Monday, March 17, 2008

Jesus and the hejab . . . ?

Hmm . . . it's been a while since I've posted.
Here's something a little different. It was written by a good friend. See what you think, but more importantly, ask yourself why. Whether this resonates with you, or you find yourself hating it, confused by it, offended . . . I don't really care. I just care that you think.

My Jesus Wears a Hejab
by Megan Buff

I am not a Muslim. I am a Christian, though I do sometimes distance myself from mainline and evangelical Christianity. Occasionally, I wear a hejab. This symbol of Muslim femininity sets me apart from the women who run about in immodest clothing, who worry incessantly about what others think about their appearance, who spend twenty minutes in front of the mirror in the mornings. It is a symbol of modesty, in part – but more so, it is a reminder to both myself and others that my appearance is not what defines me.

Hair is crucial to our society. A person’s haircut says much about them. Buzz cuts for the military men, dreadlocks for the anarchist hippie rebels, long flowing hair for the women (unless you’re a butch lesbian, in which case you must cut your hair very short). This is how we are supposed to look. Hairstyles can make or break a “look.” I cover my hair; my hair does not matter to who I am.

When I first wrapped the hejab around my head, I felt an unexpected change. I felt like a real person. Cares, worries, the awkwardness of life slid off my shoulders, ousted by the folds of fabric. I felt peaceful, as I rarely ever do. I saw the beauty of the world when the hejab slipped into my peripheral vision. Somehow, without realizing it, my body acknowledged that covering my hair meant one less un-necessary stressor in my life. It no longer mattered what others thought of me. I could be myself – and when I allowed myself to be myself, I allowed myself to be a person again.

. . .

A large painting of Jesus sits in the prayer chapel. He is pale white, his long black hair matted into his face, his beard covering his chin and some of his neck. Red and blue streaks mark his face – Blood? Tears? He is suffering yet noble. His eyes may bleed, but his face holds loving dignity. He looks off to the side, his face in profile to the viewer, as though looking elsewhere. He wants to show off the blood and tears, the scars of the trials on his face, but he does not want to see. He does not want to accept, to acknowledge, to understand.

This is not my Jesus. My Jesus is loving. My Jesus is kind. My Jesus wears a hejab.

1 comment:

Megan said...

This piece, along with others, is up on my blog as well: