Friday, October 10, 2008

Reflections on a Haircut

This week I broke down and sought professional assistance for hair control. Translated, I had my hair, what bit is left, cut. Since moving to Amesbury, I’ve settled on the local outlet of a national hair cutting chain as the location for my hair control assistance.

Several times, a young woman, who clearly lives on the edge, has cut my hair. During those visits I’ve learned a little about her. She grew up in Amesbury, but now lives in a neighboring city. She has no church back ground and t is not intimidated by cutting the hair of a pastor. (Sometimes once they learn I am a pastor, most, if not all conversation ceases.) She usually forgets about me between hair cuts.

This time she asked what I do for work. I explained that I am a United Methodist pastor who supervises other United Methodist pastors and churches. I mentioned that the United Methodist church in Amesbury was one of the ones I served.

Then she asked me the question which has me thinking; “Do you have all of them?” By all of them, she meant all the churches in Amesbury. She went on to share that she’d been in one church in town which she thought was incredibly beautiful.

I believe in her mind the churches were all one. Each related to the other. She had no knowledge of denominations, traditions and all the other ways we in the church divide ourselves up.

That is when it struck me. For someone outside the church, the church is the church is the church. There is little distinction between different denominations. To carry this the next step, when a church does something, it represents for them the action of entire Christian church

If one church is caring, generous or welcoming, it reflects on all churches. If one church is bigoted, judgmental or arrogant, it reflects on all churches.

This young woman understood what we so often forget, the Body of Christ is one body with many parts. I think the Apostle Paul had something to say about this.

As we go on with our competitiveness, petty fights and serious disagreements, the folks outside the church see it all very differently. They see us as one entity.

My hair stylist has challenged me to let go of some of my old prejudices and find new ways to relate and support my brothers and sisters in Christ who are not United Methodist. She has given my much to reflect upon (as well as a decent haircut).

I hope it will get you thinking as well.

Grace & peace,