" Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting". Proverbs 31:30a
I've been pondering the role of Christian women in society a lot lately and then came across the above scripture. Everything that has been going through my mind gelled when I read this.
In a recent blog I talked about looking in the mirror and being convicted that my inner self was unprepared for the day, while my outer self was presentable.
I've been following this train of thought on and off and considering some of the Bible verses about what makes a woman beautiful..."Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelery and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4.
I've been thinking on the almost never discussed topic of women wearing pants and how the Bible (yes in the new testament) tells us to cover our heads when we pray (see 1 Corinthians 11).
Lots of fodder for conversation I know.
On the pants topic I've never seen anything in the Bible that says a woman shouldn't wear them, however there is scripture in Deuteronomy 22:5 that speaks of it being an abomination for men and women to wear clothing belonging to the other. You can just begin to imagine the discussions and arguments that come from that verse. The Google list was extensive. But I have to ask..."Why did God say that?", and "What did He mean?"
Why all this? Because I think that we as a gender have strayed so far from the image that God had for woman, that we don't even know it. How can you return to ancient paths, or even begin to look for them, when you think you are on them, or don't know you have left.
Might I carefully suggest that most women of this generation, and the last have never been taught in the ways of the ancients.
Let me set it straight right now that I know many women who I consider to be Godly examples, all older than me, of different walks of life, who yes, wear pants and don't cover their heads.
So I am not being critical or legalistic...
But there is something deep in my being that is crying out to know how to lead our current young ladies who are struggling.
What am I presenting to them that is different? I know that most importantly, beyond my appearance is my behavior, which comes ultimately from a heart that is right with God.
But I want to go farther. And I hear the question...How can you go farther than your heart? But doesn't what is inside of you affect how you are on the outside?
When God said for us to be in the world, but not of the world, what did He mean? Are we to look different? Physically? Are we to be obvious like the Hassidic Jews, or the Orthodox Mennonites? I don't know, perhaps not so uniformly, but just in a more gentle, individual way.
One of my thoughts was that in the past, the men "wore the pants" in the home. Now, women wear them too. Does this putting on of a garment, originally worn by men, bring about a heart change, a very subtle, subconscious shifting of the hearts position if you will.
Does the perceived lack of need to cover one's head while praying, indicate a lack of reverence for the Lord's instruction through Paul to women. Does it also indicate a shift in position of heart and position within the family structure?
Does the unveiling of our heads and the donning of men's clothes mean we have decided to take the role of man, of leader. Some Women's Lib supporters might say "Absolutely yes!", but I think all this happened before that movement came on the scene.
Most everyone I talk to on the topic of head coverings, says that particular scripture isn't for today. One person (a man) said that in this age, Paul might have instructed women to cover their shoulders while praying, since many women, even Christians wear a lot less in this day than they used to. Whereas in the day of Paul's writings, for a woman to have her head unveiled indicated that she was a woman of suspect character.
In that conversation I had to ask, if it is possible, that God really did intend for us to cover our heads, and the instruction still applies to today, but we, over the ages have drifted so far from His call to us, that we don't even recognize it today as being relevant.
If we still did follow these precepts, would so many of our young women be in such trouble?
If we positioned our hearts and clothed our bodies in this fashion, would anything change?
I have to ask. These questions pursue me frequently, and occasionally I come across women who have the same ones. Not women from sects who are required by law to dress this way, but who are feeling a stirring...
I will continue to ask and search out answers on this topic, perhaps blog again as more thoughts come up.
"...but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30b