Thoughts from a Christian Writers Conference
“Hi, My name is Jeremy,” I said with a confident business-like demeanour. It was just the agent and I, a respected man who represents many well-known Christian authors. We had 10 minutes together for me to convince him why my book on head covering should be considered for traditional publishing. I continued introducing myself, “and I’m the founder of the Head Covering Movement”. As soon as I mentioned “head covering”, I knew the pitch was finished. Instantly, his face soured. “The topic strikes you as odd?” I asked, knowing how he would answer. “Uhhh…yeah” he responded back quickly in a condescending tone. He didn’t need to say anything else, his face said it all. “Look, he said” in a straightforward manner, “we’re not about bringing things from the past, back into the church”. I tried my best to make my case–to tell him of the growing movement and how this is biblically founded. It didn’t sway him. “Let me ask you a question” I said. He gave me the okay to proceed. “You have authors who are published with large ecumenical publishers, who publish everything from progressive to very conservative.” He nodded in agreement. “Then why can’t there be a book on head covering?” I asked, genuinely trying to understand. “Your not going to like my answer” he said, “it’s just too fringe”. His answer didn’t surprise me–there is a tremendous amount of baggage that comes with the topic of head covering. Frumpiness, legalism and unsophisticated theology are all negative (and unfair) associations with this doctrine. “Let me be honest with you” he continued, “you’re fighting an uphill battle”. That much I knew was true. I left the conversation reminded of what it feels like to be looked at as an odd minority. A struggle most women who stand alone in covering can relate to.
I had many more conversations throughout the conference and thankfully none were as difficult as the first. A few conservative Mennonites (both wearing a covering) were intrigued and glad that I was writing on this topic. One book editor was sympathetic to my view as he attends a brethren chapel where about half of the women cover their heads. He told me that it’s only the older generation that practices it, not the younger. Another editor counselled me to self-publish, as even the ecumenical publisher she works for would not have interest in this “niche”. The more I learned, the more I could see the wisdom in self-publishing and I believe it is what I will pursue. The mainstream Christian market is just not ready for this topic yet and they won’t be until the conversation gets louder and the numbers grow. More men will need to take the lead in studying this topic, and walk their wives through it. More women will need to trust their husbands and be willing to stand out and stand alone, for God. More pastors and bible teachers will need to preach and teach on this neglected passage of Scripture, despite how uncomfortable it will be. Everyone who cares about this movement has a part to play and it’s not going to be easy for anyone. I’m in this with you. I can’t allow discouragement or rejection to make me quiet or cause me to quit. One of the symbols that God gave us, is despised by some and forgotten by many. I’m not okay with that. Women are hurting emotionally from being belittled due to practicing it. I’m not okay with that. Biblical manhood and womanhood, heterosexual marriage and other Christian symbol’s (like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) are at risk of being left behind when competing views are taken to their logical conclusion. I’m not okay with that! The conference had it’s ups-and-downs emotionally, but I’m not going to let rejection stop me. Will you let it stop you?