Oct 15th 2009:
"My own reasoning, however weak, is that it would defeat the goal of modesty by drawing more attention to myself, rather than less."
I’ve had this experience. Although wearing a head-covering didn’t attract any attention when I attended Brethren meetings, whenever I wore it elsewhere I was met with strange looks and even offence from other women who then tried to reason with me out of the Word why women shouldn’t cover their heads. After about a year of this I got sick of the attention and stopped, it was becoming contentious & causing division.
That said, I have no issue with wearing a head-covering or with women who do, I think it’s a mark of submission, obedience & devotion to God. When I asked a friend who is an experienced bible teacher he gave me this cultural take on it that I’d never heard before: Covering in Israel in the 1st century AD was a sign to everyone that you were married. What’s the modern-day equivalent? How can you look at someone and know whether they’re married or not? They wear a wedding ring. He took this as an exhortation to let people know that you are married by wearing your wedding ring all the time as a mark that you are under your husband’s covering and not available to anybody else.
Dec 21st 2009:
Resurrecting this thread… have been doing some thinking and praying about this since I first read this thread. I haven’t fully settled the issue in my heart but I have decided to cover in Church and while praying in the meantime. Here are a couple of my thoughts:
I think it is possible to cover without sticking out like a sore thumb. When I first covered I did so by tying veils around my head (this is one I used often). But lately, I’ve been thinking that wearing a hat/beret (there are some lovely patterns on Rav!) would be fulfilling the same purpose without necessarily drawing attention to yourself.
When I first started covering, many of the Christian women who asked me about why I was doing it were not offended by the piece of cloth on my head but by the idea that man is the head of a woman and that wives should submit to their husbands. One thing they overlooked is that men are also in submission… to Christ, who is their head, and Christ is in submission to His Father. This is not to say that man is woman’s mediator or that a Christian woman does not have a direct relationship with God.
Similarly, in the fellowship my (male) friend belongs to, the pastor’s wife recently gave a word on submission and she wore a head covering as she spoke (which is unheard of in that fellowship). According to my friend, if looks could kill then the women in the congregation would have killed this woman in 3 seconds flat, their hostility was so strong. Submission seems to be a thorny issue in the Church. I know that women have been (and in some cases still are) subjected, enslaved, trodden on and treated like second class citizens by men- this is very wrong and un-scriptural. But God has still commanded wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to love their wives. I was just shocked that there was such opposition to covering (and perhaps submission?) by this particular group of Christian women.
Covering should never just be about wearing a hat/scarf/veil/whatever. It should serve as an outward sign and an inward reminder that I have chosen to submit to God. You could compare it to tying a knot in a hankie or wearing your wedding ring on the opposite hand to remind you to do something. It reminds me that I am not in control of my life, I have surrendered it to God and that I should act in a way that is submissive to Him. It reminds me that I am accountable for my words and my actions, and this awareness is heightened because I am wearing something that tells other people I have chosen to submit to God. It reminds me that I am His and He looks after me, like a husband takes care of his wife, or a father takes care of his daughter. Can a woman be aware of these things and not cover her head? Absolutely. But as for me, I can be a bit forgetful and the reminder is helpful!
There’s a romantic part of me that thinks: wouldn’t it be really cool if my husband was the only person allowed to see my hair? Then a practical part of me says: yeah, but he’d always be seeing hat-hair, which probably wouldn’t be so cool.
Since I began covering again, nobody has commented on it and I haven’t said anything about it. I can see that it could lead to an opportunity to discuss submission and attitude to someone if they did ask me about it.