September 10, 2015

I'm Blocked!

Greetings. Since I've been blocked from the Head Covering Movement, I've find myself unable to respond to new posts or to existing comments. That means I cannot explain anything or defend anything. It makes me feel like I've been sent to the corner without being told what exactly I did wrong. (I hope it's not permanent, but in case it is:)

Truth be told, they were amazingly patient to put up with a whole year of me not agreeing with every word they say. Most Christians have a much shorter level of patience. Most moderate their comments so that any disagreement disappears or become somewhat rude it becomes crystal clear that a regular isn't going to be convinced to have a change of heart. I probably somehow deserved it. But for the record, here's my official belief regarding head coverings:

They are optional. Some men might want to wear head coverings as a sign of humility between them and God. That is their right. Some women might want to wear head coverings as a symbol of the authority under which they live in submission. That is their right. Some men might not want to wear head coverings as they believe that they are the glory of Christ. That is their right. Some women might not want to wear head coverings as they believe that they also are the glory of Christ. That is their right. No one has any right to force their particular belief on all men and all women.
Religions the world over practice head coverings and have particular rules for head coverings - that's nothing new. It's not odd that Christianity would develop similar rules because that's just what religions do. Jewish men and women have particular rules for head coverings. In a documentary about the Western Wall, I once learned that you can tell which sect a man belongs to by the style of the hat he wears. Islam also has rules about head coverings, some of which we're familiar with and some of which we don't even know. So it's not surprising that the last of the Abrahamic religions would likewise make some rules up about head covering. 

It also probably didn't hurt that for thousands of years for the most part wearing hats was the cultural norm in most societies. Hats kept heads clean, protected from lice, and safe from the weather. My grandparents - all of them, grew up in a time where no civilized person did not wear a hat. Those days have long been gone and no amount of 'shame on you women for being rebellious against God' is going to bring them back.

Culturally speaking, the world has gone through so many changes that the truth behind head coverings is likely lost altogether. We might not ever know if Paul believed what he wrote literally or he was disagreeing with other elements in his church. Over the centuries, Christians did carry it on, some places had laws that would punish women were for not doing so, so that probably helped the cause. We have to remember that we are an entirely different culture than the one that existed in 1st and 2nd Corinthians. 

Today, too many Christians are quick to blame feminism, but forget to blame the patriarchal origins of their teachings as the reason for which feminism came to exist. Christianity is currently using a straw-man version of feminism as the boogey-man to explain away anything it doesn't like - not unlike Mama Boucher's overused line of: "It's the Devil!" In Adam Sandler's movie, "Waterboy." Feminism is not the bad guy here; it's a belief system that isn't perfect but it is standing up to the status quo that permitted women and children to be abused by men who protected each other from the consequences of their actions. Christianity isn't the bad guy here either; it's a belief system that isn't perfect and can do more harm than good when it is given too much power and control. 

I'm afraid of using too much bold here - but this cannot be stated enough: Power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely. The principle behind head coverings, that women must submit to men; or more accurately: "All women must wear head coverings during corporate worship; but only some women must submit to certain men; wives must submit to their husbands, single daughters must submit to their fathers, and widows must submit to their church elders." According to this teaching, there is never a point a time where a woman must not be in submission to some man in her life-time; she will submit to her father from the day she is born to the day she is married, she will submit to her husband from the day she is married until the day that death parts them, and she will submit to the male church elders until the day she herself dies. Men are under no such obligation to submit themselves to any human in that way. Women are stripped of their own power and agency, denied equal status in person-hood with men, and are left as little more than eternal children who incapable of making decisions or thinking for themselves. 

This head covering principle is the perfect way to corrupt the hearts of good men with enough power to turn them into worse men. Some have even said that they felt like they were failing God if they didn't 'take charge' or 'make decisions' and were risking the loss of his promised blessings or were going to be punished for their 'passivity'. That is not the Christianity that Jesus died to create. Jesus's kingdom is up-side down, the first will be last. The greatest will be least. The one who gives orders will be the one who takes orders. It's not about lording authority, it's about modeling humility. 

Jesus also said that we ought not look down on our brothers and sisters with weaker faith who do not agree with us. He never said that we had the right to make them agree with us in everything. All I ask is that you keep that in mind that Christianity is a relationship, what works for one relationship is not the key to success for every relationship. People are all different. It doesn't make them sinful to believe things differently than you do. It doesn't make you sinful for not believing things as they do. Head coverings themselves don't make anyone more holy, more spiritual, or more successful than another. God will still hear the prayers of any woman, anywhere, in any condition no matter how much (or little) she is wearing. He won't ignore the desperate prayers of a woman without a head covering. He won't turn away from the prayers of a man who does wear a head covering. 

It's not a test of fellowship - any church that makes it one has already fallen victim to the trap of lording authority. Christianity, that is your biggest challenge for the years to come. I can only pray that you'll chose Christlikeness. Jesus never required anyone to take up wearing certain clothing in certain styles to win the favor of God. Some passages in the Bible say that we ought to clothe ourselves in Christ - and that makes him the one covering that covers everyone all the time.

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