If I had my way, I would shave with a single blade, cut throat razor, that I would every day. That way I would know that I am getting a very sharp razor every time. But the skill involved is too much, so I’m back to a version of the ‘safety razor’. For as long as I can remember I have been using two blades. I get the idea that the first blade sort of pulls out the hair, and the second one cuts it off, resulting in a closer shave that might otherwise be the case with a single blade. But I have resisted buying three and now four blade razors.
The reason? I thought that it was all advertising hype. I mean what are three blades going to do that two can’t? And then the multiplication of blades from three to four What’s next? Five? And then there’s the extrapolation of the idea, where I can imagine razor blade companies having such complicated shaving heads, that I have to buy a kind of ‘crane’ affair to lift the now, very heavy shaving head into the vicinity of my face.
I remember the very early ad for one brand of razors. They said ‘These fifteen barbers all shaved with the one blade, in cold water!’ Well I’ve never managed o get more than five or six out of my double pack.
So in resistance to the advertising hype, making me spend more money on multiple blades that do not do a better job than a single blade, I have stuck with two!
That is till I moved back to Australia. I went into the supermarket, only to find that there were no double blades. I was forced to pay $34.00 for a razorblade holder and some blades, with three blades in the cartridge!
So I looked up the internet. Was there any research about the effectiveness of three blades? The answer is equivocal. They say ‘Because there are so many different kinds of beards, and shaving styles, it is impossible to tell.’ No one has done any research on how many shaves person ‘x’ gets using two blades, then three and four. Does the increased number of shaves justify spending the extra money ?
Well now I’m convinced! I like the three blades better than two, and I think that I get more shaves out of the new blades than I did out of the twin blades.
So the point of all this is that it speaks to me of how I become open to new things, or not: even to what god is saying to me. If I am as resistant to God’s voice as I was to three razor blades, then God will take a long time to get my attention.
But there are four elements in this story that I think are worth commenting upon.
First, I need to shave! So the business of shaving is something that most men are involved in. In the same way, everybody is involved in putting their faith in something. The winds of life blow hard, and everyone has to invest the ‘capital’ that life has given them into something. Bob Dylan is right: ”It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody.” Faith and shaving are part of being a man, but most of us are as unconscious about what it is we put our faith in as we are about shaving.
It was an outside event that forced an increase in consciousness, and ‘peeled’ my off my old way of shaving. The absence of the two blade razors made the think about whether or not it was worth trying out three blade razors. This is true too about the life of faith. Many people either stop going to church, or start, when they move towns. It’s the ‘outside circumstance’ that is the occasion for a change in faith life. Sometimes it is a death, or loss of a job, or a ‘near death experience’ or other catastrophe that will be the occasion for a re-examination of life. So it was with my shaving, so it is in my experience of faith.
Third, I knew about the existence of the three blade razors. I remember being taken aback once when I met the girlfriend of my girlfriend for the first time. She said “Well I consider myself a ‘spiritual’ person, but if I ever wanted to do anything more about it, the Church is the last place I would look. In terms of shaving, it seems as though the Church is not even in the razor producing business in the eyes of many!. Arghhhhh. What’s more, for those people who used to want the church’s brand of ‘razor’ or had to have it because they were orphans, we have been producing razors with poison in them, or ones that cut you, no matter how new the blade. So it looks like we’ve got a lot of work to do both in terms of improving our performance, and letting people know that we offer what people need, because they need faith in the same way as men need razor blades.
But last, it took the outside event (the unavailability of my normal, two blade razor) to overcome my suspicion of the advertising, and to get me to even try out a different razor. Sometimes with good reason, sometimes not, many people are like me in relation to the Church and Christian faith. Many people think that they know what we are on about, and are happy for us to do it, but don’t want to get involved. Many people think of us with the same suspicion as others have of the ‘greenies’. Not only do we have to overcome the ‘lack of product knowledge’ of the Church, and sometimes, the all too well known ‘product’ of abuse, but we have to overcome a generalised ‘suspicion’ of religion in Australia that may go back as far as the convict days, and the too close a connection between the church and the state that was punishing the convicts.
It took a long time to get me to try out three blade razors. But I was converted. I guess Christians have to keep plugging away with the ‘razor of faith’ in hope that the God who makes our ‘product’ will also soften the hearts of some.
Your companion ‘on the Way’