Posted by: clevsea | June 10, 2008

Head covering, not shoulder covering

A question came up on a loop, here it is:

* * *
Has anyone been told that if you’re not wearing a headcovering that
covers, your neck, possibly even wrapping around the shoulders, that you’re not following the Biblical example of the headcovering? … that since most who wear the headcovering aren’t even wearing the “right kind” that those who do, might as well give it up.

* * *

Here is my answer to that:

Yes…when I was new to headcovering I attended a living room group made up of couples. I attended alone without my husband because I wanted fellowship. My church had just gone through a spilt.

I was trying to be coy about covering. It was summer time so I wore a straw hat. Then I wore a yellow sun-bleached bandana. Then a different hat. About the 5th week of meeting every Wednesday night the leader caught on. He was a kind of “left over” hippy and some kind of pastor.

He started to take up group time to attack me about the various hats I was wearing into the meeting. He was ruthless.

I was well aware of the Greek of the passage because it was the Greek that convinced me that I had to wear a covering. I was also aware and had “Greeked out” the passages on women teaching men so I was trying to not teach him.

Every week he was more and more angry about my head. He tried to act like a happy old hippy guy who is so cool with everybody but he was so frustrated with me. He acted as though I was supposed to cave into his doctrine right away and I didn’t so we had many, many weeks of his one-sided debate and yet it did not work on me.

Finally, he pulled out that Huge Blanket Cloak of a head covering concept on me. He was telling me that I wasn’t even covering right, that to wear a head covering wasn’t correct I needed a total body shroud. What a meany he was.

He got that no doubt by looking up katakalupto and doing some lame word search on the kata part of that word. Kata often refers to “down” but that’s not all that it means. Like a lot of words it has multi-meanings.

He wanted to see me come in the door as Casper the Ghost covered in a huge body sized sheet of fabric. He thought he was so clever.

This was before the first Gulf War occured and berkas were not being seen on TV as often as now. Plus, we don’t have Muslims in our area. So I’m trying to picture myself driving a car with a huge blanket over my head and trying to grocery shop like that too. I never imagined a berka at that time.

Paul chose Katakalupto for his word choice for the head covering. Paul did *not* choose the Greek word for face covering. He did not choose the word for neck covering. He did not choose the word for ear covering or chest covering. Paul worked with the word for head covering and he chose the word kaphale (Strong’s # 2776) which is clearly the word for head.

At the end of the head covering teaching Paul teaches the church that the long hair is a peribolaion (Strong’s #4018) and that word nicely translates as a vest or mantle. So at the end of the passage we see that the Lord covers our vest area, our chest area, with a covering of long hair. Peribolaion also denotes the ability to throw the covering around oneself like you can throw a shawl around yourself, which you can do with long hair. But the head covering, the katakalupto, it is clearly a head (kephale) covering not a neck, chin, face, ear, shoulder, chest, etc, covering.

I am glad that I had the skills to know my Greek when I ran into Mr. Smarty pants when I was so very new to covering. Had I just been covering on a whim or because I saw somebody in a Rod & Staff book I would probably have caved under this pastor’s constant scutiny.

I stopped going to the “fellowship” meeting and I have never seen him since.

I think the “huge cover” is just one more avenue to intimidate covering women.



  1. very good!

  2. Thank you — I haven’t had a comment in ages. I know it can be difficult to leave a comment on the 360’s lately.

    Thanks again.

  3. I’ve come across similar views, mostly that you need to wear a hijab-type scarf or look like a Russian peasant c.1890 to be “godly” so hats, lace, etc, don’t count. Boring. I think I’ll get a bumper sticker that says “God bless milliners!” 🙂

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