Monday, October 27, 2008

Susan's Musin's - Journey Into Obedience (Head Coverings)

I remember in my teen and young adult years attending special church or city Christian events, and many times there were a few women who really stuck out in the crowd. They always wore very modest dresses and these "things" on their heads. I now believe these were most likely Mennonite women who wore prayer bonnets. I remember thinking I was glad I didn't have to dress like that and feeling almost embarrassed on their behalf because they looked so different and "out of touch" with the times. I imagined what a drag it must have been to be brought up in their denomination. And on I went with my life giving VERY little thought of why these women dressed as they did.

Quantum leap 20 years ahead......I have gotten married, and God is teaching my husband and me so many truths in His word and is growing us by leaps and bounds (all thanks be to God). We have moved to Texas and are thriving living in community with like-minded Christian folks. God has begun teaching me about modesty as a Christian woman in dress and manner. Then the "H"-bomb was dropped.

The elders in our community were requested to study the subject of women and head coverings in the Bible, particularly 1 Cor. 11, and other historical documents. Dave read a bunch of materials and then requested that I read and study them myself. "No problem, Honey! I'll get right on it". Laaaaa, deee, daaa, dum, deee, dum (scccrrreeeeeeeeecchhh). That was the sound of my flesh screaming NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, NOT MY HAIR!!!!

When I saw vs. 15 "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.", I thought, "Yes! No sweat, I can grow my hair long as the covering". I was home free and my flesh relaxed. But after REALLY studying the chapter and reading other historical materials, it became very clear to me that God has provided an example in nature (long hair) to show that a woman's head is to be veiled, and the long hair is not the veil itself.

A few other verses that proved to me the case for the head covering were:

vs. 6: "For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered". It seems to me a woman's covering here cannot mean her hair because this verse says that if she's not covered she is being so disrespectful she may as well be shaven or shorn which was a sign of extreme shame back then. If the hair was meant to be the covering here the verse would make no sense, but if taken to mean an example of a covering over the hair it makes perfect sense.

vs. 7: "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man." This verse talks about a man not covering his head. Well, if people's assumption is that a woman's covering is her hair, then to be consistent they would be required to assume no covering on a man means he should shave his head. So you would think we would be seeing a lot more heads of professing Christian men shaved. It appears to me this passage means actual head covering and not just hair.

vs. 14-15: "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering". If a man grows his hair long it looks feminine and womanish which is not natural or proper according to this verse. But a covering in nature (long hair) on a woman does look appropriately feminine and womanish. It seems to me God is graciously putting up a neon sign in nature saying that women's heads should be covered and men's heads should not.

Lastly, I did consider the argument used by so many professing Christians today that this teaching from Paul only applied to Christians in Corinth at that time. When I thought of the principles behind the requirement to wear a head covering, it is clear to me that they are timeless principles and make just as much sense today as they did back in those times. In my opinion the only reason it is not subscribed to today is because it is WE who have changed, not God or His requirements or principles. And that is no excuse in God's eyes.

Dave never commanded me to wear a head covering. He only requested that I wear one during family prayer and public worship. I absolutely submitted to him in that, at a minimum, because I am required to (that blog post is forthcoming, Lord willing); but also because I agreed it was my responsibility as set forth in 1 Cor 11. As for anything further than that, he simply asked me to study and ask for God to reveal His will to me. Well, at first I did only wear a covering (a bandanna in my case) during the family prayer and public worship times. But as I studied it further and understood the principles of "why" God instructs women to do this, I realized I should have it on pretty much all the time I'm in public or in any kind of prayer before God. All throughout the day I find myself praying things as they come to mind, and it would be silly to constantly be taking the head covering on and off. Also, I realized, AGAIN, that it's not about me, it is part of putting and holding down my vain nature; and it contributes to the image of modesty I am instructed to put forth. Lastly, it is good for me to have a constant reminder of the role God has given me as a submitted, obedient Christian woman.

My prayer since God began to open my eyes to His truths has been for Him to grant me continued wisdom, understanding, repentance and obedience in all matters. Reluctantly, this was one of those times where it was too late to turn back once my eyes had been opened. There was no returning without my conscience convicting me. I believe that if one studies 1 Cor. 11 honestly, he or she can come to no other conclusion than that Christian women are to cover their heads. In a nutshell, I believe the head covering is a symbol to your husband, God and the heavenly realms that you are in obedience and submission to God and husband and their authority; it represents a covering or authority over you, and by not wearing one a woman is disrespecting God and her husband. (This applies to single women as well).

This was a rubber hitting the road point in my life. It is a subject that has obviously been cast aside and marginalized by 99% of professing Christianity, so I had a big question to ask myself: do I make current culture and society my compass, or God's eternal Word and the principles behind it? Well, my conscience answered that question right quick; but my carnal man roared like a lion because I couldn't show off my mane anymore!! Good grief, when it actually came down to putting on the head covering every day, I practically had to have a funeral to memorialize my hairstyle and all the cute ways to wear my hair. I had no idea how vain I was with my hair until I had to cover it. (That was another part of my journey into modesty).

I am not a Mennonite, nor do I subscribe to all of their theology; however, I now look back on those women and greatly appreciate that their desire to obey and honor God and their husbands in their lives superseded their desire to look cool for a fleeting time here on earth. It grieves me that I have spent so many years plainly dishonoring God in so many areas in my life, including this one, and thank God for dropping those scales from my eyes to show me how He wants me to live for Him. And I can't stress enough the importance of learning the principles and purposes behind all of these commands that appear to be legalistic in the world's eyes. What a blessing to live a life of increasing obedience to my God and husband. I have never desired to be called a "peculiar" person, but now I consider it an honor. (Deut 14:2; Deut 26:18; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9)

I could go on and on about the proof and reasons I believe for wearing a head covering, but I won't. Our teacher recently preached a couple of very good sermons on the case for head coverings if anyone is interested in them:

Headcoverings, Part 1:    Audio  :  Sermon Notes
Headcoverings, Part 2:    Audio  :  Sermon Notes


My prayer for those God has brought to this blog is for Him to draw them to Himself and lead them on a journey into all truth which will bring glory to Him, and that is what it is all about.

Susan

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fellowship and Fun


Although the work we do on the land is important, one of the main reasons we're all here is because the Lord has graciously granted us the fellowship of like-minded brethren. While some of it is serious, some of it is not so much; and God has afforded us the opportunities for leisure-types of fellowship with each other and with some of the events and people in the local communities.



Lord's Days

On the Lord's Days, we meet in the morning for singing (shown in this picture to the left) of Psalms (which for us are the Psalms from a psalter we purchased here), hymns and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16); and then midday we commune around the table to enjoy the Lord's provisions together in representation of being nourished by the spiritual provisions from God. We usually meet at different peoples' homesteads each week, but in this picture we decided to go to the park in our town for this time of fellowship:




And after eating, the guys enjoyed some throwing of the horse shoes:




On a different day, the adults joined the children in a game of kick ball:





Community Work Days

We have set aside every first Wednesday of the month to be a community work day, where we all gather to work together in fellowship around the land, either on things that benefit the community in general (like working the roads) or to assits someone who might need help with a specific project:




This pair looks like they're having way too much fun for pulling fence! :)




The ladies will get together during work day to help outside or to work on inside projects:




And then it's time for some leisure together:




Means of Grace

The Lord has blessed us with a godly and gifted teacher in Michael, for whom we are very thankful. In a given week, we will typically meet together as a group to be nourished by the means of grace God has graciously granted us.

The first meeting is a sermon, where Michael teaches. These are the ones that typically become available at BiblicalAgrarianism.com or at LazarusUnbound.com. After an opening prayer, we sing a Psalm from memory to practice learning the psalter songs by heart, and then Michael preaches.

And the second is Saturday evenings, where we again sing Psalms from the psalter, and then have a question and answer time with Michael, which is followed by general fellowship time:




Childrens' Plays

Several times since we've been here, the children have put together plays on various subjects (like Esther'story and Passover) and then have performed them for the community. Now, this is not cheap "community theater"; this is the real deal! We have to buy tickets, and they offer a concession stand at the performance. And it is worth it!







Curtain call:




Preparation and Education

In light of trying to live a preparedness life-style, Michael thought it would be important that we experience and learn what to do if we ever were to find ourselves having to survive in a cold weather situation. Now, coming from comfortable California and comfortable city life, I have an acute aversion to being cold; and so this was not going to really live up to the "fun" part of "Fellowship and Fun"; however, after some exhortations I tried to have a good attitude about it. There's me in the back and in black, frozen solid (or at least I thought I was):




This was my shelter the first night. All I had were my clothes and a sleeping bag, no tent. It got down to 17 degrees that night. I'm pretty sure it was the coldest I've ever been, as my shivering kept waking me up:




However, part of my "experience" was for me to be set up the next night in a different situation, where we made fire beds on top of which we'd sleep (actually we only made a couple of beds, but I was allowed to have one of them :) ). Here's one of the guys helping dig the bed out for me. Needless to say, that night I was quite comfy; and when I awoke the next morning, I was so warm I couldn't tell in the slightest how cold it really was, which again was 17 degrees. It was very nice:




Overall we learned quite a few things. Thanks to Michael for taking the time to teach us those things.

Also, after reading a few of the slave labor camp "Gulag" books by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I was thankful to not have it as bad as they did, where temperatures would get to 60 below zero; and only then were they not forced to go work.


Neighbors

Soon after we moved here, one of our neighbors came by and introduced himself; and he has since become a good friend of the community. His name is Homer, and he is a very nice and generous man who, after being reared locally, is retiring now out here.

Here is Robert getting to ride along while Michael's field is being baled for hay:




And here, Homer is giving rides on his dune buggy:




He also purchased and gave all of the Bunker children bicycles.

We pray the Lord grants him and his family salvation.


Community Events

During the year, there are various community events, some of which we might attend. Here are a few to which we've gone.

Interestingly (and I don't believe incidentally) in our life paths, directed by God, Sue and I both enjoy listening to and have sung in barbershop quartets; and so we have gone to the local barbershop chorus' annual show for the last couple of years:




This was the Coleman rodeo from the first summer:





And from this year, this is the Coleman rodeo parade:






We always pray we represent the Lord well when out in the community, for His glory. May the way we live be a witness to those around us here in the world, and to the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms, as a testament to His efficacious work in the hearts of sinners and to so great a salvation. Amen.

(Thanks to Jordan and her The Ranch Weekly blog for several of these pictures!)

-- David