Monday, May 30, 2011

Braided Hair!

This might not actually apply to the men as much as it applies to the women, but today, I’m going to explore the idea of a French braid. Some women know how to French braid, but most men don’t, nor do they ever wear French braids in their hair. And even if a woman knows how to French braid, it still takes practice for her to get it right.

A French braid is not like any ordinary braid. The special thing about it is that, as you braid, you add more strands until all of your hair is enveloped in this sweet braid thing that runs down the length of your head. You begin with three strands of hair at the top of your head, and begin to braid as normal, but each time you add some more hair to each strand.

French braids are generally an awesome and clever idea for a hairstyle. It’s a way of putting up hair that keeps your hair out of your face and looks cool at the same time. Additionally, French braids are neither strictly casual nor fancy, and can be worn to virtually any occasion or celebration.

However, there are also cons to French braids. These negatives are primarily a result of the way some humans actually French braid hair. If the hair is not French braided tightly enough, then strands will fall out and the braid will become partially ineffective, leaving strands of hair in your face. If this happens, there is really no easy fix, and you must completely redo the braid to ensure that it is braided tightly enough.

And of course, if you do it right, you get this really cool braid. To me, it’s a beautiful intertwinement of hair that reminds me of princesses and castles. It’s probably my favorite hairstyle ever. Plus, there are different types of French braids and there are tons of different ways to braid French hair. Take a look at these sweet examples:

But one day, I was French braiding my own hair when I realized that French braiding is a lot like the church described in 1 Corinthians 12. Usually, I wouldn’t post the whole passage for the sake of avoiding long passages that disinterest people, but this is totally necessary to fully post, and is also totally interesting:

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

So, In accordance with the fact that the body is one but has many parts, the French braid is also one but has many parts. There are many pieces of hair that make up the French braid, but they are all combined into one, tight knit formation. A French braid obviously can’t just be made up of one part. That would be called a ponytail.

And what makes a French braid if there aren’t different parts? Imagine each different strand involved in the construction of a French braid as a different part of the body and of the church. Each different strand can represent an eye, a nose, a mouth, a leg, an arm, a torso, etc. Without these parts, there would be just one solid part, like for instance a whole arm or a whole torso. What use is that for?

Also, each strand can represent a different member of the church. One can be a healer, another a prophet, another a teacher, and so on. If the whole church were one teacher, then what kind of church would that be? There would be no prayer, no worship music, and no behind the scenes people.

And the coolest aspect of this is the fact that, if one part of the church suffers, all suffer, and if one part rejoices, all rejoice. In the same way, if one part of a French braid is falling out of the hairstyle, then the whole thing fails and has to be recreated. But if one part is holding on strong, it can keep the whole braid together strongly.

One very important thing to remember about the members of the church is that al should work together as one, and no one should try to be exalted or prideful. No one should try to do things alone so that they may receive the glory for themselves. In the same way, all strands and parts of a French braid look the same and should be about equal (well, it really depends, but you know what I mean). There is usually not a French braid with one outrageously large strand and the rest all small and puny. Similarly, one strand of hair will not look better than another. There won’t be a strand of hair that is just randomly purple and sparkly. Hair doesn’t just do that randomly, unless you’re a Unicorn. Maybe.

I think the most important message in this illustration is the true picture of the church and how it should act. There should be many differently blessed people that are part of the church, and they should all support each other. If one person is suffering, then all will mourn, and if one person is rejoicing, then all will rejoice. The body functions as one, but requires the help and input of many people. All should work together equally, and none should be exalted like sparkly purple unicorn hair.

Of course, don’t mistake the equalness of service in the church as the indifference of the people. Everyone will be awesomely different, but all will serve in different ways, avoiding self-glory.

And here’s a sweet website that attempts to follow this example of the church:

Also, It’s really cool to understand the way the church works by actually watching somebody French braid and thinking about the illustration that I just explained. So here’s a video of how to French braid if you would like to do that:


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