Uninformed musings on hair
A friend of mine asked the question/made the comment: "The other day I opened my Bible for personal devotions at 1 Corinthians 11. Verses 2-16 really confused me. In these verses it seems to imply that women should wear hats and if they are to pray without their head covered they dishonor their head, Christ."
I've been pretty much in the dark on this one myself for a long time. But as I thought about it, I decided to draft a hypothesis just to get my thoughts down. The more I wrote and thought, the more it seemed consistant with other apostolic teachings. I'm not claiming I've hit on the truth--that's just not something I would do without giving it serious study and seeking counsel.
For what it's worth, here's the guts of what I wrote. Please comment if you think I am wrong.
Questions I have:
What are head coverings meant to signify?
What are head coverings?
Have the significance of them changed over time?
Would it matter if it did (or does that detract from what Paul says in Corinthians)?
Here are my thoughts after reading through the passage again and doing a (limited) word study:
It seems like the case could easily be made that a "hat" or what-have-you is not the main issue, nor should we be too much distracted by this so that we lose sight of Paul’s true point. I think Paul is emphasizing the need for each of us to accept our proper roles especially when we come before God in prayer (before His very throne as it were). Man has no covering, which testifies before God that he accepts the leadership role God gives to him. By a woman's covered head, she signifies her contented submission to God's beautiful will and pattern for her life.
So do I think a literal covering is needed? Yes and no. Let me explain if I can.
Paul talks about the hair on one's head as a covering. Why should this not be the covering he is talking about to signify this submission? In our day, the hair isn't the only thing that signifies submission or a “gender role.” I think ultimately, this speaks to the idea at the root of the more broad issue of cross-dressing which is simply rebellion against God-given roles!
Some girls may ask, "so am I rebelling if I cut my hair too short?" I don't know because, I don't know the intent of your heart. I do know this: there ARE many shorter hairstyles that do not look in any way rebellious against natural femininity. It would probably end up being a matter of conscience for most—although not that we have license to rationalize carelessness. We ought to exercise care in our appearances. A little self-consciousness isn’t a bad thing in this case.
How about an example: What if a Christian woman is trying to look as imposing as possible to help her in a business related job? Good question. I don’t have the answer.
Yeah, I don’t know if you see any of that in the text. If anyone is considering replying, please do me one favor: read everything I said so I don’t get taken out of context.