Engaging the Culture With a Haircut

I had been cutting my own hair for about 15 years. Nothing fancy -- just a pair of clippers and a #1 guard. I am not all that concerned about fashion, and it shows. But with a new pair of clippers every few years, I've spent less than $75 on haircuts during that time. Any women out there that can beat that? Or men, for that matter?

Of course, Joanna is wonderful to trim around my neck and check for missed spots, and then to clean up the mess I make on the floor. But as we looked at living in Allendale, I figured that getting a haircut at a barber shop might be the way to go. For one, it will save us the hassle of cutting and cleaning up, and second, it could be a good way to be a part of the community here. If you never lived in a small town, you may not understand this.

I learned that the dad of one of the girls in the after school program cuts hair. So, last week, I asked him if I could stop by. "Sure," he replied.

Yesterday, I made plans to visit the barber shop, called "Nubian Image." Not only have I not paid for a haircut in 15 years, but I assure you when I did it was not at a place called Nubian Image.

As a confirmation (maybe) that this was what I was supposed to be doing, I read an article called Asking Questions, where author Jon Acuff uses a haircut appointment as a chance to engage someone in conversation. It was a great reminder that my time for a haircut is not about me; it is about others, and ultimately about Jesus. Acuff writes,
"Sometimes we think going overseas is the only way to be a missionary. Sometimes we overlook the people we’re surrounded by all day. Sometimes we’re afraid to witness to people or share our faith because we’re think we’ll do it wrong. But sometimes, the girl cutting your hair isn’t tired because she partied all night. Sometimes the stranger you meet has a story to share, if, you’ll take the time to ask a question."

So, I asked my barber some questions, like: Did you grow up here? (He was actually born near where I was from, in northern New Jersey). Did you hear that they are cutting a barbering program in the high school? Why do you think that is? Nothing deep, but a good time just connecting.

Also, this has coincided perfectly with the current sermon series at Grace Church (that we can follow via the website), about engaging the culture on a personal level.

Now, when each of these haircuts costs $12 (Zoinks!), I may need to get some clippers and go back to cutting my hair sometimes. But I also don't want to miss this opportunity to be a part of the community that God has us in.

And though we may often feel alone and isolated, we know that God is with us and that this adventure is not about us, but about the the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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  1. Question: What exactly does "nubian" mean?? And thanks for the post, it may get me out of cutting G's hair from time to time (cleaning up the mess isn't my fave)...when he asks from now on, i'm going to go tell him to engage the culture. Gracias.

  2. I believe "Nubian" has something to do with a region near the Nile River.

    Ummm... I don't think sending him to Great Clips in Greenville is quite the same as what I have down here. But then again, maybe it's not that different.