Headdress and Headship

I am not a feminist.

Wait a minute… I started my post yesterday with that statement too.

Clearly I like to repeat myself.

Or I have a gender-related topic yet again.

No, I am not perseverating.

Okay, maybe a little.

Yesterday in church, we were looking at the first half of 1 Corinthians 11.  This is the chunk of scripture, for those of you who may remember, where Paul goes off on a rant about women covering their heads.

Before you want to shoot Paul (PS… This is an impossibility, as Paul is dead) if you actually look at it, this is a passage about respect, gender roles and the relationship between men and women, Christ and men and God and Jesus.  Whoah… What!?!  It isn’t all anti-women?!?  And she is not about to go all women’s rights on you!?!  That’s right folks!

Yes, apparently all of this can be found in that little chunk-o-scripture.

The whole head covering issue was cultural.  Like we wear wedding rings, women in that culture covered their heads to show that they weren’t all down with getting around.  So, even though Christian women are liberated through Christ, it is still polite for them, in that culture to cover their heads.  And it is a sign of respect for their husbands.  And other men (who might otherwise be tempted by all the hair).

Some people take the passage literally.  That we should all cover our heads.  And that men shouldn’t have long hair (again, cultural).

Really, does it matter?

It isn’t a fundamental faith issue.  In fact, I will put a doilie on my head if it makes you happy.

But, the cool bits of this go beyond the whole scalp exposure issue and yet are still related to heads.

 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. -1 Corinthians 11:3

Yes, I get what this passage says.  I believe this wholeheartedly.

Like I said, I am not a feminist.

But before you start thinking that I think I beling in the kitchen held under my husband’s thumb… Realize that the same passage also says this:

A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.  For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.  It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.  Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.  For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 1 Corinthians 11: 7-12

Woman did come from man.  All you have to do is look at Genesis to see that.  Adam was first and then Eve.  God is intentional.  Also, every other man is born of a woman.  And thus we are all interdependent.  But man did come first.  That doesn’t make men better, but it does give them certain strengths, certain purposes.  The same goes for women, they have different strengths, different purposes.

So what?

So, I am not a feminist.

I think that women need equal rights.  But, I also think women need men.  Otherwise we would be wiped off the face of the planet in a generation.  I believe we have certain God-given gifts and that although we can fill many roles, there are some things men are better suited to do and some things women are better suited to do.

I don’t think women have to live under the command of any man except God.

But, I do believe that women should submit to their husbands.  Because that is how it has always been designed.  From the dawn of time, the man was put in charge of creation.

Over and over the Bible tells you that Christ is the head of men and men are the heads of their wives and God is the head of Christ.  That doesn’t mean that wives don’t answer to Christ.  But it means that they serve Christ by serving their husbands.  And that husbands are the first in line for answering for the behavior of their families and in leading their families.

Marriage is used over and over again for a model as Christ and His bride, the church.  Then, it only makes sense that the husband loves and protects and the wife loves and serves.

This is not a demeaning relationship.  It is one of mutual respect.

It works.  And it works better than some of this being independent crap.  We weren’t made to be alone.  I think people can do it and do it well, but that if we have someone, we should care for one another.

And thus, I don’t believe in this whole women can do anything alone thing.  Yes, they can.  But, really I don’t know if it is the best.

I know, I can’t really judge other people’s choices.

But, is it best for someone to be alone because they refuse to depend on another?  Is it best for a kid to have no Dad or no Mom figure because someone was too selfish to serve someone else in caring for them?

I think gender does not matter.  Except that we are designed to fill certain roles. And often instinctfully fill them  And why bother running from those roles?  Especially if when they are done well, they are so helpful and so good? And yes, sometimes we fill non-typical roles.  And there is nothing wrong with that either.  I am just saying sometimes there are obvious choice roles.  And some people flee them because they don’t fit or because they don’t want to fit.

People are sometimes surprised.  I am educated.  I am tough.  I am stubborn.  I am open minded (shocking, I know, as you read my very traditional rant).  But I truly believe this is important.  I want to submit to my husband.  And I think it is a Biblical and God-pleasing thing to do.  And in a good marriage, it works.

I won’t put a doily on my head, but I will submit to my husband.  Because I love him and I love God and it works.  I am happier when all of that works.  It is easy to do when he is following Christ and it all fits.

And yes, if I went somewhere that required head covering, I would do it.  Because I respect other people’s cultures.  I just don’t see it necessary for myself.

However, the relationship of husband to wife is non-optional to me.  If you are in a marriage, it should be one of mutual love and submission.  It isn’t just a culture issue.  It is a gender issue and a spiritual issue.  If you aren’t in a marriage, then it is something to consider before you are in one., even a nontraditional one.

So, yes, I submit to my husband.  But, I still make my own choices and I still follow God first.

In summary, I am not a feminist.  I am also not one who thinks men are superior.  I just think we are different.  And that is how we were made.  And that it is good and should be honoured.

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5 thoughts on “Headdress and Headship

  1. Great post, Trisha.
    A subject that is touchy for some and might make some people downright mad.

    “[Women] serve Christ by serving their husbands.” To me, that’s the beauty of submission. It is a way for me to serve Jesus who gave everything for me. Not that it’s always easy, husbands are human, too. Not to mention that my natural bent is to want to control, control, control. But then again, the Christian life is not all about comfort and the status quo.

    Several years ago, after our pastor taught through chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians at our church, some women began to wear hats or scarves, etc. They did it out of a desire to please God and their husbands. Amen to that! What I love about our church though is that we are still unified in our love and service to the Lord and each other even though some wear coverings and most do not.

    And on a separate subject, a surgeon at the hospital where my son Eric volunteers has taken him under her wing. This doctor has invited Eric to shadow her on her rounds and observe her surgeries. He will be observing a double mastectomy tomorrow. Eric has told me he has been thinking about the lady’s (who is having the mastectomy) family and what this surgery means to her and to them. My boy is thoughtful and kind and smart. I think he will make a good doctor someday.

    Sorry, this comment is so long. Still love reading your blog! Blessings to you and Patrick! =)

    • I like long comments!

      First of all, hooray for your son! I am so excited that he gets to really be involved clinically with this doctor. It will be good for him! I also love that he is thinking about the lady. It will serve him and his patients well in the future. He will indeed be a great doctor!

      It is a touchy subject. I have heard it debated a number of times. My bent is to control too. Like you said, lots about the Christian life isn’t easy and our human-ness makes it all more of a struggle. And like you said, the most important part of things is that we are serving the Lord and are unified in love. Some of the other details are about personal decisions between the individual and God.

      Thanks for sharing! Hope all is well with you and your family!

  2. Pingback: In the Mundane | At least we made it this far...

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