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Head Coverings, Part 1: My Personal Journey (The Domestic Theologian)

Covering The Web

Covering the Web is where we shine the spotlight on good content about head covering or complementarianism that we did not produce ourselves. This week we’d like to introduce you to an article by Jessica A. Hageman which was posted at The Domestic Theologian.

Before beginning my foray into formal theological study a few years ago, I had never heard a single person in the church openly indicate (or even imply) that the passage on female head covering in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is to be applied in the Christian church today. I’ve been going to church since I was in diapers, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I met some sisters in Christ who revealed that they practice head covering. The more I talked with these women and the more I opened up in questioning their interpretation, the more my eyes were opened to women in my close personal circles – in my own church congregation, even – who also apply the passage in this way.

I was stunned at first. I definitely stuck my foot in my mouth on many occasions with phrases like, “Surely you know this passage is about Corinthian culture. You need to repent of your legalism.” This is what I had always been told and I never thought to question it. And to be honest, I didn’t want to question it. I didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb in a culture that demands I have both the looks and the feminism of Emma Watson. I didn’t want to look like an Amish grandmother in comparison.

The more I had these hard conversations with my patient friends, however, the more I felt convicted about my rationale (or lack thereof) for objecting to this passage’s modern application. For several months in 2017, I began covering during corporate worship (the formal gathering of the local church) but hadn’t come to any solid conclusions at this time except that I didn’t trust my motives for objecting. I decided I would rather be safe than sorry, so to speak, until I came to a more solid conclusion; I had at least decided that while it definitely isn’t disobedient to cover, it might be disobedient not to. It wasn’t too much trouble to tie on a bandana once a week until I actually studied the subject in depth.

After several months I wavered again. I had experienced some pushback from some close believing friends, and being a people-pleaser, it wrecked me to experience this conflict over a conviction I already wasn’t confident about. I started reading through the passage critically again. The arguments of both sides seemed equally heavy. Life became exceptionally busy when Devynn and I started dating and got engaged, and I completely forgot about it for almost a year.

Then one random day in June, I was hit with a wall of conviction – not about my failure to cover, per se, but about my apathy. I didn’t care whether or not I was being disobedient, and I didn’t care to seek answers in Scripture. So I sat down, wrote a list of all my questions and objections, pulled out every commentary and Bible translation I could find in our house, and sprawled out on the floor with them. And here’s the thing about this passage, its language, and the controversy surrounding it: I spent nearly four hours like this, but only one or two out of my nine or ten questions had been answered in any definitive way.


Found an interesting link about head covering or biblical manhood/womanhood? Tell us about it here.

The Reasons Why Most Women Stop Covering

The Reasons Why Most Women Stop Covering

As the founder of the Head Covering Movement, I have the privilege of hearing from women (all around the world) as they begin following Paul’s instructions about head covering. Many times, I also hear as women abandon the practice. Starting and stopping, and re-starting then stopping — and then re-starting again — is sometimes common. Many others start covering for a time and later quit, never to return.

Throughout the years, I have noticed several characteristics of those who eventually abandon the practice of head covering. I’d like to share these trends with you so that you can evaluate whether any of them might be part of your life as well.

  1. Lack of Study. There are many women who begin the practice of head covering, but who don’t have a personal conviction based solidly on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. They started covering for the sake of modesty or because someone they respect does it, but not primarily because Scripture teaches it. Further, women who start covering may not be familiar with the reasoning used by those who reject head covering. They’ve never read thoughtful objections to the practice (such as the “cultural view” or the “long hair view”) so when they are later confronted with those arguments, they are taken aback and start to doubt the practice. One way to help yourself is to study the biblical case for head covering. Also, become familiar with the reasons why people reject head covering and how their objections compare with Scripture.
  2. Mystical Reasons. There are many women who decide to begin head covering due to certain personal experiences such as a dream, an answer to prayer, a sense of peace (or other emotion), or circumstances that seemed to be more than coincidental. But whenever our behavior is based on subjective experiences, it’s not likely that we’ll continue that behavior very long.  Feelings change and experiences can seem to lose their intensity (or even doubted entirely) later on. One way to ensure consistency is to ensure that your reasons for head covering are based on objective truth: the Word of God.
  3. Lacking Community.  Many women find themselves as the only one covering in their church and have few people encouraging them in their decision. One of the downsides to holding to a minority practice is that it can often feel very lonely. It can be easy to glance across the Christian landscape and feel like an outcast, even if that’s not how other people view you. I recommend intentionally finding supportive people those who build you up in your decision and also those who practice head covering with you. If you can’t find them locally, try to find them online.
  4. Covering More Often Than Necessary. A woman’s long hair is her glory (1 Cor 11:15) and is meant to be enjoyed. It is a special gift that God has given to beautify a lady, which is not given to men. Similarly, Proverbs teaches that a man’s glory is his strength (Prov. 20:29). Can you imagine if a man felt obligated to hide his strength, rather than use it? Human glory is a gift which is meant to be on display except when we’re worshiping God (1 Cor 11:2-16). Many women “burn out” on head covering when their beautiful hair is covered more often than necessary. They rightfully miss it. Some cover their heads more often than I believe is Scripturally required (and for them, they should follow the conviction of their conscience). But if you don’t feel that conviction, then you should let your beautiful hair be visible and not cover more often than Scripture teaches.
  5. Not Being Yourself. Sometimes women begin head covering along with a bunch of other practices that were previously foreign to them. They see a woman that they admire and then they imitate her (or the group/culture she’s associated with). Believing in head covering does not mean you need to move to a homestead, wear plain hand-me-down clothes, or burn your jeans while switching to “dresses-only.” When you start covering, do so in a way that fits you as a unique individual. The styles you see others wearing might not be a good fit for you. Perhaps a woman who struggles with vanity decides to no longer use makeup. That’s fine, but new behaviors that might be helpful for some women are not always Scriptural obligations for all women, and might not make sense in your life. Instead, embrace head covering because it is biblical, not because someone you look up to does it.
  6. Legalism. This one is more common among newer Christians. New believers will often make some very radical changes in their lives (usually very good changes), but can also become overly strict in creating various “rules” for their new Christian walk. Those new practices sometimes get joined together (in their minds) with head covering. As they mature in the Christian life and understand their freedom in Christ, they begin to discard the various practices that were connected with their former “legalistic” stage — which can include, unfortunately, head covering.  So, it is important to understand what “Christian liberty” is and why head covering does not fall into that category.

Maybe you’ve stopped head covering and you can see yourself in one or more of these situations. If so, can I encourage you to re-start in a different way than before? Go through our guided study of headcovering with an open Bible, and be convinced by the Scriptures about why head covering is for you. Buy some beautiful head coverings that make you smile when you look in the mirror. Try covering for church and maybe a few other distinct times if you feel like it’s helpful (such as your quiet time with the Lord). Let your glorious hair be seen all other times — it is God’s gift to you. Finally, make friends with other women who cover and intentionally encourage one another. If those women aren’t available locally, meet some new friends through our recently-started HCM Community Group.

#HeadCoveringMotivation (Image #1)

Motivational Quote #1

Is Hair Really the Covering for Worship?

Preacher: Rev. Timothy Nelson | Sermon Length: 47 min 2 sec | Preached: February 19, 2018

Timothy Nelson has been the Minister of Ballynahinch Free Presbyterian Church since January 2016 having accept the Lord’s call to move from Sixmilecross Free Presbyterian Church where he had been the Minister since 2005. He has lectured in the Whitefield College since 1998, first in New Testament Greek, and, since 2012, in Biblical Exegesis. In January 2018, he was appointed Principal of the College.

SERMON COORDINATOR NOTES: This is a very concise look at 1 Corinthians 11 placing a greater emphasis on what the covering is. This is a good introductory sermon to the topic that gives the main overview of the position and leaves the listener equipped to hear a more detailed exegesis of the text.

>> In addition to streaming this sermon or watching it above, you can also download it.

Heard a good sermon on head covering or biblical manhood/womanhood? Tell us about it here.

What the Relaunch Means To Us

What The Re-Launch Means To Us

Written by the HCM Team

Hello Everyone! We are the members of the new Head Covering Movement (HCM) team, and we’d like to take a moment to share with you what the “HCM Relaunch” means to us.

For the last several years, the Head Covering Movement has been a source of support & information for Christians around the world — especially for those of us who believe that the biblical practice of head covering is intended for all generations (1 Corinthians 11:2-16). So when we heard that the founder of this Movement was diagnosed with cancer (about 1.5 years ago), it was a blow in more than one way.

First, we were all very worried about Jeremy’s health. And second, we wondered about the Movement — whether it would continue to provide what many had depended on it for. “What now?” we silently asked. It almost seemed like things had come to a dead end. We prayed fervently for both a complete recovery of Jeremy’s health and for God to direct the next steps for the Head Covering Movement. Then we received the wonderful news that Jeremy was doing much better (praise God) — and not only that, but he was recruiting help for a relaunch of HCM. All this news was amazing! To us, it was proof that just as God was not finished with our brother Jeremy, He was not finished with the Head Covering Movement either.

The New Team: More Momentum for the Movement

To kick off this relaunch, we are beginning with a team of eleven brothers & sisters in ChristWe hail from various countries, and we’re members of a variety of denominations — including Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Brethren, and more. United in our belief that God still desires His people to use the head covering symbolism during worship, we are now blessed to be serving this Movement together.

Doing anything alone can be very lonely (and even discouraging!). But a group of Christians, all doing the something together, creates a strong sense of belonging. The group learns and grows. It builds confidence through community. And so the Head Covering Movement is where many believers find a friendly “home” to discuss their thoughts & experiences, and to give each other the support we all need. Read more

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