“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.”
This passage, the third through fifteenth verses of the eleventh chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, is a “famous” section of Scripture, in my mind. Those of you who, like me, were born into and brought up in the conservative Anabaptist culture, could likely recite at least parts of it from memory, while others who live in parts of the world uninhabited by the “Plain People” and unaffected by their theology and practices may be completely unfamiliar with it. If you associate with the latter camp and wish to read more about the age-old societal tradition of the practice of head-covering, here are a few resources (that I don’t necessarily 100% endorse, but that will be relevant to your study): The Head Covering Movement, this article on Christianity Today, and this Mennonite discussion forum …and of course, there’s always Wikipedia.
As a young child, I knew without question that when I came of age (or when I gained church membership, as the case was in my family and church) I would begin to wear my hair “up” under the traditional, uniform Mennonite “veiling.” As a young teenager, I rebelled against the stigma that went along with this visible nonconformity to and separation from “the world” (non-believers). As a young adult, I wrestled (and still do) with the uncertainty in my own heart, the expectations of the people I loved, and the Holy Spirit’s touch on my mind and spirit.
I want to emphasize, before I [quite vulnerably] reveal my heart on this controversial issue, that first and foremost, my belief is that my position is deeply personal. I hope with all my might that this post does not come across as soapbox-y, because I do not and cannot know whether or if the path I have chosen is “right” or “best” or “necessary” for you or anyone else. (If I felt that way, I might have titled this “Why Our Heads Should Be Covered” or “Why Head Covering is Important/Right/Biblical” or something of that nature.) What I do know, is that the path I have chosen IS right, good, and necessary for ME.
I cover my head because I feel the Spirit has revealed to me, through the scripture quoted above, that as Christ is Man’s “head,” Man is my head, and having my head uncovered dishonors Man. As a married woman, this concept most practically manifests itself in the relationship I have with Caleb, my husband. So by wearing some sort of fabric over some part of my head or face or hair, I am reminding myself of my proper place under my husband’s authority, who in turn is under the authority of Christ.
>> I know this idea is not a popular one. But for those of us who have pledged our allegiance to a Heavenly Kingdom and chosen to walk the narrow path, it is the unpopular ideas and expectations that we have committed ourselves to and for, not, of course, for the sake of merely being different, but for the sake of the barefoot Nazarene whose upside-down purposes compelled those who knew Him to follow. <<
My stance may be considered extreme. But the following excerpt from Leslie Ludy’s Set-Apart Femininity quieted that doubt for me years ago, and is still a good reminder:
“When it comes to pouring out all we possess in radical abandon to the King of all kings, there is no such thing as being too extreme. Nothing we offer to Him out of a heart of loving devotion is ever a wasted sacrifice.”
I know I am not the only woman who struggles to honor her husband’s leadership in the family and home. I also know that my outgoing, opinionated, and somewhat over-achieving personality includes an additional tendency toward independence and self-righteousness. The headband, beanie, scarf or hat that I don before I leave the house each day serves as a visible reminder for me that I am not my own, nor do I want to be.
There are many opinions on the whys, whens, wheres, and hows of head-covering. In the heavily Mennonite-influenced community in which I continue to live, they are not uncommon topics of conversation and thought. The fleshing-out of the principle that I have chosen is different than many, but the valuing of the principle is not unique to me.
If you’ve been following along here already, you know by now that I’m doing the capsule wardrobe thing, and obviously have a bit of interest in fashion and even more of an interest in style. So how does this “extra garment” so to speak, play into that? Well…the headpiece is the main accessory in each of my outfits, and a pretty obvious one at that. Choosing it well and pulling it off takes lots of creativity, and I certainly haven’t mastered the art yet. But check out my “Covered” board on Pinterest for some styles + looks I’m currently loving.
I definitely don’t want to start any riots, but I also don’t at all mind a healthy, inspiring debate, either. So if you’ve got words to throw in here, fire away in the comments. 🙂 I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject of covering, if you have any!