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Are some of us navel-gazing instead of helping to proclaim the Gospel?
No, we were not among the original eleven Apostles (Judas was out of the picture) to whom Jesus spoke these words (Matthew 28:16-20, emphases mine):
The Great Commission
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
No, not all of us are meant to be ordained. However, that does not absolve us from showing more of the Christian example in our speech and deeds.
Yesterday, I excerpted a sermon from the Revd P G Mathew, a former scientist turned Reformed clergyman. This is what he had to say about putting our own preoccupations aside more often and asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and fortitude as Christians:
What if you are already a Christian, but you have only been speaking about your cars, about your children, about your back pain–about everything else but the gospel of Jesus Christ? Would you this day determine and purpose to be filled with the Spirit so that you may proclaim Jesus Christ to a sinful person? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come upon you with such power and might that you may be filled and speak forth the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. If you pray like this, God will help you. Amen.
That doesn’t mean we cannot talk about our personal lives or secular reflections, only that sometimes they can monopolise too much of our thoughts. And what we think about, we talk about.
What are people mainly hearing from or seeing in us? Our personal aches and pains, our materialism or the comforting life we live in Jesus Christ? One to ponder, especially during this lengthy season of Pentecost (‘Ordinary Time’, sadly, for post-Vatican II Catholics).
Sunday, May 19, 2013, is Pentecost Sunday.
Pentecost is the Church’s birthday. With the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were able to go forth to preach, heal and die in the name of the Lord. The Book of Acts carries this dramatic and moving account of the Apostles and disciples in the earliest days of the Church.
Acts 2:1-4 recounts the moment the Holy Spirit descended on them:
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
1When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Last year’s post excerpted a sermon from a Lutheran pastor which explains the significance of Pentecost and the comfort which the Holy Spirit brings.
This year’s reflections are taken from a sermon by the Revd P G Mathew, formerly of India. Dr Mathew worked as a scientist before ordination. He is a Reformed (Calvinist) clergyman with three graduate degrees in theology and serves as pastor of Grace Valley Christian Center in Davis, California.
The following is from his sermon, ‘The Holy Spirit, Our Helper’, specifically the conclusion, ‘The Spirit’s Effectual Intercession’. Emphases mine below:
The intercession of the Holy Spirit is always effectual. This is because God who examines our hearts knows the mind of the Holy Spirit and what his desire for us is.
God knows our hearts. David said, “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you” (1 Chron. 28:9). He also prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23).
The prayer of the Spirit is always effectual because he prays according to the will of God in our behalf. The Father is God and the Holy Spirit is God, so there exists perfect harmony between the Father who searches our hearts and the mind of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, we do not always know how to pray in accordance with God’s will in specific situations. But in Romans 8:27 Paul tells us, “According to God [kata theon] the Spirit intercedes for the benefit of the saints” (author’s translation). The Holy Spirit always prays according to the will of God. So the Spirit continually helps us to bear our burdens. His intercession is always effectual because he intercedes according to God’s perfect will. He is our paraklétos, one who comes alongside to help us in all our weaknesses …
Conclusion: We are weak, but God is strong to help us in all our weaknesses. We can rejoice, knowing that we have a number of intercessors.
1. Christ in heaven is interceding for us (Rom. 8:34), guaranteeing our justification based on his blood atonement. His intercession is effectual.
2. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our hearts according to the will of God. His intercession is always effectual for our sanctification.
3. God’s holy church intercedes for us. After James, the brother of John, was put to the sword, Peter was arrested and put in prison. The church was interceding for Peter in the house of Mary the mother of Mark (Acts 12:5), and the intercession was effectual. God sent an angel and let Peter out of prison to continue his ministry. Paul says that if one member suffers, the whole body suffers (1 Cor. 12:26). Elsewhere, he says, “Bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
May we therefore not worry as we face problems, weaknesses, sufferings, and trials. God the Father is for us, Christ the Son is for us, the Holy Spirit is for us, and the holy church is for us. We are well taken care of, and in his time, the Lord will bring us safely home.
Exaudi Sunday takes place between the Ascension (always a Thursday) and Pentecost, ten days later.
I have read that it is the saddest Sunday of the Church year. The faithful recall the forlorn disciples, among them the Apostles, who saw Christ’s ascent into heaven and then awaited the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
There are several New Testament readings of import for this time. I shall run the risk of repeating myself with the following –
Luke 3:16-17 with John the Baptist’s succinct prophecy:
16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
John 16:5-11 from the Last Supper where Jesus said (emphases mine):
5But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Acts 1:4-9 with His final words before returning to God the Father:
4And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
Exaudi is Latin, from the verb exaudire (modern day equivalents are the French exaucer and the Italian esaudire). It has several meanings, among them: hear, understand and discern, as well as heed, obey and, where the Lord is concerned, grant. The French version of the Catholic Mass uses exaucer a lot, as do hymns: ‘grant us, Lord’.
Exaudi Sunday is so called because of the traditional Introit, taken from Psalm 17:1. The two first words in Latin are ‘Exaudi Domine’ — ‘Hear, Lord’.
In English (ESV) Psalm 17:1 is as follows:
1Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!
Another match is Daniel 9:17, which was the basis for the Exaudi Domine which Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1526-1594) wrote:
17Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
It is a beautiful chant. The minor key brings to life the sense of loss Jesus’s loyal band of disciples must have felt between Ascension and Pentecost:
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
And, for us today, we who long for Christ’s return, we have the Holy Spirit working through the Law and the Gospel for our salvation.
The manifold grace of God is another way of saying the Gospel. The word Gospel is used often, but most of the time the term is abused.
Although the Holy Spirit works through the Law, its role is limited. The Law stirs up knowledge of sin without solving the problem of sin. The Law makes us feel the guilt of sin but the Law cannot forgive our sins. All the “transforming” preachers of today use the Law to make people feel they do are not producing the fruit of the Gospel, but those law condemnations do not produce the desired fruit. The law programs to do that only make matters worse, filling people with notions of being holier than the rest. This is important to realize from Luther. The Gospel alone forgives, saves, and bears the fruit of the Spirit …
The Law makes us fearful, but the Gospel gives us peace through forgiveness of sin. That forgiveness is complete and free. That is why the law-salesmen become so angry and vindictive, when their kingdom of merits is threatened in any way. They want people enslaved by their man-made laws, not set free by the Gospel. They want people to ignore the Word for their words (which are never-ending) …
God’s will is carried out only through His Word, and this Word is always united with the divine energy of His Holy Spirit. Isaiah 55:8-11 …
The Holy Spirit works through the Law to condemn our sins against the Ten Commandments, our spiritual sins (First Table) against God, which lead to the more visible sins against our neighbor (Second Table).
God uses the preaching and teaching of the Gospel to plant and sustain faith in the crushed hearts of contrite sinners. The Gospel message is summarized:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” KJV John 3:16.
The proclamation of the Gospel is carried out through the invisible Word of preaching and teaching, the visible Word of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. God grants grace only through His instruments, the Means of Grace.
Those who believe in the Gospel of Christ receive what He has promised, complete and free forgiveness of sin. God declares that person forgiven – justification by faith. Romans 5:1-2.
The fruits of the Spirit follow from faith in Christ, and God is glorified by all things done in faith. Those who wish to harvest more for the Kingdom should broadcast the Word with complete abandon, trusting in God’s Promises.
To enjoy the benefits of the Gospel, we abide in the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments. They are the treasures of the Church which give us 100% of the blessings God wishes to impart to us.
These are the gifts and benefits on which we may reflect between the Ascension and Pentecost — and beyond.
26“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
1“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
As the Holy Spirit was sent to the original 70 disciples, so He continues to be with us today. Martin Luther (H/T: Dr Jackson) had this to say on Exaudi Sunday about the aforementioned verses from John’s Gospel in light of the Church:
“We have the comfort of this victory of Christ—that He maintains His Church against the wrath and power of the devil; but in the meantime we must endure such stabs and cruel wounds from the devil as are necessarily painful to our flesh and blood. The hardest part is that we must see and suffer all these things from those who call themselves the people of God and the Christian Church. We must learn to accept these things calmly, for neither Christ nor the saints have fared better.”
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 263. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.
“Nevertheless, He has said that the Holy Spirit should testify of him and that they also should bear witness; and He assures them that their testimony shall not be effaced by this rage and persecution of the world.”
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 258. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.
Therefore, let us continue to witness in our own lives as Christians through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Exaudi Sunday is the last Sunday in Eastertide, which ends on the day before Pentecost. Pentecost Sunday in 2013 is May 19.
For a quick dessert, I sometimes make shortbread and spread chocolate on the top soon after I take it out of the oven.
A few weeks ago, I thought using our Cadbury Dairy Milk Easter Egg would be a good choice for the shortbread topping.
However, it would not spread, which was strange, because the shortbread was straight out of the oven. This was the first time I’d had this problem.
I put the shortbread with the chunks of Dairy Milk in the oven at 170° C. That is roasting temperature.
Fifteen minutes later, the Dairy Milk still hadn’t melted.
We ate the shortbread as is, a real disappointment, especially as the chocolate fell off most of it.
A few days later, I recalled seeing what seems to be an impossible recipe for another Dairy Milk product: Creme Egg Brownies (picture at the link). It looks amazing — perfect for those with a real sweet tooth.
Revisiting the brownie recipe and recalling my shortbread experience, it became clear that today’s Dairy Milk is not meant to melt. I’ve never seen a chocolate that didn’t melt. Something is very wrong.
Investigation online revealed that other British consumers have found Dairy Milk no longer melts. The shape and size of the small bars sold in the UK have changed for the worse. The new formulation doesn’t seem to have the same lingering, satisfying taste as before. Mumsnet explored this in detail (strong language alert) as have Independent readers. The British Problems forum also picked up on the changes.
I hope Kraft — Cadbury’s owners since 2010 — are happy with the way they have ruined an iconic British brand and one of the most satisfying treats ever.
The USP — unique selling point — of Dairy Milk was that it was made with a glass and a half of fresh milk. This is how it was marketed in the early 20th century to mothers who worried that it might not have much nutritional value. Cadbury promoted the wholesome milk aspect. The rest was history.
How times have changed. Now there is a move to remove the images of the milk from the packaging altogether. This is Dairy Milk heresy.
Before looking at that, however, Cadbury lovers need to be aware of the new Mondelez International.
In October 2012, Kraft Foods Inc. changed its name to Mondelez International. Kraft Foods Group was spun off to shareholders.
In March 2012, Marketing Week explained the name (emphases mine):
Kraft will name its global snacks business Mondelez when it splits into two organisations later this year.
Mondelez will be the corporate brand name behind consumer brands including Oreo, Cadbury, Milka, Trident and LU.
It was created following a crowdsourcing project that invited employees from around its global businesses to suggest names for the new business. It says that Mondelez was inspired by two separate suggestions – one from Europe and one from North America.
‘Monde’ derives from the Latin word for ‘world’, and “delez” is a “fanciful expression” of ‘delicious’.
Pronounced Mohn-dah-leez, the name has been created to “evoke the idea of “delicious world”, according to Kraft.
… The change is part of Kraft’s plan to divide into a North American grocery business that will retain the Kraft name, and a global snacks business under the new name.
In October 2012, Marketing Week reported that Mondelez:
plans to partner “power brands” with mobile startups and entrepreneurs.
The programme, dubbed Mobile Futures, will pair Mondelez’s “power brands” – such as Oreo, Trident and Ritz – with startups to scale existing mobile products and incubate new projects, each within 90 days.
The company is particularly looking to partner with startups working across social TV, m-commerce and SoLoMo (social/location/mobile).
I then ran across the Cadbury Dairy Milk Report, headed by Maria Jose Serres (a loyal Dairy Milk consumer? — one wonders). Perhaps this is part of Mobile Futures, which, let’s be honest, sounds like it is marketing and advertising done on the cheap. Anyway, Serres writes — note the spelling errors (underscored):
This is a report for my subject “Marketing Management Communications and Media Management” of MSc Digital Marketing at Southampton University.
The aim of the assigment was to change the slogan “A glass and a half of milk” of Cadbury Dairy Milk, so we had to do market research in order to understan the customers, the competitors, the market trends, etc.
We also had to propose a new slogan and a marketing campaign in UK.
The report has also an analysis of the costs of the campain and the campaing planning.
This is the Dairy Milk heresy.
The hearts of Dairy Milk lovers everywhere will be broken when they read this report. The strapline for this campaign — should it take place — is
A Moment in Every Bite
On page 8, we read
the glass and a half full logo is minimised.
In fact, you can see an illustration of the prototype wrapper which has two pitiful drops bursting from the ‘i’ in ‘Milk’ where the glass and a half of fresh milk used to be. Furthermore, the prototype shows that the ‘k’ kicks the glass and a half into touch.
Is the idea to promote powdered milk content (which is what is in the Cadbury eggs)? Pah.
When can we expect this advertising on buses, street furniture and in cinemas? Page 12 says:
The ‘What’s Your Moment’ campaign launches 1st August 2013 …
Words fail me.
With the exception of the dark chocolate Bournville, which is getting harder to find, I’m finished with
Kraft’s Mondelez’s Cadbury.
When chocolate doesn’t melt — powdered milk? — there is a problem.
Some hairdressers belong in one of the nine circles of Hell.
There are many unsung heroes of the hair world out there, but, from what I see, they are increasingly harder to find.
Why would I care about hairdressers? Only because I’ve seen so many bad highlights, cuts and styles emanating from our local salons over the past few years. None of them is cheap. The barber — not the professional stylist — seems to be the best bet for a proper haircut. Go figure.
Cardinal hairdressing sins
1/ From my observations, highlighting today often reveals lack of attention and apathy when it comes to a woman’s hairline. No hairdresser should need to be told that colour must be carefully applied to and around the hairline. A ‘senior stylist’ — as they insist on being called — should be a dab hand at applying foils or a little root touch-up to every woman purchasing highlights. Yet, I often see lines by the temples where it is clear colour has been applied but not blended in. It looks like … hell. It also makes it impossible for that woman to change her hairdo; sweeping back one side is out of the question. Yet, she will have paid £100 for a poor job.
2/ Today’s haircuts are abysmal, especially for ‘older’ women. It used to be that a hairdresser didn’t consider a female customer old until she went in one day asking for a blue rinse and a perm. Nowadays, a woman is old in a hairdresser’s eyes when she hits 50. She can be assured that her hairdresser does not have a vision of beauty in mind for her, even when she describes what she would like. She will give that woman a granny haircut, often one with fringe (bangs) that is too short and blunt. The customer then emerges from the salon looking no younger or prettier.
On the other hand, the French singer Françoise Hardy has been blessed with a lifetime of great hairdressers (see photos — decades old dos which are still stylish). Furthermore, she — and her hairdresser — demonstrate that une femme d’un certain age can look chic and beautiful. Hardy’s haircuts are not complicated. Any hairdresser should know a basic cut which can be modified: longer fringe, layering around the ears and tapering the lower third of the head.
On the other side of the spectrum, the other atrocity I often see are young women with very long hair leaving a salon all gussied up with three inches of dry, frizzy ends. A good hairdresser should have broken the news months before: ‘I’m sorry, but the longer we let those ends go, the worse it will be for your hair.’ They must be cut. No deep conditioner can save them.
3/ The styling is basic, flat and boring. Why? It isn’t free of charge. I can tell when some women have been to the salon because they emerge with helmet head or a bob with a crown that has been blowdried into a square. It’s hard to imagine a professional being guilty of such a sin but I often see it here in the world capital of hairdressing. Yes, it is possible for a ‘professional’ to take a perfectly serviceable cut and totally mess up the styling. These women look so much better when they style their own hair in their own homes.
4/ The lack of interest from the hairdresser. There are some vile hairdressers out there. In researching this article, I perused a number of hair fora — some for consumers and some for ‘professionals’. I also know a few salon owners. Only one salon I know of — a husband and wife team — is worth the money. The others, men and women, say, ‘There’s nothing I can do with a hairline — that’s their problem’ or ‘The client isn’t clear about what she wants’. Does that absolve them of being interested enough in their clients to find out or suggest and make a positive difference? After all, they are the ones who insist on being recognised as ‘experts’. Experts, my eye. The customer — again, man or woman — can pick up on this. Search online for ‘bad hairdressers UK’ and you’ll find a wealth of complaints from both sexes about the shabby treatment they have had.
5/ Because you’re not worth it. This ties in with the previous point. Customers are picking up on the fact that, after a year or two, the hairdresser is no longer that interested in their hair. Highlights are sparser. Cuts cannot be changed or improved. Cuts are butchered. Colour is clearly defined; no deviations. The hairdresser communicates boredom and a desire to be anywhere else but styling your hair. One ‘senior stylist’ told me, ‘We can do anything. It’s a question of if we can be bothered. Sometimes it’s too much effort’. And it clearly shows, even in small provincial salons with undeserved big-city prices.
My mother’s story
My mother had worn a variety of hairstyles in the 1960s for short or shoulder-length hair. When she had short hair, she was happy enough.
Once women began wearing longer bouffants — as they were called — my mother had patchier salon experiences. Ironically, she was happiest when going to the local beauty college every Friday lunchtime. I went with her a couple of times when school was not in session. The student stylist and my mother had conversations about allergic reactions and skin disease. The stylist would explain how exacting the coursework was in this area. Essentially, the cuts, colour and styling were easy; it was the physiology and dermatology courses which could make or break a future beautician, as they were called back then. The exams were rigorous.
We moved house a couple of years later. My mother really missed ‘the girls’. There was no beauty college in our area and no matter what hairdresser my mother went to, they invariably left a line of hair around the middle of her head which made no sense.
She would return home frustrated when she should have felt beautiful and happy.
Years later, I think I know what the problem was. Hairdressers are trained — or acquire a habit of — lifting a section of hair vertically from the centre of the head and trimming it. Once that hair falls to its usual position in styling, it forms a line which doesn’t blend in with the rest of the head. It happens here in the UK, too, so it must be a universal ‘technique’. Oddly, however, the young women at the beauty college did not seem to do this. They trimmed from the sides only.
Well, it wasn’t long before my mother started trimming her own hair. This was back in the 1970s. ‘Why should I pay all that money for a bad haircut?’
My mother continued trimming her own hair until she was in her mid-80s, at which point she reverted back to a skilled (this time) professional. It wasn’t that my mother’s natural talents were slipping, she just wasn’t well enough anymore.
As for colour, once my mother went significantly gray, she started buying box kits. Only one turned out a bit yellowy; the others were a beautiful ash blonde. And, no, I doubt she ever did a skin or hair test. She applied her own colour until she was in her 80s. It can be done and look professional.
How the mighty have fallen — hairdressing statistics
A marketing maxim is statistics: ‘Everyone loves looking at the numbers!’
- The majority of women change their stylists before their fourth haircut
- Less ['Fewer'!] than 25% of clients stay with their stylist beyond a year
- Half of women outside London prefer their own home blowdry to their stylist’s efforts
- 40% of women avoid salons on a regular basis because of unhappy experiences and lack of trust in hairdressers’ abilities.
Those are all the things I mentioned above, and that was from my personal observation and research.
What hairdressers can do
Like every other business in a difficult economic climate, salons seek to increase footfall and revenue.
Salons are feeling the pinch as their equally pinched customers are postponing repeat appointments in an attempt to save money.
Unfortunately, most look towards marketing campaigns (local leaflet drop), periodic discounts, music selection (arrgh), product displays and redecorating. All of these are superficial and miss the point entirely.
Yet, a good hairdresser will always have customers. Build it and they will come — introductory offer or not.
However, this requires listening well, doing a professional job, treating customers as if they are valued and making sure they are truly happy with colour, cut and style.
These guidelines from Vidal Sassoon (excerpted) should be professional basics; they are to the customer. Emphases mine:
The ability to think quickly in order to process and evaluate your clients wishes is paramount to your success as a hairdresser. The consultation is your time to use your skills in gathering information in order to use your creativity in creating a style that both suits and makes your client feel great. ‘The Sassoon Way’ divides the consultation into three distinct phases. Note that ‘failure to complete any or all of these stages will be the cause of any later problems’.
Listening and observation – Take into account the following:
- Client physique, proportions and profiles to help you choose suitable shapes and lengths.
- Did they stride into the salon with confidence, nervousness or appear intimidated?
- Use eye-contact and re-assuring gestures whilst asking open ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’)
- Be a good listener. Take time to listen not only to what is being said but also how it is being said.
- Make a mental note of their body language when your client is talking to assess their character.
- You need to be able to offer a cut/style that suits their lifestyle in term of time and skill required to maintain the style …
There are additional pointers in this article from Love Hairdressing. Again, these are — or should be — basics for the ‘professional’:
The perfect step by step consultation:
2) Sit down next to the client at the styling position and make eye contact, NOT standing up talking to them in the mirror.
4) Play detective and look for clues. Observe age, body, height, style, colours, skin tone, make-up, hair growth patterns, hair type, texture, hairline.
5) I have worked with people in the past that struggle with keeping all this info in their short term memory so don’t be afraid to write things down. Just remember to explain to your clients what you are taking notes on and ALWAYS update your record cards after the appointment with key information.
6) Once you think you have enough information, stop and THINK. Formulate a plan of action together and clearly repeat your thoughts to your client.
‘Have you got anything in mind today or would you like me to make some suggestions?’ …
When hairdressers do all of those things, believe me, customers will come running. One person tells another. This includes men, who are increasingly likely to seek colour highlights. Twenty- and thirty-something males are a relatively new and lucrative market. Incidentally, locally, we have a traditional barber shop and a new young men’s salon, where they probably do colour.
What the consumer can do
1/ Be clear with your requests and bring a picture of what you would like for yourself.
2/ Go to the salon freshly bathed and groomed. Be polite and well mannered. (This should go without saying, but we’re in the 21st century now, when anything goes.)
3/ If you’re getting colour, do not wash your hair the day you go to the salon. The colour process requires natural oils from the hair.
4/ Avoid gossip or complaining about other stylists. Chances are they know each other and might even be friends.
5/ Take something to read. More salons are doing away with magazines — ‘clutter’ — and have nothing at all.
6/ If you are unhappy, say so objectively. You might be able to get a slight discount for that visit.
7/ Take care when paying. Some salons are a bit sly. They might charge more than you were quoted when you made your appointment. Ensure you are charged for what you are quoted (unless you had an extra treatment) and get any discount from a special offer to which you are entitled.
8/ If you’re getting dolled up for a wedding or other special occasion, try not to a) ask for anything too elaborate and b) get your hair done a week or so in advance so the do can bed in. Too many bridal cascades of hair done on the day end in tears. So does a sudden change in colour.
Finally — the ‘wrong’ kind of hair
If the hairdresser deems your hair to be ‘too thick’ or ‘too fine’, you’ll have a problem these days. They will simply not want to bother or they’ll butcher it in an effort to get you to go elsewhere.
A number of online salon reviews reveal the nastiness that some stylists — even salon owners — show towards their customers with ‘problem’ hair. Customers go home in tears.
If they are true professionals, they should have been trained in thick and fine hair. It shouldn’t ever be a problem.
Such customers might need to investigate mobile hairdressers or do their own hair. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This does require a lot of reading and watching, however.
For DIY cuts, read online and watch good YouTube videos. Start with a tiny trim of an end or two. Progress from there. Take your time and work in a quiet, unhurried atmosphere.
Colour is more complicated and will require even more research. Do not be tempted to start experimenting with professional tube colour and developer. Walk before you can run. Read a lot — including customer reviews — of temporary and permanent colour. Colour should not be placed on previously coloured hair; unexpected results may occur. Hairdressers can do it because they know how to formulate the mix of colour and developer accordingly.
Highlights are particularly tricky. The aforementioned cautions apply. It should also be noted that too much or too little colour on a cap or, if you dare, foil can be a disaster. Placement often requires another pair of hands. Read everything you can before taking the plunge.
Colour can also stain basins, shower stalls, bathtubs, walls and carpet. Have everything you need before you start, including old towels, baby wipes and, for skin around the hairline, Vaseline.
DIY home colour is a big undertaking and not one to be taken lightly. My mother and millions of other women might have been an exception, but, then, their needs were simpler.
In closing, a final word to cavalier hairdressers. You are secular priests and nonclinical therapists. Your job is to transform your clients — getting men and women to feel better about themselves by making them more attractive. Hair is a universal attribute, part of our personal identity. Treat people with the care and attention you would expect for yourselves and you’ll never want for customers. If ever the Golden Rule applied, it is to your profession.
Whilst researching the post on the Browder family, I ran across an issue of Solanka, the publication of the old United Communist Party (UCP) in the US.
In fact, this issue would have appeared around the same time the late, one-time party chief Earl Browder received his membership.
If anyone thinks Communism is a ‘nice’ and ‘compassionate’ way of thinking or governing, ask them how they would like to receive the following, typical of the rest of Solanka.
The following excerpted meeting minutes are dated August 14, 1920 (pp. 5 and 6). Note the focus on money, organisation and seeming disregard for Party members as people.
Also observe how much it sounds like a hostile office memo one might receive today. It could have been subtitled ‘Pull a finger out, idiots’.
Did we get our love of corporate acronyms (see last line of memo) from the Commies? I wonder.
In any case, I found this so absolutely frightful I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.
Emphases mine below except for words in caps and italics:
TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE UCP.
Your CEC has just had a meeting. Here’s an account of its decisions and actions.
Information of this character will no longer be published in the Official Organ [The Communist], but will be sent you in Bulletins like this. After reading to the group members, destroy the Bulletin.
VERY special information will not even be published in Bulletins, but conveyed verbally through organizers. Unless you attend EVERY group meeting you may miss something important. Moral: BE THERE.
Still more important is it for your organizers and committeemen to attend all committee meetings. If any refuse to do this, fire them, and put comrades on the job who’ll attend to business.
Here are several specific matters for your action:—
Soviet Russia Resolution. The last page of this Bulletin contains a resolution for support of Soviet Russia. Bring it before your unions.
Raise Defense Funds.The Party has accepted proposition from the National Defense Committee. Dispose of as many Defense stamps as you can to outsiders. Push collection of Defense Fund among non-members in every way you can think of, so that regular receipts can be used for organization work. Forward all funds collected BY MEMBERS through the regular Party channels, whether from stamps or lists.
$50,000 Organization Fund.The tremendous campaign mapped out by your CEC is based on expectation that you will raise the $50,000 Fund necessary to carry it through. Remember that EVERY group should raise $50, or $5 per member, by September 1st .
Intensive Propaganda. There are in this country at least 100,00 Left Wing Socialists and IWWs whom it is perfectly safe for you to approach with Communist message.Your CEC can not do this. Neither can your organizers. This is a task that You Yourselves must do. For this purpose every member is requested to take 5 copies of each issue of the Official Organ in English or some other language. If possible pay for them in advance. Then sell or give them away. The Party can not afford to distribute this free, except 1 copy to every member. But by this plan you can start a vast propaganda campaign at once. Surely there is not a single member who can not do this: Pick out 5 people to whom it is safe for you to talk. Keep after them with each issue until they are ready for membership in the UCP.
Reports and Orders.Your group organizer must make financial reports at least twice a month. Ours can be “a party of action” only if YOU act. See to it that he has something to report from you each time. Tell him exactly how many copies of each language organ to order for you on the requisition blank that he has for this purpose. Only if your group does this systematically can your District Organizer make proper orders and reports to the National Office.
Kicks. If papers you order do not reach you, please KICK to the higher party units until they come through. If we do not hear you holler we take it for granted that all papers and literature reach you OK.
Remember, Comrades: Our Communist Movement is just what YOU make it. Up and AT IT.
Yours in Revolt,
The CEC of the UCP.
Goodness knows why the compilers and editors of the three-year Lectionary omitted two verses of the readings from Luke 3 used in public worship.
A good clergyperson should be able to explain them, thereby adding greater meaning to John the Baptist’s ministry, his interactions with Herod and subsequent imprisonment. It would go some way to explaining the troubled souls — Herod’s and his family’s — that serious sin creates. Without these troublesome verses being read aloud in church, is it any wonder that many so-called Christians today look the other way when it comes to adultery and seduction?
19But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Before looking at these two verses, it might be helpful to analyse the times in which John the Baptist lived.
It is no accident that this Nazirite monk (according to Matthew Henry) was the first Old Testament-style prophet in 400 years and, as such, was widely welcomed by the Jewish people.
It is also worth noting that, unlike other prophets, John the Baptist preached to Gentiles as well as his own people.
John MacArthur’s sermon (linked above) has a lengthy explanation of Herod’s lineage, his marriage and his political career. Anyone who is preparing a sermon or Bible study lessons about John the Baptist’s and Jesus’s time will find it useful in their research.
Matthew Henry has a more concise explanation which follows. First, however, notice that Luke lays out the political and religious situation in the first two verses of this chapter:
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
This is important historically, as Henry’s commentary explains (emphases mine):
1. By the government of the heathen, which the Jews were under, to show that they were a conquered people, and therefore it was time for the Messiah to come to set up a spiritual kingdom, and an eternal one, upon the ruins of all the temporal dignity and dominion of David and Judah.
(1.) It is dated by the reign of the Roman emperor; it was in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, the third of the twelve Caesars, a very bad man, given to covetousness, drunkenness, and cruelty; such a man is mentioned first (saith Dr. Lightfoot [to whom Henry refers frequently]), as it were, to teach us what to look for from that cruel and abominable city wherein Satan reigned in all ages and successions. The people of the Jews, after a long struggle, were of late made a province of the empire, and were under the dominion of this Tiberius; and that country which once had made so great a figure, and had many nations tributaries to it, in the reigns of David and Solomon, is now itself an inconsiderable despicable part of the Roman empire, and rather trampled upon than triumphed in.
-En quo discordia cives, Perduxit miseros
-What dire effects from civil discord flow!
The lawgiver was now departed from between Judah’s feet; and, as an evidence of that, their public acts are dated by the reign of the Roman emperor, and therefore now Shiloh must come.
(2.) It is dated by the governments of the viceroys that ruled in the several parts of the Holy Land under the Roman emperor, which was another badge of their servitude, for they were all foreigners, which bespeaks a sad change with that people whose governors used to be of themselves (Jer. 30:21), and it was their glory. How is the gold become dim! [1.] Pilate is here said to be the governor, president, or procurator, of Judea. This character is given of him by some other writers, that he was a wicked man, and one that made no conscience of a lie. He reigned ill, and at last was displaced by Vitellius, president of Syria, and sent to Rome, to answer for his mal-administrations. [2.] The other three are called tetrarchs, some think from the countries which they had the command of, each of them being over a fourth part of that which had been entirely under the government of Herod the Great. Others think that they are so called from the post of honour they held in the government; they had the fourth place, or were fourth-rate governors: the emperor was the first, the pro-consul, who governed a province, the second, a king the third, and a tetrarch the fourth. So Dr. Lightfoot.
2. By the government of the Jews among themselves, to show that they were a corrupt people, and that therefore it was time that the Messiah should come, to reform them, v. 2. Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. God had appointed that there should be but one high priest at a time, but here were two, to serve some ill turn or other: one served one year and the other the other year; so some. One was the high priest, and the other the sagan, as the Jews called him, to officiate for him when he was disabled; or, as others say, one was high priest, and represented Aaron, and that was Caiaphas; Annas, the other, was nasi, or head of the sanhedrim, and represented Moses. But to us there is but one high priest, one Lord of all, to whom all judgment is committed.
One can imagine the dinner conversations the ordinary Jews must have had. They would have been similar to ours today, critical of both politicians and clergy. There is nothing new under the sun. They awaited deliverance; however, what they thought would be temporal proved to be spiritual and, for them, an eventual disappointment.
Henry tells us that, like Jesus, John the Baptist grew up in an obscure area, Jordan. No big city boy he. At the age of 30, Henry writes, John would normally have been expected to begin serving as a priest in the Temple in Jerusalem, following his father Zechariah’s vocation. However, John left home to preach and baptise.
He adds that the Jews to whom John ministered accepted baptism easily. They had — as is true today — a tradition of ritual baths, or mikva. For them, water signified spiritual as well as physical cleansing. John’s baptism cleansed them of their past sins; however, with that went his exhortation — a strong plea — to go and sin no more. Through baptism, he called them to repentance.
John’s counsel (Luke 3:7-14), read during Advent in Lectionary Year C, concerns those in public life — particularly civil servants and the military. He urges them to treat each other and the public fairly. He also advised the Jews not to excuse themselves from sin by citing their Abrahamic heritage.
When the Jews saw John’s piety and heard his preaching, they wondered aloud whether he indeed was the Messiah (Luke 3:15). He answered that One much greater than he was coming, of Whom he was unworthy. Recall that John and Jesus were probably cousins, related via Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1:36).
John’s prophecy of Jesus was exact. Indeed, the New Testament carries this message throughout. It was true then and is true today (Luke 3:16-17):
16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
During this time, Herod had married his half-sister and half-brother Philip’s wife Herodias — and later was seduced by her daughter, Salome, causing John to be beheaded. Herod had heard of John early on and invited him to his palace. This was similar to American presidents inviting clergy to the White House. Billy Graham was the primary clergyman for several administrations. Famous leaders sometimes seek the counsel of holy men for guidance — Herod, dead in sin as he was, being no exception.
As I mentioned earlier, John MacArthur’s sermon explains more about Herod. MacArthur has given others which also explain the tetrarch’s lineage, intrigues and lifestyle. I have cited one of them in my post on Mark 6:14-20 and another in my post on Mark 6:21-29. Again, if you are preparing material on which to preach or teach, they contain much information on Herod and John the Baptist.
A few days ago, I wrote about Christians wrongly clamming up about socio-political sins, some of which John the Baptist discussed (Luke 3:12-14). John did not mince words, yet he was winsome enough in his manner to interest the whole of society. Yet, he also delivered home truths to Herod. This is why we, as Christians, should not sugar coat or shy away from expressing the truth about the horrors of our world.
MacArthur, in today’s sermon, discusses this point in light of John the Baptist’s ministry:
And so John just confronted [Herod's sin] head on. It all kind of happened because Herod apparently, if we put the history together, made a trip to Rome and he met his brother’s wife who was also his near relative and he persuaded her, he seduced her and then he persuaded her to leave Philip and be his wife. And to do that he had to divorce his wife, she had to divorce her husband. And they went through all of that stuff and he wound up with her, took her back to his area in Galilee.
MacArthur explains that Herod had been married before. His first wife was the daughter of of the king of the Nabataean Arabs, whose name was Aretas. Aretas was so incensed about the divorce that he declared war against his former son-in-law and won. This happened after John the Baptist’s death:
And Josephus, the historian, says some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God and that very justly as a punishment for what he had done to John. Interesting, you find that in Josephus Antiquities that the Jews thought that the reason Aretas came in and was so easily able to defeat Herod was because God was using him as an instrument of judgment for what he had done against John.
Back to John the Baptist’s preaching of the truth to Herod. MacArthur continues:
all you need to know is divorce, seduction, incest and John goes face-to-face with this, confronts it. And he does it repeatedly. A.T. Robertson said, “It cost him his head but it’s better to have a head like John and lose it, than have an ordinary head and keep it.”
He who loses his life shall gain it. Without taking foolish risks, this is what Christians are called to do.
In verse 19 of today’s passage, Luke tells us that Herod was incensed by John’s godly rebuke of the tetrarch’s sins. No doubt John had passed muster in earlier conversations which might well have been of a general nature about goodness. Herod might have applied those exhortations to his enemies rather than himself. It was clear he did not understand John’s message. Supposing that John went from the general to the specific — not just once but many times — it was at that point when Herod became incensed. And he no doubt told Herodias what John had told them of their immoral union. That must have angered her enormously. Herodias then most likely told Salome what John said about her. The girl would have been incensed that John had dared to criticise her mother.
Verse 20 says that Herod imprisoned John. That is the last time Luke mentions John the Baptist. The first part of the verse — ‘added this to them all’ — could be read two ways. Some interpret it as yet another heinous sin that Herod committed (John’s imprisonment for telling the truth). Others say that the words refer to Herod’s adding John’s ministry to the people as another reason he was imprisoned. Herod wanted rid of the man who not only discussed his sins with him privately but who might actually turn the populace against him. Or so he feared. John in his godliness was threatening to Herod on several levels. Herod couldn’t stand it.
Of John’s death by beheading at Salome’s request, MacArthur says:
John was murdered. Murdered about a year after he had been in prison and murdered and his ministry and his life was over. But, believe me, he went to his glorious reward and he stands as a model, a permanent model for faithful, uncompromising preaching, doesn’t he? …
Herod wound up with all the earthly power and went to hell. John had all the heavenly power and went to heaven. Very often, you know, the price of boldness is public rejection, but it’s also divine glory, isn’t it? And I don’t think…just as an epilogue…I don’t think any true preacher is concerned about popularity, that’s never been the goal of a true preacher. The goal of a true preacher is to speak the truth at any price, right? That’s why John provides such a great example for us. So John, who came on the stage in such a prominent way goes off the stage and next time the story begins with Jesus.
That is a call for clergy to preach the truth — engagingly but honestly. Yes, some people will be offended, anyway, but that is the clergyman’s — and, to a lesser extent, our own — calling.
In closing, readers who have been following the Gospel accounts of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’s ministries might wonder why they overlapped for six months, as MacArthur tells us. The reason is that Jewish tradition incorporates transition periods where religious practice and ceremonies are concerned. He explains how this works in Jewish weddings where, at the end of the reception, the best man places the bride’s hand into the groom’s, then takes his leave. John the Baptist was handing the Church to Jesus Christ — Bride to Groom.
He explains, referring to John 3 (also see my link in the preceding paragraph on the same chapter):
John gives this monumental speech on the essential nature of Christ which sets Him apart from himself. He is of heavenly origin. He is omniscient regarding truth. He knows God’s mind and God’s Word. He has the Spirit of God without measure, that is He is one with the Spirit of God. He is God’s true heir and He alone is the Savior. And so there is a transition going on as John’s life and ministry begins to fade and Jesus begins to ascend and that’s exactly the way it should be and John sums it up by saying, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
Now in Matthew, turn to Matthew 4 for a moment as we construct to the story. One of the things that I enjoy, you probably know this, is studying the gospels like this and putting together the puzzle. That was what I did most of this week, was put all the pieces of this puzzle together so that we could get the chronological flow of this ministry of John and how it interfaced with the work of Jesus.
The ministries are overlapping. Jesus goes through His baptism. Jesus after His baptism went through His temptation. Then He had some early time of ministry and they ministered mutually in two different places. There was a descending ministry in John’s case and an ascending ministry in Jesus’ case. And then…Matthew 4:12 says, “Now when He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee.” That’s a key verse. This is where Jesus launches His full public ministry. He had ministry, it was the early stages of ministry overlapping with John, but once John went into prison and that was the end of John’s ministry, he never came out of prison, once he went into prison, Jesus then stepped into a full public ministry. The work of the great prophet was over.
John the Baptist was a holy man, courageous and bold in his ministry. He excluded no one, he preached to the Gentiles as well as the Jews and, most importantly, he did not shy away from the truth.
May we see him as an example for ourselves, not just as a figure of biblical history.
Next time: Luke 3:23-38
I have a pile of magazines with articles in them which I keep meaning to post on.
Consider this ‘from the magazine pile’.
In the August 2012 issue of The Oldie — an informative English magazine anyone over 40 will appreciate — regular columnist Virginia Ironside‘s Granny Annexe article was called ‘Looking good: the older you get, the harder you should try’ (p. 23).
In it, Ironside (b. 1945) criticises the wise woman look, the overly long hair which Hillary Clinton and Cambridge classicist Mary Beard sport. Both women are younger than Ironside. Clinton was born in 1947 and, surprisingly, Beard in 1955.
Ironside advises people to look their best as they age. To subject others to your own ‘repulsive’ personal appearance is ‘rude’.
She uses the expression still popular when I was growing up: ‘letting yourself go’. As my mother was fond of pointing out in the early 1970s, this became ‘letting it all hang out’. And how.
Ironside takes issue with friends of hers who said that it doesn’t matter what we look like when we age. She posits that, the older they get, the more men and women should be conscious of how they present themselves in public.
Ironside says that Moses should have laid down an Eleventh Commandment: ‘Thou shalt do thy best to make the most of thyself, looks-wise, however difficult this may be in the circumstances’.
Our hair, weight, hygiene and clothes speak volumes about us. Ironside is right to say that a careful appearance is a courtesy to others — ‘good manners’, in her words.
I’ve read several times that Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea encouraged the wise woman hair. However, it is not a look which does her credit.
It is possible that Dr Beard thinks that her long grey hair is a becoming trademark. Personally, I find it difficult to look at a photo of her. As such, I certainly couldn’t bear to watch her television documentaries.
For those who are unaware, the name ‘wise woman’ is another appellation for ‘the witch’.
Where I live, I can think of very few older couples who look the way people their age looked when I was young. They are slim, clean and neatly dressed. They adopt a classic style with regard to clothes and hair. They are pleasant to look at and inoffensive to the eye. This was always the case until a few decades ago when those who adopted the slovenly look of the late 1960s aged along with it.
In addition to weight and hair, there is also the matter of personal hygiene. I still remember going to the theatre a few years ago and standing near an older woman whose feet positively stank. The memory of the odour took at least a year to fade.
Finally, there are the aesthetics: excess body hair, skin tags, cysts and moles. In the UK, a good aesthetician can remove these painlessly.
A magical little machine called Applisonix — Israeli technology owned by Americans — gets rid of unwanted hair inside the nostrils, on moles or around the ears.
Applisonix uses ultrasound to remove the hair. This video illustrates its principal use — removal of facial hair on the upper lip:
A good aesthetician should charge £35 or £40 for Applisonix nose and ear hair removal. (They might recommend different techniques for the upper lip, depending on the type of hair.) As the woman in the film says, treatment is necessary only once a month. That is because we produce new hair in the same place. In time, this disappears completely, as the video reveals.
Aestheticians in the UK can now also remove moles for a modest price. One professional I know says this is because the NHS ‘can’t be bothered’ anymore. An aesthetician must earn the proper qualifications for this procedure — this includes clinical training.
These developments are a blessing for Britons young and old. I understand that the UK has some of the most liberal laws surrounding aesthetic treatments, much more so than the United States or France.
We no longer have an excuse for looking dire as we grow older. Let’s take advantage of it. Those who do will find that they develop a good rapport with their aesthetician. They may even get a special price for a grouping of several standard treatments instead of paying à la carte.
Look for someone who is English or speaks the language fluently. They should be friendly, clean, caring, conscientious — and good listeners. There are not many who offer the full gamut of the most advanced techniques, but every region of the country will have at least one or two. A bit of research on the Web will prove fruitful in this regard.
As Virginia Ironside says, looking our best really does exemplify good manners. It is a kindness not only to ourselves but also to others.