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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Does it not mean what it says or do we just not care?

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.~1 Cor.11:15

I forget which church I was in but it was recent & not my usual church.  I was a little behind the 8~ball ~ which happens to me a lot~ so there was this moment after we'd been asked to bow our heads for prayer when I was left gazing abstractly at the long row of heads obediently bowed in front of me & I was struck by something.  Every single head was female ~ & not one of them had long hair!  Not a one.  There wasn't a headcovering in sight either but that is another issue entirely because often the people against headcoverings argue their hair is given them as a covering ~ no matter how short it is.  Hm.

Now here's the thing, because we don't want to be all legalistic about things as if works can save us & I've had *Grace* quoted at me until the mere mention of the word has me rolling my eyes in quite a Star~like manner, but if Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: [2Tim.3:16] then shouldn't we at the very least investigate the matter further?  And, as His dearly beloved children, shouldn't we want to do what is pleasing in His sight?

Hair is easy for me.  I like my hair long.  I've worn it long for most of my life ~ except for a few years after my twins were born & I had lots of young children & very little time for vanity of any sort.  During those years I wore my hair very short indeed.  My daughters are not so keen.  Liddy has thick, heavy hair but has compromised by thining her hair & keeping it long enough to scoop up in a pony tail.  Star wants shorter than short hair but has also compromised because I have refused point blank to consider shaving her head to the bone!  I layered Star's hair according to her instructions & she is very happy with the result.

So what does the bible say?  And having read what it says, does it mean what is says? ~ because I've had *cultural context* shoved down my throat ad infinitum also. 

Hair is mentioned 64 times in the bible but only 15 times in the N.T ~ & of those 15 times only 2 are applicable & both of those are in the same Corinthians' passage. The Greek word used is Komao ~ from kome ~ meaning to wear tresses of hair & those tresses are given as a covering.  By implication this means long hair because culturally [there's that word!] women's veils were a good deal longer back then than they are now!

Partly, I believe, is than God dislikes gender confusion & always draws clear distinctions between men & women.  Hair is another aspect of that; Men = keep it short!; women ~ grow it long!

I have heard women tell me, over & over because the heart is deceitful above all things! how hair is a matter of the heart; that God looks on the heart; that it is our attitude that matters not the length of our hair ~ & these arguements sound convincing because hair is not a salvation issue.  Nope, not at all.  However, having had to deal with the covering issue myself, I would argue that how we see our hair & what we do about what the bible says is indicative of a fundamental heart issue because at the root of the whole discussion is a heart issue: a rebellious nature driven to have its own way or a heart of submission.  We can argue till the cows come home that God looks on the heart ~ & so He does; not even an arguable point.  But what does He see when He looks on our hearts?  A heart submitted to Him even in the little things ~ or a heart prepared to disregard His very clear instructions?  After He clearly says that if we love Him we will obey His commands?

One final thought.  Hair is one of the easy things.  Seriously.  Loving my enemies?  Now that's hard!  I'd so much rather fire fell from heaven & obliterated them from the face of the earth. It's hard enough just loving the people I like. So what do you think?


Persuaded said...

Have I told you lately that I love you?


Ganeida said...

Oh, Diane! I love you too! ☺ ♥ So what do you reckon. Are they running for the hills yet or will people still speak to me?

Persuaded said...

hehehe.. you're a brave soul my dear;-)

I have to say though, that this is my favorite part: "We can argue till the cows come home that God looks on the heart ~ & so He does; not even an arguable point. But what does He see when He looks on our hearts? A heart submitted to Him even in the little things"
That's the bottom line for me.. He asked me to wear a cover and so I do. Honestly I don't like covering, but I can't NOT do so.

It's certainly not a salvation issue, but I feel a special kinship with other gals who have this conviction. It's a rare woman who has come to this conviction these days... although it's my feeling that covering will become more and more common in the years to come☺

joyfulmum said...

well, I still need to catch up with you as I've had a super busy week and not been here in a while! anyway the short of the long (pun intended of course) is that my hair is shoulder length and I've had it a bit shorter and way longer at times. I like the length because it's convenient and easy to manage. I would not cut my hair too short as it would look manly. hair along with covering one's head,jewellery, wine, etc are such controversial topics that I think I'll leave it at that if that's ok? :)

Ganeida said...

lol Rosemary. That is waaay ok. It's the really short *manly* bobs I'm really ranting about. I'm not a *never ever cut it* adherent. Mine is really long because I like it that way & for me it's easier to manage but my girls have something a little less extreme! :D

Just the same, the bottom line for me is What does God say? Sometimes I don't like what he says but I figure it's been said for a reason. On most things I think there is a comfortable middle ground but some things are too clear to actually be argued with. I've found when God wants it to be my issue He really gets in my face about it. *sigh*

Jeanne said...

I still love you. I'm still pondering this one...

Joluise said...

I just wrote on another blog about peoples interpretation of the Bible and this is a perfect example. Those women with short hair would say they were as Christian as a woman with long hair. However a woman with long hair would perhaps disagree. Who is right? We should not look like men, therefore I think (personal view) that our hair should be feminine and at least longer enough to not look man-like. Mine is shoulder lenght for the same reason Rosemary mentions.

My mother had long hair all her life then she suffered a stroke and my dad had to look after her hair. After much stress and guilt she got her hair cut shoulder lenght so my dad could manage it better. She felt so guilty that she was betraying the Word of God. I doubt God is cross with her, he isn't a mean God.

Head covering is another, I don't see a need to cover my head all the time, other women do - once again it is how we are interpreting the Bible.

And we need to respect those choices.

Better finish now, I have mash potato to do!!!

Ganeida said...

Jeanne:lol Go to the Greek. I didn't want to do an actual study just just ask the question but it is much clearer in the original. Bottom line is stillWhat does God say? ~ not me. I'm just muddly ol' me.

Jo: Some things are inevitable & should not generate guilt. Free will choices are a whole 'nother matter. Makes no difference whether or not I respect another's choices if those choices are contrary to the word of God. If everyone does what seems right in their own eyes in the church then we have lost our standard ~ & we end up with a half~baked religion that does no~one any good because if salt looses its saltiness, etc...

Ember said...

I have thought about this a lot, and come to a different conclusion.
We are probably relating to the Bible in different ways.
I believe it's important to understand one can be reverent and respectful of God's voice that surely speaks to us from the Bible, yet have a different view.
I like to think of it that the Bible can be understood as a manual or as a map.
If thinking of it as a manual, the reader would think 'Hmm - headcovering? What does the Bible say on headcovering?', look it up in the index, and follow the instructions written there.
If thinking of the Bible as a map, then 'Headcovering' is a road or place on the journey, it has a bearing and relationship with the 'You Are Here' spot, and with the Peaceable Kingdom towards which we are journeying. And travelling to the Peaceable Kingdom may (or not) pass through or along Headcovering.
The teaching on slavery is a good comparison - the Bible says 'slaves obey your masters', yet we do not (I hope) see that as a binding instruction recommending the perpetuation of slavery.
The Map approach sees the development of faith as a journey to be undertaken, the Manual more as a state to be maintained.
Like you, I search my heart and soul constantly for the movement and Word of God's Spirit, and something I ask myself is 'Where do these things lead?' I was put right off headcovering and biblically-long-hair by the experience that they lead to argument, division, condemnation, legalism, and speaking of those who made different choices with contempt. I came across women calling fellow-Christians 'Worse than whores' for wearing high heels and nylons to church: I objected to this both because I thought it intentionally insulting and because most prostitutes are not morally degraded as much as simply poor.
I concluded that Plain dress/headcovering/long hair could not be key tools for building the Peaceable Kingdom, and had been a temporary obsession of mine.
I am entirely open to the idea that I may be wrong, and I love you long hair and headcovering and all.
I have my hair short now. It is what biblically-long-hair ladies would definitely describe as being like a man - but they'd be wrong. I look nothing like a man, nobody would ever mistake me for a man; I look like a woman with very short hair.
I am uneasy with the idea that God dislikes blurring of gender boundaries, because nature is full of hermaphrodites, and many humans are born hermaphrodite: and while I am not convinced that God says no woman should take a pair of scissors to her hair, I am certainly convinced that God does not regard the people who have been born hermaphrodite as failures, mistakes or the shameful products of a fallen world. God made them, and he made them like that, and if we insist that it is an abomination for male and female to be muddled then we risk filling hermaphrodites with shame and rejection.
I am saying all this because you asked, and you have a sturdy intellect to take difference on board - but I do want to reiterate and underline that though I have come to disagree on this one, I respect your position and regard the whole Plain/modest/biblical dress folks with real affection as honourable kin in the family of God.

MamaOlive said...

I think you know where I stand on this. ;-)
God said it, we ought to do it.
Personally, I think we live in a sad place where doing right is more controversial than doing wrong.
Biblicaly, Psalm 85:10 says mercy and truth are met together. I understand that mercy is just as important as truth. When one is full of truth, one can apply that mercifully, as in the case of the mother with a stroke. Or, obviously, a cancer patient isn't in sin because chemo made the hair fall out.
But however merciful we may feel towards our favorite sinner, truth will not permit us to label a rebellious heart as pleasing to God.
Hair won't save you, but refusing to obey the One you call LORD will damn you.
To qualify that, no one is perfect, and no one has perfect understanding of God's Word. But, when you do understand and choose to disobey because that is convenient, woe to you.

Ganeida said...

You know both Ember & MamaO, I am a very simple woman. I figure, having studied it 'cause I don't like being told what to do any more than the next person, & having reached the conclusion it means what it says I wonder, not in a condeming fashion but out of plain curiosity, how others have reached a different conclusion. I do not think slavery is a good comparision. The bible does not teach slavery is good, only that if one finds oneself a slave that one is a good slave ~ & that is true of all walks of life. Ember I agree with the principle that nothing we do or don't do saves ~ & thank goodness for that! Can you imagine? Those things that are beyond our control we shall not be held accountable for but the rest?

There are all the things I didn't discuss because up until the
192o's or thereabouts, western women usually opted for long hair [& a covering ;P].THe heart attitude behind the first croppings was one of rebellion until now, to suggest anything other than we can choose for ourselves is seen as divisive & controversial. When the church can't even agree on the straightforward things it's no wonder we are in trouble on the larger theological issues. MInd you, I don't even understand some of those arguements.

The hermaphrodite thing is interesting because you are quite correct ~ but again something beyond a person's control. What we do, how we react though is under our control.

I think I am getting muddly.

BTW Ember, I love you unplain, short hair & all! ♥

MamaO, you know I think your long hair is gorgeous! ♥