20 April 2009

More on hats

The Blackbirds have been talking about hats (thanks for the tip, Rev. BTB--your girls look great, as always).

Here's the scaffolding for characterization if I were going to write it into a book:

--Husband wants wife to wear dresses and a hat or other head covering to church. First, he thinks she looks nice this way. Second, he thinks it would set a good example. What example? Well, looking nice--decent--which a lot of females obviously don't understand. And frankly, there's that whole 1 Cor. 11 business which on the one hand we say is to be interpreted culturally and on the other hand says "every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head." Come on. Anyway, she looks nice in a dress and hat. Churchy. Husband observes wifely balking on these topics. Well, he's not a tyrant. She's the one who has to get everyone to church by herself every week. But, ok: what's the big deal? Would it kill her?

--Wife imagines walking across parking lot trying to keep hat from blowing away while holding heavy baby and hand of toddler. Wife imagines having yet another item on the list of "weird things Pastor's wife does" maintained by church members. Wife prefers not to draw attention to herself by means of fashion since she is extremely unfashionable. Wife does not want to spend money on hat--which will become hats since she would need at least one winter hat and one summer hat. Where is she supposed to keep all these blasted hats? Wife just wants to be warm in the winter for crying out loud. Wife knows husband thinks she complains all the time when in fact she never does succumb to that urge she feels four times a week to hold explosive and exhaustive informative session for his benefit. But then . . . he wants her to wear a hat and a dress. And what does that mean, anyway, "every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head"? Wife wants to be a good wife and a good Christian.

(She's eventually going to get a hat. Not sure how long it will take. It doesn't come up again in the book anyway; this is just a verisimilitudinous narrative excursus. Also the book does not exist.)

Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? Does nature itself teach us this? I think most of us have missed it. Is this indicative of the depravity of our culture? Probably, considering what we know of our culture. My sense of natural law has certainly failed me before.

Maybe if you told her she looked skinny in hats?


Joy said...

Verisimilitudinous? Show off! (Again! :D) I'm just jealous....

Anonymous said...

Just wear head scarves.

MooreMama said...

Or you could say that a woman's hair covers her head...?

Sandra Ostapowich said...

Scarves would be much more convenient, affordable, and fashionable. AND you don't have to do your hair.

Dresses are another story though. I don't mind them in warm weather, but I hate them in the cold - because I hate to wear nylons. If there was a way to wear a dress bare-legged without freezing (move to a warmer climate maybe?) I'd wear a lot more dresses.

Would a scarf with slacks be a contradiction? ;)

Marie said...

Thanks for bringing this up... I'm not sure I'm going to go out any buy a hat (but it shames me that the main reason I wouldn't is because I'd be the only one at my church!) But I've always been bothered by the answer that the head-covering is just a cultural thing... that's the same argument liberals give about homosexuality! If we can just designate whatever we want from the epistles as "cultural"... I think we've crossed a scary line! So, head covering or no, long hair or short... Let's get this discussion going!=)

Monique said...

In the same chapter it also indicates that women should only have long hair and men only short. So then is it wrong for a woman to have short hair? And then of course it begs the question, what is considered short? If a woman has hair above her shoulders, or maybe above her ears?!!

Lately it seems all the men are growing their hair long. So, is this wrong too? What is considered too long? If a man has his hair past the ears?

FWIW, I’m not defending my own hairdo. I actually have very long hair and my husband seems to not be able to get away from his military days of sporting a military style haircut.

Monique said...

I've just read that it was a sign of sexual promiscuity for women to expose her hair. But it also was promiscous for a woman to braid her hair and wear jewelry. So where do we draw the line people?

Boy, I can't wait for hubby to get in so I can pick his brain.

Monique said...

After pondering this for awhile, I think this mostly is about making a statement. Making a statement about headship and that God has called women in submission and service to their husbands. This is all good and I think as Christian women we should set an example to others of what a woman’s role is. However, I’m just not so sure you have to do this by covering your head. Couldn’t one accomplish the same thing and even be more effective by their demeanor?

I think it is very important for Christian wives to be mindful of showing respect, love, humility and service to our husbands, especially in public. It is very important that we are mindful of how we speak to our husbands, the tone we use, and that we never publicly criticize them. I’ve always been very open with friends, family, parishoners that my husband calls all the shots. Yes, I have full run of the house and make all decisions pertaining to it. But when it comes to anything really important, those decisions are left to my husband. Although I would like to think that he regards me as one of his most trusted advisors. For me personally, wearing a head covering would be more of a distraction than anything. But then again, what do I know. I’m just a housewife

Rebekah said...

The statements about women's appearance in the NT are tricky. I always get a kick out of that line in The Hammer of God where the Pietist-leaning pastor, beginning to snap out of it, wonders what the women are supposed to do with their hair if they can't braid it.

I think it's clear that vanities in whatever form they may take in a particular culture are out. This varies among women also. What is vain for one may not be vain for another. Does lipstick tastefully adorn a beautiful face created by God, or perversely mar it? Does it seek to draw lustful attention, or give comfort to the humiliated plain?

Clearly any personal adornment (or lack thereof) that indicates promiscuity or draws attention to sexuality is out. Of course, female fashion is always dictated to a large extent by porn/prostitution. But I also doubt any of our husbands want us to quit shaving our legs, even if the Nazi hookers did start that trend. Where is the line between beautiful and sexy? Is there such a thing as asexual female beauty in these perverse latter days? Has there ever been?

Honestly, I don't know the right answer to the hair/head covering thing. 1 Cor. 11:2-7 sounds like a natural law argument to me, and like I said, I don't trust my culturally damaged sense of natural law.

Reb. Mary said...

I once heard a deaconess-professor type labor mightily to explain that the gist of Paul's argument is that women should dress/adorn themselves in a way that would be perceived as sexually modest, not dishonoring to her husband/her ultimate Bridegroom. (Rosie, if you're reading here, I believe we shared this experience...)

Though I'm leery of "this-is-what-the-Bible-says-but-this-is-what-it-actually-means" arguments in general, I found this line of reasoning to be convincing at the time (perhaps as much because I wanted it to be as for any loftier exegetical reasoning...)

Tena said...


Step 1: Checked out the blackbirds entry and following comments.

Step 2: Attempted discussion of subject with husband.

Step 3: Questioned Pastor at Bible Study that evening. Seeings as how my Pastor is my husband, I also learned timing is vitally important when having such discussions :)

Step 4: To the Bible.

Step 5: To the Confessions (Found Article X of the Formula of Concord quite interesting, but I digress)

Step 6: Back to the Bible

Step 7: Borrow hubby's Concordia Commentary on I Corinthians and read info concerning Chapter 11.

Step 8: The Bible again.

Step 9: To the Confessions once more ... especially The Augsburg Confession and it's Apology Articles XXVIII

Step 10: Hop scotching about the scriptures once more. As I don't recall actually falling asleep last night, I'm afraid hubby may have had to pull them from my hand and turned out the light.

Step 11: Dictionary.com ... Verisimilitudinous

Now if only I could articulate any of it properly, but there is a baby crying ...

Rebekah said...

Well, what did you decide, Tena? ;)