The call to all smooth-faced men went out this morning via Twitter: Want to start a Christian revolution? Want to make a radical affirmation—via your face—that you are a child/man of God?
It’s time for you to man up and grow a beard.
I know, I know, it’s not even No-Shave November, so the proclamation here in the middle of October seems a little puzzling. But apparently R.C. Sproul, Jr., son of the well-known Calvinist theologian and radio broadcaster, has had a vision of Christian men taking a stand for Jesus via their chins.
Here’s the Tweet:
Ah yes. The beard is clearly further proof of God’s different plans for women and men, part of the biblical design determining that men are meant to be assertive leaders in the home and public sphere, more capable interpreters of scripture, strong and protective and true; and women, lacking the ability to grow beards, are designed for special—but different—roles, requiring essentially that they keep their beard-free pie holes shut.
My first thought upon reading Mr. Sproul’s tweet was this: Apparently, Mr. Sproul’s dearest bride has avoided letting her beloved spouse know what can often happen to women, especially as they grow older and chin hairs begin to sprout inexplicably overnight, so that in the span of a few hours and without extreme vigilance, a woman (say, for example, me) can discover a full mustache blooming on her lip.
Perhaps peri-menopausal women are more interchangeable than younger women who have not yet faced this blight. What say you, Mr. Sproul?
I wonder, too, about the young men inhabiting my classrooms, inspired to grow beards because of the bearded professors they admire (not me)(I don’t think), but who are only able to produce sparse patches of hair across their cheeks—reminiscent of my backyard in August, when only a few bright spots of grass remain alive.
Are these earnest folks aced out of their biblical manhood?
I suppose not, since Mr. Sproul does offer a caveat of sorts, suggesting that those who can, must; and the rest, too bad. The pitiful guys who cannot participate in this facial revolution? You may need to find other ways to make your radical affirmation of biblical manhood.
Might I suggest eating some barbeque? Holding a gun? Kicking the crap out of your enemy?
Because It seems like doing these stereotypically “manly” activities as a way of asserting one’s biblical manhood makes just as much sense as growing a beard to establish the differences between men and women. We all know men and women are not interchangeable, but what Sproul et al. really mean is this: because God has designed men and women differently, women must be relegating women to the “special” roles men like Sproul have deigned for them.
More than growing a beard, calling bullshit on that claim is the kind of radical affirmation Christianity needs.