I have read more about the Theology of Hair than I might have expected to.
St Paul started it of course. I have read what he has to say, and read with careful attention a considerable number of dissertations on the subject by faithful sisters looking deeply into the scriptures to shed light on the Way. I love the Bible, and I find in it the guiding light of God’s truth, but I don’t read it in the way that allows it to be interpreted as straightforward instructions for daily living lifted wholesale into the present day.
That is to say, when I read in Scripture a general statement like “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love is from God,” (1 John:4.7) I perceive that to have a universal application.
But what Paul had to say about hair and clothing I believe to be of specific and particular application. That there are many who disagree with me passionately I know already and I understand why. It’s not that I don’t get it; I do, but I disagree.
I walked a while, as some of you know, along a Plain path. I found it illuminating, spiritually nourishing, but a bit complicating – Plain but not all that plain if you see what I mean. I found it distracted me from the focus of Gospel simplicity which I think I came here to find and follow.
At the present time my focus is on seeing what I can do to address the amount of packaging I bring home when I purchase food and household goods. The other thing I’m considering at the moment is how to reduce the amount of water I use.
Today I didn’t do so well in either regard. It wasn’t such a good day. I woke up still tired from yesterday, with a lot to do. I’d figured out during the week that if I wash my clothes when I shower (letting the water accumulate by putting the plug in the bath) then I can use the one lot of water for both purposes. Our dish-drying cloths had been soaking in a bowl in the bathtub since the day before yesterday. The sun was shining today, and the day breezy, so I thought I’d better quickly rinse them through and hang them out on the line. In a hurry, because I had to be somewhere else by 10.30 and needed to shower, I washed the cloths through to get them out of the bathtub. I forgot a) that I was meant to be washing them in the shower water and b) that the same applied to the clothes I’d taken off last night and left in a heap on the bedroom floor. So instead of one lot of water, I required three – the dish-drying-cloths, the clothes and the shower.
Then I remembered that as this was the day the Badger planned to rotovate the back-yard for re-sowing, magically transforming all of it to a ploughed field and digging up the socket for the washing line (this sort) in the process, I had nowhere to hang out washing anyway.
Cursing and muttering I headed off to town and did my various errands there. Hungry, tired, and knowing I would return to find four other hungry souls waiting at home, I decided “Oh, blow it!” I went into Marks and Spencer and got some packs of ready-made sandwiches, some supper ingredients in sturdy plastic packs, a drink in a plastic bottle (on offer with the sandwiches), and a lemon meringue pie in a foil dish and cardboard box. Not an outstanding success on the packaging and water fronts, then.
But, why I was going into Hastings was to get my hair cut. Why I decided to cut it again was to do with packaging. I want to use Lush shampoo because it’s Earth-friendly, animal-friendly and comes in zero packaging. The conditioner that goes with it comes in a bottle you take back to the store to be re-filled. The only snag is, Lush shampoo can make my hair a bit lank when said hair is long. So I thought I’d cut it off. Short.
You know what? I so totally wish I could write to St Paul and say: “Now, here’s the thing. In our society today hairstyles do not have the cultural connotations they did back in AD 70. But what we do have today is a problem with mass-production and industrialisation that is threatening to take down the whole planet, via an ugly path of destruction involving water wars, deforestation, and unimaginable suffering in the lives of the world’s poor. I humbly ask permission, this being the case, as part of my path of simplicity, to keep my hair short and use Lush shampoo.”
If he wrote back, I’d show you the letter, I promise.
The result (honest and humble apologies for disappointing friends who feel God’s truth in the Bible requires ladies to wear their hair long):
365 Day 29 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)
2 pairs of shoe-laces. Something I have learned about clutter is the insidious power of Small Things. I tuck them away in a drawer or on a shelf waiting for them to Come In Handy – them and all their aunts and cousins and distant relations. They rarely do, but they gradually accumulate into a drifting shoal comfortably insulated by dust, occupying entire drawers and obscuring actually useful object from view. They sit on shelves competing for attention, reducing genuinely beautiful and useful object to One More Piece Of Stuff. Let them go, say I!