Modesty, Dignity and Head Covering And their relation to my personal faith walk

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 differenceAll 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:

Dressing with Dignity by Hammond 

And

Glories Seen and Unseen by Warren A. Henderson 

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Modesty, Dignity and Head Covering And their relation to my personal faith walk

  1. Lisa

    Aimee, I much admire your incredible heart of obedience, both to your husband and to your Lord. I myself have thought a lot about headcovering, and had the discussion with my mom about switching to more modest dress (long skirts/knee-length or longer, no tight pants, etc). I thank you for the great resources you posted and your thoughts on the matter.
    xoxo Lisa

    • i’d love to hear more of your thoughts and you conservation with your mom; and where you stand on this — thanks for the good thoughts on my post — have your read the others 2? I think this one is better written.

  2. All precious things are veiled, hidden, and difficult to get to by God’s design

    I like this.

    I was covering for a while (and still do most of the time, though I’m not as dogmatic about as I was, and perhaps I ought to get back to it) and did feel very alone. At the same time, I don’t have a large community of believing women around me – and I had fewer at the time I felt strongly called to cover. But interestingly, once I started to cover, I became more aware of how many women (particularly black women, and of course muslim women) who also wear headcoverings.

    If you do end up giving it a try, simple headcoverings are easy to make, you don’t even need to sew. Just a large square of fabric. (to tie like this: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_PKGLJFVJYXU/StzXojaJiYI/AAAAAAAAACM/0FTszs2iSy0/s320/HEADCOVERING.JPG ) But there are also some lovely Christian SAHMs selling beautiful coverings on Etsy, as well.

    I don’t know if you read my blog at the time I wrote a bit about my time covering. http://theviewfromhere.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/headcovering/

    And this is from before I started covering: http://theviewfromhere.wordpress.com/2006/12/01/head-covering/

    • Thanks for the blog refernces; i so appercipate reading the thoughts of others walking this walk. I am learning so much

      The book Glories Seen and UnSeen is really amazing, it is a pretty easy read. the chapers that pull verses apart word by word and go though the greek get challanging, but not as bad as some. The book goes much more deeply into covering “showing” God’s perfection and covering of heveanly creatures and so on — very inpsireing.

      the book also goes though all the common “arguments” (such as hair as cover, and the verse only applying to that church at that time…) and discountes them one by one, again generally useing the greek and the voc of the actual verse — i find all that a lot easier to understand than to express back out. I found that aspet of the book very well done though.

  3. Alexis

    I have been thinking about this and I’m not the most Godly person you know so choose not to listen to anything. I have spend a lot of time with muslim women who wear the head covering and while I was there I often did too. The men in those countries really did stare and oggle you a lot if you didn’t and being light skinned, hair, and eyes made it worse even with head covering there was staring but it was less because it was assumed I was religious and possibly married why else would I wear it? Fast forward to the US and wearing the head coverings guess what I was stared at way more than if I walked around in slutty clothing and a giant sign that said whore. Trust me lots of staring. why? because I was differnt tried it in Georgia (the state not the country) and I could somewhat get away with it in a LARGE city with a large muslim population. when I tried it back in Iowa it was a disaster everyone looking pointing kind of has the reverse effect. No one in your little town is wearing this are they? Maybe the amish and they get plenty of looks don’t they?
    Modest dress I can see no draw backs. Skirts are cooler than shorts in the summer again I draw on my experiences in the Middle East in 140 degree heat I wore long sleaves and skirrt and did just fine jeans were bad though.
    As for head covering when praying again muslim experience has taught me that wearing the covering and following the rituals they have such as washing prior to prayer puts you in a state of mind that it is time to pray. It is not so half hearted i suspect. But you would have to either plan accordingly (bring head covering with you like the muslims bring a prayer rug everywhere) or not pray when you don’t have it or accept that you don’t always ahve to have it. You don’t want the mindset that I can’t pay I forgot me hat.
    And now my thoughts as to why we don’t still see this and modest dress. I suspect we have been purposfully moved further and further away from modesty as a means to destroy the family and control the individual. Basically the government is out to get us even in this way. They make women into unpaid whores with the goal of a few kids but we can do it without a man. Sure we can unless you count uncle Sam as a man because most single woman get some sort of welfare at some point. A modest family orriented woman who is devoted to her family and her God would be unlikely to need handouts from the government. Is it too early in the morning for my crazy anti-government talk? Do you remember that I mentioned I can’t find dresses for my 5 year old because they are all too short? She isn’t THAT tall they have just been making little girls slutty right along with the rest of us. ANd they project that that is cute and we say yep she’s cute look at those booty shorts she is wearing. Instead of writing sexy on the butt of her shorts why dont’ we just write rape my 4 year old daughter.
    Have a nice day!

    • I am reading http://www.amazon.com/Return-Modesty-Discovering-Lost-Virtue/dp/0684863170/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288285966&sr=8-1-spell — A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue — just started it — and it is talking about this very things. females have sought to destroy the culture of modesty or culture of manners by desireing to be the same, but currently, due to the changes, face less protection and are seen “more cheaply” — bacislly females tell men to see us as men, then men see us as in lust for sex as much as they are and actu upon that, then females villify the man for basically doing as they had been told ….i don’t exaplin it correctly but GRAET read — espcailly realted to your final thoughts here and destruction of family and the presentation of children.

      Alex I think you gonna have to learn to make girl clothing, simple jumpers and elastic topped pants and so on —

  4. Hats for women in church went out of style during the 1950’s and 1960, precisely because women were no longer using them to “cover their heads”, but becuase they were using them as a tool of status and fashion only. Many preachers began to give sermons on the vainity of womens’ hats and many preachers have asked female parishoners not to wear them EXCEPT ON EASTER… I know because I’ve had a preacher lecture me about it when I wore a hat once during my college years.

    I still find “covering” to be a symbol of women as 2nd class citizens and men controlling and enslaving women (as seen by the Muslim, Amish, Mennonite, Huerite and Mormon belief systems.) Any man (husband or preacher included) who would use this practice to control women or set them up as 2nd class citizens is a dirty rotten ________! I see this happening to women everyday in my community with our large Heurite colony populations in South Dakota. And yet, at certian points the Bible itself advocates slavery. So there you go.

    I also have an issue with head covering themselves being frumpy and ugly. Obviously this is not an issue “About Style & Fashion”… but can’t one do this is they feel they must do so “with a bit of style and class”. Wear a cute chapeau, not to impress anybody else… but because you like that hat and it looks very nice on you. Have a nice, pretty hat you only wear for church… don’t go around in an Amish/Mennonite/Heurite/Mormon prayer bonnet at the dicates of some MAN!

    • Rebecca, I see your argument , that is i have heard it alot and read it a lot and realize it is a accepted argument — but i think I have been clear there is no man in this “discussion” — it is all me. Frankly DH is not supportive of my covereing because he feels it is “calling undue attentions” to myself (or one’s self) and THAT is oppisition to so many Biblical Mandates. A female’s realtionship with God is not about the men in her life.

      I don’t think they are frumpy at all — i have seen so many really preatty, and mostly pratical ones. I love this one — and in fact have ordered some: http://gypsymama.com/shop/products.php?cat=21 the cotton ones.

      I have been covering about 1/2 time adn i love it — from a pratical stand point, my hair is back out of my face and no one grabs it, gets stuff in it, the vind doesn’t blov it in my face ….

      SMILE

      I agree hats became fasion and and when they stopped being about relationship and obedience to God the pratice died. I think that is part of the reason most that cover, keep the cover more modest and plain.

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  6. Holly

    Hi Mamma Aimee,
    I have been considering this for a while and even though I feel convicted to cover all the time, I am struggling with it.
    Where i meet some of the women cover during Lord’s day meetings and prayer meetings by using what looks like a doily pinned on the very top of their head. I was doing this for a while, but then I thought I should be doing it all the time. I felt somewhat like a hypocrite just doing it sometimes. That’s where I am at. My dh feels like it would draw too much attention in a negative way.
    One of my friends who covers said she felt like some needed to do this for the church. Not every one will do it, but if some do it then it will be a testimony to God to Satan and to all believers that we are under God’s governmental arrangement. Here is some commentary you might enjoy. This is a co worker of Watchman Nee. His name is Witness Lee.
    http://www.ministrybooks.org/books.cfm?id=%23%26J%27-

  7. i am in the same place, i feel silly doing it sometimes if i do not do it all the time (feeling i should). DH is not supportive — he says that it is attracting attention not “reflecting” it as it should be for the purpose of modesty — so i am am still reading, and struggling, and in the end not being too happy about myself. i am not sure the balance in submitting to DH and the call i feel to cover, given the call is personal (though Biblical), do i sit by till God speaks to DH or do I ….. not sure.

  8. I’m a part-time coverer ( due to dance ) and I feel like a hypocrite too sometimes! ( I’m not dancing slutty or like a ho when I’m performing, btw. Our teachers are particular about how we dance. 🙂 ) I’m the only one in my family to cover and I’m wondering if I should just cover during prayer/church/youth group meeting?

    Praying for you all, and bless you all, sisters.

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