Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why I Wear a Headcover

Some of you are thinking, "I've never seen her wear a covering. What is she talking about?" Well, then you must not attend church with me or seen me out in public ministry. Others of you who have seen me cover in church and such have wondered why I don't cover all the time. Well, I am finally going to put an end to the great mystery of "why does Vicki live a double life?"

First, let me put to rest a few myths.

1. Only the Mennonites and the Amish cover. How do I know this is a myth? Because I am not Mennonite nor am I Amish. I drive a car. My husband uses tractors. I believe in salvation by God's blood & grace alone. Many women I know who cover are also Born Again Bible Believing (Baptist - gasp!) Christians.

2. I cover because of the church I attend. This is an obvious myth because of the 300+ people who attend our church, about 6 of us wear head-coverings. However, it is true that I never saw a born-again Christian wear a headcover before I began attending my church 11 years ago.

3. A head-cover is a paper bag to cover the heads of ugly people. Once thought a clever idea by a teenage boy, this is most definitely a myth.

4. A head-cover is just an excuse for women not to do their hair. Hmm...though I may not have to put as much time into it on Sunday mornings, this also is eligible for myth classification.

OK. So, the question: Why do I wear a headcover?

As I mentioned earlier, I had never given much thought to headcoverings until we began to attend our current church 11 years ago. It was then that I saw born-again Christian women wearing veils. Although, just as it is today, only a handful of women wore the veils, it seemed to be the first thing that visitors noticed, therefore beginning the myth that all women at OPBBC wore headcoverings. Though it was an obvious minority, it raised questions in the minds of Eric and I.

For a few years before this, Eric and I had begun to realize that the way we grew up wasn't necessarily the ONLY way to be a Christian. There were biblical standards that we took another look at, prayed about, and adopted that we hadn't learned before or had been interpreted differently. Because of these experiences, we had learned not to see something different and automatically declare it un-biblical just because it rubbed us the wrong way. We learned to study the issue for ourselves and really see what God had to say.

Thus it was for the head-covering. After a year of attending our church, I began to question the covering issue. The only time I ever remember hearing the passage of 1 Corinthians 11 ever discussed while growing up was in my 11th grade Bible class which covered the book of 1 Corinthians. Obviously, the teacher couldn't just ignore that passage, which seemed to be the practice of most of the preachers as it never had been touched in any message I heard. Therefore, he spent a little bit of time discussing how the covering was "obviously" the hair and went from there. Now, this passage was the very one used to defend the veil and we wanted to see if the Bible would back our "belief" (if you can call something we were so un-educated about such) or if it would challenge us to really conform to a different mind-set.

I studied the word "covering". Eric and I talked about it with people who didn't cover and people who did. We wanted to know their biblical reasons for their actions. We listened to tapes. Most of all, we prayed.

I must mention right here that it is obvious that the covering is mentioned simultaneously with the concept of a wife's submision to her husband. Therefore, though I was the one interested in studying the concept of covering as it is an action of the woman, I was not going to do anything without the permission of my husband. This is why he investigated with me. Though Eric was sort of on the fence at the beginning of this journey, he, at times, has been a stronger advocate than I in the years since.

Many people will say that the "covering" discussed in 1 Corinthians 11 is the hair. I challenge you to read the chapter and replace the word "covering" with hair. Does the chapter make any sense? This would pose a definite problem for any man blessed with hair on his head as the passage clearly states that it is dishonoring for a man to pray with his head covered. So, either there is a seperate covering being discussed, or, each man who prays needs to shave his head. Also, in verse 5 it is said that the woman who prayes uncovered is AS IF she were shaven. If the covering is her hair it would read like this: "the woman who prays with no hair is as if she were shaven." Isn't that a bit redundant? If she has no hair she IS shaved. Fits right in with "kind of pregnant" - you are or you aren't.

A lot of people will use verse 15 to defend the "hair is the covering" theory: "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." First, I find it interesting that those who use this verse are also people who will defend a woman's right to have extremely short hair thereby cutting off the very covering they say is given to them by God. However, notice the verse says her hair is given to her for A covering, which leads me to believe there is more than one covering for a woman.

Verse 5 mentions that if I pray and prophesy without covering my head, I am dishonoring my head. Here we have a perfect example how the same English word in one passage can mean two different things - just as the word 'covering.' When a man covers his physical head he dishonors his spiritual Head - Jesus Christ. A woman who prays or prophesies with her physical head uncovered dishonors her spiritual head - her husband. Again, I cover in church to divert attention from myself to put onto the earthly one I am to reverence. It is a physical declaration of my submission to my husband.

I find it interesting that society as a whole still adheres to the first part of this passage - the part concerning the man. Even today a man will take his hat off during prayer or while in the house of God. Up through the 1950s, women still wore hats to church. This was a result of covering. You will notice that many Eastern European women still wear a veil - especially while in a worship service. Culture? No. It comes straight from the Bible.

Why don't women cover anymore? Verse 15 states that the woman's hair is a glory to the woman. This is one of the main reasons I wear a seperate covering to church and it's also one of the main reasons women are afraid to really delved into the topic of covering. If my hair is my glory should I not cover my glory in order to divert that glory to Christ as we come together and worship? How often do we go to church and notice other women's hair and how pretty it is? What is it that takes women and girls so long to prepare in the morning? It only takes a few minutes to put on an outfit, but I've heard of some girls spending up to an hour just adding curls to their hair on Sunday morning. Why? Most would say they just want to look pretty and feminine. But, the hair is their GLORY. They are inadvertantly taking away some of the focus we are to have on Christ and putting it on themselves. By covering, I am able to escape that temptation. I will say, it is often difficult for me to put a covering on my head. Quite frankly, I'm not very pretty with one. I wear a longer covering that covers most of my hair. People who see me without my covering for the first time are often taken aback and mention how 'pretty" my hair is (I secretly wonder if they are shocked that I even HAVE hair!). It IS very hard for a woman to cover her glory. However, many of the things God asks us to do are not easy. This does not give liberty to go against His word.

I studied this topic for months. I came to a conclusion a few months before I took action mainly because I didn't want to be someone who started something just to quit a year or two later. This is not something to jump into. I knew there would be days I wouldn't want to cover and it took some time for me to make the commitment. I've noticed women who begin coming to our church have this illusion of "headcovers produce godliness" and don one within weeks of their first visit. These covers come off within 2 years because it was 1) done without much prayer and council from the Lord or 2) done without the permission of their husbands.

I will add here that, though our pastors do not have their wives cover, they are in support of those of us who do cover. Some wish that our pastors would take a stand for it from the pulpit, however, I am not one of those. Though I believe strongly that I ought to cover, I also believe verses 13 & 16: "Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God." These verses seem to say that we need to look into this for ourselves and not have dispute or contention regarding this issue.

Some proponents rightly divide that this is one of the ordinances of God - just as baptism and the Lord's Supper. I Corinthians 11:2: "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye rmember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as i delivered them to you." The first ordinance Paul mentions in this chapter is the covering. From there he discusses the Lord's Supper. Baptism as an ordinance was established during the gospels. So, some state that we preach on the other 2 ordinances and practice them as a church body, but we ignore the other. Why? Well, as my husband wisely pointed out, Who established the oridnances of baptism and communion? It was Jesus Christ. The ordinance of the covering comes from Paul. That does not negate the entire Pauline epistles and make everything he says choice. But, the fact that Christ never practiced or spoke on the covering makes it a difficult issue to "command" from the pulpit. Not to mention that, just as there are times not to be baptized and times not to take the Lord's Supper due to the condition of the spirit, there are times not to cover. Therefore, a pastor cannot mandate that everyone covers at all times as that would be causing a woman to live in hypocrisy if her spirit is not right. Isaiah 30:1: "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin..."

When do I cover? I cover in church and during public ministry (street meetings, singing in the malls at Christmas, home Bible studies/prayer meetings, and when I give a devotional). There are two reasons I do not cover all the time (and I do know there are people who would take issue with this). First, my husband doesn't want me to cover at all times, mainly because he'd never see my hair. Basic. But, that is what he stated from the beginning. The other reason is because 1 Corinthians 11 talks about ordinances commonly practiced in the church - when a group of people come together for the purpose of worship. I realize that people practice the Lord's Supper in their homes, but it is commonly practiced as a church body and that is how this passage discusses it. So, when I cover, it is in the church setting and when I "pray & prophesy" publically.

I will confess here that I have been disobedient to my husband in one aspect. He prefers me to wear a covering while I am out in public without him as it provides a large measure of protection while my spiritual head in not present. This can be confirmed in verse 10 of 1 Corinthians 11: "For this cause ought the woman to have pioer on her head because of the angels." I will admit that because I go most places without my husband I would have to cover almost all the time which means that I have that uncomfortable position of having to cover my glory. We have discussed this and he has seen the fact that if I am out with others I do have more protection, but I know he'd really like me to wear it if I am alone. Something I will remedy very soon.

Will we have our daughter's cover? Only if we see them fussing with their hair too much for worship. If they are taking the glory from God to put on themselves, they will cover. For now, we make sure their hair is neat, but not too fancy when they attend church services. It will be up to them and their husbands if they cover later on.

I know this was long, but I have had questions through the years - either voiced or seen in people's eyes. I hope this cleared some of those questions up for you.

26 comments:

jennmj1990 said...

This was, by far, the best explanation of head covering I've ever heard. To be honest, I find it all very fascinating, and certainly thought provoking. Thank you for taking the time to write this in such detail, and with such wisdom and grace. You continue to be a blessing to me, Vicki!

Sarah said...

You covered this very well, Vicki. I have at least 6 friends that wear a covering for the same reasons that you mentioned...and they are not Mennonite, Amish...nor Baptist! haa It is a blessing to read your heart.

Margo said...

I admire the thought and preparation you put into your decisions and your ability and willingness to explain them to others.

Little Family said...

I completely agree that this is the best explanation of head covering I have ever heard. This topic has been coming up at home lately and you have given us some specific verses to look at. Thanks a bunch.

Jessi Smith said...

I have to agree - this was the best explanation of why someone would wear the covering I have ever heard. I'm glad to see that you know what you believe and why you believe it. Your courage to stand up and explain the things you believe in is very encouraging! You don't just believe what your told, you search it out for your self. I really respect that in you!

elianna m said...

Awesome post! You explain it all so clearly...so easy to see you really know what you believe! Definitely respect you TONS for your commitment on this!
Oh and btw, I'm one of those privileged people who has actually gotten to SEE your hair a lot! :) But I do have to say, even with a covering, it's still gorgeous! And in my personal opinion, your ATTITUDE completely matches the covering...and to me, it's beautiful! :)

Anonymous said...

What does this verse mean to you?

"But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." 1 Corinthians 11:15

A wise man once said, "When plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense." Her HAIR is given her for a covering.

Victoria said...

Annon...I did mention that verse in my post. The verse says "a" covering. It is only one type of covering...I also believe that the Bible can and should be taken at face value, but it also says to "study" - which means we have to delve further into scripture than just a quick reading.

Again, "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God." I don't intend to offend, just to explain our position on this. I do appreciate the challenge. I welcome any more comments you have...may the Lord bless you!:)

Elizabeth said...

What do you cover with?I

Anonymous said...

Islam has the husband making all the decisions, including women to completely cover themselves from head to toe, and they use the Koran to back it up. (This parallels your argument right down the line.) If this is a command from God, then why aren't all women doing it? I Corinthians 11 states plain and simple--the hair is the woman's covering and her glory; there is no complicated doctrine around that. Compare Scripture with Scripture; just because it's mentioned in one place doesn't make it a concrete doctrine. Look that verse up in Psalm 48 where it says "God is known in all her palaces." Does this mean that God is a woman? Of course not! You need to check the context. On this issue of veils/coverings, I think you're reading too much into it. I mean, David danced half naked to the Lord--why can't we? We are living in the 21st century, not 1700s New England anymore! (And I do believe that those coverings those women wear in Europe are because of two things: one, it is a CULTURAL thing; and two, they are Roman Catholic.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and your church has two head pastors--where in the Bible does it state that there are to be "two" shepherds leading the flock? And aren't women not supposed to preach?

Jenna S said...

It's horrible when people cannot stand up for what they believe in and post a name with their comment, instead have to write what they think under a cowardly "anonymous". It must be because they are ashamed to talk like that and know that it's wrong.

Jessi Smith said...

Ok, I am sorry - I have to get in on this little dispute. To who ever the Anonymous writer is - 1st off, I actually agree with a lot of what you wrote, but the delivery of your opinion was shameful- shall I put 2-3 or 50 verses in here that are in the bible about loving the brothers and sisters in Christ and having grace with people??? 2nd Vicki is my friend and all she was doing was voicing "her" beliefs on "her" blog. Whether I agree or not,she is my friend and I consider her to be a GREAT woman of God. I'm assuming that you have some real bitterness in your past concerning this topic,but you really need to learn how to have some grace.

Victoria said...

Dear Anonymous -

You definitely have given me some things to think about.

1) As far as our church having 2 pastors, I know they would answer any of your questions regarding that matter. I love my church and I love my pastors. This issue has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

2) I am a bit confused about the comment regarding women preaching. I fail to see where I have advocated that in any way.

3) I realize that the Muslims cover from head to toe - all the time. Though I am not familiar with the teachings of the Koran, I do not believe my stand parallels Islam's beliefs right down the line. I cover my head, not my face, etc. Also, as I mentioned, I do not cover at all times.

4) It is truly amazing how many commands from God Christians do not follow. It is not an accurate assumption that just because everyone is doing something, it must be commanded by God. Nor is it accurate to assume that just because no one is doing it, it's not a command of God. More on this in #5.

5) As far as it being commanded by God, i believe I touched on this in my post. I am not telling others that they are sinning by not covering. This is something I believe the Lord has led me to do and I do not believe I am sinning by covering my head and trying to deflect glory to God in this way. Also, it is something my husband desires me to do...I would be sinning if I disobeyed him in this area - as I have by not covering when I'm out alone (which, by the way, I have begun to do again).

6) I have written this post only because people have asked me questions. Again, it was by no means an attempt to "convert" people to cover or have their wives cover. I simply have answered why and how my husband & I came to our decision.

7) In explaining my beliefs, I have done so using my name and it is little secret of who I am. I would ask for the same respect for those who comment on this blog.

Thank you for challenging me to check my heart and truly think about what I believe.

Victoria said...

Elizabeth: I use a white scarf when I go to church, etc., and my hair is usually in a pony tail so that little of it shows. When I go out, I use a bandana that usually coordinates with what I am wearing. I don't necessarily wear my hair up when I am at the store, etc.

Christina said...

Very well put Vicky, I really like the fact that you study out what you are looking into, and don't just do it because other people do or say you should, in this matter and in others.

to the Anonymous writer, all i can say is when you don't agree with someone you don't have to try to slam them and try to put yourself up, just because you do not agree with them. Everyone has different thoughts on this passage, and many others. I think the real problem is we don't necessarily like that Vicki very well may be right on in this matter and we don't like it.

In regard to her church having 2 Pastors, Uh I don't ever remember reading in the Bible where is says you're only suppose to have 1 pastor, or where it says having more than 1 is wrong. I guess my Church is really off then, because we have at least 6! I also don't see how that is relevant to the topic at hand.

I know that people have already addressed you in not putting your name on your comments, Don't be afraid to put your name with something you believe in, just because you think that some one will think differently of you. There have been many times i have disagreed with people, Even on this blog before but i always stand up for what i believe in unashamedly. Posting something Anonymously automatically turns the reader off to anything you are trying to say, because in not telling who you are, you are saying you are ashamed or embarrassed at what you are saying.

Angel said...

Oh my! Loved your post. You have thought this out very thoroughly. The comments are very interesting! I have much respect for your willingness to explain why you have come to your convictions about coverings. Personally, I am not sure anyone should be making any comments to anyone else about something that they have come to a conclusion about with their husband. I think you rubbed a sore spot with someone out there:)

Anonymous said...

To all those who reacted the way you did (especially Christina--calm down, girl!), it is just what I expected. I have been a Christian for many, many years, and I've known Vicki for a very long time, but there are things that come along that just forces me to say something. Years ago, Vicki never even thought about head coverings, and it seems to me that someone put this thought in her head (ie. had some outside influence). What I'm trying to say is this: WEARING A HEAD COVERING DOESN'T MAKE YOU MORE SPIRITUAL OR IN TUNE WITH GOD, JUST AS SLEEPING IN A GARAGE DOESN'T MAKE YOU A CAR. It's what's inside the heart that matters, not what we wear.

Jess said...

I have not commented yet, but I just want to reply and say, that I don't believe Vicki EVER made a comment that she is more spiritual because she wears a headcovering, so I don't know why you would feel like you have to make that bold statement. As far as not saying anything about them years ago, don't we learn things as we study the Bible and grow spiritually? I do things now that I didn't do years ago, and that is from growing and learning new things to apply to my life. It IS what is in the heart that matters, and her and her husband believe in their heart that this is what the Lord has told them to do, and she has never acted "holier than though" because of it either, and I've known her a long time too! :-)

Victoria said...

I agree - I know women FAR more spiritual & holy than I that do not wear a covering. Holiness begins in the heart and too often, my heart is far from holy. A struggle many of us have and will not win until heaven.

Anonymous said...

To the surprise to many of you, I would like to publically say that I'M SORRY if I've offended you. And to Vicki, please accept my apology; for years I have dealt with this issue, and I just went off on it like aan H-bomb. I find that many Christians do things as fads and because it is the "in thing", but I know that this is not true with you now. To the rest of you, many of you will sit back and say "I told you so." That's fine; I'm admitting I'm wrong, and I hope you forgive me. Many of you have no idea who I am, but Vicki does. I know she is the quick-to-forgive type, and that's why I have to do this. I said some nasty things, and God got a hold of my heart and chastised me for it. So once again, I'm very sorry for what I wrote--please forgive me (you know who I am, but for the sake of destroying any relationships, I must remain nameless).

Mrs. Bee said...

Vicky,
I used to cover and no longer do because my husband has asked me to not cover. This being said, your post and answers here in the comment section I find are very well thought out. You articulated your thoughts well. What you wrote was/is my belief for a few years now.
I miss my pastors at OP's!!! I love my new church, but will always hold OP in my heart.

Wilz said...

Hi,

I think we shouldn't study the Scriptures without first understanding the cultural setting and historical background of the book. If you read about the women in context, they were greatly influenced with the Greek culture, false teachings and worship of Greek goddess. Temple prostitutions were also very common at that time.

Thus, why Paul required the women to have head cover was because of the temptations these women evidently and purposely created (with jewelleries, etc.), since not all of the women were worshiping God whole-heartedly. They were also prohibited to speak publicly, lest they influence the congregation with false teachings.

It would be good if you can do some researches on the Greek culture and historical settings of the Corinths.

The head cover, thus, does not apply literally in our modern context. But should be looked upon as a medium by which temptations can be prevented, i.e. cover with modesty and do not dress scantily to tempt others.

May this help you. God bless!

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