Patching the Evangelical Soul or Just Bearding It?

8 09 2009

UPDATE: Parents’ Advisory before you open the comments! — if you are naive or painfully prudish, or just “not in the mood” today, don’t. 😉

Why All the Little Beards? at Killing the Buddha:

How is the emerging evangelicalism likely to differ from the old?

One difference stands out at first glance. Picture [Saddleback’s Rick] Warren alongside several other emerging leaders. . . They share a clear mark of distinction from the old guard: a patch of facial hair around their chin. . .

But what is the intended significance of this makeover? Why change the visual representation of America’s most influential religious tradition in this subtle, stubbly way?

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33 responses

8 09 2009
boremetotears

From the article:

…the goateed proselytizer appears more of an authentic man of God than his well-groomed, overly politicized, GOP-loving forebears.

I’ve never really thought about it but, yes! It’s true. Now that I think about it, the other popular pastor at Saddleback also has a goatee. Of course, the women pastors don’t wear goatees, because [anxious pause] there are no women pastors! [rimshot-cymbal!] In other words, that this stuff is really just seeker-sensitive window dressing is a good one, as the author suggested.

8 09 2009
boremetotears

Oh, my. What a grammatical mess I made. Clean up on aisle four? It’s one minute till tomorrow, so I have an excuse, right?

8 09 2009
JJ

😀
Or a little preenish envy on your part perhaps?

8 09 2009
JJ

So, to further the thought, the idea may be more for “men only” beards to help market in a new way this generation of pastors as patriarchs clearly different from women (now that women are less overtly sexualized with the Tammy Faye false eyelashes and running mascara and big hair?)

So the little beards, that women can’t grow, announce subconsciously and non-verbally — so they can’t be misquoted! — that as godly leaders they aren’t womanish, dandified, soft nor possibly gay? — legit muscular Christianity cult-of-personality fellows.

8 09 2009
Luke Holzmann

Oh noes! I have one such beard!

Have I fallen into a fad without even noticing it?

Christian fads are rampant, but I try to stay clear of them. Too bad my wife really likes my “look” …so I’m doing it for her and not to claim some solidarity with Rick [smile].

~Luke

8 09 2009
JJ

But your wife IS your beard and just doesn’t know it!
See my authorities here.

(This is all extremely educational!)
😉

8 09 2009
Meg

Now wait!

Ignoring all this position play between the men, what hits me is what a goatee means, it has a very clear sexual meaning.

8 09 2009
JJ

Do tell! (or at least safely link?)

8 09 2009
boremetotears

Well, I may know, but I’d *love* to hear Meg explain it – lol 🙂

8 09 2009
Meg

Wearing a goatee means a man that likes to pleasure a woman by going down on her…..

Now what does that say about these men??

8 09 2009
JJ

Well, I don’t see the biblical purpose of THAT! No procreation can result and what does the woman matter anyway . . .

8 09 2009
Meg

So, back to my question….These men are saying one thing with their words and something else with their body language.

Which message are we suppose to take away from this??

8 09 2009
Meg

And Lynn, why do you “*love* to hear” me explain it???

8 09 2009
boremetotears

Meg: And Lynn, why do you “*love* to hear” me explain it???

Because I thought you were going to say something else 🙂

8 09 2009
Meg

okay, now I’m curious…. Do tell…

8 09 2009
boremetotears

Luke? Luke? Are you still there, Luke?? [laughing] Poor guy.

…though he is writing a book about sex, isn’t he? Chapter worthy? I think so! 😀

8 09 2009
sam

I’m not not a fan of some facial hair for various reasons, and that’s all I’m saying.

9 09 2009
Nance Confer

So I should be going to church? You know, nobody ever tells me these things!! 🙂

Nance

9 09 2009
JJ

I don’t think that’s what the altar is actually for, Nance, don’t get your hopes up. 😉

9 09 2009
Crimson Wife

Don’t know the Evangelical POV, but Catholics are okay with it being foreplay for married couples (just not in lieu of intercourse).

10 09 2009
JJ

I just added a “parents’ advisory” for these comments to the top of the original post! You people . . . 😉

Speaking of which, when we went to see Inglourious Basterds last week, FavD kept putting her popcorny hand over my eyes (not Young Son’s, he was on his own!) to protect ME from anything that looked like it might disturb my parental sensibilities.
I think I missed a good quarter of the whole film . . .

10 09 2009
John Boy

Interesting to see what kind of conversation this piece sparked… 🙂

10 09 2009
JJ

Hey, thanks for stopping by! Meet the author everybody.

Hope you don’t mind us um, taking liberties . . .you and Jeff deserve all the blog love we can give you imo. (Are fresh and raw acceptable synonyms? Hmmm.)

10 09 2009
boremetotears

JJ:

I don’t think that’s what the altar is actually for, Nance”

and

I just added a “parents’ advisory” for these comments to the top of the original post! You people.

Oh, good. Because I was going to make a “speaking in tongues” joke.

10 09 2009
JJ

We’re gonna need bigger beards to cover all this up . . .

11 09 2009
JJ
11 09 2009
Nance Confer

John Boy? Really?

Welcome anyway. 🙂

Nance

11 09 2009
JJ

😀
That’s John D. Boy to you!

John D. Boy grew up in Germany learning about American culture from Dr. Dobson’s youth magazines and dubbed episodes of Batman. Now he’s a sociologist living in Brooklyn. When he’s not busy donating adjunct labor to the City University of New York, he works on his dissertation which tries to make sense of the social implications of global religious change.

11 09 2009
boremetotears

LOL at the thought of “learning about American culture from Dr. Dobson’s youth magazines.” 😀

15 09 2009
Luke Holzmann

Sorry, friends. I don’t come back and check posts too often. And I forgot that this was on JJ’s blog instead of Lynn’s (there was some connection in my mind as to why thought that… the picture?).

As for the “clear sexual meaning”… well… that’s not why I grew it either [laughing].

And as for oral sex and the Bible, I’ve heard that Song of Solomon contains a reference or two to that… it’s just that our American versions are a little more subtle and “safe for the whole family” [smile]. I’ve been told that Song of Solomon was not recommended reading until you were 35 in Hebrew culture.

As for a chapter in our book… no. At least, not the first two. This first book is about the misconceptions of lust we got from the church growing up (and how those ideas are actually really damaging and what we’ve discovered since then that lines up much more closely with Christ). The second book will be about how we can then interact with girls because of this. So, we don’t have a book on sex in the works yet. [laughing]

~Luke

15 09 2009
Nance Confer

35 — seems a bit late to read the Songs of Solomon but is the ideal age for my DD to start dating. So maybe there is something here. . . 🙂

Are there any girls helping you with this book, Luke? And is this aimed at boys and girls? Or men and women?

Or should I have read more at your link. . . probably. . .

Nance

15 09 2009
boremetotears

Luke:

This first book is about the misconceptions of lust we got from the church growing up (and how those ideas are actually really damaging and what we’ve discovered since then that lines up much more closely with Christ.

Hi Luke,

If sex “lines up more closely” with Jesus now, may I suggest that your book includes pics of Bruce Marchiano! 😛 Hey, I’d even consider buying a copy!

15 09 2009
JJ

I have two thoughts for Luke.

One is to reiterate my book recommendation for him that I made at Lynn’s place last month: Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and I just saw he’s got a brand-new book out, about being a man (Jewish but the idea is the same, of discovering for yourself how to manage manliness in religious tradition) —

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son

The second thought is Mark Twain’s take on sex in heaven as man conceives it:

To wit, that the human being, like the immortals, naturally places sexual intercourse far and away above all other joys — yet he has left it out of his heaven! The very thought of it excites him; opportunity sets him wild; in this state he will risk life, reputation, everything — even his queer heaven itself — to make good that opportunity and ride it to the overwhelming climax.

From youth to middle age all men and all women prize copulation above all other pleasures combined, yet it is actually as I have said: it is not in their heaven; prayer takes its place.

They prize it thus highly; yet, like all their so-called “boons,” it is a poor thing. At its very best and longest the act is brief beyond imagination — the imagination of an immortal, I mean. In the matter of repetition the man is limited — oh, quite beyond immortal conception.

We who continue the act and its supremest ecstasies unbroken and without withdrawal for centuries, will never be able to understand or adequately pity the awful poverty of these people in that rich gift which, possessed as we possess it, makes all other possessions trivial and not worth the trouble of invoicing.

And conversely what we cannot do and don’t particularly WANT to do, we fill heaven full of 😉

In man’s heaven everybody sings! The man who did not sing on earth sings there; the man who could not sing on earth is able to do it there. The universal singing is not casual, not occasional, not relieved by intervals of quiet; it goes on, all day long, and every day, during a stretch of twelve hours. And everybody stays; whereas in the earth the place would be empty in two hours. The singing is of hymns alone. Nay, it is of one hymn alone. The words are always the same, in number they are only about a dozen, there is no rhyme, there is no poetry: “Hosannah, hosannah, hosannah, Lord God of Sabaoth, ‘rah! ‘rah! ‘rah! siss! — boom! … a-a-ah!”

Meantime, every person is playing on a harp — those millions and millions! — whereas not more than twenty in the thousand of them could play an instrument in the earth, or ever wanted to.

Consider the deafening hurricane of sound — millions and millions of voices screaming at once and millions and millions of harps gritting their teeth at the same time! I ask you: is it hideous, is it odious, is it horrible?

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