Thursday, March 25, 2010

origins: playoff beard

Throughout history, there have been several misunderstandings about our hair.  When I was in college, I remember Troy Martin giving lectures on the ancient biblical understandings of hair.  It was believed that human hair was somehow a part of the reproductive system.  That longer hair was a sign of greater fertility, as the hair was involved in drawing in/up the elements needed to produce a baby.  Funny as it may sound, it was the logic behind several of the urgings for men and women in Corinthians chapter 11.  It makes sense, if it's considered a sexual organ, hair should be covered by women, especially in worship services.

Of course, today, we'd hear about all this and laugh a bit.  Hair on our head is definitely NOT connected to the human reproductive system.  (Unless it's an obvious connection between a young high school boy and his wannabe ponytail completely ruining his chances at developing relationships with the opposite sex.  Ah well, survived that one okay eventually.)

But to go straight from that understanding to the one that currently exists today, would be not only missing out, but entirely unfortunate.  Hair was not intended for mere fashion.  To be trained, trimmed, and teased at will, molded into whatever form desired, with little respect for God's intended purpose.  And what was God's intended purpose?

Throughout scripture we see people shaving in mourning the loss of a loved one.  What we don't see, or read in scripture, is what happened before the mourning began.  Traditions and historians vary on their view, but it's widely believed that the reason for silence in this area is due to the extreme powers that it has involved in the past.  Think Samson type stuff.

There was a man, Abrabeard.  Abrabeard was once praying fervently for someone else, and in his prayer he asked God to give him something more to occupy his interceding.  God smiled on Abrabeard, and promised him that if he would continue to not shave his face or head, blessings would come to the person he was interceding for.

Fast-forward to today.  Sure, not shaving is sometimes incorporated in Lent and other seasons of prayer.  But the only realms still connecting purposefully to this ancient practice would be what is popularly being referred to as the "Playoff beard".  Often looked over or scoffed at by those who deny its' practice, its' power goes well beyond what simply shouting at the television could achieve.  Fortunately for the fairness of the NHL, it seems playoff beards are being used by most of its 30 teams and their fans.  In some cases however, someone's distance from God produces an inability to grow quality facial hair, as seen most recently in Cindy Crysby. 

And so, as we move closer to the playoffs, there are many who have chosen to begin interceding on their teams' behalf.  As we join the generations before us, we yell "Game On!", knowing the history we connect with...

(portions of this post are entirely fabricated for purposes of being a fan, but a surprising amount is still actually true.)

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