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.