Saturday, November 28, 2009

#99-Not Facial Hair


"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."
                                                       -G.K. Chesterton


I heard this parable once about a 6 year old girl who asked her dad the S-E-X question. Her dad was silent. He then asked his daughter to help him by carrying his suitcase out to his car as he left for work. His daughter walked across the room to the suitcase and tried picking it up, but the suitcase wouldn't budge. She tried lifting the suitcase again, but this time with more effort, yet once again, it was clear that the child was no match for the weight of the suitcase...

The child whined to her daddy that the suitcase was too big for her to carry, and only someone as big as her dad would be able to lift it. Her dad responded, "that's right. And just like you will only be able to handle that suitcase when you are older and bigger, there are also certain questions that are too big for you handle at your age, but when you are bigger, those questions will be light enough for you to carry. And that question you just asked me is one of those questions that is too heavy for you to handle at this time."

The child understood.

Practically Speaking

When I was a child, I asked questions that weren't too heavy for me to lift. They just simply ticked people off. One time I made a Sunday School teacher cry when I asked if God can do anything. She said yes. I then asked if He could make a rock big enough that he could not lift it anymore.

The next question I asked was why women were allowed to talk in church when I Cor. 14:34 and I Timothy 2:11 expressly forbade it (bonus points for it being in the new testament).

But the one that I actually really wanted an answer for....Why can't guys wear facial hair in church?

The standard answer was a half-mumble and ultimately was left with..."Someday you'll understand."

Well I'm 24 now and I think i finally understand....

The typical response goes something along the lines now adays of how in the 1960's, facial hair became a sign of rebellion, and thus we forbade it. And now we just don't want to offend the older generations and the culture they abide by.

I completely agree. If  I must die to my beard wishes in order to please the concerned eyes of the elders, I submit.

A secondary response goes something along the lines of asking if you would go to a job interview with facial hair. And then linking church to a job interview.....

Righty Right....Nothing like letting a job interview be your frame of reference for how your church is to be run...

The rebellious may point out that since we are a holy people who go about our lives with distinction from the world and distinction in gender, what better way to show gender distinction than to let men grow facial hair...

They may point out how in II Samuel 10, how a bunch of Israeli soldiers had their beards cut off from their enemy which was a point of humiliation, and how David would not allow these soldiers back in camp until their beards had grown back...but really who is David really that we need to be applying his precedent?

But as anyone can see, the points of both sides of whether or not facial hair should/ should not be allowed are very conflicting but valid. And I, as a tormented son of the age, want nothing but the truth....

So the same question i asked as a kid of why we couldn't have facial hair in church still arises in my conflicted mind to this day....

But loyal reader and disloyal enemy alike, I believe I have found the answer....of why facial is in no way a good idea for us as Christians representing Christ to the world....

And it revolves around this simply, cliche question....What would Jesus Do?

And aye friend, you may think that Jesus would have had a beard. You may even think that Jesus did have a beard. And while I do not deny this fact, I think our true precedent for Jesus and facial hair should come to the only verse we have about Jesus and facial hair: A prophecy about Him in Isaiah 50:6 that informs us they his beard was plucked by his persecutors. So we know that Jesus had a beard....

But we also know that while He was on the cross, He did not have the beard....

So then the question comes my friend which precedent of Jesus are we to follow?

Jesus with a beard, or beardless Jesus?

And as you and me both know, the cross is our mission, for we must lose our lives and pick up the cross in order to be saved (Matthew 10:38), and with the cross as the height of all Christianity, we must follow the example of the one who stood on that cross...

And of course, it was Jesus without the beard who stood on the cross....

And therein my friends is our answer to why facial hair is a sin....

And also rumor has it that witches themselves understand that there is power behind having your face shaved....

16 comments:

  1. What an important question and prescient insight! To your Jesus-sans-beard-on-the-cross, I submit a seeming quandary: What of the Jesus who arose from the dead after the cross?

    When I do happen to pay attention to the songs we sing in church, I notice a specific proclivity to sing about Jesus risen and triumphant. In fact, we as apostolics generally take some measure of pleasure when we inform non-apostolics that the wearing and/or revering of crosses is a pointless exercise, since He's obviously not there anymore. I say this not to expound on our doctrinal leanings, but to argue that for us Jesus' post-cross state obviously holds more sway on our hygienic practices.

    Further, every pro-salvation pamphlet I've ever seen (to be found in places as diverse as Christian book stores, student unions, and shopping mall bathrooms) quite clearly depict Jesus with a masculine, action-oriented beard. Shouldn't we pattern our lives after the risen christ?

    We can never hope to reach our full potential by voluntarily emasculating ourselves (figuratively speaking, of course). Think of the new plateaus this movement could reach if only every man was free to grow a beard when the spirit moved on him to do so. Recent studies have indicated that men with beards tend to work in higher paying, upward trending jobs, when compared to their beardless counterparts. Might we translate this to the apostolic movement? Perhaps we would find that those with beards would become the greatest "soul winners" since Paul the apostle himself.

    Unfortunately, these questions can never be answered so long as the tyranny of the older generation reigns with it's brand of clean-shaven oppression. Until the day when change comes, we shall have to continue on, shaving before every service, our faces stinging in the cold morning breeze, waiting for the day when, "Brother, that beard is powerful," becomes a common greeting in church.

    --Chady

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  2. LOL! Well, here is my not so humble opinion- Guys look hotter without beards SO I mean why would you NOT want to shave?!?! I mean after all, thats what it's really all about...lookin HOT ya know!!!?! ;)

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  4. So then we should all have beards, better yet big beards, so not to cause our sisters in Christ to stumble.

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  5. Chady, I think you raise some good points. I will have to do some soul searching on this one....

    Although I will point out that resurrected Christ walked through walls. Does that mean we should be doing the same?

    Mary, this is a very valid point...Nothing like making a rule out of opinion simply because "it's better looking." I am on board.

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  6. and i hope people realize, I am being sarcastic in this post....I am completely okay with facial hair...I was "with Beard" for this past week.

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    1. The real question was were you really in the presence of Jesus this week?

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  7. Okaaaaaaaaay I was SOOOOOOOO jokin!!! HELLO!!! Oh well, you guys just DON"T know me!!!

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  8. Walking through Walls? We are like the resurrected Christ? I refer you to the Pauline episles for a picture of what Paul articulates of a "already, not yet" theology. We are already saved, and have received a downpayment of our redemption, but not yet complete, or fully glorified.

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  9. Mary, I knew you were joking...you point went well with the rest of the blog and the sarcasm thereof. That is why i said it was very valid.

    Anonymous above, This is a great observation. Just like we are not fully glorified here on earth (and not able to walk through walls), we must also treat Jesus' beard post-resurrection as something else that can only be acheived in heaven. We are not in heaven yet, and only when we are can we have facial hair...

    By golly, I think we are developing something worthy of proposal in the articles of faith section in the UPC manual.

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  10. Ooooo you knew I was jokin...ok!!! LOL I couldn't tell...at first I thought you were disagreein then I thought you were agreein...then I just got CONFUSED!!! LOL Which happens VERY often!!! :) But yeah..they should totally put it in the UPCI guidelines...MEN should shave so they look Hotter!!! LOL that would be BOMB!!!

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  11. That Chesterton quote is incredible.

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  12. Jesus rose after three days correct? So, that being the case, I believe that we should be allowed to have a three day shadow. Oh yeah, and we are supposed to die daily so there goes that idea

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  13. p.s.
    Joel, if you do not stop defending yourself with " I hope people realize this is sarcastic " I am going to send you bacon laced with nuts and fill your epipen with peanut oil.

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  14. I think we are forgetting one perfect example of why we should keep our faces baby-bottom-smooth at all times, lest the devil get the best of us...that is our military and its leaders. Why, even the president himself scrapes the hair from his chin regularly.
    Now, how does this relate to 2010??? Remember the slippery slope my friends...once you let in a mustache, then comes the goatee, followed by the beard, followed by motorcycle gangs and hippies, followed by drugs and violence...oh, the chaos!
    Thank God our cheeks are smooth!

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