Head coverings for women

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by anglican74, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    I remember my grandmother pinning a tissue on my head once in the 60s to go to church (Episcopalian) when I had forgotten my hat.
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Almost the epitome of legalistic religion?
     
  3. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    I am one who thinks women should cover, but don't think it should be mandated. Since it was spoken of by Paul I don't think it should be dismissed like it is now days, but neither do I think it was intended to go so far as wearing tissue on your head.:doh:
     
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I quite agree. I would say that a similar attitude is held by the CofE on the issue of confession. All may, some should, none must.
     
  5. Desiring God

    Desiring God New Member

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    I have covered for going on 9 years :)
    I am only hoping that when I start this new Episcopal Church near me they do not look oddly at me like the Southern baptist Church did :/
     
  6. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    I really doubt that they will.
     
  7. Ralph Davis

    Ralph Davis New Member

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    You bring up a very good point, in using Tradition, the practices & beliefs of those past, to help interpret scripture for us now. Hooker's order of authority is: Scripture, Reason and Tradition. (Often mistakenly ordered, Scripture, Tradition and Reason.) So far the only arguments here have been Scripture and Reason, with Tradition being cavalierly ignored. This isn't wise, as in the communion of the saints, this generation is no more than say, 2% of the Church.

    What I'm saying is you are correct, until the 1960s, and still in certain Tradition-heavy churches outside the West, around the world, head-coverings for women during worship was expected--in that they interpreted Paul's instructions in 1 Cor. 11 as not merely reflecting culture, but forming culture.

    So 98% of Christians historically have had head-coverings for women, and that was 100%....until the advent of feminism in the West. If anyone thinks that the relationships between the sexes in the West today are exemplary--with a 50% divorce rate and incredible confusion & perversion about all things sexual--well, they should go ahead and ignore the Apostle Paul on this subject--and regard his clear instructions as just so much cultural quaintness.
     
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  8. Theistgal

    Theistgal New Member

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    Every so often, I wear a scarf to church. Then I realize that I'm not really wearing it for the right reasons, but to show off how much more "traditional" I am than all those *other* women in church. (Pharisee and Publican Alert! :D ) At that point, I take it off.

    IMHO the whole point of wearing head coverings in church was so women *wouldn't* be noticed. However, since the culture has changed so much, it's now just the opposite: women who cover their heads *are* noticed. Is that really what we want? I personally would rather just slink into a pew and pray without attracting any undue attention.
     
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  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    A good point really. Jesus didn't make efforts to 'fit in', but neither, judging from his popularity with the people, did he make any strenuous efforts not to fit in either, but he certainly was critical of people who 'do things purely for effect and to appear more righteous than others'.
    .
     
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  10. Niblo

    Niblo New Member

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    There are no such folk as 'Mohammedans'. The word is 'Muslims'.

    Have a great day.
     
  11. Niblo

    Niblo New Member

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    I was born - and raised - in the Rhondda; and first attended Chapel in 1951. In our small area there were Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans and Catholics. Women from all of these groups worn hats, or scarves, in the Chapels. Catholic women also wore headgear...and the Italians among them added netted veils. Men did not wear hats while at worship, but always when going to, or from, Chapel or Church. This custom continued well into the eighties, but less so among younger worshippers...except the Catholics. Headgear was an essential part of one's Sunday Best. Decline in formal dress came hand-in-hand with decline in worship...in the case of my neck of the woods, serious decline.
     
  12. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    [QUOTE="Theistgal, post: 33418, member: 3143
    IMHO the whole point of wearing head coverings in church was so women *wouldn't* be noticed. However, since the culture has changed so much, it's now just the opposite: women who cover their heads *are* noticed. Is that really what we want? I personally would rather just slink into a pew and pray without attracting any undue attention.[/QUOTE]


    I personally don't think that being unnoticed is the "whole point" of wearing head coverings. For me, I wore them because they helped me feel more humble in worshipping Him. I don't know why I felt that and I know a lot of other women who wore them did so because it helped them pray. It does help me to focus somewhat, because your peripheral vision is often blocked by the veil, but to me that wasn't the main thing it did.

    That said that unless I am in a church where a number of women are covering, I don't wear them due to causing a distraction. I sure wish
    women stilled covered regularly!
     
  13. laelk_p

    laelk_p New Member

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    Some suggest that St. Paul was once again speaking symbolically in this instance, as he has before.
    Another interpretation is that Paul's commands regarding headcovering were a cultural mandate that was only for the first-century Corinthian church. Often, interpreters will state that Paul was simply trying to create a distinction between uncovered Corinthian prostitutes and godly Corinthian Christian women. Under that interpretation, a church will not practice Christian headcovering. Some Christians believe that Paul stated that long hair is the covering, when it comes to modesty.

    To my knowledge and my experience I have seldom seen a woman wearing a covering in my Parish Church.
    The Anglican Church in England's women members often wear rather big hats, as is the common stereotype when you imagine a British lady in Church.

    Wearing a covering was also so that the angels wont be attracted to human women, as they did in Genesis.

    So, my view of head-coverings in the Anglican Church is, you may wear one if you wish, but if your hair is long that's also acceptable.
    because men wear short hair, if women have short hair they will look like men, which goes against nature.
    They were created as man and woman. Man's hair is naturally shorter, and woman's hair is naturally longer.
    Hair falling off or by medical condition is natural, because you dont control whether you get sick or not. but cutting it too short for women to look like men is wrong, and wearing it too long for men to look like women is wrong.
     
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  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    If 'nature' is really what you are trying to 'not go against', perhaps you should not cut your hair at all. :hmm:
    Really? Is there evidence that, left to its own devices, men's hair can't compete vigorously enough to outgrow women's hair? What an embarrasing failure of hair fecundity Judges 16:1-22 that would be for the males of the species. :laugh:
    So Jesus would definitely have not had a cure for baldness then? You surprise me!
    So obesity, drug addiction and irresponsible stupidity of health and safety are someone elses responsibilty?
    Is that the only reason people style their hair? You amaze me! :doh:
    .
     
  15. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!

    I always read it as a way to reign in the worst excesses of envy and ego in early churches. If we think about it sociologically, for some wealthy/noble Greeks this was the first time in their lives they had sat as genuine equals with slaves and commoners. We know that in Ephesus, the wealthier and aristocratic parishioners were dressing up, and showing off as a way to separate themselves from the commoners - and this was especially true for the women in Ephesus. The product of this was that the wealthy were being absorbed by their pride and their arrogance, and neglecting the messages of Jesus. The poor were being distracted, and spent their time envying others when in church instead of focusing on their own relationship with God. Paul's solution to this problem was to institute a uniform policy. No pearls, no gold, no expensive clothes, no braided hair (which indicates one is wealthy enough to have servants who can braid their hair before church). He also directed all women to dress moderately so they wouldn't likewise distract the men with lust as the rich distracted the poor with envy. I see headcoverings serving a similar purpose of modesty. It masks a sign of beauty and wealth in an age where baths, shampoo, and well kept hair were signs of privilege and natural good looks.

    Modern cultures (in most places) do not place the same level of emphasis on a woman's hair, so I would say head coverings are no longer compulsory on that basis. If a woman wants to wear a headcovering I think it's still a good thing, and I would be unhappy with anyone who made them feel weird or uncomfortable (an older lady in my church still does so, and I know some other parishioners gossip about that - I think that's a different problem). If people are wearing head coverings to show off their piety and inflate their egos, I think that's exactly what Paul was warning us about and in that case wearing a head covering is actually a bad thing! I still think some of the other uniform rules are relevant, for example around expensive clothes - I don't think it is healthy for the wearer or others around them if someone enters church wearing a $10,000 suit or a $2,000 pair of flashy shoes. Church isn't that kind of an occasion, and if people are dressing for church in such a way, they're probably doing it for the wrong reasons.

    On long hair, sure Paul tells us in First Corinthians that is it is wrong for a woman to shave her head, and wrong for a man to have long hair, but I wouldn't jump to such leaps of logic as that being because it's unnatural. Men are perfectly capable of growing long hair - they don't need to take supplements, they just need to not cut their hair. Men cutting their hair is also not a natural component of the human condition - in many Asian cultures men didn't (and still don't) cut their hair.

    I'm not sure how you can conclude that women need to wear a covering to avoid attracting angels? That seems like a very odd interpretation and if it's from 1 Corinthians 11.10 that's not what Paul was referencing.
     
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  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    A load of good reasoning in Zacht's post. Hear, hear!
    Modern day believers in every generation tend to view what they read in scripture, in their own age and context, instead of the context in which it was written, (a very misleading assumption). The people in Corinth that the author of this advice to Corinthian believers, (and I have very carefully and deliberatey constructed those words and emphasis), were living in a very, very different world than any modern Christianised Third World Christian is. That fact profoundly affects what the scripture actually means for the way the church should behave then compared to the way it should behave today. Though undoubtedly certain principles still may be applicable.

    Corinth was an over and above peculiar place even within the peculiar Roman Empire in peculiar Roman times. It was the only place where women had such a high degree of autonomy and independence as to run their own chariot races with female charioteers. An utterly unheard of level of social equality even in the secular sphere of Roman society. There was a higher number of wealthy business women in Corinth compared to other more conservative, less wealthy Roman cities too. There were also particularly intractable problems within the Corinthian church which the first and second letters of Paul to the Corinthians reveal and there is obviously a third letter with most interesting content, from St Paul, which we may either have missing from our Biblies or bits of it have been sneaked into the Second letter to the Corinthians, in its latter chapters, by clever Corinthian copyists trying to save their church embarrassment in light of Paul's severe reprimands at its 'out of order' conduct and opposition to his teachings and even his person as an Apostle.

    No one else knows what this may mean either, particularly since the word used for 'angels' is merely the Greek word for messengers and messengers were involved in telling tales to St Paul about what was going wrong at Corinth within the church, that he had established, i.e. misogyny, hipocracy, incest, factions, abuse of the agape meal, showing off and taking over in gatherings and an astonishing paucity of real Christian love for one another.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  17. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am surprised to see @tiddy here say that that the words of the apostle should be minimized and disregarded ….

    What are we to take from the existence of centuries of pious christians , who took it as active and normative in their lives? ..
     
  18. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that anyone is minimising or disregarding the words of Paul, but rather I think we're all doing our best to try to understand him. It would be a great tragedy if everyone refused to do their best to understand the gospel, and instead ran around sinning but thinking their hat would save them. God is not arbitrary, if Paul's words are divinely inspired then there's a reason he told women to wear head coverings in church. The action isn't devoid of meaning, there's a purpose to it and understanding that purpose helps us be better Christians.
     
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  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    ????? I don't think I said that or anything like it. Your surprise is misguidedly unwarranted. :laugh: In fact I think I have explored the meaning of Paul's words and how they were most probably understood by their author at the time and by the people they were addressed to at the time and also misunderstood by people who don't live in Corinth and don't even live in the 1st Century Roman Empire, but 20 centuries later in an entirely different context and entirely different time.

    What are we to take from the possible existence of centuries of ultra pious christians who may have chopped off one of their hands because they believe it has caused them to sin? Matt.5:30. Would we consider them pious or foolish or both? Are there any Christian denominations which enforce this Biblical edict of Christ's, like Islamists regularly do? If not, why not?

    In principle this would be no different than enforcing head coverings as a rule in church, for women, because church authorities misguidedly refused to minimise and diregard a literal application of Paul's or Christ's words, in scripture.
    .
     
  20. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I always took it as a reading to dress modestly and appropriately to church. No low cut dresses or lots of cleavage on women so as to not distract men. I could be wrong but that is how I have interpreted it.
     
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