Barbershop Duet

True story: While in St. Paul for Jered’s institution as rector of St. John the Evangelist’s parish, I found myself in dire need of a haircut.  Now usually I just take the clippers to my own head; but as I was going to be representing St. Alban’s in the presentation of gifts to the new rector, I thought I should make more of an effort.  So I wandered into the nearest salon and asked if they could help me out.

When the stylist sat me in the chair and started to comb my hair, she asked me what I did for a living and what had brought me to St. Paul. I replied that I was a Parish Coordinator in the Episcopal Church.  While most people just nod when I say that, she responded in a most surprising way.

“You work in the church?”


“Can you possibly explain to me the Council of Nicaea?”

Now, I cannot possibly convey to you the amount of faith in the inherent goodness of one’s fellow man it requires to discuss a most divisive point in Christian Theological history whilst one is  helpless in the hands of a stranger with scissors and a razor in their hands.  I did not have my glasses on and so what she was doing to my head while we discussed the divinity or humanity of the Christ was an utter mystery to me. What I can report is that we ended up having an excellent conversation.  We, unlike the members of the council, managed to discuss our very different opinions and points of view without resorting to fisticuffs.  While we didn’t persuade each other to a different position, I truly enjoyed hearing a total stranger speak with deep feeling about her faith and her spiritual journey.  My faith in her inherent goodness was rewarded with her trust in me in sharing some part of her that was central to her life.  What a lovely change from small talk.

It was also a very nice haircut.



About stalbansparish

St. Alban's Parish is a vibrant and diverse Episcopal Church in Washington, DC near the National Cathedral. We come from every walk of life, every culture and context, and every corner of this region. St. Alban's Parish is active in the city, engaging social issues, and making the reconciling love of Christ known in word and deed. We have ministries for children, youth, young adults, adults, and the elderly. We have outreach programs that address homelessness, poverty, the environment, and hunger. We believe in being open and inclusive to all people no matter disability, age, income, gender, race, or sexual orientation. We welcome the faithful, the seeker, and the doubter, because God's embrace is wide, and God's good news is for all people. We want you to come, participate, grow in God's love, and become a part of the Body of Christ at St. Alban's!
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One Response to Barbershop Duet

  1. Susan says:

    what an amazing experience! That is the least likely thing that I can imagine coming out of anyone’s mouth – especially in that circumstance – and of course you were up to the task. Wish there were more opportunities to discuss differences politely – so rare in our current culture.

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