Ron’s Time Tunnel: Church Hats!

church-hats

1 Corinthians 11:5-6 reads, “5.) But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6.) For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.”

Some have taken these verses to mean that a woman must have her head covered with some sort of hat while worshipping. But, NONE have taken it to such extremes as have some of my African American sisters. This was especially true in the older days. Every good, God-fearing Christian woman worth her salt, possessed an impressive array of extravagant “Church Hats”. My Grandmother had such a collection; as did many of the older ladies in my church.

Although the popularity of the “Church Hat” has faded over the years, there are still some ladies who wear them proudly. I know of one lady, in particular, who always “dresses to the nines”; from the bottom of her high-heeled shoes, to the top of her immaculately ornamented head. She is always stylishly late (I assume, to ensure that all eyes are on her). She then walks slowly and deliberately to the front of the church and sits in the center of the very first pew.

 As the church service progresses, her huge hat can be seen tilting; first to the left; then to the right; then back, and finally forward.  Then it rests there quietly until a shout, a “hand clap of praise”, or some other loud noise, awakens its owner from her slumber; jerking it back to its upright and attentive position, while its owner interjects a perfectly timed, “Hallelujah! Amen!” as if she’d been listening to the proceedings the whole time.

 My Father once told the following story, during one of his speeches: “A certain lady had purchased a brand new “Church Hat”. The hat was elaborately decorated with flowers and fruit and was very, very large. She could hardly wait for Sunday to come so that she could show it off.

 When Sunday arrived, the lady put on her very best “Sunday-go-to-meeting” dress and shoes; topped off by her brand new hat.  When she arrived at church, she strode confidently and proudly down the center isle toward the front of the church.

As she made her way forward, she couldn’t help but notice that everyone was looking at her and her hat. Some whispered quietly amongst themselves. She made her way to the front pew and sat proudly; displaying her hat for all to see.

 After the church service was over, a kindly old gentleman walked up to the lady. She greeted him; full of pride and prepared to receive the compliments she knew her new hat would generate.

‘Ma’am’, whispered the old man, ‘your hat’, ‘Yes! Yes!’ replied the lady expectantly.

‘Your hat’ continued the old man, ‘has got one of the biggest, ugliest, hairiest, yellow, green and orange worms I’ve ever done seen on it, and he’s eating them fruits and flowers up there!’

With that, the lady slammed the hat to the ground, stomped the caterpillar to smithereens and ran screaming all of the way home.”

 In summary: I believe that 1 Corinthian 11, when taken in its proper context, refers to the Christian fact that; the head of the man is Christ and is so covered. The head of the woman is man and should be covered by the man. Not physically covered, but spiritually; just as the man’s head is covered by Christ. But I do enjoy the hats so very, very much.  

 Also, it should be noted that the story of the lady with the caterpillar on her hat, should serve as a precautionary reminder that, not everyone who is looking at you, is looking at you for the reason you think they are. Not ALL attention is GOOD attention.  

 And then there are the attention seekers. These people long to be the center of attention at all times. Some people use YOUR pain and YOUR struggles to garner attention for themselves. I call these people “Munchausen by Proxy” attention seekers. Be cautious of these people for, they are not your friends.

27 thoughts on “Ron’s Time Tunnel: Church Hats!

  1. Entertaining and informative! Usually I read only the parts that interest me and skip the rest, but I read every single word. Plus I loved your : “In summary”. I think many people tend to take things literally in the Bible. It’s a sign of wisdom when you can understand and translate the many metaphors and analogies and apply them to everyday life experiences that are featured in this Book.

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  2. Oh, this was awesome! Not just the message, but talking about ladies and church hats. it makes me remember seeing my great grandmother’s little pillbox church hat (with its tiny veil) poking over the front seat as my cousin and I dug for Dutch cookies out of the blue tin in the back of my grandparent’s gold Oldsmobile.

    It wasn’t a big showy hat, but her special church hat, just the same. With the little blue veil angling over the gray waves of her hair, pinned across her forehead.

    Made me smile.

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  3. I love this! And I love the hats too! I remember the days when we had proper dresses to wear to church… I miss those days.

    Ron, what a great interpretation of that verse. Wonderful lessons and reminders as well!

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  4. Anonymous

    Ron,
    This took me back…to my times at Living Word Church. My favorite line in the post was, “her huge hat can be seen tilting; first to the left; then to the right; then back, and finally forward”
    Knowing she was just ‘resting her eyes’ for a moment.
    It reminds of the sweet elderly lady who always sat next to me at Living Word (there were only a handful of white folk that attended this church and she made it her mission to sit with me as if she were my grandmother). Her name was Ms. Betty. She would always doze off at some point during the sermon. And when she woke up, she would grab my hand and exclaim, “Yes, Lord!” and she would hold my hand until she dozed again. I’d almost forgotten that feeling…how welcome and loved she made me feel (my grandmother died before I was born)…and you brought me to that moment, via the time tunnel. Thanks, friend! Such a happy memory!

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  5. Ron- I laughed out loud about the woman with the caterpillar eating her hat. It is so true that some people must always be the center of attention. Invariably something ridiculous befalls them and they end up looking like buffoons. A very entertaining post!

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  6. Jet

    Your Great Grandma Allie once went shopping for a new hat. She tried on several, but could not make a choice. The old white proprietor of the hat shop looked at her meanly and said, “What’s wrong with them auntie? They look as good as you?” Your great grandma looked at him and cocked her head to one side and answered him, That’s what I’m looking for, one that looks better than me!” She then walked proudly out of the store!! True Story told by “mother”,

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  7. Yeeeeaaaah!!!
    It kinda sucks when you think you looking good cause the peoples is watching you–only to find that something is horribly wrong; hence the stares 🙂

    Dat boi know he good!
    LOL!!!

    Liked by 3 people

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