1 Corinthians: 1 - 15: 1 Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you. 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. 5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head. 7 The man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. 9 For the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man. 10 Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels. 11 But yet neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, so also is the man by the woman: but all things of God. 13 You yourselves judge: doth it become a woman, to pray unto God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. (Douay-Rheims)
Achem. Okay. So, 'headship' is sometimes an issue for me. I have had and will likely sometimes continue to have, Issues, with men. I don't believe that they are better than me, I don't believe that they know more than me, I'll drink one under the table, arm wrestle, whatever. I am woman, get the frick outta my way! On the other hand, I deeply and truly desire to find a good man, get married, and raise three dozen children on a farm somewhere. I am not a typical woman, should such a thing exist.
But headship. Especially headship in relation to head covering.
Vs. 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. 5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head. 7 The man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. It starts with a simple sort of hierarchy, it would seem. God - Christ - Man - Woman. We all have someone that we must answer to. Ultimately, it is God. We must all, individually, answer before God for our lives. Why did God lay out the hierarchy like this? I'm not really sure. It ties into my thoughts on the rest of the passage. To me, the rest of the passage lays a heavier burden on men than on women. What, you may ask? Lemme explain.
Man is called the 'image and glory of God'. He is given charge, though not explicitly in this chapter, of his wife and his children. His duty is to raise them up. To elevate them, and make a holy nation for God. Yes, ultimately, it is an individual choice to follow God, but for children, this begins with the parents. Now, men and women are equal in the eyes of God. He values them the same. But they're still created differently. We all have our roles to play. And there must needs be a leader, in any relationship. It's a partnership, but, in the case of a difference of opinion, if we don't defer to one, then discord can be sown. Man is told to pray uncovered, because he is the 'image and glory of God'. This is an outward *sign* of an inner charge. As is the head covering of the woman. I believe, when we come before God, He will ask the man who led his wife to error, 'Why did you neglect your charge? I gave you a precious gift, and you miss used it.' Each individual is responsible for their salvation, but I believe that men are burdened with leading. A woman covers in respect to this, but ultimately, as a sign of submission to God. 'Let it be done to me according to Your Will.' This is not an excuse for ignorance. This is not an excuse to whimper and say, 'Oh, I can't make that decision.' No. A woman must be informed about her own faith. Her soul is her responsibility. Her childrens souls are also her responsibility. But it is also right that she defer to her husband. Or, in other cases, her father. But these men, should we defer to them, must be righteous, God-fearing men. We owe all humanity respect. But our obedience belongs only to God, and our deference belongs to men who belong to God, and will treat us in the manner that God Wills.
Verses 8 and 9: 8 For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. 9 For the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man. This whole passage has been used to say that Christianity is male-centered, that it holds women down, places men in a position of power that they don't deserve. I used to see it that way too. I don't, anymore. This refers back to the order of creation, in Genesis. Now, I'm not a literalist. I don't believe that every single event described in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. The Bible is a collection of works, using allegory, allusion, history, metaphor, on and on. So, I don't believe that God created the Earth in seven literal days. I do believe that God created the Earth, however. I don't believe that God formed Adam from dust. I do believe that God created Adam. How? Some mixture of natural processes and Divine intervention. I think there's enough evidence of evolutionary theory to give it a kind of credence, but I don't think that we accidentally evolved from an ancestor. However, I will take God at His Word when He says that woman was created for the man. Why? Because man needed the help. If the order of creation were reversed, I would say that 'woman needed the help'. Man and woman are two sides of the same coin. We need each other. We were created for each other. This is the way God Willed things, and God knows best.
But then we get: 11 But yet neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, so also is the man by the woman: but all things of God. Women are the life-givers. We get the singular honor and joy of brining new life into the world. Men can't. They're deficient like that. ;) But neither can woman give birth without first the man 'sparking' the seed. Again, we need one another. It's an eternal partnership. Still, do we give life to the egg? Nope. God does. All things are of God. We merely get the loan of them for a little while. So, you see, woman was created for the man, but man cannot exist without the woman, and neither can exist without God. All things go back to God, and our need for Him, ultimately. So this part, at least to me, doesn't speak of man being better than woman.
Ephesians 5: 21 - 30 : 21 Being subject one to another, in the fear of Christ. 22 Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: 23 Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: 26 That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. 28 So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: 30 Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
We are called to be subject to one another. Equality, baby. But here's the part that I find important: 'Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it.' Women, subject yourselves to your husbands (or fathers), but! Men, you must be as loving toward your wife (or daughter), as Christ is to the church. Christ *died* for the church. An agonizing death. Will most men be called on to actually die for their family? No, but some have been. The point of this is that you must love them wholly, selflessly, without limit. When you love your wife like that, that's when you deserve to have the burden of headship. And that's the point when you deserve your wife's submission to you. Not before.
This is why I think we must all strive to lead holy lives, in submission to God. And from that flows this two way steet of love and honor between man and woman. Wah. So, that's a little rambly and probably confusing. Sorry. I'm still trying to get my thoughts on all of this organized.