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May 18, 2012 / hippiechickamblings

Temples and Bad Women

I haven’t gotten a haircut in the last twenty years without feeling slightly queasy. All the “fancy learnin” to be had in college classrooms can’t get rid of a sneaky, superstitious dread I suffer at the sight of scissors closing in on my head. Yep, it’s Grandma (“Maw”) who haunts me, and I bet she loves every minute of it. She’s probably sitting up there in heaven right now, cackling, bossing the angels around, insisting that they need to change their halos…..

This particular haunting has is roots in one of those long, winter crocheting sessions with Days of our Lives playing in the background, Maw’s crochet needle bobbing along with the speed of light…and mine plodding….

Me:  You feeling better after that cold you had, Maw?

Maw:  I prayed about it…that’s all I can do, and  I’ve been praying hard for my children to get saved before I die.

Me:  Maw, how do you know they aren’t saved? Have you asked them?

Maw:  Honey, I don’t have to ask! Why, anybody can see they ain’t. Just look at ’em!

Me:  I don’t know about that, Maw. I’m not sure you can always see what’s in somebody’s heart.

Maw:  What’s inside is bound to come out! It ain’t gonna stay in no hidey-hole, forever. If people are saved, they’re gonna act saved!

Me:  So you can look at somebody and tell they’re saved?

Maw:  ‘Course I can! Can’t you?

Me:  I’m not sure. How can you tell by looking?

Maw:  Now, Uh, Brother, get away from here!

Me:  No, I’m serious. How can you tell?

Maw:  Well, just look at your aunts and uncles…aint’ been to church in a coon’s age! They drink wine, and watch them ole movies with bad words in ’em. You don’t never hear a single one of ’em talk about Jesus, neither.

Me:  Mom goes to church. She prays, too. She might not talk about Jesus to everybody in sight, but I know she loves Him. What about her?

Maw:  Your mother’s a good person, Honey, a mighty fine person.

Me:  But you don’t think she’s saved?

Maw:  Not any more than the rest of her sisters. (Shakes her head, sorrowfully) They all wear pants and cut their hair off short and put that old face paint on all the time.

Me: Makeup, you mean.

Maw:  Yeah, face paint. It’s an abomination. All of it! Lord, it’s a sight all the troubles the Horton’s have been having. Sister Shirley put ’em on the prayer list at church. I never seen the beat of the heartaches them people has.

Me:  The Hortons?  Maw, the Hortons are not real. Days of our Lives is just a show. Remember?

Maw:  Well, I reckon I know that! I can still pray for ’em, can’t I? I think you just missed a stitch.

Me:  You were talking about Mom and her sinning sisters.

Maw:  All of ’em with their hair cut off. It just breaks my heart. A woman’s hair is her glory, given to her for a covering, and ain’t supposed to be cut. It’s all right there in the Bible, in Corinthians.

Me:  Maw, you don’t really believe that a woman will go to hell just for cutting her hair, do you?

Maw:  It’s all right there. Corinthians.

Me:  But you can take any verse in the Bible out of context and prove anything you want. You have to study the context to get the true meaning, don’t you think?

Maw:  Context? Your mother wears them to see good. What’s that got to do with the Bible?

Me:  No, she wears contacs to see. I’m talking about context. It means not just looking at one little piece, like in a Bible passage. You need to look at what came before and after the passage, who’s talking, who’s being talked to. Also, you have to look at the culture of the people of that time, their history, customs, beliefs…all kinds of stuff.

Maw:  Why would you need to know all that stuff, when it says plain as day that a woman ain’t supposed to cut her hair? The Apostle Paul wrote that, and I know you ain’t gonna sit there and call the Apostle Paul a liar!

English: The Apostle Paul

English: The Apostle Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Me:  I wouldn’t dream of it!

Maw:  I’m afraid for you, Honey. You need to read your Bible more.

Me:  I just think a lot of people have misunderstood Paul. I don’t think he meant for women to get the idea that cutting their hair would send them to hell.

Maw:  You don’t, huh? Well I don’t see what else he could’ve meant. It’s all right there. Corinthians. Alice Horton is gonna die, sure as the world. I don’t think the doctor’s gonna find a cure, do you?

Me:  She’s not sick, Maw. It’s a show.

Maw:  I know that! Her color sure looks bad, though, and her head all bandaged up like that. Okay, Miss Smarty Pants, you gonna sit there and tell me Paul thought it was okay for women to have short hair?

Me:  He wrote that letter to the church at Corinth because they were having so many problems. He was trying to give them God’s advice.

Maw:  Yeah, I know they had problems. Them women must’ve been wanting to cut their hair off, and Paul said, NO!

Me:  I don’t think it was that simple. Some of the members were trying to hold the hair-thing up as a rule and make it a salvation issue. Paul pretty much told them it was more about custom than salvation, and shouldn’t be a thing big enough to divide them.

Maw:  What did custom have to do with it?

Me:  The church at Corinth was in the middle of one of the finest cities in the world at that time. It was a big trade center, rich, with a huge mix of different cultures. A lot of pagans lived there.

Maw:  Pagans? They worshiped the Devil and drank wine and had those orggies.

Me:  You mean orgies. I guess some of them did. Mostly, they worshiped all kinds of different gods. They had a lot of temples built to honor those gods, sometimes with temple prostitutes.

Maw:  Hush your mouth!

Me:  It’s true.

Maw:  Get up from here! Bad women in their temples?

Me:  Well, they probably didn’t think they were bad. They thought they were sacred…it was how they worshiped, in a way. When they were ready to advertise their services and let men know they were open for business, they’d remove their veils…uncover their heads. Some of the lesbian prostitutes advertised by shaving their heads.

Maw:  What’s a “lisbon”?

Me:  No, “lesbian.” That’s a woman who loves other women…instead of men, I mean.

Maw:  Lord have Mercy! Does your mother know about this?

Me:  You mean about lesbians?

Maw:  Does she know you know all this bad stuff about bad women and…lisbons with shaved heads?

Me:  We’ve never discussed it.

Maw:  Where did you hear about all this pre-verted stuff anyway?

Me:  It’s history, Maw. All I was trying to say is maybe Paul’s intention was to point out that customs having to do with sins of the past shouldn’t be held against new church members. Just because uncovering the head or cutting the hair had a certain meaning for pagan worship didn’t mean Christians should be  condemned if they took off a veil or trimmed their hair.

Maw:  Alice Horton is going to die for sure. I think she’s lost weight since yesterday.

Me:   Maw, haven’t you ever cut you hair in your life?

Maw:  I did one time. It was a long time ago. I was backslid.

Me:  Backslid?

Maw:  I left the church to sin. I cut my hair and wore pants and jewelry and everything.

Me:  When was this?

Maw:  Years back. I was trying to spite your Grandpa for stepping out on me.

Me:  You tried to pay him back for cheating by cutting your hair?

Maw:  He knew I meant business when I went and done that. He knew I’d turned my back on the Lord and it was his fault, too.

Me:  I see. You tried to make him feel guilty.

Maw:  I even got my hair permed so it’d be kinky, like HERS

Me:  You wanted your hair to remind him of that other woman? Why?

Maw:  I’d get in bed with him and take his hand and rub it over my kinky head. I’d say, “Does that remind you of anything?” I did it for pure meanness!

Me:  Wow, what a wild woman you were.

Maw:  Oh, believe me, I had to repent when it was over. And your grandpa quit running around after he got saved, you know.

Me:  Was that when he got saved? After you cut your hair?

Maw:  Not right then. A few years later. And I had to repent of a lot more than cutting my hair. I had to repent for wanting to kill your grandpa.

Me:  Because he made you so desperate you turned your back on God?

Maw:  No, it was because he LIKED my kinky hair…he liked it especially at night, too.

Me:  I see.

Maw:  You should see Maude’s hair. She goes to my church,

Me: Why, what’s wrong with it?

Maw:  Nothing. It reaches all the way down to her ankles.

Me:  Wow, like Lady Godiva.

Maw:  Well she’s a mite pale, but she sure don’t look dead!

Me:  No, I said Lady Godiva, not “cadaver.”

Maw:  Who’s Lady Cadaver?

Me:  She rode through her street wearing nothing but her long hair.

Maw:  You mean she was nekkid? Was she one of them bad women, too?

Me:  No, the legends say she did it to protest the taxes her rich husband had put on the village.

Maw:  But she was nekkid. I wouldn’t do that, no matter how high the taxes were.

Me:  Her hair was long enough to cover her.

Maw:  But she was still nekkid. Lord have Mercy! People have no modesty anymore.

Me:  Maw, that happened almost a thousand years ago.

Maw:  Oh, well sounds like that long hair kept her from scandalizing herself too bad. Wonder what Paul would have to say about that, Miss Smarty Pants?

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