Exploring the Christian cyberworld

We all know any nutbar with a computer can jump online as an expert anything, and people will just believe it. The internet is the newest way to spread urban legends, hoaxes and strange prophecies. Christianity has always been plagued by this sort of thing. The pre-modern version of the internet, after all, was the church door, where all kinds of notices and news were posted. People hung out in the church porch to idle and gossip. Markets were usually in the church yard or at the market cross just beyond the church. The old fellers who no longer worked hung round, the young fellers with a day off met up with friends, and the women of all ages  too a few minutes or more to exchange greetings and news with neighbours. It was  a great place to start a rumour.

I tell thee this by way of warnign thee to be discerning. Discernment can be simple common sense, but for Christians it can be and should be more. When we hear something we think may change our lives, when we have decisions to make, then we have to approach it with three other cautions: What does the Bible say? What does the Christian community say? What does my heart in prayer say? All these cautions give us the opportunity to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us. Common sense, Biblical intepretation, community contribution, and the word of the heart may each fail separately if we emphasize one too much over the other, but when they come close to agreeing, or two or three cuations agree closely, then we may with confidence know that the Lord has given us an answer of peace.

I came across all this while looking at sites on Christian headcovering. We all know the Bible passages well; if not, any one of these sites will direct us and even furnish a suitable pericope in a favourite translation! What struck me is that ninety percent of these sites are written by men. If there’s one field of theology where women should take the lead and expound it must be about headcovering!

I suppose some of this is from the question of headship. If a man is head of his wife, and Christ head of the man, then the man should be ableto tell the woman when to cover, how to cover, and why to cover. But this is not the sort of obedience God meant us to follow. God tells us He wants us to be obedient, but the decision is ours. We aren’t ordered to obedience with wrathful vengeance. A woman is first of all to be a Christian, and to follow Christ. She is in Christ the equal of her husband. Her Godly wisdom may even exceed his, and the husband needs to honour this, listen to his wife, consult her on family and business matters, and sometimes concede the decision to her for the good of the family. I am in that situation right now. Nicholas is still suffering from the damage caused by his stroke, and he knows that he does not always understand the situation completely, so a lot of decision making is left to me. Still, I talk to him about decisions, ask his viewpoint, and even ask him what he thinks we should do.  But he’s willing to let me decide.

So why do men weigh in with a lot of opinion on what God means for women? Why isn’t this a woman’s theology? In the matter of family obedience, a woman must first agree to the marital relationship. She cannot be ordered into it, and once her agreement is secured, then the issue of obedience arises. Of course, I believe women are under the headship of their husbands. I believe women should be obedient to their Christian husband, just as he must be always mindful of the needs of his wife and family, and put them first. And while men may have opinions on the dress of Christian women, it is the women themselves that St. Paul addressed, not their husbands. He reasoned with them, made his case, pointed out their obligations. He didn’t say to the men, “Make your wives do this!”

I am glad to see that many women make the decision concerning headcovering for themselves, and even that those whose husbands do not like it are willing to obey. I would like to see more women write about this important subject, for that is what will carry weight with other women. Some may even present good arguments for not covering!


6 thoughts on “Exploring the Christian cyberworld

  1. 🙂 Keep searching – headcovering bloggers and headcovering makers/sellers are nearly 100% women (I only say nearly because though I don’t know of any men that are doing it, there may be one who does more than post on 1 Cor. 11 in between his posts on chapter 10 and 12) – the women post more personal and practical! Many times I have seen women merely post the links to the men’s articles and essays, and I have too, mainly because we feel enough has been said on the logical reasoning account, and all we have to add is our own personal conviction, testimony and the how-to wear encouragements that the men really can’t write about. I also know of a couple of women who have written booklets on this subject, though you can’t find some of them online.

    I personally think that men weigh in on it because they study the whole Bible just like we do, and we can write and speak about what fathers should be and who women should look for in a spouse, right? As you mention, since they do have the responsibility, I’d rather see men stepping up to the plate and challenging women and men, rather than cowering, as some seem to do, almost saying straight out that they wouldn’t attempt to “tell a woman what to do”. Good grief, Charlie Brown; Be a man, I say. I rather respect them for not being afraid of us! 😉

    • Hmm, I’ve seen that attitude myself but not in my own husband! We were discussing that recently on the subject of women’s ordinations. We are in a church that does ordain women, but sometimes the bishops’ decisions seem very strange indeed. (And that is true of some men’s ordinations, come to think about it.) But it does seem that in some dioceses, the women can make all sorts of demands of the bishop that would be unreasonable coming from a man. I’ve never had a problem with a bishop standing up to me; why can’t they get theire feet under them where other women are concerned?

  2. Because they are afraid they will be accused of sexism and be inundated by the feminists! Feminism has made whole generations of men afraid of being men. It’s like when I was dating, I never told guys that I wanted to be a stay at home mom with a houseful of kids -I always waited till I got to know him better.

    • It’s funny how that keeps coming up. Feminists expect toleration of their views, but so many are intolerant – certainly not all! And I can’t say I don’t harbour some liberation ideas – equal pay for equal work, equal parenting benefits including leave for new fathers, and so on. I hope I’m not sexist, rascist or bigoted in any way! As for being a stay-at-home mom – it’s what I wanted but didn’t get. Men seem to think that if you can earn a paycheck you should.

  3. I’ve come to realize headcovering is a personal choice like baptism. To force compliance denies the reason for it. Obedience should be willful not coerced. That said, I too notice the men do a lot of the theology writing (the why’s and how comes) while the women write the practical applications (the how-to’s). I suppose it’s a matter of perspective, since the women are the one’s who actually wear it and the men only talk about it. I suppose for some men it may be a power thing, but not as likely. Also, tradition plays a strong role (for good or bad) with men being the ones in charge giving and making the rules whereas the women follow and apply the rules. Old traditions die hard.

    • We’ve had the experience of dealing with a community under the influence of a cultish religious leader; you wonder how it can happen that intelligent people can just accept what one person always says. It’s not really obedience if you do it out of fear.

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