Hi. I’m Aaron. I’m the new Proprietor here for Bearded Gospel Men, the internet’s most trusted source of pictures of Christians with beards. The weight of that responsibility is almost as great as the weight of my own beard, and I don’t take it lightly. I’m honoured to be here, and glad to have you as follower, a “liker”, or a friend.
Since taking over this little legacy, I’ve been catching up with BGM’s older profile submissions, while receiving a lot of new ones. Poring over these photos and emails, I’ve given a lot of thought to just what it means to be a “Bearded Gospel Man”. So far, the most basic criteria I’ve given on the website is that it is someone who can recite and believe the Apostle’s Creed and add “…and I have a beard.” But as I’ve considered this, I’ve realized there’s something more to it than that.
As I’ve gone through the submissions and photos, I’ve realized that a Bearded Gospel Man is much more than just a person with a beard who calls himself a Christian. I believe that the Gospel is not just a matter of words, or even merely of “correct” intellectual belief about the person of Christ, because, as the scripture says, “even the demons believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)
To be a ‘Gospel Man’ (as the term implies) means not just to preach that Gospel, but to embody that Gospel, to make it flesh and bone, to be “Jesus with skin on”, as one unbearded friend is prone to say. It’s a matter of imitating Jesus in humility and in servanthood and sacrifice; of living, breathing, walking, and working in the unbounded love of God. And when you live in that kind of love, my friend, amazing and dangerous things begin to happen. The world begins to change, and you begin to change, too.
As I peruse the photos and emails from people all over the world, I’m continually struck by the amazing ways in which humble men can bring the Kingdom of God so near to the earth.
There’s Don, who has taken on the huge task of running a farm, just so that he can feed hungry people. More than that, he seeks to create meaningful friendships with people, friendships in which the love of Jesus is free to express itself in life-changing ways.
There’s Shane, a biker and Creative Arts Pastor, who shares life with the men in his secular motorcycle club. During the Christmas season, his beard magically turns white (perhaps with a little help from some hair-bleaching elves), and he shares Luke’s account of the story of God becoming flesh with wide-eyed children as a Victorian ‘Old World’ Santa.
There are mountain climbers and adventurers, musicians and artists, poets and maple syrup makers. And there are men like Chad, a hard working man living out the gospel profoundly and simply as a husband to his wife and a true father to his children.
Each of these men, in their unique gifts and personalities, embody the qualities of a true Bearded Gospel Man: humility, service, compassion, and most of all, the Love of Christ. The Gospel, as Santa Shane wrote to me, “is the authoritative Word of God. It is real truth and that is something everyone desires.” Amen to that. I pray that each of us would desire to be continually changed by that Gospel, to dive into the raging river that is his love, and, like Naaman of old, emerge healed and whole. May we live this Gospel, confess this Gospel, embody this Gospel, preach this Gospel.
What is a Bearded Gospel Man? It’s you, changed by Jesus, living a life that is fueled by His grace and your gratitude. It’s you, living the Gospel, and wearing a beard.