BD: Thanks for having me, Scott.
SC: Brandon, many of our readers know that you recently converted to Presbyterianism. I'd like to explore the relationship between Reformed theology and beards. What role did your facial manliness play in this? Is there anything you'd like to say to your clean shaven Reformed brethren? Talk to us.
BD: Great question. Let me answer with an encounter I had last night (October 3, 2010):
I needed to take the trip to Hanover Park, Illinois, to be presented before the session for membership in the Presbyterian church. As I sat at the round table with them, I began to notice something. I looked to my left, and there sat an elder with a full beard. I looked across the table at the preaching pastor and noticed his beard filling in quite nicely. I looked at yet another elder and noticed his burns and chin goatee filling in. I began to be distracted by this phenomenon as I qualified my supralapsarian position to them. As I thought about it later, I began to realize why I was so distracted. The distraction happened at the moment I realized the strong link that Reformed theology has with beards.
As I left that room I felt confident in my imminent acceptance into membership. Was it because I could wax eloquently (Robert Reymond style) about supralapsarianism? No. Was it because one of the elders said my girlfriend seemed like she would be a "suitable helpmeet"? No. It was because I decided over a month ago to have a full man's beard for the meeting I would be having with the session. This decision-- to grow, groom, and keep my beard--proved to be monumental in my acceptance into the Presbyterian church.
I would certainly implore my brethren in other Reformed camps to consider the beard. Not only does it provide security in your manhood, but it allows others to feel secure in you. Growing a beard isn't only about yourself, it's about others--your congregation, your significant other, your children. How long will you wallow in your nakedness? Clothe your face, brothers.
SC: Some have said that Reymond's modified supra position is essentially infra. It's like infra that doesn't want to be. I mention this because it finds parallel with that elder who wore only burns and a chin goat-- like a beard that doesn't want to be.
Leaving aside the question of God's decree, do you agree with my sentiments toward goatees and their ilk? Or do you consider them legitimate expressions of masculinity in their own right?
BD: I do agree. However, this man obviously lacks BGP (Beard Growing Potential). So, in compassion, I think it necessary to give him an "A for effort". In most cases, I wouldn't consider them a legitimate expression of masculinity, but in his case I'm thankful for his attempt.
SC: Of course. Of course. As I always say, "grow what you've got." One's manliness does not consist in his growth potential, but in his use of whatever growth potential he has.
Moving on, Brandon, I'm sure that our readers would like to know how your beard has treated you. What's it done for winter warmth? Relational warmth? What else?
BD: Some "men" buy scarves to cover their face. I say, "Why not let your God-given hair cover your face?!" Is there any synthetic material that can keep you warmer than your own hair? Did God really intend for anything but facial hair to cover your face?
Relationally, I can't say my beard has been well received by the women in my life: sisters, mother, girlfriend, etc. My suspicion when it comes to women's lack of love for the beard, is that they lack the biblical undergirding concerning beards. This epidemic is sweeping through our churches.
SC: Hm. I feel for you Brandon, and respect your perseverance. Bear in mind that your woman does not yet know what benefits your beard will bring to marriage. After tying the knot, she'll have ample reason to rejoice in her hubby's face fur.
I'd like to wrap this up by asking you to address those readers who are teetering on the fence of indecision. Some fear that their growth will be sparse. Others that employers will not approve. For some others, the fear of the unknown, of silliness, of failure, inhibits their manliness. Reach your arm through their monitor, right now, put it around them, and speak a word of encouragement.
BD: Brothers, I want you to understand something. This interview is explicitly toward brothers. This is not a sexist issue! But it is a man-only issue. Only men (well...mainly men) can make the decision to let their beards grow freely or to put the blade to the face. Gentlemen, is pseudofolliculitis really worth it to you? Is spending money on blades, shaving cream, and talc powder really being a good steward of your money?
Consider beard growth--for yourself, for your church, for you family.
SC: A good word, Brandon; a good word. Thanks for giving us a few minutes of your time! Stay bearded, my friend.