Monday, June 18, 2007

Don’t be afraid to be counter-cultural!

I received so much wonderful response to my Modest Summer post. Thank you, ladies!

Here’s something interesting Lean Not brought up, on the subject of headcoverings:

“As far as modesty, I can see where it makes others look at you as a person instead of at the beauty of your hair, thus taking attention off of yourself and pointing attention to more important things. But in a society where almost NOBODY wears them, is the purpose defeated since it will draw a ton of attention to the lady wearing the head covering? Where I am, it would be seen as a fashion statement.”

Thank you for bringing this up! This is definitely something to think about, and not even specifically about headcoverings. For example, I see that the way I dress attracts many glances because nobody dresses this way where I live. So I suppose you could say that if I wore a pair of jeans and a t-shirt (I’m not talking about anything explicitly immodest), I would attract less attention than I do now in my long skirts. Do I think it would be the right thing to do? As you know, I continue to adhere to what I think is right.

Let’s even take one step away from our appearance. Won’t we be more culturally accepted if we adopt feminist teachings, become career women, compromise our standards of chastity, forget about having a large family… you get the idea. Just insert your own counter-cultural ‘quirk’ here. Sure, it would make many of us more popular. Maybe our lives would be easier. But I think it all boils down to one simple question:

Whose standards do we want to follow?

There are standards of human society, which change every century, decade, year, season or week. And there are God’s standards – everlasting, truthful, faithful. So which should we follow? The choice is ours.

I will leave the headcovering question open, because I just don’t think I have a satisfactory answer at the moment. But whatever we do, whatever our doubts are, our hearts should be turned to God and His word, and not to changing trends and whims of a fallen world. Just think, study and pray about it, and when you think you have the answer, do what’s right and let Him take care of the rest.

Don’t be afraid to make a counter-cultural statement. Sometimes we follow an example, and sometimes we must be the ones who set an example. Of course this shouldn’t be done in an arrogant, holier-than-thou way (“look at me! I’m so righteous!”). We should do what’s right, but we must humble ourselves and do it in a peaceful and pleasant manner (“Her ways are of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace”).

29 comments:

Coffee Wife said...

I've often heard the argument "you'll attract more attention to yourself if you wear a head covering or modest clothes" but I don't put much stock in it. Sure, I'll attract plenty of stares. But that does not mean I should avoid headcoverings and long skirts. I think of it as a silent tool for witnessing the Gospel. As St. Francis of Assisi said, "Witness the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." 9 out of 10 people will scoff. But maybe that one person will wonder and this will lead them to seek out the answers - and bring them to Christ.

Lean Not said...

Thank you so much for writing in answer to my question!

I couldn't agree with you more about looking to God for our standards regardless of what is accepted by the general public.

About head coverings, what makes me confused is that I live among Christians who have spent their lives studying the Bible and who have applied it in detail to their lives. However, none of them seem to think that head coverings are necessary. Since they are such Bible scholars, it makes me wonder if I am missing something. But when I look at the Bible passages, I wonder if they are missing something.

I don't really know anybody who can explain the whole thing to me. The only people in my community who wear head coverings are those who just wear a little doily on the backs of their heads, and I just have a feeling that a little doily is not quite right either, since it does not cover the head.

I suppose that if I ever get married, I will discuss this with my husband then and will submit to his authority on this issue! :) But I do wish that I understood it better. I do not want to disobey God.

Lean Not said...

By the way, I followed your link to tznius.com, and I love it! Have you ever bought anything from them? I ordered a skirt last week and cannot wait to get it in the mail. I will let you know how I like it when it comes. Thanks for the link.

I *love* the headscarves they have on their site. It actually is what got me thinking about this issue again. Most of the ones that they have are so pretty, they cover the whole head, and they are not frumpy at all! (I like the scarves, not the snoods so much.) I love the concept of making them so stylish, with all the different colors, styles, accessories, and methods of tying them. They are so super-cute that I almost want one just for the fashion value! :)

You said that you are going to wear a headcovering when you are married. What kind of headcovering will you wear? A scarf/hat?

Anna S said...

Lean,

I have never bought anything from tznius.com, but the store I usually buy from sells similar items. This is just my style. I think I would order if I didn't find something like that near home (things that look great in pics don't always look so great on me, so I like to try them on before I buy :P).

I don't really like the snoods either, even though I can imagine they must be comfortable. When I get married, I think I will wear hats and scarves, whatever is suitable for the occassion. Scarves look sort of more hip and hats are more elegant. Oh, and I love the berets. Can't wait to wear one. :)

Anna S said...

Michelle,

This is pretty much what I mean. We might be mocked. But there will be peace in our hearts for doing the right thing.

Lean,

I do believe that the best thing would be to find a woman you respect and find out why she wears headcoverings... ask her to explain her reasons to you. You're right, it doesn't necessarily have to be you missing something. Study the matter, if it speaks to your heart. Maybe try wearing a headcovering and see how you feel about it. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful...

AnneK said...

Hi Anna,

Interesting to read your post on head covering. I cover my head with a scarf (no doilies for me) when I am at church.

Lean Not, I think that 1 Corinthians 11 teaches women to have their head covered while in church because of the angels.

Lean Not said...

The verse Annek refers to is this:

"For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."

I wonder what it means by that.
I also wonder, since a verse above says that a man who prays with his head covered dishonors his head, why so many men wear prayer caps.

God must have some very meaningful symbolism attached to the concept, since it says that a woman should have her head covered when she prays but that a man should not. God's Word is so fascinating. I can't wait to get to Heaven and fully comprehend all of the threads that God has woven through it!

Anna,
I would ask a woman I know who wears headcoverings, but I don't know any. :( Thank you for your help, though. I have some friends who are also seeking wisdom on this issue. I think that our conclusion so far has been that if we have a male authority (I have none right now) who wants us to wear one, we would be more than happy to submit.

Mrs.B. said...

I normally stay far, far away from these types of discussions because they can get ugly. But I've been reading the modesty posts and the spirit here has been lovely so I thought I'd chime in. (o:

I don't think it's wrong for a woman to wear a head covering if she so chooses or her husband wishes for her to do so. But I view that as being double covered because 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 clearly shows that a woman's long hair is her covering.

Long hair is a sign of submission to the father if not married, husband if married. (That is also why it's wrong, biblically-speaking, for men to have long hair.)

Think about it.....When feminism started to take off in the 1920's women started 'bobbing' their hair as a sign that they were no longer under the authority of men.

As I said, I don't feel it to be wrong to wear a scarf/headcovering etc... but I don't believe it is necessary, biblically-speaking.

Just my thoughts and conclusions I've come to after prayer, study, and discussion with my husband. (o:

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

magda said...

my husband's family are mennonites. mennonite ladies wear little prayer caps. as they have explained, the point is not to cover the head, but to remind them to remain in a "constant attitude of prayer." as annek says, in corinthians, paul talks about how women should cover their heads in church. this is why some ladies wear doilies, net caps, etc- it's not actually a modesty thing, but a prayer thing.

Ways of Zion said...

This is interesting! Cause I have been thinking about this for a while. I belong to a small group or Bible believers where we cover our heads at meetings, when we read the Bible and some women do when they pray. My Aunt told me that if I feel uncomfortable I should be covering my head. Good advice. Since visiting Israel and speaking with women there, I find myself wearing a scarf most days without thinking about it. I did when we were there because In conversation with one of the men in the Temple Institue he said that it shows that you are a faithful wife. My wondeful husband let me have an hour in a wonderful headcovering shop in old Jerusalem, and told me to get as many as I wished (he is wonderful isn't he!) so I came home with 10 and lessons from Esther on how to wrap and tie them.

Sorry for my ramblings, I'm still debating with this myself. Currently I cover my head completely at all meetings, while praying, while teaching, while reading the Bible. But during the day usually wear a smaller scarf (a triangle shaped one) that doesn't cover all my hair.

May I be so bold as to ask you to post more on this, as I could use some impute!

Anna S said...

Lean,

I hope that when you get married, you and your husband come to an agreement about this. I suggest discussing this even before marriage if this is important to you. We did and I'm very peaceful about our decision.

Mrs. B,

I know this can get ugly. This is why I'm so very careful with these discussions, not wanting them to be full of legalism, but only with love of modesty. Thank you for your input! I've never thought about the hair thing, but you definitely have a point. I have very long hair. My mother's hair has always been short and she's a feminist to boot. :)

Magda,

My decision about headcoverings was based on modesty and submission to authority (my future husband), but thank you for explaining this point of view too.

Ways of Zion,

I suppose the headcoverings you found in Israel were similar to those that can be ordered from tznius.com?
I'll try to think more about the matter but right now, I couldn't give coherent arguments for or against headcoverings. We decided I'm going to wear them, and I'm happy about it, but that's not very helpful to others, I know :)

... Another something about drawing attention to ourselves by dressing modestly: I think that as long as our *goal* is not to draw attention, but to bring glory to God, we're on the right track.

Lean Not said...

Good point about the goal, Anna. Not only is that important for ourselves, but our spirit in what we do will make a world of difference in the way we come across and the effect we will have on those around us.

Thank you so much for starting this discussion. Since it is a non-issue where I am, it has been really edifying for me to hear godly ladies talking about it. I appreciate your blog! :)

Marie said...

Anna:)

I have written a piece about a book I heard about via a magazine I read lastnight. Its about 'The Surrended Wife' I would be very interested in your view on this particular topic?

I have to admit I am re-thinking the last sentence I included lol...the 'stepford wives' comment is NOT meant in a derogatry fashion..I should have phrased it better lol.

Peace and blessings to you:)

Marie

Buffy said...

I am hardly an expert on this sort of thing but from reading blogs by people who have studied this subject the conclusion generally seems to be as Mrs B says, that if you have long hair it counts as your head covering. Having said that, it is agreed that it would be a good thing to do if you and your husband felt it to be the right thing to do.

I think it would be nice if more headscarves and hats were worn as long as they were not all black (that's just my preferance because I like colour). Many women wear head scarves when they are treated for cancer as the chemotherapy makes their hair drop out. It would be nice for them not to feel that they are sticking out like a sore thumb because no other women wear them.

And going back to the original point of the post I think that in doing something that goes against the norm you always have to ask yourself (and search your soul) am I doing this because I honestly believe it to be right or in order to draw attention to myself? The desire for attention can often be disguised as self-righteousness.

Anna S said...

Marie,

I haven't read 'The Surrendered Wife', so obviously, I don't really have an opinion. What is the general idea of it?

Mrs. Brigham said...

Thank you for sharing this excellent post! You raise many important points in it!

Lean Not,

I have purchase clothing from Tzinus.com and have really enjoyed my purchased. The skirts are very comfortable, flattering, and modest. The skirts do tend to be on the long side, so some ladies may find they need to hem the bottom a bit as not to trip. I am on the taller side, so this has not really been a problem for me, but somebody such as my little sister, who is on the shorter side of the height chart, may need to hem a good inch of two.

Mrs. Brigham said...

Mrs. B's comment about headcoverings really made me think about my past hairstyles and feelings I have had about my hair. I have long hair now, however, I had a short, "trendy" hairstyle during my feminist days and made the decision to cut my hair into said style after an argument with my dad. There have been several times in my life when I have become angry at an "authority" in my life and immediately felt like cutting off all of my hair. I cannot help but wonder if other women have had similar feelings about their hair?

Anna S said...

Mrs. Brigham,

As a child, my mother used to cut my hair very short. Ever since I became old enough to decide for myself, I've been keeping my hair long. And... well, I used to define myself as a feminist once, but now I think I've never really been one. I just accepted the cultural norm.

Mrs.B. said...

Mrs. Brigham asked:

There have been several times in my life when I have become angry at an "authority" in my life and immediately felt like cutting off all of my hair. I cannot help but wonder if other women have had similar feelings about their hair?

Yes, I have had similar feelings about my hair. And my experience has been that most women like my hair better shorter as opposed to my husband who likes it better long.

Something else I found interesting. When my hair was long (almost to the middle of my back,it's now right above my shoulders--I had it cut a couple of months ago)and my husband and I went to get trims, I was the ONLY woman in the salon with long hair. It felt kind of odd.

I have also noticed that I always get tons of compliments from other women when I cut my hair as opposed to when I keep it long.

Although I enjoyed having a new style I think I regret cutting it and will grow it out again. In my opinion, long hair is actually easier to care for.

I have also observed that most men prefer long hair. There is the occasional exception but the norm is that men prefer long hair.--I know my husband does.

Very interesting discussion. (o:

Anna S said...

Mrs. B,

I agree with you. I have very long hair and it's very easy to care for. It can be easily worn in a ponytail, while shorter hair can often get in the way. N.P. loves my hair long, and this sums it up for me :)

When I get married, I don't think I will keep it as long as it is now since I intend to wear a headcovering, but I will keep it long enough to be worn in a ponytail/bun when I do housework.

Mrs. Brigham said...

Mrs. B,

I, too, have noticed other women complimenting me when I get my hair trimmed and have also experienced being the only lady with long hair in a salon. My sister also has long hair and mentioned these same issues as well. It's interesting to know that other ladies are noticing the same things that we are.

Long hair is far easier to take care of, that is for sure! I feel it also mcuh more practical when doing housework, taking care of little ones, and doing many other tasks as you can easily put your hair up and out of the way. With short hair, you really do not have any way of accomplishing this. When I was pregnant, everybody kept going on and on about how I needed to cut my hair short or else it would be too hard to take care of or the baby would always pull it. Little do they know how much easier long hair actually is!

MInTheGap said...

I had a huge discussion over at my blog on head coverings and hair length and wearing pants vs. skirts. There's a lot of disagreement on the issue. To me, the Bible's pretty plain about it all.

I think, as far as drawing attention goes, to some degree we want to be different then the world as Christians. We want them to ask the question "What is different about them?" and come to the conclusion that something is missing that we have.

The tough part is making sure it's the right kind of differences and that we're doing it with pure motives.

Anna S said...

MInTheGap,

Thank you for the links! I enjoyed reading about your point of view, and all the comments.

Hmm. It seems this has been successfully navigated and didn't turn into a legalistic debate. Wonderful. :)

Lean Not said...

Mrs. Brigham,
Thanks for telling me that you like what you ordered from tznius.com. I received my skirt yesterday (ordered it on Friday and got it on Monday!) and I LOVE it.

I will never think that a skirt is too long. :)

Minthegap,
I am enjoying reading the links that you put. Maybe sometime I will post about this on my blog. If I ever do, I will link to your site and to Anna's.

Anna S said...

Lean,

I do have a skirt that was too long and needed hemming. How did I know it was too long? I tripped over it all the time :)

Buffy said...

I have read The Surrendered Wife. It isn't based on Biblical principles but rather the experience of a woman who realised she was destroying her marriage by the way she was treating her husband. (She was a typical modern career woman who was effectively emasculating her husband.) She made some valid points, but the book was seen as controversial. I could do a summary of the main ideas on my blog as I think it is worth reading

Dawn Marie said...

I live on a small Army base in Germany. Of course I am the only one who covers and I don't mind. Everyone knows who I am just by my covering. I like that. Yes, I get stared at, not as much any more though, but so does the 25 year old woman with her breasts spilling over her top and her jeans painted to her thighs. So, it doesn't matter what we wear, everyone draws attention to themselves somehow.

I was saved in a full gospel holiness church and they believed a woman's long hair was her glory...but they actually lived it! Some ladies sat on their hair, got it caught in the car door, and some ladies had beautiful hair down to their knees! Many churches say that a womans' long hair is her covering but they don't live it out. Like in my church I currently attend. They believe that but all the ladies hair is short and dyed. So, it's like...ummmm..okay...

I haven't cut my hair in 7 years. I used to be in the Army and had really really butch short hair...ugh...it was awful..plus when I was younger mom always made me get it cut...yuck! I got mistaken for a boy way too many times...LOL.
But in the Army I made the decision to let my hair grow out.
Then a year later I got saved and after reading the Word and God speaking to me, I chose not to cut my hair.
Then in the beginning of April 2006 and prior to that actually I began reading up on the headcovering and praying about as the Lord seemed to be nudging me on the subject. I took my Strong's Concordance andwent thru 1 Cor. 11 and was amazed at what I learned with the Greek / Hebrew texts. There were 2 different meanings for the words covering. It finally all added up. I also did some research about Christians in the 1800's-1900's about the subject...still learning.
So, April 2006 I officially began headcovering.
My hubby came home from Iraq September 2006 and he didn't care, so, that was cool.

I have been asked if I am Jewish, Muslim, a nun, a sister, Amish, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Mormon, and a nurse...all here on my little Army base...LOL. People are quite suprised to hear me say "nope, just a Christian who wears the headcovering".
I will be ordering some headcovering tracts soon so I can pass them out to people who are curious. I think it would better help them understand why I do what I do. :)

As far as feminine dress is concerned...we need to take femininty back. It was virtually eliminated from society with the feminists, but it's time to go back to looking like a woman.
Everything women do in pants or shorts you can do it in a skirt or dress, even working out at the gym. Yes, I do that, not all the time anymore, and sure I got stares, but so what? At least my flesh was covered up for only my husband too see and not exposed for some soldier to drool over...LOL.

Great subject you have here!
Blessing to you from my house to yours <><

Lean Not said...

My favorite skirt length is 39 inches. But the most common long skirt-length that I see around here is 34 inches. I am sort of tall and have a hard time finding skirs that are long enough.

I think the skirt I got from tznius is 38 inches, which is definitely good enough!

Anna S said...

Buffy,

If you do make a summary on your blog, please tell me! I'd love to read.

Dawn Marie,

Thanks for visiting and sharing your experience! I giggled when reading the sitting on their own hair part. It happens to me sometimes. But it's nothing compared to when OTHERS sit on my hair :P