Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Give me a head with hair

Daniel 3:27

And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counsellors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunicswere not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them.

Matthew 10:28-31

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

1 Corinthians 11: 13- 16

Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone is disposed to be contentious—we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

I had my hair trimmed yesterday and I spend most of the time talking with the stylist about how frustrated I feel with my hair. My husband likes long hair (great, let him grow some!) and I don't mind it, but I think my hair looks better in the style it's in now. I hate to grow my hair, only to wear it up all the time. When I go to a new stylist, I always say I have three hair rules: 1) no big bangs, 2) no mullets and 3) nothing that requires more than five minutes or more than one product. I know myself and I know the amount of time I'll spend on my hair. None. (It probably looks like it, too.)

I do shampoo, condition, brush and occasionally blow dry. I ignore it for as much as I possibly can and then (about every 6 weeks) suddenly it's all I can think about. I'm not an impulsive person, but I will do impulsive things with my hair. Perm it. Color it. Grow it (a looooong impulse). Cut it off. All, of course, in accordance with the rules.

So, yesterday, I started think about the Bible and hair. (Which is very different than thinking about the Bible and Hair.) Hair appears many times in the Bible, from descriptions of someone's hair (Samson or the woman who washed Jesus' feet) to injunctions about hair (don't cut the corners) to God's thoughts about hair (He knows how many you've got).

In some ways, the amount of discussion about hair is comforting. When God was with the three men in the fiery furnace, they weren't smoking even a little. They came out with every hair in place. Since I've singed my own ends at least once lighting a gas grill, that's a miracle. It serves to show that God is not only interested in the details of our lives, but that God is present in the details.

Often we think that we have to issue an invitation to God to encourage his involvement in our life. In fact, God is already present, active and inviting us to be as involved in what we do as He is. Many times, we float through life, without regard until we're overwhelmed by life events. We wonder where God was, but God is with us all the time.

I'm not sure that it's really important to God how I wear my hair. I do think it's important to God, though, that I remember my hair is a visible portion of my body, which is a temple housing the Spirit. What I do with my hair reflects on me, which reflects on what people can or may think about a person who says they are a Christian.

There are many strong feelings about hair within Christianity. Ultimately, there's no prevailing custom and we're not called to judge one another on hair, but on... wait, how are we called to judge one another?

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