Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I wore a full beard for over 30 years. For me, it was mostly about simple living and also I found I liked the fact it bothered some people. That told me something valuable about people I was meeting. Also, I've never wanted to being mistaken for being onboard with much of our culture. I still wear a rather large goatee. Neither has had anything to do with spiritual practice. Beards were common in the 60s and 70s and much less so now. If someone insisted I shave my beard, I would just consider them a presumptuous fool and ignore them. Now that you've got me thinking about this, I realize there is also probably a bit of a masculinity statement too and I haven't been adverse to that also being out there.
Interesting to look at beards over time. The Founding Fathers - hardly a beard among them. By the Civil War, practically everyone is wearing a beard. I have no idea when this got started. Adam is always pictured as beardless. Moses and Abraham - beards. Joseph and David beardless. Jesus always bearded as far as I know. Of course, I have no idea if the actual people looked like that and suspect it has more to do with when they were painted.
I've worn a beard since 1974. Back then it seemed like everyone wore a beard, which is probably why I did. Since then, well I guess it's just because it kind of grew on me.
There are some things to which we need not ascribe any special meaning.
I prefer how I look with a goatee beard as I look very young without it. A full beard I have tried but didn't take too.
I probably hide behind it too much.
Over the years I have experimented with mustaches, sideburns, and beards. I settled on a full beard about 30 years ago. I learned, from my wife, that the Amish do not wear a full beard because of their Prussian origins. To the Amish, a mustache is a symbol of militarism - Prussian military officers wore full beards. So, I shaved my mustache never to grow it again as a non-confrontational sign of my lack of support for the military action and the way in which my beloved country uses the military in its foreign policy.
I wear a beard basically because I am too lazy to shave, except for my upper lip. This laziness allows me to use my plain witness as an excuse for cultivating a beard
About 2 & a half years ago I let my beard grow. 30 years ago it had been a brown/blond mix. This time it was mostly white, not the grey I has expected. I let it grow full and found little kids suspecting that I am Santa Claus. I work as a children's bookseller. I got a Father Christmas robe and have done a few storytelling Santa gigs. It does affect my other storytelling and acting a bit. I may shave some or all of it off in the next year or so.
Because of the neuropathy in my hands (I also have neuropathy in my legs and feet but that doesn't relate to the topic) I find it quite difficult to manipulate a razor of any type. I can handle an electric razor enough to shave enough around my mouth to accommodate my CPAP mask. Thus my beard looks "Amish," but in reality is a reflection of my physical limitations.
My husband John McDowell has worn a beard for all of our dating and married life; our 24th wedding anniversary was in August. During the first year we were married, during a recuperation from a hip implant (he has been a severe rheumatoid arthritic since he was 8 1/2), and we think a sensitivity to one of the medications he was on caused his face to break out in a painful rash. The itching was driving him crazy, and he shaved it off ... his face was almost maroon where the beard and mustache had been, thanks to the skin irritation, until it was healed. He asked me how he looked. I said, "You look like a chipmunk--a very sexy and handsome one, but a chipmunk!" because the many years of taking steroids had caused some distortion of his lower jaw; the beard masked this. To both our relief, he was able to grow it back, and the grey in it makes him look even handsomer to me now!
I have been bearded since 2001. I did a lot of reading in the Martyr's Mirror, The Secret of the Strength, and much other articles: I realised that prior to the French/Napoleon Wars, Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites all had full beards with mustaches. After those wars, they got rid of their mustaches. . .
I just happened to find in Isaiah 50, that the beard of the Messiah was "plucked" off His face. I guess that is some of the reasoning to it for me. Yet, I don't know, I just wouldn't feel right without it after 11 years now! It is a part of me. It's just that simple. Some things don't need a lot of meaning or lack of it. It is just going to vary from person to person.
No, the Mennonite meeting I attend, does not require beards, so it is not to "please men," as it were. So I just sort of took to it on my own accord. It has grown on me, and I have grown to like it. I don't need to buy a lot of razors, so it has been helpful in that respect. I just don't see any other reasoning or whatever about it. This is merely my own thoughts.
My beard identifies me with the culture of plainness, and that is why I wear it. My reaction to being identified with Santa during the Christmas season is mild embarrassment and amusement.
There is no Amish or German Baptist population in our area, so my appearance is more singular than it would be, for instance, in Lancaster County (PA) or Holmes County (OH).
Generally, I either ignore people who stare, and greet them in a low-keyed way.
I had a beard for one year of my life only when I had to leave the house before 5 am and did not get home until after 8pm. Growing a bead was the only solution to the '5 o'clock shadow' appearing at midday. As soon as the year was over I shaved it off and my, then, three year old daughter screamed every time she saw me for at least a week afterwards. The moral is if you grow a beard wait until your children have grown up before you shave it off!
I wear mine because Christ wore one. He gave His to those cruel people to pull off of His face. That is my reason for my beard. I have no other reasons now, other than I have come to appreciate it. It does associates me with plainness &c, but that, in itself, is not my reason for wearing it. As Christ's beard was full enough to be pulled of His face, so to do I wear mine fuller than most.
If I'm asked why I wear a beard, I have a good opportunity to explain to them, because of Christ.