May 9, 2019

Go With The Flow

For the past fifteen years or so I have worn my hair cut short. In fact, I usually scheduled a haircut every month 'whether I needed it or not' because my hair grows very quickly and is thick and part of the haircut is to thin it out.

When I conversed with my stylist about wanting my hair a bit longer, she said that it was pretty simple; all that I would have to do is stop scheduling appointments with her.

I say all that to state that I grew out my flow this past winter for hockey season. Not a big deal and yet the response (myopically speaking) was 'bigger' than I had expected. What I lacked in skills that are diminishing, I made up in my flow.

Flow is the slang word for the hair of hockey players. Typically it is long and flows easily out of hockey helmets. Usually, it is un-kept and greasy...or at least heavily gelled. 
Although my hair curls when it is long, in years past, I have permed the back in true mullet fashion to get the party in the back; all the while keeping the business on top.

I scheduled my haircuts for every six weeks because I had to at least keep it groomed since I still met with people in ministry....and oftentimes wore a hat. 

Generally, I received loving compliments from a variety of people who had never seen me when (in the past) I had longer hair, and they encouraged me to keep it long.

Several of my teammates encouraged me to keep it long as they lived vicariously through me; since most of them had installed a marble top on their heads a very long time ago. 

I would occasionally be stopped by complete strangers who told me that they liked my hair longer. Several neighbors called me over and expressed their love of my longer hair. Even as I write this at a coffee shop, a friend who is a pastor said that he wishes he had my hair. I told him that when I get it cut I will drop it off at his house.

I was really shocked when the elderly women at church would tell me to keep it long. 

I say "generally" I received compliments because I did get some razzing; including being called affectionate names such as hippie. I was asked what year it was because someone thought that it was the seventies. One person, when he saw my flow, asked if I road my motorcycle; offering to give me a bowl-cut.

A friend who played his career in the NHL asked me if I was going through a mid-life-crisis. I responded "I hope not, or else that means that I would live to at least one hundred and twenty years old!"

Little did I know that by not cutting my hair would I generate such opinions. I was simply going with the flow.

It reminded me of when I came to the Lord and I received some comments about what I wore as well as the length of my hair. After I cut my hair, a leader at church thought he was giving me a "compliment" when he said to me; "Now you look like a real Christian..." as he quoted 1Corinthians 11:14 where Paul tells us "Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair?"

This scripture 'messed' me up a bit for a few years as I swallowed the Kool-Aid and believed the lie (although it wasn't intentionally said) that having long hair on a man was shameful. 

This affected my need for performance in how I dressed and kept myself, believing (subconsciously) that somehow my grooming was connected with my holiness.

Even this past year I was so aware of my hair being out of place when the wind would blow and mess it up; rendering me unpresentable.

Little did I know (at the time) that it was simply this leader's opinion. He, in no way, was trying to lead me astray. He was simply trying express his opinion in an attempt to disciple me.

And he had omitted to read the whole scripture in which Paul adds;
"If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God." (1 Corinthians 11:16)

Paul is the same one who said a couple of chapters earlier in the same letter to the Corinthians that he "become all things to all men that I might by all means save some." (See Corinthians 9:19-23)

What am I saying? Whether or not you like hair that is long or short, keep your opinions to yourself. This includes trends in society for men or women to shave or not shave their faces, armpits, or other areas of their bodies. It's simply your opinion.

Your words may be heaping shame on men or women who choose to grow or not grow hair; to shave it or not shave it. None of this means that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is (and always has been and always will be) grace and grace alone.

Your words may have more of an influence than you might think. Your words may come alongside someone's performance mentality and lead them away from the grace of God Who wishes that none should perish, but all would have eternal life.

After all; "He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16 AND 17)

As for me, as my hockey season comes to an end, I will contemplate when or if I get it cut. For now, I will simply go with the flow.

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