I’ve noticed a promoted ad showing up in my Facebook news feed, called The Head Covering Movement. I couldn’t help but click on the link.
I was raised in a tradition (the Old Order Mennonite Church) where women wore head coverings, based on the Scripture in I Corinthians 11. As an infant, mom put a covering on me for Sunday morning worship, which was the custom among the Missouri Old Order Mennonites where I was born. We moved to Virginia soon after I turned 2, where girls started wearing coverings full-time as teenagers. I started wearing a covering and caped dress at 16.
I was always told that the head covering was an outward sign of inward submission. I was disappointed to find that even with donning “the veil,” I was still me and far from submissive. I later learned that submission is an inward discipline. I have also seen cases where a woman wore a head covering and plain dress as an outward sign, but it was no secret who really “wore the pants of the household.” If using the outward sign as a reason, those cases simply made it a piece of cloth on the woman’s head.
I went through varied stages of the head covering; from the netted material with strings that fit over a bun to a black veil that covered most of my hair, to a doily. See examples here. I even went through a stage where I wore the veil during my sleep, just in case I woke up and needed to pray.
Plain dresses and head coverings did nothing to address the soul care I so desperately needed. The only concern expressed from my faith community to me through these stages were not about what was going on inside, but what was coming off outside.
I studied the Scriptures. I wanted nothing more than to please God. I believe that ALL Scripture is inspired by God and relevant for our lives today. My heart was stirred by the Scripture in Mark 12: 28-31. “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” and John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” And Micah 6:8, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
While I was very familiar with the Scripture in 1 Corinthians, no where in my research could I find that the head covering was required of me to live a Christian life today. I know there are those who disagree with me, but I have “worked out my own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)
As I have tended to my soul, my outer person continues to be transformed as well.
I have utmost respect for someone whose firm conviction is to be veiled. However, I can’t help but wonder if a greater movement might be based on Mark 12.
7 thoughts on “Unveiled; why I stopped wearing a head covering”
I know far to many people who wear a covering not for themselves but for their “family” which is a bunch of crap! And a lot of the ones that wear one do not even remotely act like Christians. If you wanna be like Christ you need to love and not judge! Wearing a covering is NOT what gets you into heaven! I have a real problem with hypocrites.
my heart breaks when I hear of women (and men) who know what the Bible commands and once did it; but, find ways to justify their wrong now. It would have been much better to align your heart to submissiveness, rather than throw off the outward sign of submission because you knew you weren’t submissive in other areas. Satan is a deceiver, and thrives on getting people to trip up on what seem like “small” issues. The Bible does say, “He that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is SIN.” James 4:17
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Thanks Rosetta, for weighing in. I want to be careful to discuss here and not argue so I hope that comes through in my comments. I do not see Paul’s teaching about the head covering as a direct commandment, just as I don’t see his comment about not braiding our hair a direct commandment. Who do we see that plucks out their eyes or cuts off their hands when they have been offensive? If I felt that God was calling me to wear a covering, and I would submit if that be the case, I would feel the need to dress entirely like women in the Bible. That’s just me. There are many differences, even among those who veil and I know from my experience that each one feels as strongly about their own as the next. Who is right? Just questions… You don’t even need to respond unless you want to. Just trying to give a picture of where I’m coming from. When we make it about us and our works (although I’m well aware that faith without works is dead,) we negate the work of the cross and nullify Jesus’ sacrifice, our only way to enter heaven.
Interesting thought about the “non-salvation issues.” What determines if a Biblical teaching is a “non-salvation issue”? What about John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”? Some would argue that I Corinthians is the Apostle Paul’s teaching and not a direct commandment. But where does that put the belief that the entire Scriptures is the inspired Word of God? And then we come back to the issue of interpretation of the Scriptures. I have found in researching all the wording in 1 Corinthians 11 back to the Greek, that it seems plain to me that it is referring to a separate covering, not the hair.
Jeremy, thanks for your response. It is my understanding the the head covering is not a salvation issue. The Bible does not say, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes on him and wears a head covering will not perish but have eternal life.” If that is someone’s personal conviction, please, by all means, be obedient. But sometimes I think we get so focused on non-salvation issues that those around us suffer because of it. Tend to the souls and God’s spirit will guide them.
Hi Regina, thanks for sharing your story and perspective.
I’m glad to hear that your soul was not satisfied in outward conformity. The inside is hands down, more important than the outside so I’m glad you placed a priority on examining your heart first. However, I believe pitting inward against outward is a false dichotomy. Just like making sure you trust Christ is more important than being baptized, once you have trusted Christ you should not be content staying unbaptized. I see the same with head covering. Yes, the principle should be a reality in your life and that be a true expression of your heart, but that does not cancel out a biblical imperative to symbolize this to men and angels (1 Cor 11:10).
Founder, The Head Covering Movement