LIFEGroup Reflections

Haircut Theology

How much is too much for a haircut? You can get your haircut for $13.50 at the Walmart Salon. Last time I checked Borics was around 12 dollars. At Panopolous Salons a men's haircut can run from 18 to 40. If I wanted to get my hair died using the foil treatment I could spend as much as 100 dollars. If I had a couple hours to spare I could always take a chance and go to one of those student cosmetologists and get my hair done for 6 dollars.

How much does it cost to feed starving child in Nairobi? Through Feed the Children you can feed a child for 8 dollars a month. Through the Christian Children's Fund you can cloth, educate and feed a child for 24 dollars a month. World Vision will feed, clothe, educate a child and make community improvements like access to clean water, agricultural assistance, medical care and more for 35 dollars a month.

Can you guess what I'm going to say next? Are you expecting a lecture about the wastefulness of America's vanity? Will I make a stunning claim like “At 12 dollars a haircut, if everyone that was in church last Sunday cut their own hair we could save a thousand children from starvation”?

But wait a second. What about all the people who work at the salons? If every Christian in America started cutting their own hair to feed the starving children, how many hair dressers would loose their jobs? How much does it cost the government when someone goes on unemployment? How tax dollars would be lost in unemployment benefits given to the out of work hair dressers that could go toward social programs that help the needy in our communities. I bet it's more than 12 dollars a month. What if by paying for a nice hair cut, we were employing someone who could through his or her employment now afford to sponsor a starving child?

How much is too much for a haircut? The question came up in our LIFEGroup. The question took on a new complexity when we tried to consider the question from the standpoint of a cosmetologist. Its easy to make quick judgments like “America spends too much money on haircuts”. Life gets more complex when you come face to face with the people those quick judgments impact. The diversity in a LIFEGroup helps us to critically evaluate how we apply our theology in the real world. A simple question like “how much is too much for a haircut?” became a brief but deep theological discussion on stewardship in a land of plenty and we have our cosmetologist to thank for it. Its been fun to see the way God uses our differences to strengthen each other. Its been fun joining the LIFEGroup as we take on real life.