A case for glory

Hmm. Now some of you are talking about me being “up to” something… or coming to a “conclusion.” Don’t deceive yourselves. I am good at questions, not answers. Have I ever concluded anything before?

Also I feel frustrated in my attempts to keep from bringing in two subjects I wish to avoid: Complaining about My History and Campaigning for the Head Covering. When they sneak into this post, please know at least that I am aware they are there, and will shuttle them out again in due course.


Confession: Sometimes I don’t think my long hair is a glory. Sometimes I think it’s a pain.

I wanted to know if I was alone, and I wasn’t. Not all of you said “frustrating” but many of you hinted at it, though the causes of your frustration may be different than mine. You said

coming and going—thin—wayward—dry—indecisive—falling out—coarse—unpredictable—frustrating—slippery—flat—straightened!—graying—frizzy—fluffy—fickle—work—pet peeve

I had a hunch I wasn’t alone.

Not that we’re all terribly frustrated with our hair! Quite the contrary. You also said

numbered by Him—glorious—long—beautiful—stretching to my fingertips—LOVE—fun to work with—highlighted—always liked—wavy—shiny—straight

Like me, you love your hair and are proud of it. For the most part. If only it weren’t so ___!!

We could say that about any part of our bodies, I suspect. We usually want them very much, just a little slimmer, or curvier, or longer, or bluer. But especially our hair. This thing that’s actually called our “glory” in the Bible… supposed to be glorious, one of you said, one who fought through to some answers on the other side of the frustration.

I have a feeling that most of you long-hair girls have long hair not only because you like long hair and think it’s pretty, but also because you were taught that this is what a woman should have. You grew up knowing that, and you would sooner whack off your arm than your mane.

But long hair comes at a cost. The men say it’s glorious and mysterious. (Paul was a man too, howbeit a single one.) They don’t have to deal with trying to find a decent way of arranging it that is simple and efficient and attractive (but not too attractive), brushing out the tangles, taking ten minutes for a good shampoo, and picking up strands all over the house. Correction: sometimes they do the latter—and they don’t think it’s glorious, do they?

You see we have this split: Theoretically, we know it’s glorious. The Bible says so. Our parents said so. Our husbands said so. And instinctively, we know it’s glorious. It’s lustrous and colorful and supple. But practically…!!

It takes time and effort to care for long hair well, and sometimes we are not sure if the effort is worth the results we are getting.

I will confess to you that I that I wash my hair as seldom as possible, I don’t brush it 100 strokes a day, I leave it pinned up almost 24/7, I feel frivolous and vain when I experiment with it, and I remove the straggly ends only with misgivings because when I was little my preacher said that “long” could only mean “as long as possible.”

I doubt nonparticipation is what Paul had in mind.

I suspect that one camp of us were taught to value the cover on our hair, and one camp of us were taught to value the glory of it, and very few of us know how to balance both. Speaking only for myself now—As soon as it’s covered, I lose interest in it. As soon as it’s glorious, I want to show it off.

I think we could care a little more about the glory.

I’m always amazed at Scripture’s way of placing value, and how what’s inside is of equal or greater importance than what’s outside. I’m not talking about radiant character, girls—stay with me. I’m talking about physical things covering physical things.

Like in the tabernacle, the richest of red cloths and embroidered cloths and linen cloths, covered all over by a dull, scruffy badgers’ skin. What was the point of all that beauty? Like in Solomon’s temple—a great throne of the purest ivory, completely overlaid with gold. Why didn’t he just build the base of plastic or somethin if he was going to hide it? That’s what we would do in the West, but the East was onto something, knew something true about the world–

Again, I’m not trying to preach a covering. I cover my long hair because I think it is too glorious to share with casual onlookers—as I cover the other most beautiful parts of me. It’s my refusal to wield power. But women who love Jesus have come out at many different places on this, and I respect them. I see in the text reason to differ—to read that her hair IS her covering, or that her covering was for that time or place… Bien. All I want to say is that

Covering my hair does not warrant disrespecting it.

Covering it does not give me license to wash it as little as possible, to ignore its stress, to laugh off its straggly ends, to keep it pinned up and veiled night and day. What does glory mean?

I suspect that many of us were taught about the cover, and not enough about the glory. We know how to put it up, by gum, but do we have any idea how to take it down?

Do we know how to care for it? How to treasure it? When you teach your daughter about pinning it up, do you also teach her how to arrange it prettily down? Or do you assume that when she gets to places of intimacy she’ll just know how to bring it out, how to display her glory and wield her power in the right place?

Teach her about the glory!


The sayings of Shari on this topic are ended for now, but I hope to do a little learning in the coming month. I want to visit my library, chat with a few of you, experiment privately with some ideas for care and management… and tell you what I learn. You too?

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11 years ago

love it!

11 years ago

I would be interested in hearing some care and management tips. I so heartily agree with you, that once it’s covered, I’m done and bored with it. I avoid working with my hair any more than necessary, and don’t even feel much like I really like it, though my husband assures me that it is beautiful—-when he gets a chance to enjoy it “down”.

11 years ago

I suspect that one camp of us were taught to value the cover on our hair, and one camp of us were taught to value the glory of it, and very few of us know how to balance both. (quote)

I think this is so very true. I try hard to live a balanced life and I try hard to convince myself that I am living a well balanced life, but reality is that I have found habitation in several ditches along the way. I don’t have more to say, but I’m interested in hearing more discussion.

11 years ago

Fascinating! I’ll be eagerly waiting to hear more about this, and thinking in the meantime. Thank you for sharing your insights.

11 years ago

I’m one of the few mennonite women whose hair health has cost hundreds of dollars. And I’m not sure that preservation and beauty at all cost is right either. But I also agree that it seems a cop-out when we ignore the health of our hair because No One Knows and No One Sees. We live that way in other areas as well. Because we have so many covers and protections….
I like your idea of caring for and beautifying that which is hidden.
Say on.

11 years ago

Hi. 🙂 Bertha shared your blog with me. I am very interested in the “hair” discussions! I am one who, through losing a mother and watching other people with health issues, and a few minor ones of my own, have come to believe passionately in going back to the basics, back to natural living, whatever that means. 🙂 My hair has always been curly or wavy and when I was young, so long and thick my mom needed someone to show her how to pin it up. (If my girls grow hair like that…which they are…I might hack it off to share with those who have none.) As I grew older, I lost 90% of that. I believe a lot of hair loss comes from hormones being off whack. And then, I also believe that we abuse it beyond measure using shampoos, conditioners, and other who knows what stuff. My hair became dry and unhappy. In the last year I learned to quit all shampoos and conditioners, as they strip the hair and then chemically soften it. I have used a bit of baking soda with apple cider vinegar very effectively. I now use an egg yolk with apple cider vinegar, or just water. My hair is healthier and happier than it has been for many years! But the damage has been done…the first glory is gone.

So, take it or leave it. 🙂 These thoughts are frightening to some, disgusting to others, and a huge answer to yet others.

I am interested if there are other reasons you cover your hair…other than the modesty/saving for your husband part.

I totally agree with you, that I respect others who do not come to the same conclusions I do!


11 years ago

I would love to hear what you learn!

Rachel S
11 years ago

Interesting discussion! Coming from a perspective of one who does not cover her hair, I think that the challenge is the same, believe it or not. Because taking care of your hair becomes bothersome and frustrating up or down. Yes, I feel like a million bucks after coming out of the salon, but after the first hair wash or an hour of humid weather, suddenly it feels like “blah” again. So then what? Doesn’t it come down to personal dignity and self respect? Why shave your legs if they’re hidden under a skirt/pants or why change out of the baggy gray sweat pants if no one is home? You care for those things because you respect yourself. Your appearance is a reflection of your perception of your own self worth. I’m interested in hearing other opinions as well!

new mom
11 years ago

Yes! Yes! Yes! (coming from one who didn’t comment on your previous post because I was too depressed about my hair.) I have always loved my gorgeous hair. What do I do now that it’s falling out and rather ugly? I don’t know how to take care of it, nurse it back to health, so to speak.

11 years ago

I suspect that one camp of us were taught to value the cover on our hair, and one camp of us were taught to value the glory of it, and very few of us know how to balance both. (quote)

I doubt that the camp of those of us that were taught to value the glory of it (from a biblical perspective) is very large. A man with any sensibility left in him will be moved deeply by the glory of hair but Paul did not state that glory was for man’s enjoyment. (of course, it is appropriate for a man to enjoy his wife and daughter’s glory) Paul’s use of the term “glory”, means heavy presence in worship to God. (go check out the Old Testament origins of the word, glory) How many sermons have you heard teaching women about letting down their glory in private unveiled worship??

11 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

This last sentence has moved me on a deep level, and has had me and my oldest teen daughter talking and pondering . . . Neither she nor I have ever felt that we must have our heads covered to pray to God in private but we never “connected the dots”. WOW. So much food for thought there . . . still processing and feeling deeply moved!

11 years ago

I’ve been a silent reader but I can’t help but comment on this discussion on hair!I love hair!!Thank you for sharing!I’m looking forward to hearing more of your thots!

11 years ago

I love this post and the discussion! Especially about taking care of your hidden glory. The comment 2 posts up has got me thinking and pondering….

It has been fun to see my hair change for the better as I learned how to take care of them. A few tips I have learned…. never use shampoo that isn’t sulfate-free. (it’ll say that on the front of the bottle)… gently massage your head then rinse it off right away. The shampoo will wash the rest of your hair as it runs down over it. Don’t rub the shampoo into the hair that hangs… Put conditioner on your hair and get out any tangles that you might have with your fingers, gently. Depending on your hair type you will want more or less conditioner in. You can rinse a little bit of conditioner out but leave at least some in your hair…. Don’t rub or don’t towel dry your hair. Your hair are actually very fragile and break down easily. Blot them with a cotton or microfiber cloth then let them air dry…. Never brush them (sounds crazy, I know. But i have a lot less tangles now then I did when I brushed)… Be careful what kinds of hair spray you use….. Every once in a while trim your hair (your mom or sister or friend can even do it) to help keep rid of split ends.

Ok that is a mini post in itself. I have always liked my hair but it looks so much better since i implement these tips. Once you get the hang of it, you do it without thinking and it really doesn’t take longer. Hope it helps some of you all. Have fun learning!

10 years ago

Wow, Shari! What a well written, thoughtful post! I’m glad you are writing about this. (Been out and about and not keeping up with your writing). This is something I need to think about more, especially since I have a daughter.

10 years ago

Glad I went back and read the ‘beginnings’ of this. Food for thought here. I always had a lot of hair and suddenly a lot of it left me 🙁 I suspect hormones since I’m nearing 50. I’d love to know how the 63 y.o. woman is growing more hair. And since I have 3 daughters with long straight black hair (well one is only 3) I’m interested in what other personal conversations will be my lot as a mother.

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