Head Covering, Yes Or No?
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
This is a very snowy day with no obligations to go out and just perfect for some research and maybe find answers to my own questions. I know this is a controversial topic but I thought I'd record my research so that it may help others in case of curiosity or serious inquiry and decision making.
Growing up in an Old Order Mennonite home where driving horse and buggy and biking (without motors😉) was the normal transportation. There was a dress standard and part of that was a head covering made from stiff mesh(if I remember correctly it's almost like the same stuff used for fixing hernias but I haven't researched the validity of that statement) or fabric(older versions). Actually in the photo it would be the picture of 4 girls cleaning a van on the far right-middle just to give you an idea.
When a young girl in our current circles was old enough that her hair was long enough to be braided or around 1 year old they would start wearing a covering on Sundays and for any church services.
I still remember being so glad to come home from church and take the stiff scratchy thing off. Around age 13-14 a girl would start wearing her hair in a bun and but wouldn't wear a head covering except for church services. Around 14-15 depending on the parent's approval they would start getting together with their friends Sunday afternoons. They would also start wearing coverings through the week. They would have 1/4" white ribbon for strings. After they were married for a few years they would change their covering strings to black as sign of maturity I guess. Single ladies would change their's to black around 30 or later. I remember 1-2 ladies that never did though it was strongly recommended. Some of the very old ladies would wear thicker, maybe 1/2" black ribbon. The coverings also had to be a certain size; coming at least half way over the ears with the covering strings tied in front. Those who wore them smaller and with the strings untied or down the back were considered to be those "riding on the fence" or wide. And this is just the head covering, I haven't even started with the clothing...😄
Lately God's been dealing with me about other outward aspects of my life and I began to think about the head covering and why do I wear it?
It's what I was taught according to 1 Corinthians 11:2-15.
When asking why it has to be a certain shape or form, it was said that it is how we have always traditionally done.( I did research some of the history of my forefathers when I had access to the library and since my ancestors came from Switzerland and other parts of Europe I discovered that the head covering worn currently was similar style to the ones worn by all women in the 1500's in those areas. Only the rich sophisticated folk embroidered there's whereas the Christians didn't for the most part. Then in the late 1800's to early 1900's when things started drastically changing in the culture such as losing the head coverings and styles of clothing the Mennonite and a few others started to make regulations in their understanding of trying to remain separate from the world, hence why the head coverings are similar to the 1500's. Here's a few photos I found:
Here's a few current ones...
I found some of the pictures here:
The bonnets were worn over the coverings when going away; the black ones for church, funerals and weddings whereas the fabric covered "summer" or straw bonnets were worn for going shopping, business, or job excursions or anything else where you didn't need to wear your Sunday clothes.
So much for that...now I will share the resources I came across and what I get out of them...
I found this interesting but I don't agree with him in that he says just stick with the Word and don't run to the Greek and that the Word is enough and you don't need commentaries. In the end it will still be between God and me. But since the Bible was translated from the Greek why wouldn't I go back to trying to understand the meaning of the words that were translated since words don't always translate equally? Also studying culture can make it even more fascinating as to understand how or why it may have been said to do things a certain way.
Here is some Jewish history on the subject...
I don't know the author of this article and I haven't researched the truth behind some of the things, but if the one practice he mentions was true I am definitely glad it no longer is in practice..
The person who wrote this article I think is Mennonite/Amish as I have heard the name before. I definitely appreciate him debunking the myths, most of which were taught in my church growing up, especially #9 and #10. I also appreciate how he so plainly laid out the faults of a lot of conservative churches today, such as cherry picking verses on which to build their regulations.
This is a long, very informative article including the book of Enoch which is not considered part of the Bible, despite there being quite a few references to it throughout what we call the Bible.
This is another one that talks about the book of Enoch and the place it may have as to why Paul said what he did in 1 Corinthians 11.
This is a forum where someon
posted a question on the subject and it's got some interesting answers...
This article gives the cultural perspective of then and now into play...
Here is an article condemning the book of Enoch. It may be their opinion but it is worthy of consideration...
Another person's view...
Here's another very interesting argument on the subject...
This is an interesting article about why it is okay to not wear a head covering...
This article is very interesting, looking at the subject from a spiritual perspective rather than an outward physical object...
Another good article on the spiritual side of things...
These are just a compilation of of different people's opinions and interpretations of what they take 1 Corinthians 11 to mean on whether cover the head or not. Some people take it literal and others apply it in a spiritual sense. We are all different from each other and see things from different perspectives through the lenses of our past, our culture, the things we were taught, abuse plays a huge role in this and so much more. Our goal should be to get to heaven for we are all commanded to work out our own salvation with trembling (Phil. 2:12). We are all sinners in need of grace(Rom. 3:23). Jesus condemned the Pharisees for making the laws of God of non effect (Matt. 23, Matt. 15:1-20) of which many churches and people do today also.
I have Christian friends who don't cover their head as well as those that do. For the most part I have to say that the ones who don't cover their head act more Christ like than those who do cover their head. I've seen too many "covered Christians " bite and devour each other and even those who aren't "covered". I must say I've had much better experiences with those "uncovered" Christians than the vice versa. I know there's "bad apples" in every group and Jesus said that by their fruit we will know them. I cant even begin to mention all the cruelty I've witnessed and heard of among "covered" Christians and even though I'm sure there's also sincere ones scattered among the group, it appears to me that there's a pride in dressing a certain way, having the head covered and/or living a certain way. It's almost as though there's an aura of we're the only right church, the most Biblical, you've got to follow all the rules to make it to heaven,etc. It's so sad.
Personally I am at the place that to me that by covering my head I feel "covered" almost as though if I didn't I'd feel as though I had gone out in public undressed. And yet that's the whole stigma of growing up as a teenager: you weren't completely dressed until you put your head covering on. On the other hand I realize that there is a certain somewhat odd feeling perhaps rightly called pride niggling at the back of my mind as though I subconsciously still consider those who don't "cover" as though they are "less than" or I am more Biblical than they are which is absolutely not true. I also feel as though I may be trusting more in the article as my assurance that God will protect me from harm rather than trusting in the Creator Himself. I don't like what I am seeing and yet I'm hesitant to not wear anything on my head because of what I understand the Bible to say in 1 Corinthians 11. If I were a new Christian it would be different whereas this is tied to my past and my upbringing and the other things I've left behind. I just desire the Lord to direct my steps and I know that sometimes He asks things of us that make no sense to anyone else and often not even to ourselves, and though I will not be surprised if I feel that God wants me to lay it down, I want to be willing. It definitely looks like a hard step for my timid self to make because in my family's eyes it would only prove that I've really gone off the deep end. And yet I am called to follow and please the Lord not men...