Tuesday, October 11, 2005

hairbrained schemes

Something interesting is happening in the church where I work. It's not a theological shift, nor a religious awakening. We're not changing staff. We're not building a new wing. In fact, most people wouldn't notice it at all. We're simply changing...hairstyles.

Actually, it's a little more complicated than that.

For a long time I have joked that all the early Vineyard leaders appear so much alike! If you could see pictures of many of the early pastors, you would notice this strange convergence of styles. It's a particular "look:" casually dressed, slightly overweight, balding but with straight, sandy-colored hair changing to silver. And all of them have beards - John Wimber, Kenn Gulliksen, Bert Waggoner, even my pastor Bill Elander. It is somewhat uncanny.

But as I've met the younger generation, especially folks interested in diving into the Vineyard from a historical or theological angle, I notice that a lot of us have a particular style too. Maybe someday we'll be called the "Yale School" of Vineyard thought. We all tend to be casually dressed too, but instead of sandals and hawaiian shirt, we have the relaxed look of postmodern graduate students. Most of us are tall and thin, occasionally scruffy with dark shaggy hair. I can't tell you how many times I get confused for Matt Croasmun, a friend and fellow YDS student who also works at my church.

Okay, so maybe what I'm describing is simply the "grad student" aesthetic. Maybe we're not that unique. We dress comfortably because we're students, we don't shave because we were up till 1am studying. We don't get haircuts becuase we cannot afford it. Maybe we're all skinny because we don't eat well. Of course, I'm not pretending to be a social scientist in my analysis, just note something of interest that never ceases to make me laugh. But who knows? Maybe someday people will joke about those "old Vineyard guys" that all look alike. It's funny how that seems to happen.

Grace & Peace