Friday, July 25, 2008

Head Covering?

I have been researching the topic of Biblical modesty for quite some time now (as frequent readers well know) and now yet another topic concerning Biblical modest comes up; the topic of headcovering during prayer and prophesying. According to 1 Corinthians 11: 2-16, God (through Paul) discusses whether each sex should wear their  head covered. He states the concept of the "head" of a person figuratively, then moves into the practical application, quite literally that it is a disgrace for men to have their head covered and yet it is a disgrace if women choose to leave their heads UNCOVERED. He finishes with an example from nature. I have gone through a variety of interpretations, my own personal thinking that Paul is being figurative throughout, since he starts with a figurative concept, but I am not sure that I believe that anymore. I have read a good article on the subject at this website: I would completely encourage anyone to go visit it (there should be a link) because it really made me think. I didn't go out and buy a bunch of headcoverings, though I hae looked for some that look a little more modern and not so "Islamic" in style. Interesting that we associate a Jewish and Christian practice now more with Islam than the original religion! Anyway, this topic is fascinating me right now, as is modest, feminine clothing. Tell me what you think!!! You can post right to this website, which would be great...even dissenting opinions are welcome.


~~Deby said...

I have read and re-read this and what I GET after researching this our HAIR...our long hair is our covering.

light and good order said...

I liked this post. Have you tried covering yet? I totally recommend just trying it.

God bless!

Kristi said...

I really appreciate the two comments I have received!!! Shortly after writing this post, I did order some "contemporary" looking headcoverings. They don't necessarily cover all my hair, but since I have short hair, I can pretty easily cover it all if I choose.

Deby: I have read too many articles that seem to debunk the idea that our hair is our covering because substituting "hair" for covering in the first few verses makes absolutely no sense. While I am not completely confident with this line of reasoning, I don't believe that our hair is our covering as it is required in the previous verses. However, Candy at wrote an article on covering where she thinks that there is a comparison of past tradition versus the new customs, as noted by the "nevertheless". This seemed a little more logical to me as a defense but our long hair is still considered the covering for the "modern" Christian woman (as opposed to the Jewish women). My question is: what if you don't have long hair? My hair barely reaches my shoulders and it grows incredibly slowly. What am I to do for the next 3 years while my hair gradually gets to "long?" Personally, this is the strongest refutation against hair equalling cover. Historically, women have had long hair, but it has normally been pulled up and covered. Although following something just because "that's the way they used to do it" is a logical fallacy, it is still a valuable way of deciphering long-held beliefs. Today's woman is encouraged to cut her hair and (though my husband preferred that I grow my hair out) I had mine cut because I thought I looked poorly with long hair. I have since resolved to let it grow as long as I can, but I just don't see how my hair can be used as a covering. What about women who have undergone chemo treatments? Are they no longer covered under authority? I see too many gaps around this theory. What do you think?

Light and Good Order: I have started covering, though not consistently. I read a good article from (I think) that advocated a year long trial. The author specifically addressed the vanity factor (...but I look ugly with my head covered...) and the peer-pressure factor (...but no one at my church covers...) both of which are very strong in my mind right now. I am a little afraid of covering because it is so OBVIOUS!!! Skirts and dresses can at least look modern, but there are very few ways to make a head covering modest and modern. Don't conform to the world, right??? I am shopping around for a new church right now to help me with this idea of head covering. I attend an extremely casual church where on any given Sunday at least half the congregation is in jeans (men and women!) and I used to be one of them so I felt quite comfortable there. Now that I am changing my standards, I am noticing immodesty so much more but I am also seeking people of like mind. I was recently left at home to have a male installation specialist come to our home. I was a little uncomfortable with the idea, especially because the installation was taking place in the master bedroom and both of my children were taking naps! However, I was wearing my one long skirt and I had on a head covering. He gave me a strange look at first but was incredibly polite (if not smelly :/) and I think that it was partially because of the covering. I don't feel like I have too much of a problem around strangers, but defending myself to people who I consider "stronger" in the faith than I am seems to be my weakness. I just don't feel like I am ready to give a "ready defense" for my actions. Do you have any suggestions?

One question I pose to you both: what do you do if your husband doesn't care one way or the other? This is a point that my mother has been vocal about (that I am not as attractive in long skirts and therefore will be displeasing to my husband. My husband is way to kind to mention for a minute that he would prefer for me to wear pants). If I am to submit to his authority, shouldn't his opinion have some weight in the matter? This is all so very new to me...

Thank you both for your opinions!!!

Kristin said...

Kristi (that was what they called me, too, as a kid :-) ), hi again! You might take a look at my blog ... as a rule, I tend to wear coverings that some might think are too the styles might be good ones to start with, to ease yourself in. This one, for example: A lot of people might say it isn't a 'covering' at all. But it might be a good way to start. I often wear berets, too, sometimes paired with a snood underneath: or . Have you read this essay (On Account of the Angels: ), by Elisabet (more about her here: ? That's my favorite. She advocates covering without totally knocking you over the head with an argument about it. My latest idea about what to say, if anyone questions my covering, or tries to argue me out of it? I'll say that traditionally, Christian women covered their heads and that I'm kind of a romantic and thought I'd try it and I like it. Or, depending on how I read their frame of mind, I might just say, "I just prefer it." But all of this is pretty theoretical, because people very, very seldom ask me about it! Really. I get some looks sometimes, but people get less het up about it than I would've thought. It's very interesting.

I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian and many Orthodox parishes have women in them who cover their heads, at least during church services. Orthodox women who cover all of the time are rare, but I think the number is growing. I started a Yahoo group, coveredorthodox, for Orthodox women and enquirers into Orthodoxy who are interested in covering: So far, we have 33 members. There are other Yahoo groups, too, that might be helpful. I'm also a member of the Prayercoverings 3 and 4 groups.

The Orthodox Church may seem a bit foreign to you, but if you live in an area where there is one, particularly one with services in English (!), I of course totally recommend it. But of course I'd say that, right? :-)

Sorry to go on and on. My other blogs are Offbeat Modest Dress: and Kristinsdottir:

There's also a good blog by an Orthodox woman, Alana, about headcovering. It's called Free to Cover:

Again, I would say that you don't have to wear a babushka :-) or giant veil to cover. I hope you can find a covering that feels right to you because just trying it is the best way, I think.

Best wishes and God bless!

light and good order said...

postscript: which coverings are you using? Just curious, and of course you don't have to Tell All if you don't want to!



light and good order said...

another postscript, sorry, I'm such a talker today!

My husband also asked me to grow out my hair ... right now, it's about mid-back or so. I've found that covering in public is a good way to look tidy with long hair. When he asks me to show my hair, or when we're at home alone, I do.

light and good order said...

I also think -- and have heard several anecdotes on this subject from coverers, too -- that men in general tend to treat covering women with kid gloves. As it seemed with your repair guy. And as we should be treated, you know?

light and good order said...

oops. All this talk and I've forgotten to address your last question. My husband is not (yet?) Christian. (I became Orthodox after we married) On the whole he approves of how I dress, but occasionally he wants to be seen with someone more conventionally attractive (hey, neither of us are perfect) and I accede to that. Not radically, but I might uncover my head, or wear a covering that shows more hair than I would otherwise.

In sum, I think marital harmony is a big deal and should be respected. On the other hand, God comes, well, first, so I couldn't dress in a totally immodest way, for example.

It helps that my husband is an extremely idiosyncratic dresser and cuts me slack cuz I cut him a lot of slack!

Kristi said...

All of my headcoverings come from or (they are run by the same people) and they sell a variety of modest skirts, which is how I got to the website in the first place. They make all sorts of headcovers for Jewish women, and they have a range of styles and shapes. My favorite is their "long headband" which has enough material to come all the way down the head, from crown to nape, though I do have to secure it with clips. They have a ton (I think it's really 24...) different colored patterns, mostly stripes, a variety of black and white patterns, and a few solid colors. I also got a few square scarves, two triangle shaped ones (a large and a small-the small is perfectly acceptable for Christian purposes) and finally one fancy rectangle scarf. I really prefer the "headband" because I can fold it in half and still cover the top of my head, which looks pretty "retro" as my sister called it, or I can scrunch it up and just wear as a headband. I like covering all my hair by tucking the end of the headband into the elastic band which creates a snood effect. It only works because I have short hair, otherwise I would have to pull up my hair for it to be secure. The colors are bright and cheerful so you need one for every outfit, they do have the black and white collection, but I usually wear a lot of brown, not black. So, they are not as neutral and versatile as I had hoped and the "variety" that I thought I purchased really isn't appropriate to my current wardrobe so that is a little frustrating. They are pretty inexpensive and frequently on sale, so I may buy more. I like how light they are while on since I am ALWAYS warm, these actually help me stay cool because my hair is off my neck!

I think when I referred to defending the headcover, I was talking about the people that WILL comment, my mom and friends from church. Like I said, my church is very casual and I don't think they would understand the concept of headcovering, nor take to it well.

I am looking for a different community of believers but I don't think that we will go the Orthodox way. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and my husband in the Lutheran church so we welcomed the "freedom" and verse by verse Bible teaching we get at our church. However, I will still keep it in my mind- my mind has a tendency to constantly bring to mind things that I dismiss without a thorough enough thought process.

Lately, when I have wanted to be "modern" I would put on one of my shorter skirts, which hit just below my knee. I have found this to be a "modern" length and still quite modest, though it takes more work for it to be so. (I wear tight gym shorts under all my skirts, but especially the short ones). Over the last few days, I have ended up in pants because I was out of skirts, but I specifically wore a headcover with them. When I am not wearing a headcover, I wear my hair pulled back in a headband because I can't stand my hair on my face.

I am still working on having enough variety to go with what I wear and what I hope to wear in the future (I am currently sewing my fall/winter wardrobe)

light and good order said...

Great to read your answer and thought process!

And on the Orthodox thing ... we're way different from Catholic. Though of course there are similarities ...

Anyway, couldn't resist mentioning that.

Best wishes! I'll check back again. And not talk so much next time! Oy!

(I also love Tznius and Modest World!)