Here is the “promo video” for The Head Covering Movement (which I recently learned about via the excellent blog, Ain’t I a Woman?):
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That’s right, people!
Jesus didn’t come and talk all of that smack against legalism in order to strike down legalism, He just wanted a different weird, random set of laws.
This stuff really makes me sad.
As I understand it, one could identify prostitutes in Corinth because while most women wore hats, the prostitutes didn’t. This became challenging when Christian women chose not to be bothered with this custom. The local reasoning made it difficult to tell Christian women from prostitutes. So, Paul recommended that women cover their heads. That’s why this instruction is only in that letter.
These people have managed to latch onto a tiny, stupid, insignificant thing that they don’t even understand and are trying to treat that as the most important issue?
I guess it’s a whole lot easier than, you know, trying to feed hungry kids or something …
My parents attended a small fundie head-covering church when I was little…about 5-6, I’d guess, before we moved to KS. I still remember watching my mother carefully bobby-pin her creamcolored bit of lace into place on the back of her head.
I think one reason my parents in particular were more susceptible to this is that they both grew up Mennonite, and the stricter sects also subscribe to this, wearing little white caps that are very distinctive. I have a not-insignificant number of distantish cousins who still do this. Can’t remember but I think the Amish in the area (northern IN, Elkhart Co area) also do the same; the stricter Mennonites are sometimes difficult to tell apart from them, at least the women, when you see them in town.
Sorry Ken, I had meant that to be more directly related to your comment…more or less, the Amish and Mennonite traditions are very much like this, all kinds of rules about things you can and can’t do, or can only do at certain times or in certain ways, and it’s in the differences between them where you can really tell how ridiculous it is…for example, the Mennonites allow more colour in their dress, although it’s still pretty drab, and they are less technophobic. It’s odd where people draw their lines, and a lot of times even when they move into a less obviously strict denomination (or non-denomination, in the case of my parents) they still fall prey to other kinds of legalism in a big way.
Hi Ken, a theme seems to keep repeating itself that your comment made me ponder: a lot of smoke and mirrors to deflect attention from what’s really going on, like a patriarchal system swirling the bowl, and what actually matters, like equality of women and feeding, clothing human beings, etc.
This stuff really, really, really, really makes me sad too. I long ago left a church that *required* we women folk to wear skirts, dresses in respect. Of what/whom, I cannot say. My stomach still knots up because my niece is required to play that game.
I wonder how many girls growing up will continue to wonder if they are as important to God, life, the world, etc. as boys, like I did. I get nauseous from the thought of it.
Respect of the men, I always thought. To this day it is extremely difficult for me to enjoy wearing a skirt, even if I think it looks nice on the rack, once I am wearing it I tend to feel kind of ill and anxious, back in the place where nothing I did was ever good enough, because no matter what happens it is always the women/girls who are at fault.
About the only time I can really enjoy a skirt is when it’s a miniskirt or otherwise something that wouldn’t have been allowed. It was a revelation to me the first time I dressed in something that would have been considered ‘risque’ or something but I liked the way it looked, and when I put it on and added makeup I felt pretty. For pretty much the first time in my entire life. And then I promptly decided that feeling and maybe wanting it was a weakness and too girly and I was never doing it again, but that’s another issue entirely. Related, though, I guess.
I love my jeans. Jeans are my safe space. No triggers, no issues, just comfort.
I’m glad you found your comfortable jeans. Literally. Go with what works.
The day my skirt-wearing is no longer considered my choice is the day I’m outta there. I have some cute twirly ones.
I don’t mind dresses on occasion, but then you get to the infernal shoes. I hate shoes, and dress shoes for women is just torture devices, even if they are the cutest things tiny little heels. So are bras, but that’s another story.
They don’t make jeans for my body type. I wear them because they are practical, but I’m at the age and body shape that I’m much happier and comfy in yoga pants…which I wear at every opportunity.
Oh yes, what did we ever do before the yoga pant? Seriously, I love mine!
I’m very sorry that this happened to you.
I don’t understand how people think that creating traumatizing memories is really what God wants them to do.
Especially over something that does NOTHING to advance any purpose that Jesus ever mentioned.
Bingo, Ken. You said it perfectly.
They lost me with this sentence from their “About” link:
“The Head Covering Movement finds it’s unity with other Christians”
Incorrect use of apostrophe: fundie trademark.
There’s also a missing “M” in the video — “comanding” vs “commanding.”
Which is why I voted for “fundies have figured out computers but not spellcheck.”
After being burned by the Discovery Channel’s shark hoax mockumentary, I seriously wondered if this was a joke. Sadly, I guess it is not.
Ken, you’re bang on there. Much of what Paul wrote- and particularly to the church at Corinth- was in specific reaction to the culture surrounding them. like many new religious movements, the Christians across the Roman empire were accused of sexual improprieties. (This has happened throughout history, even to this day.) Paul was giving them instructions for their own good- to protect the fledgling church, and to protect Christian women from defamation. I don’t always agree with Paul, but I think he was in the right on this. Don’t give the world cause to call your faith into question through their view of your morals. Basically, don’t embarrass your church by looking like a hooker. As he said in another place, all things may be permissible, but not all things are a good idea.
“Don’t embarrass your church by looking like a hooker.”
Prostitutes in Corinth went with their hair uncovered. Occasionally Paul had reasons other than theology for saying what he did.
So Paul wouldn’t have liked Jesus hanging out with prostitutes?
The way some churches are managed, “corporate” is fitting.
Wow…misplaced reply..sorry. this should appear in the corporate corner.
That’s quite alright, sd. You’re always welcome in my comment threads!
Whether it’s in the right thread or not, that’s a beautiful comment.
If your “church growth” meetings look a lot like corporate marketing meetings, then you’ve lost the plot.
Although I do think that Dover (NH) Baptist has taken on a great thing from marketing concepts. Every year at the holiday parade (the Sunday after Thanksgiving) they show up giving away cups of hot chocolate. They’re marked with something like, “Courtesy of Dover Baptist Church. Happy Holidays.” No fussing about holiday vs. Christmas. Their people will not accept donations. (I know. For a couple of years, a friend of mine who was involved in their men’s group asked me to be a plant and try to make a donation. Everyone has refused.)
Just being part of the community and having a good time. And giving away free hot chocolate to people standing beside Main Street in New Hampshire.
Not that DBC is always on the right side of everything, but I like some of what they do.
I don’t think that is really the issue. What Paul is trying to address is that this ‘new religion’ was suspect, and they did not need to be seen as some sort of cult, or as a new version of a religious group with temple prostitutes. It’s the ‘avoiding the appearance of evil’ sort of thing.
Thank you. Churches these days worry far too much about appearances and image. Well, I say these days….pretty much they always have, and that’s sad. Jesus never did.
You’re right, it is very sad and it has reflected a culture of form over substance, image over content. ‘It’s all ok with God, so long as you look good doing it.’ Bullshit.
Amen to that. They’re so worried about their image that they have forsaken transparency, accountability, and compassion, instead covering up a multitude of sins and abuses instead of dealing with them in a godly way and casting out the evil among them. But the truth will out, the coverups won’t last forever, and then it looks even worse, while all the victims are being trampled and silenced and given no help or hope. It’s awful.
Ok, I’ve got to ask. Do prostitutes really look all that different from the rest of us when they are not at work?
Now? I don’t know. In Corinth in Paul’s day, yes. And it’s not like they have a 9-5 ‘job’, either…
We were in Amsterdam in April and walked up to a red light window at the same moment one of the prostitutes was leaving work for the day. Scrubbed of her makeup and wearing a sweater, jeans, and plain shoes, you would never have picked her out in a crowd.
Having read an acquaintance’s diatribe on FB about encountering some of these HeadCoveringChristians I knew it was no joke. I am very saddened to find out there is an actual Web presence for this … cultural/ethnic/historical context anyone? Oy vey.
I was quite annoyed that I couldn’t choose “All of the above” !! But I chose the winning selection. Yay. What do I win?
I had another witty remark before I wrote this but that damned EACRS wiped it out of my mind. (Early Alzheimers;Can’t Remember Shit)
OK, 15 min later and well into another site I remembered!!!! From the video reference to head covering during “corporate worship”. Will we be seeing a Supreme Court “Fundamentalists United” decision on this Corporate Worship? Hey Mr Romney, are worshiping corporations people too?
Worshiping corporations as people. Oh hell. I’d laugh if I didn’t think that was possible in this political climate.
I get your line of thinking.
But then seeing some of the worship themed businesses I’ve seen lately, has me wondering, like hiring a company to send “mystery worshippers”. They attend, then fill out a survey to see if your church was up to snuff for new members.
And, ooh, ooh, team building!
God help us, the fundies have discovered Sony Vegas (hence the slick graphics in the video).
Also, I’m not clear on what “corporate worship” means. I’m picturing clones in suits kowtowing to a statue of Ronald Reagan.
I think corporate worship is a fancy, shmancy , new fangled term for doing the church thing.
If I’m just starting a path of “corporate worship”, i.e.: church attendance… I just might have to rethink my life path.
Worship of the Corporate God. When’s that phrase gonna be used in a proseltyzing brochure, I wonder?
Kind of like ‘movement’ is fancy, shmancy for “There are only seven of us and we can’t reproduce fast enough.” I’m a woman, but I can count.
I had the very same thought, Matt. Inbetween the goosebumps and reflexive shivers.
“Corporate” worship is just worship where people come together in one place to do it. It’s not about businesses (well, it’s not supposed to be).
Yes, technically, the term means “as a body” – so in one sense, it’s perfectly appropriate and theologically sound to apply to the body of Christ coming together worship.
Of course, in the sense of the way people actually use words and the shift in meaning of the word corporate, and especially in terms of the worst excessed of megachurches, it’s just creepy and off-putting.
There is a huge difference between “coming together as varied individuals who are all celebrating our unity in our love of Jesus” and “agreeing to behave like mindless drones because someone in authority told us to.” That second is, sadly, a far more common understanding of “corporate” than the first.
Corporate in this context just means a group together.
It’s back to the older meaning of corporate, as our modern usage came from that. I don’t think that they’re openly admitting that they worship Reagan or businesses in general.
So you say.
Not openly, no.
There is a ultra fundamentalist church in my town, where the women all wear white lacy head scarfs, and long sleeved, long dresses. This is South Carolina where it gets hot and quite wilt worthy in the summer. I feel a bit sorry for them.
My pastor has told the story about the first time he went to a church in Colorado where he went to seminary. He and his wife showed up, and the first thing they saw when they came in was a sign that said “Our women worship in dresses.” They were thankful that she had happened to wear a dress that day, and so she could stay.
Things went downhill from there. The pastor asked for a volunteer to go to a local bakery and pick up bread to use for Communion, because if they didn’t get it then the store owner would “give it to the bums and whores on [whatever] Street.” They weren’t sure why that was a bad thing …
They went to a different church the next week.
I’m a bit dismayed that this appears to be serious. But really, can’t these folks read? 1 Cor is talking about head covering while “praying or prophesying”. That’s it. If she isn’t engaged in one of those activities, it doesn’t apply.
How do we know Paul wasn’t being sarcastic, magnifying the argument to absurdity?
People do take attire too seriously.
Praying or prophesying? Let see, I have a head covering of chemically altered (aka grey chamo)strands of sporadically wavy stuff that sheds enough if itself each month to knit a whole yeti. And yet I look terrible in hats, scarves, etc. I’ll stick with what nature gave me when I do either.
Ok, that made me chuckle…and then cuss. I guess that’s why I don’t attend a brick and mortar church anymore.
Wow. Just wow. You know what goes along with head-covering, right? Shut up, sit in the back of the church, go home, quit your job, and resume your “rightful” place barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I sure hope it is some hoax.
Absolutely. I can’t see how you could use Corinthians to mandate head covering without also demanding that women be silent until they get home to ask the menfolk what all them fancy words meant.
So what did all them fancy words mean, anyway?
I mock so that I don’t get myself arrested.
Don’t worry you’re purty little head about such things, darlin’.
First, of course women should cover their heads…because of the angels! Duh!
Second, I assume there’s also a Short Hair for Men Movement (1 Cor 11.14)? (and I’m proud to say I’m already a member!)
Hey, go all the way to bald, and God will keep you protected from mouthy children!
(2 Kings 2:23-24)
God is forcing me all the way to bald…
I’m catching right up with you …
I mean, my natural spirituality is manifesting itself physically. Does that sound better?
Back in the day, in my childhood in the Roman Catholic church, we used to cover our heads with chapel veils. As the sixties and Vatican II moved through time, we got away from the custom. Sometimes I see a lone woman still sporting the chapel veil during Mass. I was thrilled we dropped the custom.
Thanks for the memory. Our nuns always had a few spare little lace veils for the girls who forgot theirs on a day we went to Mass at school, but if there weren’t enough, I vividly remember sitting behind more than one girl with a Kleenex bobby-pinned to her head.
I’m a big fan of symbolism, ritual, and sacred space. Such things can really make a huge difference in helping me step out of the world into a consciousness of the presence of God. But turning the openness to such things into a rigid mandate destroys them.
I think people (men and women) should be free to do such things as wear a veil. I think it’s a horrible idea to make it some sort of moral imperative. Like God cares.
You are so right about the Kleenexes! I even remember a girl saying she was OK because she had a barrette on her head. Lymis, I am thrilled that my response made you respond. I have wanted to say for a long time how much your responses mean to me. They are always so well thought out. Along with John, of course, I love to read what you have to say!
This is so true: “But turning the openness to such things into a rigid mandate destroys them.” We sometimes suck all of the mystery from the bones of orthopraxy. Baptism is another great example. I just gotta say again how much I love your insights.
“Sporting the chapel veil during Mass.” *That is a FABULOUS image. Thank you.
I grew up in a church that spent way too much time on skirt length, hair me length (don’t let it touch your collars guys, god will be pissed), and the evil slutty ways of Maybelline.
Now I happily and openly go minus shoes for an entire worship service, from processional to the last amen, while in my choir robe.
I feel it’s a good idea for men and women to dress modestly when worshiping publicly. What modest dress means depends considerably on the culture of a place. I find nothing wrong if a woman wishes to cover her head in church. I only cover mine on the rare occasion when I am in a synagogue. Or if it’s too cold for me to be comfortable.
I can respect one’s culture, I just think its a huge stretch when people try to make attire a god mandated matter.
What you said about the culture, that seems like it never gets taken into account, and I think it’s really important. The thing is that when you insist on a standard of ‘modesty’ that is not compatible with the culture around you, and pride yourself on how separate and holy you are, that is not being modest at all.
I think an aspect of modesty that often gets missed or ignored is hmm….in a way, for lack of a better term, not standing out? Like, the exclusivity that is so prevalent in the church today, there is an element of pride to it, that they are separate, different, have all the answers, but also of shaming, in several different ways, not least to the women they are sending the message to that they are inherently shameful beings which must be covered and hidden and be attractive, but also to the people around them.
Particularly in fundamentalist circles, this is so ingrained that it is gone past pride straight to arrogance, and I think that dressing in a way that makes the culture around you find you bizarre at best, judgemental and divisive at worst, drawing negative attention to yourself in a way that makes you feel superior because you have The Truth, is projecting condemnation and judgement and self-righteousness, and that seems to me, the opposite of true modesty.
True modesty, to me, would be just being normal, as the culture around you sees it. Where you are different, where you are meant to be shining your light, is in your actions and attitudes, how you treat people. That is what should make you stand out, not your physical appearance. I don’t know, I’m not feeling terribly coherent today and I haven’t thought this out to the point that I feel like I’m able to explain what I’m thinking very well, but I have major issues with the legalistic modesty views and purity culture that fundamentalists and evangelicals tend to adhere to. It’s no different from rape culture, in the end. It hurts everybody, and helps no one, least of all those we are meant to be reaching out to.
I think you are expressing yourself beautifully. And you are right, it is our actions and our attitudes that people will remember, not what we were wearing at the time.
Having spent way too much time myself in a culture that championed judgment, trying to measure up, and being a separate people, while trying to fit in with your church group, which meant a hell of a lot of dishonesty, I get where these people are coming from. I started recognizing the “man behind the curtain” in my teens, but it took until I was in my early thirties to escape.
We women are beautiful creatures, just as men are. We should not be ashamed of our bodies, or the shapes they come in. We may be lumpy and rounded in all the wrong places, but what makes us truly gorgeous is from within. Being happy with the “me” in us make the outside of us irrelevant. It shouldn’t matter if we still show a cleavage while wearing a heavy turtleneck sweater, or if our butts make low rise jeans impossible, or if our baby bellies have stayed at nine month status now that the kids are all in college. We aren’t our bodies, they just carry us around.
We aren’t our bodies, they just carry us around.
I believe there are some in both evangelical and Catholic circles who would object that we are truly triune, body mind and spirit, not a spirit inhabiting a body. At least, I read a Christian sci-fi recently where the author seemed to think that was a really, really important point. To me it seems one of those obscure theological/ metaphysical things with no practical value. Once someone bases a sermon on it,though, they become invested in it and might hugely exaggerate it’s importance in order to avoid having to admit that they don’t really know or, horrors, might be wrong. This is the same sort of process that makes headgear into an issue to get passionate about.
I don’t think that anyone objects to a woman wearing something on her head if she wants to.
There’s a world of difference, though, between what she wants to do and what some guy is telling her to do ’cause “the Bible commands women to.”
And of course, this movement is narrated by a man.
I am simply appalled that anyone who truly considers themselves Christian believes that this is a good use of time and energy.
If these people would spend more time on things that the Bible actually treats as actually important–like taking care of the poorest and most vulnerable people among us–non-Christians might stop thinking we’re all anti-intellectual fundamentalist nutjobs.
This. Exactly this.
Yay! More Christian legalism! Just what Christianity needs.
The opening picture of the woman with the scarf and the man taking off his hat was disconcerting to me. The woman looks hunched and cowed, staring at the ground. Maybe she’s just praying. Or maybe I’m reading too much into that image. But if this is the movement’s picture of a Christian woman in church, I’m a little uneasy about what that means for aspects of women’s lives beyond accessorizing for worship.
What did Paul say about dark hot pink Converse kicks? Because I look really cute in the new pair I just bought. Damn you, fashion God.
There are probably some preachers who would say that since Paul said women aren’t to dress like men and vice-versa, the pink Converse are off limits for you because “pink is a girl color.” But Paul didn’t say anything about colors, pink has only been associated with girls for around 100 years, and Converse are gender-neutral regardless of their color. Wear what you want. (And I’m not sure we really know what Paul’s point was about people dressing like the opposite gender, any more than we know what he meant when he said women should cover their heads when they pray or prophesy “because of the angels.” Note, also, that this passage says they are to cover their heads WHEN they pray or prophesy in worship, implying that Paul intended and expected women to do these things.)
What don’t you look cute in?
I’m wondering about a local Baptist church in our Pittsburgh area. I noticed a lot of women and children a the local Walmart. They were in what looked like UNIFORMS of jeans skirts and sneakers. I asked my sister-in-law what she knew about it (They still go to a “church.” I do two-or-three-gathered-in-My-name church). She said she heard it was some movement going on at that local Baptist place. Anyone know more about that sort of thing? It was really junky-looking and made me think of the polygamist families out West.
I see that very sort of thing quite often down here in Dixie. No idea what it is about, but in a part of the country in which my Lutheran faith is met with “Now…is that something like your Mormons?” I’m not surprised by much.
They might be ‘Independent Fundamentalist Baptist’, a sect that does not allow their women to wear pants (even pajama bottoms- there was a scandal awhile back at one of their ‘colleges’, when a fire alarm went off in the middle of the night in a womens’ dorm, and several girls came out wearing pajamas- and were expelled as a result). Makeup and hair-cutting is also STRONGLY discouraged. The women look like complete frumps.
First, Liutgard, I think you may be right.
Second, HOLY SCAdian photo-surprise! Hahaha. Were you at Pennsic??
At Pennsic? No, I’m in An Tir and that would be a major undertaking! But our Crown was there, and my good friend/big brother Duke Amalric. I was here at home, watching the photos and video come through online. Not the same, but better than nothing.
Liutgard of Luxeuil, OL
Barony of Three Mountains
Kingdom of An Tir
I have the very good fortune to live 45 minutes away from Cooper’s. Imagine my surprise at worlds colliding when I saw your photo here on an entirely unrelated-to-the-SCA-in-any-way blog comments section! Hahahaha. We’re EVERYWHERE!
Well, there’s more of us on the liberal blogs than even you’d imagine! I’m surprised that a group for SCAdians hasn’t formed on Daily Kos… that I know of, at least. I’ve run into our people on the ex-IFB group and the ex-pente forum that I help run. Seems the same honor we live by in the SCA informs the rest of our modern lives.
I should have added Lady Elsa Taliard, Shire of Sunderoak, The Sylvan Lands of AEthelmearc to my last post…. and I would delight in chancing to meet you some day. 😀
That would be keen! I’ve never been there, though a good friend lived in Myrkfalinn (sp?) when she went to Ithaca. I have been to the East a couple of times, to visit one of my daughters. (Even had an impromptu peerage meeting in her kitchen. Had to throw out my son-in-law when he came in snooping. 😉 )
Are you on Facebook?
Yes! Look me up! I was friending people in an out-of-control way earlier after having some Upstate New york mead. LOL
Head coverings, eh? I won’t get to read the previous comments until after my sons are in bed (I love that bit the best–makes me smile every single time), but all I can think of is how much freaking faster I’d be in the morning with a cover-up. Oooh! I am forever keeping my family of men waiting, sighing, tapping their feet while, as my sons call it, I “put my hair away,” which is just me trying to wrangle my hair out of my face without being too scary-looking. Since it is high Summer in the Heart of Dixie, I should think the cover-up might also keep me from um, “glowing” such rivers down my neck, and that would be good all around. But seriously, beyond anything purely functional re: time and sweat (and I am all about functional and time and sweat), I can’t fathom why these people can’t muster even just a *slightly* more interesting movement.
Ah well. (shrugs) Back to work. –Leslie
Advice from a Muslim: Encourage both men and women to learn religion from both scripture and capable teachers. Women will likely come to a range of different opinions and may choose to cover or not to cover. RESPECT either choice. Don’t dismiss the issue as trivial. Above all, don’t divide over it.
I call BS. Whether it be Christian or Muslim, it is obvious the practice is a form of female oppression, as dictated and enforced by men for centuries. I feel horribly sorry for the women who’re never given a real chance to make the decision for themselves, and I in no way respect the men who encourage it (unless those men are also wearing burkas.)
That fact that men can still convince some women to freely choose to, literally, cloak themselves in oppression? Those men should be ashamed.
I call historical ignorance and cultural prejudice on your call of BS. Because:
1) Full-veiling was originally practiced only among women of the elite classes in the early history of Islam. It became more widespread in imitation of them (as happens with many things in many cultures) and was far more common among the Byzantines of that period.
2) Veiling also has a practical function if you live in the desert. (Sand? Sun? Think about what these do to your skin.) Which gave it a place from the beginning, since Islam arose in a desert environment.
3) As Asad pointed out, most Muslim women veil – or don’t – by choice. Being a Muslim convert and having travelled in several Muslim countries, one thing I’ve noticed is that either way, Muslim women tend to be resentful of being told what to do – whether by fundie shayks looking to put them in their place, or by finger-wagging Westerners seeking to “liberate” them.
4) Captain Obvious speaking: Just because something represents oppression to YOU does NOT mean it means the same thing to THEM. Duh. G.B. Shaw warned us about thinking that customs of our tribes are laws of nature. The standard you’re judging them against has nothing to do with objective fact and *everything* to do with your own prejudices.
Why doesn’t anyone – especially the Head Covering Movement people – notice the last verse in that passage, where Paul says, “But, if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.”? When you read the whole passage, he’s telling them to think about it, but if they don’t agree, it’s no big deal. Good grief!
I was raised in the Episcopal Church and I was in the choir in the 6th grade with my Mom. We (the women) had to wear these black dollie things on our heads. I have never seen it any church I’ve been to since, weird…
Very High Church, quite some time ago, I’m guessing?
Wow, the negative comments abound. I’ve covered as an Anglican along with about 10% of my church. I have since converted to Catholocism and cover as do around 10% of my church (regular Novus Ordo parish). It is regular custom in the Latin Masses as well as Eastern Catholics and Orthodox. That this is seen as something new or novel is just odd. Everything gets a resurgence at some point.
And to call it anti-woman. God forbid. As we see it, we are there for God’s glory and not our own.