So I'm just listening to a sermon about Head Coverings where the pastor pointed out up until the 1960s, women regularly wore hats to church. He mentioned that we get the tradition of asking men to remove their hats when they're indoors from the head covering passage. There's just one problem - the evidence for that isn't particularly plentiful.
Imagine you're a time-traveler who has just arrived at this very day, this very hour, this very minute only in the 1950s. You're literally out of place - someone who stands out - just because of what you're wearing and what you're not wearing. Imagine that all the men are dressed like Frank Sinatra - suits, ties, hats. And the women are dressed like Jackie Kennedy - dresses, gloves, and hats. Everybody wears more formal clothes. And since it's a crowded street and you bump into a young couple and knock them over. The young man's hat goes flying, but the young woman's hat is secured to her head thanks to her hatpin - so it stays fashionably in place. Is she going to say: "Thank God that my symbol of submission to my husband's authority over me didn't fall off my head! It would have been disgraceful!"? What about the man? Would he say: "I can't believe that you knocked my symbol of submission to Christ's authority over me off of my head, I know it's disgraceful to be covering my head, but how it be shameful to show that Christ is the authority over me?" Don't worry, they didn't see hats that way back then and the fact that we think that's what they mean now just shows us how easily it is to misappropriate a confusing passage.
I think the flaw is reading the idea that ever since the year 55 a.d. people have been wearing hats per the instruction of the head covering passage. There are plenty of reason to wears hats and religion isn't necessarily always the first or most important one. After all, religions the world over have rules about hats and other things, it's what they do. Hats were functional back in the day. It helped to keep it's wearers warm in cooler weather, which was good because they didn't have Air Conditioning and Heating systems like we do today. They also protected their wearer's hair from pollution, dust, and other debris that could accumulate throughout the day in a dirty city. Hats were also something of a status symbol, a rich man had a rich man's hat, a poor man had a poor man's hat. Hats were also fashionable. Sometimes fashions go the way of the cone-shaped hat, but some tend to stick around for longer.
I remember asking my grandmother what she remembered from her youth about wearing hats, everybody used to, she told me. It was just the fashion of the time. But fashions change. When the fashion of wearing hats went out, not even the religious crowd would be seen wearing their hats. So the religious reason that we teach - the symbol of the authority of one person over another - was meaningless and/or long forgotten by then. So it seems the religious reason has been rediscovered - but I can't help but wonder if we're reading the authority of one person over another into the passage as it were. How is it that we can plainly see that hats are a symbol of submission to authority when the last generation to wear them obviously didn't and let the tradition die in the first place?