bill (whoever you may be) ... "

For your information (also for any who never knew), I'm the vicar of a small Anglican church in Waxahachie, Texas, and director of a nonprofit that develops and distributes CE materials dealing (mostly) with topics relating to a Biblical theology of manhood and womanhood. These days, I stand (theologically) outside mainstream evangelicalism as well as outside the institutional Reformed reservation, though I would share a very large area of common conviction with both. So, I use the moniker "Fr Bill" online to signal both these differences from evangelicalism generally and The Reformed specifically (who, so far as I know, do not use any forms of address for their clergy).

"Fr. Bill" is how I'm customarily addressed by my flock and by anyone else who chooses to comply with our customs of address. My given name is William. I didn't want to be addressed as Father William since that would conjure up Lewis Carrol's little ditty. In truth, I am ~far more eccentric~ than Old Father William, as Pr. Tim will validate.

For what it's worth, in our Anglican parish (a different Anglican denomination than the one that with which Fr. Bill's parish is associated) only a few women use headcoverings during worship. They are all African natives or African-Americans. Most wear hats, although occasionally one of the African natives wears a headdress that I assume is what she would wear in her country of origin (Nigeria).

Well...I get anything from "Tom" to "Pastor Tom" to "Pastor Brainerd." Sometimes it's just "Mr. Brainerd," either a sign of the times or a sign of lessened esteem in someone's eyes.

Fr. Bill, you may find this funny...for the longest time, my husband referred to you as "Friar Bill." Until his gentle wife corrected him enough times. ;) 

Jessica,

"Fr." is an abbreviation of both "Father" and also of "Friar," though I see the latter form of address spelled out far more than the other. Still, ordinary American evangelicals seldom see either term in print, and coming across "Fr." for the first time, I find they often parse it as your husband did. 

Last year, I was recruited to give a benediction at an annual fund-raiser for our county's Christian pregnancy center (the director is in our parish, her husband our parish deacon). I was listed in the bulletin as "Fr. Bill Mouser." The emcee, a local Church of Christ pastor, introduced me as "Friar Mouser." It was the end of an evening full of good food and very encouraging survey of pro-life ministry here in Texas, so I thought I'd seize the opportunity for a teensie bit of education.

I explained that we all had brothers in the faith who are friars, but that I as not one of them, that "fr." in the bulletin was an abbreviation for father rather than friar. A light, possibly nervous titter of laughter flittered over  the room (we had about 500 in attendance last year). I then said, "You can tell the difference this way -- the Friars get to wear those cool looking brown bathrobes. I, on the other hand, have to dress like a chimney sweep."

My public dress is all black -- pants, shirt, coat. The dog-collar bit of white in my case is usually hidden by my beard which is long enough to cover my neck. Anyway, we all had a good laugh, and everyone departed a tad more informed on the finer points of abbreviations for forms of address for clergy.

"But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering."

Eve had no cloth covering.  All this means is that women should not have short hair and men should not dishonor themselves with long hair.  But don't think it means that a woman that already has long hair-- as is a glory to her-- that she need cover her head once again with cloth or whatever else you add to what scripture says.  How about men start being men instead of this nonsense.  How about we start requiring pastors to hold to literal six day creation and stop leaving the door ajar for Darwin to walk in and join us.  

Dear Barry,

The salient point of your comment is your use of the word 'nonsense' in dismissing this discussion of the way the Church today should obey God's command concerning headcoverings found in 1Corinthians 11.

Surely you aren't saying the study of the practice of female modesty commanded by the Holy Spirit within the Apostolic church is to be ridiculed today because more important things demand our time and attention? I think not, but I'm not sure because that word 'ridiculous' means something.

Here's how the Holy Spirit inspires the Apostle Paul to close out this matter:

But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:16)

The "something" a woman is to have on her head is not "nothing." And across church history, it's been an almost-universal practice for women to cover their glory in corporate Christian worship, as indicated by the veiling in Christian marriage that continues today as a witness against the otherwise androgynous and rebellious wedding liturgies of our churches. (Brides not vowing to "obey" their husbands, for instance.)

The practice of the church has never been that the woman's hair is the covering commanded here in 1Corinthians 11. There are some students of Scripture who have made that argument, but almost all of them at this late date when the cultural context of their study and writing—within the church, even—is feminism, immodesty, short hair, abortion, divorce, lesbianism...

This also is the context for a man referring to efforts to recover this apostolic practice as "nonsense."

It's understandable that we're impatient with such a discussion, but our impatience may be an indication we haven't the proper deference to Scripture.

Love,

...this nonsense.

Barry, I also was taken aback by these words. If this is the kind of submission to scripture and respect for our fathers that under-girds your creationism, count me out. It is not God's word that you are honouring.

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