Battle of the Beards

Humans have always been a little silly, and the Church is no exception.

It’s good to have a sense of humor about ourselves—that’s why I quite enjoyed this piece from Christianity Today: “The Wars Over Christian Beards,” which outlines the various comings and goings of Christian beards throughout Church history.

Think the “Worship Wars” are bad…? It could always be worse.

This tidbit from the early 9th century might be my favorite of them all:

Early 1000s

Full beards come briefly back into style, but fall out of style by mid-century. This leads some older mid-century church leaders, nostalgic for beards, to associate shaving with immodesty. As one abbot wrote in 1043, the empire in Germany was besieged by “the shameful custom of the vulgar French … in the cutting of beards, in the shortening and deforming of clothing, execrable to modest eyes, and many other novelties.” Half a century later, writers associated immodesty with beards, not shaving. One English Benedictine monk wrote, “Now almost all our fellow countrymen are crazy and wear little beards, openly proclaiming by such a token that they revel in filthy lusts like stinking goats.”

Good God, man, cover your face! I have made a covenant with mine eyes, but you’re well-groomed facial hair is not helping.

What they don’t tell you in seminary:
the real story behind the split between East and West.

(More articles at

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