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.