Friday, July 10, 2009

The command is universal but we have to maintain separateness

The ordinance that requires women to cover our heads is not specifically for Christians, although it has been spelled out accurately only by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Throughout history many peoples have intuited God's law in themselves and required that women cover their heads, and Islam and Judaism in particular have required it. They are right to do this and really, they put Christans to shame because we have abandoned the practice, although their reasons for it are not our reasons. Modesty is usually their reason, but modesty is at best a peripheral issue as Paul discusses the head covering in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. The central issue is the hierarchy of headship, which requires the display of the male head as the image of Christ, who is of course not recognized as God in Judaism and Islam, and the covering of the female head as the glory of man which must not compete with the glory of Christ.
1Co 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
We can't join forces with these other groups, and I think it is a mistake to link with them in spirit at all as some Christians seem to be doing. We can acknowledge their rightness by God's standard of male headship, but we can't join with them in any general way. This includes Catholics who also cover or are now learning to cover.

It's important that we keep the gospel testimony pure and separate from all other frames of reference.

I think Christian women who learn to cover now should be seeking a style of covering that sets us apart from these other groups.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is God using Islam to judge us?

It is disturbing to me, now that I believe women are to cover our heads (and I'm coming more and more to believe that means not just in church but in general, which I'll have to get around to explaining), that Muslims are so specifically known for their covered women. I just watched a brief news clip on the "ethnic" violence in China and immediately realized from the women's head scarves that this is not "ethnic" at all, it's Muslims as usual against the majority population, doing what they consider to be their God-given mission -- to disrupt all nonMuslim communities and finally supplant them. The media will never tell you that of course -- but at least they are reporting that it is the Muslims doing most of the killing.

Since 9/11 I've recognized the growth of Muslim influence in the world, everywhere but especially in the "Christian" West, as God's judgment, but when I became persuaded that we are to cover our heads it also occurred to me that it's very possible God is telling us something specific by imposing this tribe of people on us who insist on women covering their heads. If they do nothing else right they do that much right, although of course they sometimes take it to an unrighteous extreme.

Some Muslim groups also emphasize modest dress, some of course to the extreme of cruelty such as the burqa, but also simply to the complete covering at the beach or swimming pool, which is pretty much the way it used to be done in the west too. Of course westerners now scream about it, but that too had me wondering about a possible message from God.

In the early part of the 20th century American and European women still always wore hats in public. That was already a degeneration of the head covering from a functional thing to a fashion statement whose meaning was completely lost by that time, but it was at least women covering their heads. Film of a suffragette march, year unknown, shows women completely covered up in identical long dress suits all wearing hats -- well, at least all the same color.

Then gradually hats were given up as a general thing but continued for church attendance until the 60s.

Also, women all had long hair then too, but always wore it up, under the hat. Always.

Bathing suits used to cover most of the body, too. Then hats were gradually abandoned, skirt lengths came up, bathing suits got skimpier, hair first got cut and then got longer and started to be worn loose. It got longer and looser through the 40s, but short hair also was popular. In the sixties the trends all peaked together with the bikini along with the mini skirt, very very long straight hair or very short hair and no head covering at all (during the same period the men's hair also got long). An increase in the popularity of nudism about that time, with nude beaches and the like, shouldn't surprise us either.

All this happened within the first few decades of the 20th century.

I saw a picture of Nancy Pelosi yesterday talking with a Muslim leader, Syrian President Bashar Assad, sitting in a very short skirt with her legs exposed up to the mid-thigh. She had to keep her knees tightly pressed together of course. Somehow that whole discordant picture stuck in my mind, kind of an emblem of everything that's wrong with us. [Decided to go find and post it here:]

So, this is the thought: The barbaric Muslims may in fact be the scourging instrument God is using to judge us, partly because they do demonstrate one of the ways we've been going wrong. It's reciprocal of course; Muslim women are now wearing tight jeans along with their head scarves, and tons of makeup. It's a race to see which culture wins in the end. I'm betting on the traditionalist scimitar-wielding vengeful Muslims myself, unless we in the west radically repent of our immodesty, our rejection of the head covering as God's chosen symbol of God's creation ordinance of male headship, along with all the other offenses we need to repent of.

But, back to my opening thought, it does put me in a quandary. What SORT of head covering should Christians wear? I'm pretty sure we don't want to be confused with Muslims. Hats are an option but it seems to defeat the whole purpose of covering the head to draw attention to it by wearing fashionable hats, so the hats chosen would have to be modest in themselves, unprepossessing. I don't see why we have to look frumpy in any of this, but it's hard to figure out just what we should look like. I've spent some time designing possibilities, but although I did make one hat I do wear I haven't done any more sewing yet and kind of bogged down in the project generally.

Of course the idea that covering the head could become a general movement among Christian women is probably overly optimistic considering the strong resistance to the whole idea. But I pray for it anyway.