25. Beards

I recently attended a production of “The Hobbit” by the Bethel College Theatre Department. It was a fine performance, despite the fact that most of the dwarves were played by women. Not enough actors tried out, so all but three of the dwarves were actresses in beards. Gandalf also had a beard. Almost everyone in the production had a beard. As much as I enjoyed “The Hobbit,” it was a painful reminder of a grave personal shortcoming: my lamentable inability to grow facial hair.

Oh, you may laugh. You may scoff at my woes and call them absurd. (You’d be absolutely right, but that’s not the point.) I wish I could grow a beard. Granted, facial hair hasn’t always been a good thing. Beards and mustaches have been the distinguishing marks of men whose ideas we hold in contempt or suspicion. Take Hitler and that silly excuse for a ’stache. Take Marx or Nietzsche or any of the other Dead European Thinkers With Strange Ideas And Facial Hair. Beards and mustaches clearly do not a virtuous man make.

All the same, I wish I could grow a beard.

Virtuous men sometimes have beards. Jesus had a beard. What, you don’t believe me? I have it on good authority. In a passage most commentators interpret as a prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ, Isaiah clearly indicated that God’s Servant would have facial hair: “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” (Is. 50:6). Brethren, if we cannot trust Isaiah on the matter of the Servant’s beard, how can we trust him on any other matter?

(For the record, Jesus is the Son of God whether he had a beard or not.)

I suppose I should reserve my theological speculations for more important matters, such as the degree to which our salvation is predestined or whether people with spiky hair are holier than people without spiky hair.

No-Shave November is coming soon. I’m tempted to stop shaving my lack of facial hair and see what happens, but I’ll probably decide not to participate. I’ll leave No-Shave November to the pros. Perhaps some day I’ll be able to join them. We’ll see.

3 thoughts on “25. Beards

  1. Lol, I like this, only problem is, Marx is a highly respected theorist, and Chesterton had a ‘stache Moody had a beard, as did most eminent bible scholars. it was only a brief period in history (after WW 2) that beards and facial hair, or hair below the collar was considered uncouth. shaved faces were a sign of fopishness, pretty boy ism and immaturity. except if you can’t grow them. that’s a different matter. You could grow your hair and see where it does grow, then choose a form of facial hair to match.. Jen S.

    • Well, I suppose some wise, virtuous Europeans had good ideas and facial hair. And I suppose Marx was a good theorist, though his theories never worked out. In regard to my own lack of facial hair, pretty much the only thing I can do at present are Burnside sideburns, sans the mustache. Probably not a good look.

  2. For the longest time I envied guys my age who could grow beard stubble in a matter of mere hours. Was just this appealing mark of coolness and maturity, and I hated being on the slower-paced facial hair plan. Tried No-Shave November a couple years ago and basically felt ridiculous halfway through with my disproportionate, patchy-haired face.

    Oh the pain of cool beard growth.

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