Head Coverings? Or Just COVERING?
Tuesday Afternoon, May 7, 2002
Question: I wanted to write you about head coverings. But first I wanted to say that we’ve really appreciated the materials that you sent to us. God is using what you are about to stir in us again—the desire for the intimacy that living “close” to one another can produce as Christ is allowed in a real, tangible way to come forth. The reason I say again is that at one time we were meeting daily for prayer meeting and working together, etc. We met like this for seven years, but in the end the pastor left. (We did have “clergy,” which we now know with your help by showing us in the Scriptures—was deadly.) The thought of getting close again seemed too much. I’m sure that our chaos and problems and issues are a situation probably played out many many times in other places.
What developed was what we have now. We have no elders as such, but the men of the group (six families) meet twice a month and discuss whatever needs to be voiced. We have open meetings as there is no pastor or emcee. At this point, any man or boy can speak. We used to “allow” women to share, but a new group has joined us in the last three years that is definitely against women doing this. We have some very different “theological” viewpoints. Most kids are home schooled (not that that is a merit badge, but does help to describe certain things about us). Until recently, we have had a brother here that believed he needed to force-feed Calvinism and infant baptism to us (very strongly believing that what you believed gave unity rather than who you were connected to). He has since left, but until recently there has been a real “controlling” thing come on our meetings. There is still one strong “reformed” brother in our midst, but his approach is much more “organic,” realizing that when the soil is not ready, it is not ready, so he doesn’t force his views on others. So anyway, probably a fairly typical small group.
But what I’m writing about is this: We appreciate the tapes on women being silent in the church (and the other tapes as well). Our women, to the most extent, are submissive in the spirit of Christ. It’s not a forced, legal-type thing. Several of our wives have been wearing head coverings for about ten years. We still have not been able to come to a resolve about it. We know it is not a requirement for salvation or law (although it can and has been subtly made a law that can kill the women), and actually I wish the verses were not there. Even if our women wore nothing on their heads (some don’t), they would be submissive. It doesn’t help that the camps of other believers who are walking in Life with the Lord are seemingly divided about this issue. We’ve read much and still not come to a conclusion.
So, what I want is to hear what you, as a church, have been able to work through with this issue if you feel like sharing that. Your thoughts on women being silent in the church seemed to me very balanced, with clarity on headship. So, share if you would. We appreciate it. Thanks again for everything.
Hi there. I’ve appreciated your perseverance in asking about this several times now. : ) However, I think the reason the Master doesn’t allow me yet to answer with any perspective that might free y’all up a bit—is that “diversity” that you mentioned in your midst. It sounds like Lordship is too big an issue to not be the issue in your midst. We have never had all of those problems you mentioned, in over sixteen years with multiplied times the number of people, and many ex-“pastors” and other “experts” as part of the Church here. But, what you describe can only happen when Lordship is at stake in some of the lives.
The self-will and attitudes being exhibited don’t mark those lives or places where Jesus is Lord of all, “from the least to the greatest.” If we are wrestling continuously with “issues” and “problems” such as these, there is something fundamentally wrong with the “Foundation” of “Obedience of the Faith.” So, to address the “topic” of head coverings, or whatever, would only create more controversy and bring out more “opinion” in all likelihood. And you’re right—it’s not just your “group,” of course. Many “groups” of folks that are not on the Foundation as a whole (say, 98% or so of what’s out there), could tell horror stories as bad as or worse than what you’ve described. I have to say that it fatigues me and hurts me to even think about ever living life in an environment of chaos and opinion and schism and half-trust, as is the case in most places. It is anguish to even imagine going through that. So, what to do?
Unfortunately, most people prefer the cost of the chaos and half-trust to the cost of a Cross and a Foundation. (At least they get to be kings of their own opinions and tiny plot of ground—though Jesus is only figure-head and kewpie doll in such a case.) Until the REAL issue is resolved, the “details” really don’t even matter. More will spring up or reappear, forever and a day. “Is hell real?” “Should we be allowed to break bread other than in our homes, because, ‘Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in?’” And, “What about foot washing, which Jesus seems to command?”… and a few hundred others we’ve heard in various cities and countries. So, it’s hard to see how to answer about certain “subjects” considering the environment that you describe!
I’m not saying it’s your fault at all. But it’s a bottomless pit and echo chamber when the Quality is as you describe, regardless of how “normal” it is to human existence. It’s not God’s habitat to be so full of chaos, self-will, opinions, and “stirrings” as you describe. “Of one accord,” “being many are ONE,” just AS the Father and the Son “are one.” “Unity of the Spirit” and “Unity of the Faith,” and therefore “no longer infants tossed to and fro by every wind of teaching.” Humble hearts—all absolutely under His Lordship, and Apostolic Gifting in Foundational relationship there… and the problem is solved. Either of those two missing, and you will absolutely never have the Peace that you desire and might have had—so you’ll have to get used to it as it is, and just take one “fire” at a time.
It’s just like trying to build a house on sand and wondering why everything looks good for awhile, and then eventually some of the doors don’t close right, and cracks are appearing, and the floor is separating in the corners…. We can keep filling in with plastic wood and spackling—but the real problem is not going away, even if hidden for a time. The Foundation has to be Right, and the Plumb Line true.
Although you certainly didn’t describe “a bunch of terrible people” (and trust me, I’m not taking it that way at all!), you did inadvertently describe something we’ve seen and heard all over God’s green earth. You described a “normal” situation where both Lordship and Apostolic Gift are missing (and these two are inseparable when we’re desiring a Lampstand—a local CHURCH rather than individual lives scattered here and there). I don’t blame you or think less of you or anyone there, but I’m just trying to say that those are the real issues to be watching and praying and acting about—not head coverings at this point.
NOT the answer you were counting on, or the one I planned on giving when I began writing. But, if I just play the game like “everyone else” and give you a formula and yet another opinion and some clever “how to’s” to speed you along the cheery path, I wouldn’t be honoring Jesus, or really helping you. There are plenty of gimmicks out there, and self-appointed “I’ve planted 48,219 ‘churches’ in 918 countries, and this is how you do it” kinda guys. But, those things end up just like what everyone already “left”—except with a few extra bells and whistles, and, in some ways, some much larger dangers than what they left behind at the “institution.” So, I have to tell you the truth, even if it’s not what you wanted…. But actually, I think I’ve heard your “voice” in past dialogue and conversations we’ve had enough to believe that you really DO want the truth, whatever it may be. Thus my willingness to write a little more, at a little deeper level than the “how to” and “here’s what to believe” religious words.