"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why I'm starting to cover my head during worship...

2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.
13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.  I Corinthian 11:2-15

Growing up, I never took notice of this passage.  I'm not sure why I never did, but I don't think I'm alone in that.  Then, when I did read it seriously for the first time, I assumed that it was cultural.  I don't think I'm alone in that either.  Then I realized that since this passage refers to both creation and angels-- both of which transcend culture, it cannot be considered simply an indication of the culture in the Corinthian church,so I assumed that long hair (because of vs 15) was enough.  I know I'm not alone in that line of reasoning either.  Nor am I alone in trying to weasel my way out of this passage in every possible way.

The fist idea that piqued my interest and led me to start thinking that perhaps I was wrong, was the fact that for ALL of church history until the last 100 years, women have covered their heads.  (see this article: "The Christian Woman's Head Covering Through the Centuries" )  That shocked me!  You see, when I think "100 years ago--fashion," I think, "beginning of immodesty and foundational roots of what eventually became known as the sexual revolution."  I don't think "a bunch of godly men and women deciding after much prayer that cloth head coverings are unnecessary."  In fact, there is no evidence at all (that I could find) that there was any thinking what-so-ever put into that shift.  From what I can tell, head coverings turned into fashion (remember all of your Grandma's fancy hats tucked away in the attic in hat boxes that you loved to dress up in?) and then, because there was no longer any substantial thought behind the fashion--they disappeared.

But rather than re-writing everything I've been reading concerning the issue...here are two links:

The first is the most convincing article I happened upon (strangely enough when I typed "why women should not cover their head during worship" into my swagbucks search engine...haha!--have I mentioned that I've tried to weasel out of this? :).  It mentions the fact that R.C. Sproul Sr. believes women should cover their heads during worship. (What?!  I grew up in the PCA with Sproul as a household hero!  Why have I never heard this before??)  This article is from monergism.com website and also gives a good explanation as to why long hair isn't what is meant by a 'covering':

Why Christian Women Should Wear Head Coverings Today

And this article is from Andree Seu of World Magazine.  I LOVE her approach.  It resonates with me.

A Symbol of Glory

Anyone else ever thought through this issue?  I'm interested to hear your thoughts... :)

And, if you are considering wearing a head covering and you want stylish ones--not just a lacy doily-- check out this website:

Garlands Of Grace


  1. Hey Dianna,

    Thanks for posting! Growing up I had always just passed over this passage as an oddity that I should really think about at some point. I'm sure there are many others out there who've never thought deeply about this issue but just assumed that the status quo must be right. We need to be challenged about our blind spots so thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. In the "Reformed World" it's easy for us to say that we are biblical and just take the Bible at "face value" and all these other people just pick and choose their favorite verses and ignore the ones they don't like. It seems to me like this is one area that perhaps we're not as "biblically driven" as we'd like to think.

    I started wearing a head covering in college after having to translate this passage for my non-christian Greek course. Every student in the class and the professor read the text and saw it as a very simple straight forward command.

    I, being a Christian, thought surely there must be a very good reason we don't, so I started researching. However the more arguments I read against the practice (all of which sounded similar to the arguments for women's ordination I had heard in the RCA), the more convinced I became that I should.

    Also, hats can be another fashionably fun and easy alternative :-)

    Elizabeth Tuininga

  2. I wear a head covering myself, and have since I was 12. I did much of the studying myself and it is a very special thing to me! I too, think about the history of it often and wonder why. I know that it brings a lot of "standing out" in our regular society. I sometimes wish for a different hair style, or something, but remember why I do this!

  3. Me too! I am a covering-wearer by choice, although I do attend a church that supports the practice. I view it as something that pleases God, something I do because I love Him and WANT to please Him. It is something I've always known, I grew up with the concept so I amazes me when I hear of people becoming conivcted of it on their own and it REALLY encourages me! Blessings!

    Oh- and I get mine at CVS... they look like this, only dark brown or black! :)

  4. Oops, that didn't come up as a link, guess you could copy and paste it...? Sorry!

  5. D-- this is interesting to me...... in light of your cultural change, of course, one that i would expect so as not to cause stumbling in the people group you are attempting to reach. interested in what Eric as a pastor has thought of this through the years? and to comment on the obvious, a headband suffices? just thoughts..... i have no clue here. Definitely want to be one who is in submission to our Savior, but not in an (only) rules way,....you know what i mean. "'m not speaking of obedience in keeping with salvation".

    something to chew on for sure.

  6. This actually has nothing to do with moving to Uganda. The people there very in their practice--although more wear head coverings than here, I think. This has been something that Eric has had a "gut" feeling of slight guilt--thinking often that "I think it is just long hair, but not 100% sure." I actually conciously avoided studying or even bringing up the topic to him, because I was fairly certain of where it would lead (to wearing head coverings) and in my stubborness (and not wanting to stand out), I didn't want to go there. But over the last few months I've been reading a lot of missionary stories from the late 1800s. (the YWAM series) In most of them, the husbands leave the wives and children for long periods of time (years!) to be missionaries. While the Lord greatly blessed their efforts despite this, it seems obvious to us now that this was a huge blind spot for them! After seeing that I began to cry out to the Lord, "Show me my blindness!!" (a scary prayer! lol!:) I also began to pray more earnestly for a closer walk with God. I was not looking for this answer at all, but because of Eric's work on a sermon about modesty a few weeks ago, the topic came up and I felt compelled to study it. I knew I could no longer resist. So here we are.

    As far as headbands--I've been asked that a lot! I'm not sure!! Obviously some people think it does suffice? I do believe that if we seek to serve God and live Biblically in ALL areas--not just the ones we choose--he will work out the details of what that looks like though! And there are a lot of details on this issue that I have yet to completely work out, but as the days go by and I continue to pray a lot about it, the Holy Spirit continues to work.

    I also know, that the real sin in my heart was knowing for so long that it was in the Bible and refusing to study it out of sheer stubborness. :) Regardless of where anyone ends up on this issue, I am now convinced that it should be studied by all with a heart open to change if that is where the Lord leads. :)

  7. I don't think a headband quite makes sense. They're usually too narrow to be called a covering, at any rate.

  8. In my mind the key to this has been the last verse you have listed- there is no covering better than the one God has given woman already and it is described as a glory to her.

    This might be another obvious difference between yourself and the african church.

  9. That was my previous thought too, so I know where you are coming from. But what made me change my mind was realizing that yes! Hair is a glory to us--and that is the exact reason for covering it--so that God gets ALL the glory during worship. Even the angels cover themselves (their glory) when they worship before the throne. When I think of all the precious doctrines that we reformed folk hold up as Biblical--election, infant baptism, holiness of God, reprobation--in all of them, we count them as amazing because they esteem the glory of God. To me, that's what makes a good doctrine-- does it cause all glory to go to God?

    For more on this line of thought:

  10. :) This made me smile. We attended a church for many years that encouraged head coverings for women during worship. We are at a different church --the other shut its doors. Our new church, where we know the Lord has led us, has many of the same teachings, except the headcovering. I still would like to wear one, but in the interest of causing a distraction to the other members, I don't. We have willingly and obediantly placed ourselves under the authority of our new church, and I really do not want to knowingly cause a problem. I am all for covering, tho.

  11. What about verse 6b? "if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered" I've always understood that to be one of the main arguments in favour of considering this passage in light of the culture the believer is living in.

  12. Hi Dianna, I am glad to see this. It's funny how many things we're apt to pass over no longer how we've been reading the Bible. This is one of those things that we have in recent years been convicted about. Mostly in prayer and prophesying, "because of the angels" Paul says, and this is for all of the churches.

    I'm not up for explaining any more of our reasoning right now, but I was blessed to read that you were in a similar place. :)