Hair, the hippie-themed musical from the bad old days, celebrates, among other things, growing hair. Pretty lame, actually. For those who weren’t around in the late 1960s, you need to know that back then it was considered rebellious to grow long hair — if you were a guy.

The longer the better, actually. It really annoyed the adults, it seems — at least the ones who saw anything different as a challenge to their authority. Speaking of authority, consider what Paul tells us about hair in 1 Corinthians 11:

14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

Now, consider these verses, written “under the influence”, as they say, not of strong wine, but of the Holy Spirit. Then take a look at the image of Jesus, which is fairly typical of the many images of our saviour I’ve seen over the years. What do all the images have in common? They routinely show Jesus as having long, long hair. Hippie-length hair, in fact. From the musical, Hair, lyrics from the title song:

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son
Why don’t my Mother love me?

So, was Paul confused? Was he in error? What should we make today of a man who shows up in church with Jesus-length hair? Or of a woman who shows up with that funky, mid-1990s Sinead O’Connor look?

The answers are, no, Paul wasn’t confused, and wasn’t in error. He was simply noting that we go to church to worship and praise God as a community. Not to make waves; not to make a “statement” with our bodies, clothing, or hair. It’s about Him, not us. That was the practice in the first century churches.

Today we’ve a different practice. Those who do show up with hair that seems at variance with 1 Corinthians, we should welcome with open arms — without even really noticing how long (or short) their hair is.

It is what Jesus would do.

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One comment

  1. Barbara · · Reply

    I believe Jesus would welcome all, regardless of their hair length or their dress. But, we are still humans, not yet ‘perfect’, and we still have preferences, when it comes to the way men and women wear their hair. A moderate length for men would be my preference. I like to see women in both long and short, but kept neat! I have seen some men and women I’d love to take the scissors to myself. Just being honest.

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