Four or five beards ago, whilst socialising at Bible study one evening, a remark was made about my facial fuzz and how it bore a resemblance to the infamous terrorist, Osama bin Laden.
A throw-away remark, a light-hearted tease and yet that very evening I broke out the razor and shaving foam. And for a few weeks until the next beard started to take shape, my wife was happy.
Why grow a beard? It’s one of those glorious distinctions between men and women and I grow a beard because I can, although at the same time I admire that about 90% of the men can grow much more awesome and thick beards than I can.
Women cannot grow beards – except perhaps for a limited number of carnival freaks – especially if you consider that they have too low an amount of testosterone. But when I wear one, as much as it grows on my face, it belongs to my wife too. One flesh and all that.
Not all men can grow a decent beard; as I alluded to, mine looks like a bare rug with two or three wisps compared to some guys who look like they’re wearing an afghan carpet on their face. Of course, beard kung-fu has nothing to do with virility. Men are men; they grunt, chew meat, and are generally showmen who like to posture and are useful for opening jars and bottles in the kitchen.
Pretty much most of the Biblical characters in Scripture had beards, and Christ almost certainly had one. In Middle Eastern culture of the day, it was shameful not to have one and in 2 Samuel 10, an incident is recorded which shows Hanun have the beards of David’s servants shaved in half.
Maybe it’s silly, but when I think about facial hair, there are various kinds that seem harmless and others that have certain connotations.
The beards worn by Jesus (no photos of that), as well as by Chuck Norris and Robert Spencer are good beards. The ones worn by Osama bin Laden and Al Gore don’t seem as friendly.
Similar to moustaches: Tom Selleck = good, Saddam Hussein = bad. And the guys in these photos just look comical (although I’m slightly jealous):
It must be remembered though that beard or none doesn’t matter to the measure of a man; that’s a very internal thing and a lesson that Samuel learned in 1 Samuel 16:
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
From informal polling done of Muslim men, I’ve discovered that they grow a beard because of their prophet, to model after his reported appearance. And unfortunately for them, beards have become associated with unstable guys with ammo and PETN.
As Christians, whether bearded, goateed or clean shaven, we are to model Christ who in eternity transcends male grooming patterns anyway. No Scripture that I’ve read indicates God the Father has a beard.
However, Scripture does have something interesting to say about my graying mane:
“29 The glory of young men is their strength,
gray hair the splendor of the old.” (Proverbs 20:29)
Hopefully, the older I get, the better I will be as a Believer, whether bearded, goateed or clean shaven.