Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Behind a veil

Tonight at class we experienced a little muslim culture. The men and women had separate entries. Upon walking in the door I was told to cover my head with a scarf. I walked into the room which had been divided by a lace veil. The area for the women was rather small and on the floor several women were sitting on pillows, dressed in veils and some in full Arab dress.

I knew this night was coming, but I hadn't expected it to bother me. It's just experiencing another culture, right? But it did affect me. In fact, it bothered me a lot. The speaker addressed the men without a glance at our side of the room. We sat in silence as the men participated in the lesson. After about an hour, the veil was taken off and we proceeded as normal.

I wrote down a few words describing how it felt, disconnected, useless, unwanted, superfluous. The head covering is there (for modesty too) in our Bible as a visible sign of submission. As I watched the men from behind the veil, I thought about what it means for a wife to submit to her husband. I decided I didn't really know what that meant. For his decisions to overrule mine, for my input to be a side note? Is that what it's like sometimes? I'm so used to my input being respected and listened to...

How do women in that culture maintain a feeling of significance? My words imply that I believe in the headship of men, but I'm not sure they are heartfelt. This is an extreme example perhaps, and I know that there are many issues inside this issue, but I'm only addressing the one tonight (sigh of relief). How do I learn what it is to be under submission while maintaining my opinions, thoughts, beliefs? God didn't give me a mind to waste, but where does it come into play?

I am an American, and I have a lot of frames that I've fit life into. One of my professors said that people don't reject those lifelong frames unless there's some sort of crisis. I like being around diversity. It doesn't confuse, like it may sound when I'm on here, but it does make me think. I think that's a good thing. I think it's a bad thing to always be around the same type of people who hold the exact same beliefs as yourself. Trees fall down when there's no wind...

So tonight, I stepped outside one of my frames and took a look. Now God, teach me from that new perspective.

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