What finally made a difference for me was an article written by Floyd Chappelear many years ago. He pointed out that the head covering practices at that time were different from what was advocated in I Corinthians 11. That got me digging in the history books, but it wasn't an easy subject to research. The article "Images of Head Coverings in Worship" is a summation of what I found, though it continues to be expanded as I find more examples. This caused me to conclude that I Corinthians 11:16 was not stating that the verses earlier only applied to the church in Corinth. Thus, though there are two ways to translate verse 16, one of them is not correct.
You are correct that none of God's commands are optional. However, I've concluded that there are issues which require spiritual growth in order to handle. I now understand that head covering is a symbol of a woman's willing choice to be submissive. But just as I teach husbands that they cannot make their wives submit to them, I also understand that you cannot make women in a congregation submissive. They must choose to be submissive. Insisting that a woman wear a covering won't make her any more or any less submissive. Thus, I teach that it is necessary, but I don't think women should be barred from the worship just because they haven't yet learned -- after all, I misunderstood for a number of years. We discuss the issue periodically. I answer points when people bring up objections. Those who think it is unnecessary are quite willing to worship with us. They understand that a woman choosing to cover her head during prayer doesn't impact their own worship. Those who do practice it see it as their individual choice to follow the teaching in I Corinthians 11. They might be disappointed with those who choose not to follow the teaching in I Corinthians 11, but that is a matter which will eventually be settled by God at judgment -- not by you or I. "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4).
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