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S/O Do you wear a head covering?


meganrussell
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I was raised by very conservative southern Baptist parents. My dad was a preacher, now he and my mom are missionaries. I've never known anyone IRL to wear a head covering. However, lately when I read about women should have their head covered when praying in the Bible, it makes me wonder....should I wear a covering when praying?

 

If you wear a covering, when do you wear it? Why? What kind of covering do you wear? If you don't, again, why not? I'm trying to sort through this.

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I was raised by very conservative southern Baptist parents. My dad was a preacher, now he and my mom are missionaries. I've never known anyone IRL to wear a head covering. However, lately when I read about women should have their head covered when praying in the Bible, it makes me wonder....should I wear a covering when praying?

 

If you wear a covering, when do you wear it? Why? What kind of covering do you wear? If you don't, again, why not? I'm trying to sort through this.

I asked about that long ago and was told that having hair on your head is what it is supposed to mean now.

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Well, the only head coverings I have seen in IRL churches are the mantillas that extremely conservative Roman Catholics wear and headscarves (sort of like Muslim head coverings) worn by some women in Eastern Orthodox churches. Oh, and hats for Easter (and other days) that are more fashion statement than reverence. None of the above sounds like what you are looking for, lol....

 

I have seen pictures of Baptists (mostly IFB) wearing scarves, often tied at the back of the neck. I am not expert here, mainly posting to say good luck in your quest.

 

ETA

Head coverings in general seem to be disappearing. Look at old movies from 1940s -- hats on both men and women.

Edited by Alessandra
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No. But IRL I know quite a few women that do. They are mostly from Mennonite background. A few come from another denomination, maybe primitive Baptist? (I've never asked honestly).

 

If I remember correctly, ladies on this board that are Greek Orthodox wear a head covering at church or during prayer - I think I remember that conversation anyway. Maybe they'll chime in.

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Well, I am Roman Catholic. I veil when attending Latin Mass. I have often thought of veiling at other Masses. However, at my church, no one else wears a veil. Therefore, I feel that veiling would put a lot of focus on me, which is not what I want.

This link discusses Catholics and veiling.

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Well, I am Roman Catholic. I veil when attending Latin Mass. I have often thought of veiling at other Masses. However, at my church, no one else wears a veil. Therefore, I feel that veiling would put a lot of focus on me, which is not what I want.

 

Exactly. I have considered veiling during Lent but since I'd be the only one to do so, I decided against it. If I attended a parish that offered the Latin Mass, I probably would at least during Lent.

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The idea of head covering in the Bible is that, in every situation, people should not be removing ordinary articles of clothing during Christian religious services.

 

In the first century, a female hair covering was ordinary and culturally manditory. It was part of 'proper attire' because female hair was an aspect of privacy. Exposed hair on a woman was a taboo. The Bible did not create that culture, and it does not particularly approve or disapprove of those specific clothing norms.

 

It's just that in the context of a new "equality in Christ" ethos in Christian communities and worship gatherings -- some folks wondered if perhaps the hair covering didn't belong among them. Perhaps male and female heads should be 'dressed the same' before God, since they are the same to God?

 

The letter written to those who wondered about the issue simply told them that equality is real, but there is no need to provocatively disrobe your hair for prayer. In fact it is more in keeping with 'putting others first' to continue following conventions, and not draw attention to the 'covred glory' of female beauty expressed in shockingly exposed hair.

 

Since we currently have no such taboo, and we don't habitually cover our hair, we are already following the instruction. We should not be removing any customary articles of clothing; we should not be provocative or seek exposure for its own sake. We should dress in a way that is ordinary and respectable -- within our cultural context.

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I do not cover my head. My MIL doesn't either but does keep her hair long (although not super long anymore).

 

In college I knew a girl who did not cover until she was baptized. She played volleyball and waited to be baptized until the season was over. After she was baptized she always wore skirts, her hair in a bun, and a small crocheted covering near the bun. I can't remember the type of church she went to but it was not a common one in my area.

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My church still practices head covering, we are a small denomination primarily in the Midwest that formed out of the Anabaptist movement in the 1800s. I wear a crocheted thing that looks like a small doily, in case you're wondering :) Several ladies in our denomination make them.

 

I think the verse is confusing and there are a lot of sincere good honest Christians on both sides of the issue. I think if you are sincerely praying to God, He will hear you and respond to you regardless of what is or is not on your head.

 

That being said, I have seen personal benefits to wearing the head covering. Sometimes when I put it on I almost feel as though it is part of "putting on the armor of God". I do not wear one during everyday life, just for worship and Bible study groups and singings and other organized corporate religious activities. Many women in my denomination do wear it all the time. Tomato, to-mah-to

 

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Eta: In my denomination it does not have anything to do with submitting to a husband but with submitting to God and trying to fulfill His Word in the best way we can understand.

Edited by Momto5inIN
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I asked about that long ago and was told that having hair on your head is what it is supposed to mean now.

Hm, but the actual bible verse says that not wearing a covering over your hair is as if you were to shave off your hair, so the hair as a covering alone doesn't quite fit with the biblical context.

 

" Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head" (1 Cor. 1:3-6)."

 

OP, I usually wear a headcovering (mantilla or simple cloth wrap) to church. I'm Roman Catholic so it's a combination of biblical mandate, longstanding Catholic tradition (lowercase t, it's not required anymore), and personal devotion. It's not uncommon in the churches we typically attend. I view it like men removing hats when entering the church, a sign of polite reverence.

 

I don't know any protestants personally who headcover but I know some groups do, I assume based on the biblical reference. Most Catholics and Protestants recognize that it's based on a custom of headcovering in general that no longer is present. As in, all Jewish women and most non-Jewish women back then covered their hair. It was a combo of modesty, marriage status, and practicality (nobody showered daily and the middle east is pretty dusty and sunny...covering protected hair from being dulled/lightened by the sun or getting dirty too quickly).

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Our church practices the covering at church, although some of the women do cover all the time for various reasons. We are a non-denominational church with some similarities to the Mennonites/Anabaptists.

The passage in 1 Cor. 11 is set in the context of the church coming together as an assembly , since Paul is also dealing with other issues that were taking place only when the church would be together (Lord's Supper/Communion, etc.). This is why i feel like the covering is primarily meant to be used in a public church setting.

 

As to why I cover at church, I believe it is a very visible sign of my acceptance of the biblical teaching of headship, and also an acknowledgement that I am aware of the presence of angelic activity during a church service (1 Cor. 10:11).

I believe God has given us all hair as a natural covering, but also expects an artificial covering to be worn as well. If you believe the hair to be the covering and change verse 6 to reflect that, it really makes no sense: "For if the woman have no hair, then let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her have hair." See how the first part of that verse makes no sense if you believe the hair is the covering? I think it's obvious that an additional covering is meant here.

Also, the word covered in vv. 5,6 is different than the word used for covering in v. 15. The point in v.15 is that just as in the natural realm a woman has her hair for a natural covering, so in the religious realm a woman needs a veil for a spiritual covering.

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I don't, but I have a friend who decided to, in a covert way.  Think cloth headband.  I think she started it for lent one year because she felt convicted about the same verse. And she stuck with it because she liked it.  Now she wears elaborate headbands (with lace or fabric) or hats every day. She always styles her hair carefully around it, so people think she's simply extra fashion conscious, they don't realize what she's doing.  It's like her little secret with God (and those friends close enough to ask about the sudden change a few years back).

I think she sews most of them herself now, but started getting them from https://garlandsofgrace.com/. Most of them are in that same style.

 

I had a coworker who also did, she was a former home school kid whose father had a falling out with some Mennonite church.  She wore long denim skirts with random t-shirts and always pinned a doily to her head.  She was weird and completely okay with being weird.

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Context:

 

Why is it disgraceful for a woman in Corinth to cut off or shave her hair?  Because it equates her with a female CAPTIVE.

 

Deuteronomy 21:10-14

10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

 

There isn't anything I can find explaining that this was no longer the practice when having a foreign/captive wife so if anyone can show this wasn't still the case in Corinth at the time, I'll take back this explanation.  But to me this shows that the head covering IS cultural and not something we need to do because this context doesn't exist for us anymore.  This is how we use the Bible to explain the Bible; it does contain historical context to sometimes help us understand things that the original writers took for granted their readers would not need explained to them as thoroughly as we do.

 

So, to sum up, you wear a head covering in NT times to show you are FREE.  Not needed today.

Edited by 6packofun
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I did full time for nearly ten years, I stopped doing so last year. I am not Christian though it was partially motivated by religion for the first 5 or so years. 

 

I find the idea of connecting it culturally interesting; part of the reason I stopped was doing a historical study of it. The socially, and sometimes legally, mandatory use of women headcover was most of the time only applied to certain...worthy women while women deemed unworthy were often legally banned from using it as a part of social shaming. A status symbol, often connected to wealth, family, which man legally owned them, so a woman with her head uncovered in public would be considered a great dishonour. Similar with the writing about hair - throughout time there have been a lot of social and legal rules around women's hair. Personally, studying it made it far less appealing for me. 

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Context:

 

Why is it disgraceful for a woman in Corinth to cut off or shave her hair? Because it equates her with a female CAPTIVE.

 

Deuteronomy 21:10-14

10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

 

There isn't anything I can find explaining that this was no longer the practice when having a foreign/captive wife so if anyone can show this wasn't still the case in Corinth at the time, I'll take back this explanation. But to me this shows that the head covering IS cultural and not something we need to do because this context doesn't exist for us anymore. This is how we use the Bible to explain the Bible; it does contain historical context to sometimes help us understand things that the original writers took for granted their readers would not need explained to them as thoroughly as we do.

 

So, to sum up, you wear a head covering in NT times to show you are FREE. Not needed today.

But Paul actually stated his reasons for the head covering quite clearly, and they had nothing to do with this OT law. I don't understand how that law has anything to do with the NT church. (Not trying to be argumentative, just engaging in friendly discussion.) :-)
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If you wear a covering, when do you wear it? Why? What kind of covering do you wear? If you don't, again, why not? I'm trying to sort through this.

I wear a chapel veil or hat at Mass. I'm not especially conservative, just a crowd-following Catholic who prefers to do what the majority does. And the majority of Catholic women didn't go bareheaded to Mass.

 

ETA: I prefer my own special spelling, too.

Edited by Violet Crown
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I don't.  There are many in our area and a handful in our (very large) church who choose to do so though.  In our area it's generally a Mennonite, Brethren, or Amish tradition.  In our church it would be a personal desire.

 

For me, I go with it not being our culture any longer since it's not shameful to have short hair either.  (I also have short hair and love it - couldn't stand wearing it long personally.)  God has never told me otherwise - not even a nudge.  I feel He would if He wanted me to change.

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I wear a chapel veil or hat at Mass. I'm not especially conservative, just a crowd-following Catholic who prefers to do what the majority does. And the majority of Catholic women didn't go bareheaded to Mass.

 

ETA: I prefer my own special spelling, too.

I'm curious where you live. I grew up Catholic in the Midwest and only recall a few elderly women covering at mass in the the 1970s. As an adult, I've never seen anyone at a Catholic mass in the midwest or PNW covering when attending with my parents. It must be a regional thing.
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I'm curious where you live. I grew up Catholic in the Midwest and only recall a few elderly women covering at mass in the the 1970s. As an adult, I've never seen anyone at a Catholic mass in the midwest or PNW covering when attending with my parents. It must be a regional thing.

I count the Catholics prior to the 1960s, too.

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But Paul actually stated his reasons for the head covering quite clearly, and they had nothing to do with this OT law. I don't understand how that law has anything to do with the NT church. (Not trying to be argumentative, just engaging in friendly discussion.) :-)

 

And the reasons Paul gives actually appear to have little to do with culture. Paul says the covering should be worn:

  • Because it displays the proper order of Biblical headship (1 Corinthians 11:3-9).

  • “Because of the angels†(vs. 10; a cryptic statement, but seemingly not cultural).

  • Because even “nature itself†testifies that women should be covered (vs. 13-15).  

It's not surprising that we find archaeological and written evidence showing that women throughout the world routinely covered their heads for prayer for the first 1,900 years of Christianity.

 

OP, I wear a head covering whenever I pray or read God's Word aloud, which means I keep it on most of the day for convenience. I use a wide headband now because that is what my husband likes best. I used to wear a triangle-shaped kerchief and looked a bit hippie-ish, which suited me just fine, too. I think an argument can be made for wearing it in church services only, but I am not comfortable praying with my head uncovered.

 

The passage seems straightforward to me. Christians don't seem to have any problems with the second half of 1 Corinthians 11 and its instructions regarding bread and wine--also physical symbols of a spiritual reality. 

Edited by MercyA
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I'm not getting into this one on a public forum right now, but I do cover and am happy to PM about it if you'd like to chat

 

I found this website very helpful in putting my thoughts together on it. They have now published a book which is, essentially, the website in hard copy. I don't agree with everything they write but we have the same general ideas and it's a good starting point.

 

http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/articles-series

Edited by abba12
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If I have time I will spend more time on this tomorrow, but the reason that an appeal to the creation order does not work as a way to make this universal and binding today is that it assumes what NO other passage in the Bible does and that is that women in general are made for and subordinate to men in general.  Yes, Paul is talking about the worship service, but women in church submitting to men in church--in leadership or not--is not what he is saying at all.  He cannot be talking only about women submitting to the male leadership in the church because men not in leadership must submit as well.  And, Paul is not asking only married women to cover.  Yet I do not believe that he means for single women to do this to show that they are just generally under the authority of any male in church.

 

I believe that Paul is using head coverings, a practice that was adopted by the church but already present in the culture, to make a point about men and women, their differences, and proper behavior during worship.  It IS confusing, I don't have it all hashed out, but the idea of both single and married women wearing head coverings as an act of submission to ALL men seems unlikely to me.  The OT verse I gave was something I read about fairly recently and I think it does add context for why head covering was a thing; not a full answer to the question of why we don't today although I think it partly explains.

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I don't cover, but I understand the argument for it and kind of almost agree with it. I actually think the best interpretations are to cover all the time (because we should be praying all the time) or not at all. If not at all, it is because of the argument that baring the head was something....immodest at the time, and the argument was against being immodest. similar to the rule that men should remove hats in Church (and in restaurants, banks, homes). Not because God cares if they wear a hat but because being rude is not nice. 

 

But I also get the because of the angels thing...which would go the other way. Honestly, I think God will be forgiving about us not really being sure, so I don't think it is a big deal. But I respect both arguments. 

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I don't cover, but I understand the argument for it and kind of almost agree with it. I actually think the best interpretations are to cover all the time (because we should be praying all the time) or not at all. If not at all, it is because of the argument that baring the head was something....immodest at the time, and the argument was against being immodest. similar to the rule that men should remove hats in Church (and in restaurants, banks, homes). Not because God cares if they wear a hat but because being rude is not nice.

 

But I also get the because of the angels thing...which would go the other way. Honestly, I think God will be forgiving about us not really being sure, so I don't think it is a big deal. But I respect both arguments.

Would it help you to know that "angels" and "messengers" are the same Greek word?

 

If it's "angels" it's probably a reference to one story in Genesis (and the extensive then-current religious worldview myths around that story) where the 'sons of God' fell for 'the daughters of humanity' and it was bad. Any kind of culturally immodest female disrobing might have been taken seriously because you wouldn't want 'angels' to find you overwhelmingly attractive.

 

In this case, it wouldn't be about what angels *actually* find attractive (who knows!) but about what the members of that culture at that time considered to be inappropriately exposed.

 

In it is "messengers" it's likely a reference to having distinguished visitors from other congregations -- who might be shocked at the apparent debauchery of a gathering with uncovered women. This would be disrespectful and dishonouring to such a visitor, even if all the regular attendees are ok with it.

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Would it help you to know that "angels" and "messengers" are the same Greek word?

 

If it's "angels" it's probably a reference to one story in Genesis (and the extensive then-current religious worldview myths around that story) where the 'sons of God' fell for 'the daughters of humanity' and it was bad. Any kind of culturally immodest female disrobing might have been taken seriously because you wouldn't want 'angels' to find you overwhelmingly attractive.

 

In this case, it wouldn't be about what angels *actually* find attractive (who knows!) but about what the members of that culture at that time considered to be inappropriately exposed.

 

In it is "messengers" it's likely a reference to having distinguished visitors from other congregations -- who might be shocked at the apparent debauchery of a gathering with uncovered women. This would be disrespectful and dishonouring to such a visitor, even if all the regular attendees are ok with it.

 

That was actually very helpful! Thank you, quite interesting!

 

 

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Not since Vatican II, which was before my time, but if that was the current culture in my religion I'd do it to show respect.  I grew up in a church where I was never allowed to wear pants, so a head covering seems like much less hassle.  I wouldn't just decide to make it a thing for myself if it wasn't an expected part of my religious community.  I was in the Army.  I'm not above 'uniforms,' but I don't have it in my to stress about manufacturing my own hoops to jump through.  

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I wear a mantilla when I get to go to Latin mass. I would like to wear one every Sunday, but dh kind of looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned it and I already spend most of Mass tring to keep ds from pulling my shirt down or my skirt up, so it's not terribly practical at the moment.

Also, I am a giant chicken. I've read so much about the whys behind it and behind receiving Communion kneeling on the tongue and I do find them very convincing and appealing, but I would be like one of three women in the whole parish doing it and...chicken. :/

 

Kneeling would still be very attention drawing, but if you'd like to recieve on the tongue without looking out of place, walk up carrying the 3 year old in your arms. With your hands otherwise occupied receiving on the tongue will seem the practical thing to do. When I have a baby in my arms I recieve on the tongue. 

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No, I don't. No one in any of the churches I have attended wears one. Doing anything more than a headband would attract attention and that would go against the admonition by Jesus to do your praying quietly and without notice. Now in the churches I have attended we do have prayers in the service and also prayers in small groups. But they are never boasting prayers and are in line with the prescription of two or three praying being better. But anyone wearing head gear to pray or strange costumes or whatever that brings attention at least in my churches wouldn't be a good idea. Women crafters in my church make prayer shawls where they pray while making them for the person and then give them to someone. I can see someone using a prayer shawl or a head covering or something else like that during private prayer time if it helped them concentrate or get in the right mood.

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Orthodox here (or nearly, anyway).  I just recently muddled through this question after an unexpected compulsion to cover a couple months ago (in a parish that mostly doesn't).  I do during church services and formal prayer times at home.  Because I want to.  Like I wear long skirts in public most of the time and I could probably wear my swimsuit unnoticed in a restaurant.  I feel more "me" that way, more authentic.  At this point, to do the "normal" thing, I'd be uncomfortably wearing someone else's ideals.   :)  Plus, I've spent years doing the opposite (no hair covering/dyed hair, skimpy/weird clothes, string bikinis), so I figure I've BTDT enough.   :D

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No.  My church doesn't see this as the kind of thing that is always meant to be interpreted as a for all time hard and fast rule.  It tells us something about how we are meant to relate to questions of dress.  Like with many rules, the idea is that for a CHristian, the principle of the rule is internalized, but how that is expressed internally is varied depending on circumstances.

 

An inistance on head-covering would tend to be seen as a misunderstanding of how to read Scripture.

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Always an interesting topic. 

 

So the retired minister's wife in our church (PCA) always covered her head for church. She never made a fuss, just wore a hat. I'm not sure if they ever tried to encourage the congregation to do the same, but no one else does.

 

Conversely, a girlfriend of mine who is a missionary did some studying of this subject when touring Greece. According to her, in Corinth women did not culturally cover their hair, though they did in Jewish society. A significant portion of the women in the Corinthian church were temple slaves (and ex-temple-slaves) who had their heads shaved as part of being a temple-slave. The other women had long hair, and so it became shameful to have a shaved head and a point of pride to have long hair. Anyway, according to her, this became a thing (as it would), so Paul's solution was to reach into his own culture, and get the women to all cover their heads (and then the messenger thing makes sense too, if most of them were Jewish and would find uncovered hair provocative). Then no one really needed to know if you were a temple-slave, ex-slave, or not. My girlfriend saw this as a practical solution to a difficult problem, rather than a universal rule about wearing a hat or scarf to church. And the principle is more about avoiding shaming people, and avoiding exaggerating differences among us. But, obviously, there are lots of ways to look at this, and not everyone agrees. 

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I'm PCA and I cover only during Advent... It's just a thing I do to remind me to focus on being prayerful ... I cover with a scarf that I am already wearing or wear a hat or often just by putting up the hood on my hoodie (most common at home) ... most of the time no one notices.

 

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There are a couple of ladies at our church who do cover. Most don't, and plenty have short hair (including the minister's wife). Standard presby church. No one makes any sort of issue about it.

 

I have no conviction to cover so I don't. I do like the look, aesthetically, of some covers though!

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Mantillas were only seen on quite elderly ladies of Italian or Maltese heritage, when I was a child at Mass in the 70's. You would be very, very unlikely to see a mantilla or other covering at Mass nowadays in AU. The decline of head coverings has paralleled the decline in hat wearing by both females and males as a cultural tradition. People still wear hats, of course, just for sun protection.

 

The only head coverings I see these days are on Muslim women. I'm interested to know there are still parts of the Catholic community in the Western world where head covering is routinely practiced.

 

I just remembered, typying this, that when I was 6 or 7, I actually had a little lace mantilla for my Barbie to go to Mass in. I think I asked my Grandma to make me one. It must have been during my pious period, lol.

Sadie, I obviously can't speak for everyone/everywhere; however, in the church I attend, a fair number of women wear a mantilla, chapel veil, or other cover during Mass. This is during an NO Mass at an urban church. I'm sure more women cover at the church's Latin Mass.

 

That said when my family has attended Mass at other churches I've really only seen very few, if any, women wearing a mantilla.

 

Incidentally, my family prefers to receive on the tongue and we've been surprised how apparently unusual this is when we've attended other churches, too. Not sure if there is a relationship between covering and receiving or not. And I certainly wouldn't say my family is very conservative or pious, either.

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Mantillas were only seen on quite elderly ladies of Italian or Maltese heritage, when I was a child at Mass in the 70's. You would be very, very unlikely to see a mantilla or other covering at Mass nowadays in AU. The decline of head coverings has paralleled the decline in hat wearing by both females and males as a cultural tradition. People still wear hats, of course, just for sun protection. 

 

The only head coverings I see these days are on Muslim women. I'm interested to know there are still parts of the Catholic community in the Western world where head covering is routinely practiced.

 

I just remembered, typying this, that when I was 6 or 7, I actually had a little lace mantilla for my Barbie to go to Mass in. I think I asked my Grandma to make me one. It must have been during my pious period, lol.

 

I think this has actually increased somewhat.

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Oh, interesting. I haven't been to Mass for about 5 years, so could be. 

 

I wonder why though. You'd think under Francis the impetus would be in a different direction.

 

I think it was ,ore under Benedict, with the increase in Latin mass congregations.

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Always an interesting topic. 

 

So the retired minister's wife in our church (PCA) always covered her head for church. She never made a fuss, just wore a hat. I'm not sure if they ever tried to encourage the congregation to do the same, but no one else does.

 

Conversely, a girlfriend of mine who is a missionary did some studying of this subject when touring Greece. According to her, in Corinth women did not culturally cover their hair, though they did in Jewish society. A significant portion of the women in the Corinthian church were temple slaves (and ex-temple-slaves) who had their heads shaved as part of being a temple-slave. The other women had long hair, and so it became shameful to have a shaved head and a point of pride to have long hair. Anyway, according to her, this became a thing (as it would), so Paul's solution was to reach into his own culture, and get the women to all cover their heads (and then the messenger thing makes sense too, if most of them were Jewish and would find uncovered hair provocative). Then no one really needed to know if you were a temple-slave, ex-slave, or not. My girlfriend saw this as a practical solution to a difficult problem, rather than a universal rule about wearing a hat or scarf to church. And the principle is more about avoiding shaming people, and avoiding exaggerating differences among us. But, obviously, there are lots of ways to look at this, and not everyone agrees. 

 

Well that is VERY interesting. Thank you for sharing that!!!

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Always an interesting topic. 

 

So the retired minister's wife in our church (PCA) always covered her head for church. She never made a fuss, just wore a hat. I'm not sure if they ever tried to encourage the congregation to do the same, but no one else does.

 

Conversely, a girlfriend of mine who is a missionary did some studying of this subject when touring Greece. According to her, in Corinth women did not culturally cover their hair, though they did in Jewish society. A significant portion of the women in the Corinthian church were temple slaves (and ex-temple-slaves) who had their heads shaved as part of being a temple-slave. The other women had long hair, and so it became shameful to have a shaved head and a point of pride to have long hair. Anyway, according to her, this became a thing (as it would), so Paul's solution was to reach into his own culture, and get the women to all cover their heads (and then the messenger thing makes sense too, if most of them were Jewish and would find uncovered hair provocative). Then no one really needed to know if you were a temple-slave, ex-slave, or not. My girlfriend saw this as a practical solution to a difficult problem, rather than a universal rule about wearing a hat or scarf to church. And the principle is more about avoiding shaming people, and avoiding exaggerating differences among us. But, obviously, there are lots of ways to look at this, and not everyone agrees. 

 

 

I agree. It has to be put into the cultural context of the day. Biblical misinterpretation can become a sticky legalistic mess in a hurry and it applied as a "must do" to lot of things. I would say no, it is not a requirement.

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And the reasons Paul gives actually appear to have little to do with culture. Paul says the covering should be worn:

  • Because it displays the proper order of Biblical headship (1 Corinthians 11:3-9).

  • “Because of the angels†(vs. 10; a cryptic statement, but seemingly not cultural).

  • Because even “nature itself†testifies that women should be covered (vs. 13-15).  

It's not surprising that we find archaeological and written evidence showing that women throughout the world routinely covered their heads for prayer for the first 1,900 years of Christianity.

 

OP, I wear a head covering whenever I pray or read God's Word aloud, which means I keep it on most of the day for convenience. I use a wide headband now because that is what my husband likes best. I used to wear a triangle-shaped kerchief and looked a bit hippie-ish, which suited me just fine, too. I think an argument can be made for wearing it in church services only, but I am not comfortable praying with my head uncovered.

 

The passage seems straightforward to me. Christians don't seem to have any problems with the second half of 1 Corinthians 11 and its instructions regarding bread and wine--also physical symbols of a spiritual reality. 

 

I find 11:13-15 massively confusing.  Nature provides the same headcovering for men and women, so surely he doesn't really mean nature when he says nature differentiates?

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I find 11:13-15 massively confusing.  Nature provides the same headcovering for men and women, so surely he doesn't really mean nature when he says nature differentiates?

 

I think Paul is saying that throughout history, in many places and many times, it has been "natural" for women to wear their hair much longer than men. He writes, "Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her?" He is aware that this is true in many cultures, not just the Jewish culture in which he was raised. The long hair which a woman is more naturally inclined to wear is a type of natural covering for her. Does that make sense?

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I think Paul is saying that throughout history, in many places and many times, it has been "natural" for women to wear their hair much longer than men. He writes, "Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her?" He is aware that this is true in many cultures, not just the Jewish culture in which he was raised. The long hair which a woman is more naturally inclined to wear is a type of natural covering for her. Does that make sense?

 

And since we now live in an age where this is not the case - women don't necessarily wear their hair longer than men - it goes along with the idea that this no longer applies rather than being something "God" planned or wants.  If God had wanted it, Paul would have deferred to that reasoning rather than a cultural one.

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And since we now live in an age where this is not the case - women don't necessarily wear their hair longer than men - it goes along with the idea that this no longer applies rather than being something "God" planned or wants.  If God had wanted it, Paul would have deferred to that reasoning rather than a cultural one.

 

It is still more common for women to wear their hair longer than men and long hair on a woman is still considered especially beautiful, "her glory." This has been the case throughout most of history.

 

I don't believe any of the reasons Paul gives are cultural: Biblical headship (still in force), natural tendencies (still in force), and "because of the angels" (still in force, I imagine).

 

I don't want to get into a lengthy debate about it, though. Ain't nobody got time for that. ;)

 

It's not something I feel the need to convince others of, you know? If you believe Scripture tells you to cover your head when you pray, or your conscience compels you to do it, do it. If you don't, don't.  :)

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I don't want to get into a lengthy debate about it, though. Ain't nobody got time for that. ;)

 

It's not something I feel the need to convince others of, you know? If you believe Scripture tells you to cover your head when you pray, or your conscience compels you to do it, do it. If you don't, don't.  :)

 

I agree totally with this, and if you're putting out your reasons, I can add mine.  ;)  No one need change their views over either.

 

IME too many people look at the Bible as a rulebook.  I see it as a guidebook for living.  If God had wanted to give us a rulebook, He could/would have been far more clear on it.  Rulebooks are easy to make - think 10 Commandments.  By giving us a guidebook we spend far more time thinking/contemplating/discussing, etc - even seeking out thoughts.  That, I believe, was His intent for "everyday" life.

 

One doesn't have to spend much thought on 2+2 = 4.  Get into more complex math and math gets far more interesting, often with several options for correctly solving a problem.

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