Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Being Different

Amish do it. Old-order Mennonites do it. Motorcycle dudes do it. Old ladies with rollers in their hair do it. Some "religious" folks do it. Traditional Catholics do it. Folks having bad hair days do it. And so do I.

Aah, the wonderful world of head-coverings. During the first month that I wore mine, those who knew me well hardly said anything. My mother-in-law said something, but she typically speaks her mind. I expected it. My dentist told me he liked my "do-rag." The others were probably wondering if I'd flipped my lid or joined a cult.

I felt exceedingly uncomfortable. Was I crazy? There was a sense of relief that people weren't asking me about it, but at the same time, I wondered what they were whispering behind my back. Did I stick out like a sore thumb, or was I just paranoid? I have always been perfectly comfortable blending into the background. The last thing I wanted to do was draw attention to myself. Submitting to covering my head would definitely push me out of my comfort zone.

For scriptural support for the headcovering, see 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. You can google the "controversy" if you wish to read more about it.

I spent literally YEARS mulling this over before I decided to follow the convictions of the Holy Spirit. I knew no one who covered her head. No one at my church, no one in my neighborhood, no one in my homeschool group.

So why do I do this, especially since I claim to not enjoy the attention of sticking out? Because it is from God and not from me. I do not look down my nose at those who don't cover their heads. I've never told anyone that they should cover their heads. I have suggested trying it out to those who were contemplating it. Wearing the headcovering actually reminds me to be friendlier and more outgoing than I would otherwise. Some people will look at me and judge me to be "religious" or "fundamental", and I want to be certain that they don't remember that the woman in the long skirt and headcovering was rude or impolite or unfriendly.

Most people still don't comment on it. Some children ask me why I wear a scarf, and some adults ask my children why I do it. Does anyone else find it odd that an adult would ask a 4 year old to explain why his mother always wears a scarf? He can't even explain why he ate breakfast this morning! Sure, he knows he ate it and it was good, but he can't tell you WHY.
Either the funny looks I used to get from strangers were imagined or I've grown used to them. I have peace about it now. So I don't fit in... I never really did anyway, I only looked like it.


Steve said...

I appreciate your testimony about your head covering. Yes it is less often seen today for the specific reason that you choose to do it. As I study 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 I realize that Paul's instructions for worship were cultural but the attitude of worship and submission are timeless. The principals behind it represent a person that has given everything she has to the Lord. Submission to His authority. It represents respect for your spouse. I praise the Lord for your submission to His will in your life and the example you set for others. May God bless you. Steve

Ron and Ginny said...

I understand. You will get more comfortable with it and it will stop being on your mind all the time. You will cease to care what others are thinking, also. It really doesn't matter. :-D

Keep a stiff upper lip and welcome to the fold. ;-)

Chestertonian Rambler said...

Reposted from my blog, since I was a bit late in response (and will probably continue to be so for the next 1.5 months):

Generally speaking, my first rule of thumb is "there is no perfect church"--and the endless search for a "perfect church" just leads to churchlesness.

For me, I really need to be taught the gospel--not only Christ's challenges to my life, but repeatedly reminded of God's mercy and that I am forgiven for my many sins. I think my first and greatest difficulty is with churches in which morality/life-advice is preached week in and week out, and the "gospel" is relegated to a tagline. For me, Christ's forgiveness may not be the sole end of salvation, but it is the beginning and continual workings of salvation--it doesn't happen once, but constantly as the un-worldly paradigm a Believer must live in.

Other than that, I feel uncomfortable in a church that has less than 50 or more than 1000 members. Either way, I begin to feel isolated from my fellow believers--although given my druthers (and absent any considerations of wife, future kids, &c.), I'd probably take the former over the latter.

And of course, there are a certain number of doctrinal distinctives which I pretty much require. The Gospel is obvious, a strong respect for the Scriptures as God's message to us (i.e. not intentionally "cherry-picking") and for me at least a marginal respect for the workings of the intellect (I've had bad experiences with brothers in Christ who refer to, say, atheistic professors as "liars" because their teachings are against scriptures. In isolation, that's one thing, in a full church body, such anti-intelectual conviction becomes quite fearsome.)

And finally, there are the bonus elements: I really feel uncomfortable with a church that doesn't at least recognize the socioeconomic and racial diversity of the city. As long as they recognize it's a problem, it's not something that can drive me away--the church I grew up in partnered with a "black" Church (literally "across the tracks"), and the occassional preacher-exchanges we did were, I felt, exceedingly important in reminding the local church that our mostly-affluent and quietly conservative church culture is at best only a partial expression with the overarching workings of Christ's body in our town.

So...there's a few. Mostly it's an art, not a silence, and the main thing is by all means to keep oneself reminded, in the words of John Donne, that "no man is an island unto himself" in the body of Christ.

Dawn said...

Welcome to the world of headcovering! It's a wonderful expierance that's for sure!
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me "Are you _____? I would be rich.
Hmm the most common one asked if I am a nun or sister. But others have asked if I were a nurse, doing charity work, Mormon, Pentecostal, Amish, Mennonite, and just plain 'what religion are you?'
And of course people stared which I didn't mind. I would smile back usually or if they were staring really hard at me, I would stare really hard back at them...LOL.
I have been covering since April 2006 and it's been a huge blessing!

The Lord Bless thee,