I believe the Bible. I believe it is 100% accurate. I believe it is God's word to us. I believe that humans misinterpret it. Often.
Some times, the way things come full circle just cracks me up.
As a setup, please note that I spent my primary school years in a church-run school that sometimes took Scriptures just a wee bit out of context, and when that didn't work, they'd just make stuff up. Well-intentioned, perhaps, but thank goodness I have a brain and can figure this stuff out now!
There were lots of rules, especially about how one was supposed to dress. (Well, let me clarify. Mostly, the rules were about how FEMALES were supposed to dress.) I'm OK with rules, to an extent. I understand that law and order are paramount. I can tolerate minor irritation for the greater good. My parents didn't particularly agree with all the regulations, but they felt the good outweighed the bad.
Monday through Friday, I donned my dress with sleeves below the elbows and length three inches past mid-knee. I was too young for makeup, but that wouldn't have been allowed, anyway. I left my forbidden open-toed shoes in my closet, and tamed my uncut, brunette tresses with Aquanet. Allowed color, automobiles, and running water, we confused some people who thought we were Amish.
Occasionally, we'd ask for the Biblical source of these dress standards.
On why women shouldn't cut their hair - "A woman's hair is her glory" 1 Corinthians 11:15 (King James Version) But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
On why women shouldn't wear pants - "Women shouldn't wear men's clothing" Deuteronomy 22:5 (King James Version) The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
On why jewelry wasn't allowed - "Women don't need jewelry to be beautiful" 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (King James Version) In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
My arguments against this rationale fell on deaf ears.
"If a woman's hair is her glory, then why do you twist yours up in a knot on the top of your head so no one can see how long it is?"
"Back in Bible times, I thought men wore long robes."
"Why is a strand of fake pearls around my neck bad, but you can wear the same kind on a barrette on your knotted head?"
All of those verses, when read in context, are logical. When used to validate the edicts...eh...not so much.
Remember I mentioned that if a Bible verse justifying an ordinance couldn't be found, things were just made up? Here's where it turns comical.
One of the tidbits that was shared along the way was the reasoning (?!?) behind the necessity of sleeves covering elbows. Apparently, elbows make men think about breasts.
There are verses in the Bible about breasts. Lots about sexuality, both proper and improper. Men's thoughts are mentioned a few times. But no where do I recall reading about elbows. It could be mentioned in Song of Solomon, I suppose, since he mentions just about every other body part. As beautifully gifted as he was with poetry, I'm not sure he would include elbows and breasts in the same sentence.
Over the years, I've conducted research. I've plunked my elbows on the table and asked people "What do these look like?" The eye-rolling and chortling that follow the explanation grows funnier the more I age.
But about that full circle thing I opened this post with...
Actually, I thought the breast-elbow connection was complete hogwash. Until my three year old son confirmed it.
Headed to the shower recently, I was holding the clothing I intended to wear for the day, including a particular undergarment worn on the upper portion of the female anatomy. Nothing slips by Dylan, and even though it was partially covered by my jeans and t-shirt, his vision honed right in.
"Hey Mom, are you gonna wear that on your elbows?"