Here's another old path post. I'm going to preface this by telling you that I'm a complementarian. (Not a chauvinist.) I believe that God created man and women with specific roles in mind. Those roles are no greater than each other, and man is no greater than woman, but they have their own vocations. Now to the actual post.
I hear tell about a time when a man would doff his cap when a woman walked pas,t when men held doors for women and nothing was thought of it, and when ma'am was a commonly heard word. I'm not saying women shouldn't wear pants or that men should drop their coats in puddles for women, but I wish we could go back to some of those old traditions. I see today's man devaluing women and women fighting them tooth and nail for a place among the men, but the things I hear about the days of chivalry and gentlemen makes me wonder why the women don't fight for those. Women want equal jobs, that's fine with me, but what they really should be after is the tip of the cap and an open door.
In 1 Peter 3:7, Peter tells men to treat their wives as someone weaker in an understanding way, this is not a command to demean the women , but to hold them up. Men should be leaders, but they should also be gentle with women. And they should respect women as well. In 1 Timothy 5:2, Paul tells us to treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters. (That comes with the assumption that one should treat your mothers and sisters with love and respect.) There are many ways to respect women which we have lost in the past sixty years. The idea of a gentleman or a chivalrous man have been abandoned to history and fiction. No one doffs their cap for a lady anymore. There's no ladies first, or standing when the hostess enters the room. (We haven't even retained the idea of a hostess, but that is a matter for the next post.)
I don't intend for this post to entirely revolve around the way men treat women though. It's actually more about the way we treat hats. That issue is simply the most pressing one at hand and needed to be addressed first. What I have to say about hats applies on a more broad scale. It applies to every situation and all people. Hats are symbols of authority and respect. Western culture doesn't treat them this way anymore, but that is how I see it in almost every other culture on earth. And that is how I see it in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 we see Paul instruct the church at Corinth on the covering of heads. Paul taught the Corinthians traditions regarding head coverings, and this is why most people think that this segment is obsolete in regards to being a literal command. We tend to read our own culture into the Bible, instead of trying to apply the Bible in the midst of changing cultures. We read tradition and look at the context of the Bible's cultures and say that since we don't have the same culture we don't have to obey the Bible. This is plain malarkey. If that were the case we wouldn't baptize in the church. There is a culture of baptism that has been lost to all but the church. No one is baptized to show that they follow a presidential candidate or a philosopher, they just tell you on their Facebook page. Cultural change shouldn't affect the practices of the Church. Paul says:
"Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God."
The arguments he gives here aren't even cultural to start with. He says the symbol of authority is because of the angels, not because of the neighbors. He argues that "nature itself" teaches the idea of hair honoring and dishonoring. This is not a culture, but a fact.
Because of these things I have a policy. I do not wear hats indoors. If I go inside I'll doff my cap in respect of those in authority in that place. Outside, under the sky, I am a free man and a Christian, so a carry an authority that comes from the Imago Dei (Image of God) within me, and from the Holy Spirit that indwells me. (I'm not legalistic about this. If the authority of a place tells me it is OK to wear a hat or tells me to wear a hat, I'll do it. So if I'm at a costume party or working, I'l wear a hat. But the concept still holds.) Every time I walk inside I take my hat off. This is a constant reminder to be humble and to obey the authorities. If our culture had that I think we would have much richer lives. And the Church should know better. I cringe when I see a man in a hat inside a church. Doesn't he know that he's disrespecting God and all the saints gathered under this roof? Obviously not. And, yes, I do think women should wear hats in church to show their subjection to the authority of God. (I'm not sure why God commands that women wear hats, and not men, but knowing why isn't my department in this case.) Men and women are different, "nature itself" teaches us this. So why wouldn't God make different ways for us to show subjection.
Whatever the case, I intend to follow my own advice. I want to remember to tip my hat to ladies, to take off my hat for the flag or whenever I go indoors, and I want to remember that I bear the Imago Dei. That is why I take my hat off to pray.
(From my desk at school.)