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A New Season for HCM

A New Season for HCM

Hello everyone,

I wanted to provide a short update on why the Head Covering Movement has been quiet lately. I (Jeremy) started the four-year Biblical Studies program at Moody Bible Institute in March. I am doing this because I desire to enter pastoral ministry. Taking a full course load along with my business, family, and church responsibilities have left little time for HCM and other projects. On top of that, in two weeks I’ll begin the eldership training and testing process at my church.

Since I won’t have the same time I had in earlier days for HCM, it will need to enter a new season. It will either be periodically updated by me with a handful of articles and videos a year (as I still have more to say on this topic) or it may be the time to pass the torch and let someone else who is ambitious take over. This movement was never about me so I’d be glad to pass the leadership responsibility on. I’ll be praying for the latter (and I’d encourage you to as well) but if that person does not come then I’ll continue updating it here and there.

As far as my future plans with HCM, I have another full book I want to write. It’s dealing in-depth with the cultural view of head covering. I have already outlined it and started the first chapter. Another reason why I believe someone else would be better served running HCM is so I can devote my time to the book. There’s also a few in-depth articles I’d like to write that haven’t been dealt with yet on this site including the “testicle” view, the “covering” is your husband view, and I’d like to dive deeper into first-century Corinthian prostitution. I also have a handful of videos I’d like to make in addition to answering your questions.

So that’s where we’re at right now. If you believe you’re the right person to take over HCM feel free to send me a message. We’ll be looking for someone who has been convictional about head covering for some time (not a recent belief), has similar theology (Complementarian, Evangelical), excellent computer/internet skills, a good writer, along with the time to devote to HCM and passion for the topic. Men and women will both be considered.

Well, that’s it for now. Keep us in your prayers! I have a month off in July so hopefully, I’ll be able to get a new article or video up at that time.

The Biology of Hair Lengths: Why it’s Natural for Women to Have Longer Hair

The Biology of Hair Lengths: Why it’s Natural for Women to Have Longer Hair
In 1 Cor 11:14-15, Paul declares that “nature” teaches us that men are to have short hair and women are to have long hair. Is there a biological function that makes women have longer hair?

Yes, there does seem to be a built-in biological process that causes women to have longer hair than men (generally speaking, of course). This process is due to our hormones. First, I need to explain how our hair grows. Men and women’s hair grow at pretty much the same rate of about 1cm per month. So the difference is not that women’s hair grows faster. 1) Castro, J. (2014). How Fast Does Hair Grow?. [online] Live Science. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/42868-how-fast-does-hair-grow.html [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Our hair grows and sheds in a three-stage process which keeps repeating itself. So we keep cycling through the phases and each of the hairs on our head are in a different phase at any given time (with about 90% being in the growing phase). 2) Geggel, L. (2017). Hair Loss and Balding: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments. [online] Live Science. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/34731-hair-loss-alopecia-treatment.html [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018]. However, our hormones are a major factor which can determine how long we stay in a particular phase.

These three phases are:

Anagen – Hair growth phase (lasts 2-7 years)
Catagen – Transition phase (lasts about 10 days)
Telogen – Resting or shedding phase (lasts about 3 months)

I recommend you watch this short video to help you visualize and understand these three phases better:

As mentioned our hormones play a significant role in how long we stay in a particular phase. Obviously if one stays in the anagen (hair growth phase) for a longer time, they will have longer hair. And this is exactly the case: women tend to stay in this phase longer than men.

Pastor John MacArthur explains,

“Men and women have distinctive physiologies. One obvious difference is the process of hair growth. Head hair develops in three stages: formation and growth, resting, and fallout. The male hormone testosterone speeds up the cycle so that men reach the third stage earlier than women. The female hormone estrogen causes the cycle to remain in stage one for a longer period, causing women’s hair to grow longer than men’s.” 3) MacArthur, John (2011). Divine design. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, p.49.

Now that is a theologian’s perspective, but is that backed up scientifically? Since dermatology is not a field I’m an expert in, I had to do some digging and I found out that MacArthur is absolutely correct in his assessment.

Here’s what some authorities specializing in hair biology say:

“The cause of pattern thinning in men is primarily related to two sex hormones, testosterone and DHT. The body converts testosterone into the hormone DHT by way of an enzyme found in various tissues throughout the body…In men…DHT increases the resting (telogen) phase and decreases the growing (anagen) phase of hair.” 4) Rassman, W. and Bernstein, R. (2009). Hair loss & replacement for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, p.61.

“DHT affects hair follicles and seems to prolong the telogen (resting) phase.” 5) Sherrow, V. (2006). Encyclopedia of hair. Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press, p.173.

“In women, hair loss or noticeable thinning of the hair often occurs when levels of the female hormone estrogen decline after menopause. Prior to that time estrogen helps to counteract testosterone, which can be converted into the hormone DHT, which can cause hair follicles to…enter the resting stage of the hair growth cycle earlier than normal.” 6) Sherrow, V. (2006). Encyclopedia of hair. Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press, p.173.

“There is some limited trichogram data to suggest that estrogens decrease the resting phase and prolong the growing phase of the hair cycle, hence estrogens are used in the treatment of female pattern hair loss in some countries.” 7) Thornton, J. and Stevenson, S. (2007). Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs. Clinical Interventions in Aging, Volume 2, pp.283-297.

In these sources, we see that the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) keeps a person in the resting/shedding phase longer and in the growing phase for a shorter period of time. While both genders can produce DHT, the female hormone estrogen counteracts testosterone (which is what gets converted to DHT). So that’s why DHT has more of effect on men unless a woman has low amounts of estrogen. We also see that estrogen decreases the resting phase and keeps a woman in the growing phase of the hair cycle for longer. When your hair is in the growing phase for longer, it obviously has more time to get longer.

So despite men and women’s hair growing at the same speed, there are natural biological functions which keep women’s hair growing longer than men’s. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but this is the normative pattern which shows God’s original design. After studying hair for over 30 years at an academic level, Dr. Kurt Stenn (author, Hair: A Human History) noted that “[It is] almost universally culturally found that women have longer hair than men.” 8) Fabry, M. (2016). Now You Know: How Did Long Hair Become a Thing for Women?. [online] Time. Available at: http://time.com/4348252/history-long-hair/ [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018]. This is what we should expect to see, that despite the time or culture, there has been a normative pattern because there is a natural process guiding it.

References

1.
 Castro, J. (2014). How Fast Does Hair Grow?. [online] Live Science. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/42868-how-fast-does-hair-grow.html [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].
2.
 Geggel, L. (2017). Hair Loss and Balding: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments. [online] Live Science. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/34731-hair-loss-alopecia-treatment.html [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].
3.
 MacArthur, John (2011). Divine design. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, p.49.
4.
 Rassman, W. and Bernstein, R. (2009). Hair loss & replacement for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, p.61.
5.
 Sherrow, V. (2006). Encyclopedia of hair. Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press, p.173.
6.
 Sherrow, V. (2006). Encyclopedia of hair. Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press, p.173.
7.
 Thornton, J. and Stevenson, S. (2007). Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs. Clinical Interventions in Aging, Volume 2, pp.283-297.
8.
 Fabry, M. (2016). Now You Know: How Did Long Hair Become a Thing for Women?. [online] Time. Available at: http://time.com/4348252/history-long-hair/ [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

The Biology of Hair Lengths (Video Question)

In this video, I answer Jessica’s question. She asks “How does nature teach us that it’s shameful for a man to have long hair but a glory for women to have the same? Is there an inclination for men to cut their hair or is there a biological function?”. I answer her question and share some surprising scientific facts.

Click here for info on how to submit your own question and be featured in our next video.

A Response to Steven Anderson on Christian Head Covering

In this video, I respond to a new clip posted of Steven Anderson where he argues against head covering. He gives two objections to substantiate his belief that 1 Corinthians 11 is only dealing with hair lengths (not a material covering). Watch the video below and then feel free to check out the additional links at the bottom.

Additional Resources:

When The Evidence Doesn’t Match the Narrative (Cultural View of Head Covering)

In this video, I show you an important first-century funeral urn. What’s unique about this urn is what the inscription says and what that means for the cultural view of head covering.

Transcription reference

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