I recently shaved my head…again. I’ve been bald several times over the last few years, and I like it. It is wonderful to not have to worry about bed head or the wind messing up my hair. I like to wear hats, so no hat hair, but I do have to watch the rings on my head after wearing hats.
It’s easy to maintain. There are no barber fees just the cost of shaving cream and razors. It’s almost therapeutic to shave each day. But I DO have to worry about sunburn.
I don’t like to wear sunscreen. There’s something about that lotion that makes my skin feeling oily, and I’ve never liked the feeling. The ones that don’t leave my skin oily leave it feeling silky smooth. I don’t like that either – I’ve always associated skin like that with women. Plus, I tan normally and don’t burn, so it’s ok, right? I know I should wear sunscreen, and now that I’m bald I am very careful about how I take care of my exposed scalp. When I’m not wearing sunscreen I make sure I’m wearing a hat.
There is one time, though that wearing a hat is a bit confusing. It is when I pray. Do I take it off or not? Why do people take their hats off during prayer? Where does this idea come from?
I’m pretty sure it comes from 1 Corinthians 11:4
Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.
On the outset it looks like this is exactly speaking of wearing hats during prayer or not. However, verse three gives a bit of context that is necessary for understanding verse four.
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Here in verse 3 the writer, Paul, defines who/what the head is. The head of man is Christ. Then he talks about covering the head. If verse three was written elsewhere then verse 4 could be easily explained as speaking of physical head coverings. But Paul gave a definition then used the terminology he just defined in the next verses. Verse 4 could read that “every man who prays or prophesies with Christ covered dishonors Christ.”
So, are we to pray without our hats or not? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us we should “pray without ceasing”. Seems to me that prayer time is not determined by our physical circumstances. God lives in us and not a temple. Therefore physical environments such as removing a hat cannot keep our prayers from reaching the Father.
Even though it may not be a problem to take off our hats during prayer time, there is still a large part of Christian culture that believes this should be done. Many people are taught in military and in other cultural circumstances that there are times to take off your hat to show respect. Even though taking your hat off during prayer is probably not what 1 Corinthians 11 is talking about, when with a group it is best to do it out of respect for those around you.
We have freedom in Christ. God is everywhere – especially in our hearts. Hats don’t stop that, but in all things respect for those around you shows love for them.
1 Corinthians 10:23
“Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.