Up to post 3 in this serise if you are counting. 🙂
I have said it before; I am going to day it again: I am not qualified to make Biblical interpretations. This Blog contains only my thoughts and my comments on the reading I am doing; my impressions. This is an on-going conversation and “thought process” for me I invite you to see the first two posts:
These posts are in no way intended to be a lesson, merely my thoughts, and my on-going evolving thoughts at that. As I have said before if God convicts you, or speaks to you via me or used me to sharpen you (Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.), I praise Him for it, it is Him and not me. I am still praying, seeking God on this subject and trying to find my way. I feel a hunger deep inside me, I feel a call, but alas the path is not clear or easy. I continually pray for my boys that God’s path for them shall be clear and easy to discern; I do not ask that it be easy to travel, only that the correct path be clear and distinguishable for them. I pray this for myself too.
I feel pulled in to almost a whirlpool — and I see many observers, some I really like and enjoy my time with standing by, unsure – unsure of what is going on, unsure if I am floundering or what. Some seem to want to rescue me; others think I am simply caught up in a fad, some I suspect think this is the work of one other than Him we serve. Part of me does want to reach out for a branch of the old normal because “letting go and letting God” is a very anti-establiment thing and it is uncharted territory. Frankly I feel alone seeking God. Stepping out away from normal and routine, towards God; stepping out of the boat – that step of faith is a tough one to take, the boat is safe and known. Ask Peter. (Matthew 14:22-33)
I can be honest enough to say I do so wish I had a community where this was normal — a Christian version of the Jewish Orthodox community if you will. A Christian community living a strong faith life, a more moment to moment life a place more removed from the world. I know that makes me a wimp, but it is hard to feel like I am walking alone, no clear path and no clear or reliable mentor. I trust God, I desire to serve God and to follow Him as He determines, but even The Rock upon which to Church is Built doubted and fell, how much less am I? I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:14
I have been reading more about Head Covering and about 1 Cor 11:2-16 and also about the “idea” of our choices in dress as a sign of respect for God and especially His House and Table when we are in Church. I am deep in thought about how I dress, how I present myself; in and out of service.
I have a ton more to read, sitting here on the counter, waiting for me. I am by no means at a point of discernment, or a place of understanding, a place of clarity. This is an awakening for me. The journey is just beginning for me. Honestly this is confusing, challenging, exhilarating and enlightening, and having finished Dressing with Dignity, and Glories Seen and Unseen; I am excited to jump into the next one.
There is a very real difference between dressing attractively and dressing to attract. Modesty is not just about how much skin you show or do not show; it is about form showing. Nevertheless the opposite of immodest is not frumpy; there is no need, no mandate to hide ourselves. “Femininity is a supernatural assignment from God; it is how God created us”. (Dressing 49) Men and women stand equally in dignity, but separate in function. Adult women understand fully well what they do when they dress to attract and manipulate; no woman can dress like she is for sale (or at least rent) then be honestly shocked or offended when she is ogled; no matter how she wants to pretend or act, she knows and every female reading this realizes that is true.
My new favorite quote is from G. K. Chersterton (a great thinker and man, whom some dear friends plan to name their next son after) “No one starting at that frightful female privilege, can quite believe in the equality of the sexes…” The fact is, yes women have been mistreated, belittled and marginalized over time, but by individual men, not by God and not by Faith (Dressing 21). “The Christian faith has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” (also G. K. Chesterton) The problem is not what Christians do, or the Church does, the problem is what many may have done in the name of the faith or the Church; that is a grand difference. All humans are mortal, sinful and fallen; but the sins of men can not be used to condemn the Creator; and the actions of some should not be assumed to correctly reflect God and His order and plan.
I have been very convicted by this simple passage: the church is a special place- heaven on earth. We should be careful not to offend the holiness of the Church. (Glories 32) God tells us clearly that our modesty is our true ornament (Glories 24). I am realizing I, too, have fallen in to a lazy “everyone else does it” mindset regarding my dress both at Church and in public in general. While I have not gone so far as to start shopping in my pajamas (I am not, after all 6) I really understand I have slacked off to an unacceptable point. I love how God can Teach and Convict and really make a point, but do so slowly and kindly. I am anxious to see what else is to be revealed to me, about me, in the next few books I have picked out.
The real nervous tension I am feeling is related to the understanding I need to convert all this thought and learning into practical life changes; that is exciting, trilling and anxiety inducing all at the same time. Reading is one thing, stepping out of that boat is another all together. All precious things are veiled, hidden, and difficult to get to by God’s design: the Holy of Holys right to a pearl in a clam; and that is very exciting to me (Dressing 19).
As I have said before, at least once, I have been prayfully considering head covering, and waiting on a clear lead from God, as well as a way to respect my husband’s thoughts on the matter at the same time. I really struggle with the fact it seems so clear in the Bible but then I don’t see anyone doing it. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Also, it clear, was the practice for thousands of years, but now is not? God and His word does not change? Again, I really face conflict over this.
1 Cor 11:2-16 clearly instructs women to cover in times of pray. I know many resist this. I never specifically thought much about covering while I was younger. But I too have been guilty of having a hard heart against Paul’s writings in general. For a long time I struggled against God’s expression via Paul, but I have come to understand that my conflict is with Paul and his tone and apparent attitude towards females and not with God or Hid word. My challenge, personally, is to get past the writing style. I know he is writing God’s words. In my opinion – he could have caused much less consternation “in the ranks” if he had been more clear in his text. However, I have to accept that God used Paul as God chose – and maybe the very fact you have to dig to get the meat of Paul after the sometimes bitter presentation, is the gold of the text. You are forced to think and to search; and thus learn more than had Paul spelled things out clearly.
As we know God does not change, so if He gave the instruction, via Paul, once then that instruction still stands. Mal 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. God does not change his mind; (interesting read http://www.letusreason.org/Onenes2.htm).
Loving Christ and having Christ’s sacrifice does not in any form nullify God’s Commandants (see http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/26684/eVerseID/26684 for and interesting read). Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. A women’s choice to cover in pray demonstrated an agreement with divine order, her personal subjection to God. That is as true in 2010 as it was in 1910 or 1810.
I can not recommend Glories Seen and Unseen by Henderson strongly enough; I really wish everyone would read it, Henderson does such a better job than I can hope to. I requested it inter-library-loan. As I have read, and re-reading; a few things finally have because clear to be with regard to the head covering mandate.
First consider this, it is still today common practice for a man to remove a hat during a pray (think of a public pray on the anniversary of 9/11 and people standing outside, or think of a pray before a football game – all men remove their hands). This practice is accepted and continues till “now” so then the question is why is it somehow viewed as “out dated” or “inconvenient” for a woman to cover her head at the same time? Both practices, two halves to the same practice, were accepted for thousands of years, but since about 1950 one practice has been deemed outdated, and the other not?
Next, the basis for choosing a behavior that honors God is a submitted will, and not coerced behavior; and choose it we must since we are creatures gifted with Free will, and creatures given our salvation freely at the cross. 1 John 4: 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Our salvation comes from the cross it is freely given to us, not based on any merit of our’s. Nevertheless since we have that gift we choose to submit ourselves to God’s Law and God’s will; or we should. A chose we make freely since it ‘earns us nothing’ and is purely an avenue for us to show our love of God and our submission to him. A forced “choice” mocks God’s order and His Divinity; God longs for a spirit of submission to truth, not bitterness. A friend expressed it beatfully in a conservation she and I had about obedience beyond the Cross. I freely wear my wedding ring, a gift of love and devotion. Not wearing the ring doesn’t make me any less married, but it does hurt my husband’s joy. I can stand on the cross alone and refuse God’s call beyond that, but what does that say about my love and my relationship with God?
Henderson summarized it this way: Head Covering is not required at all times, but it must be worn by believing women when engaged in the serious work of pray or teaching….the glory of God is evident for all to see.” (Glories 99)
It does not honor God to delay obedience by arguing what we understand. This is the point I have reached, a point requiring personal action due to personal conviction. James 4:17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. We need to have a submitted heart; it is what one does for love of Christ that shows the true condition of a heart. It is in our smallest choices that our obedience to God is most clearly demonstrated. Nevertheless, this addresses only those that God has convicted; if God has not called someone personally to a choice then they are not accountable for that behavior. Read James 4:17 again: Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. You can not be accountable for what God has not revealed to you yet.
Nevertheless I desire to challenge you to just think the blessing the church would receive experience if Christians would just embrace the plain truth of Scripture in lieu of spiritualizing or rationalizing God’s word into obscurity. All Scripture was God breathed and given for a purpose (2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.)
A few Bible verses for consideration:
- Deu 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.
- Matt 5:27-28 27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’[a] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- Gal 5:22-23 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- Proverbs 7:10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
- Rom 12:1-2 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- 1 cor 3:16, 17 16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple
And on a practical note a dear friend and fellow walker referred me to this site: http://www.halo-works.com/product/HW006SF/Ladys-Chapel-Cap—HW006SF.html
I found these sites and am excited to look at it more.
Two books quoted here: