Inspiration and a Pogonotrophial Equation

It’s not like I really need any more inspiration when it comes to pogonotrophy but just look at this lovely young couple!


These hot youngsters are my in-laws in 1980.

White and brown suit?  Oh, yeah!

And the side-burn/moustache combo, in a kind of a la Souvarov motife?  Awesome!

So, for those wondering (like my long-suffering wife) why on earth I would shave in the manner that I am for this Movember I present to you one simple pogonotrophial equation: [1970s father + 1980s father-in-law = 2010s Tim with friendly-mutton-shops]

In other words (or pictures):

This: (1970s father)

Dad, circa 1971 - cropped

+ this: (1980s father-in-law)Ray - 1980

= this:


And, most importantly, the reason I’m doing this is to support men’s health through Movember, so head on over here and help all this ridiculously bad facial hair make a difference!

Kickin’ with Kain

While we’ve been on our little holiday we’ve spent the bulk of our time in or around Invermere, B.C.  It’s an absolutely beautiful area in the Canadian Rockies that’s not nearly as busy or hectic as Banff or Kananaskis, especially now that it’s “off-season.” (Although technically I think that, being on the west side of the Rocky Mountain Trench, we’ve spent our time in either the Columbia or Purcell Mountains.)  I’m sure once ski season hits its stride this place will be nuts.  But for now it’s a great place to relax.

Anyway, once we knew that we’d be in Invermere we knew we’d need to stop by Kicking Horse Coffee.  Perhaps you’re familiar with Kicking Horse.  They make great coffee.  If you’re not familiar with them you really should check them out (click here).  They’re awesome for at least 3 reasons: 1) they’re a good, Canadian company; 2) since the beginning all of their coffees/teas have been Fair Trade certified; 3) plain and simple: their coffee is really, really good!


So we’ve stopped by their head-quarters a few times since being here since they have a really nice cafe as part of their facilities.


As we were sitting and enjoying our drink I noticed a blend that I hadn’t tried yet (I’ve only tried a few of their coffees so far).  It was their bugaboo blend.  The reason why it stood out was because the logo for the blend was a cool silhouette of a guy with a pipe.  Awesome.

Reading the description I learned that they named this blend in honour of renowned mountaineer, Conrad Kain.  Kain was an Austrian climber who became famous for his exploits in this area, specifically for his first ascent of the Bugaboo Spire.

I’ve never done any real mountain climbing but I’ve done a moderate amount of wall climbing, which I really enjoy, as well as reading a few mountaineering books (like John Krakauer’s).  All that’s too say: I liked the logo and thought the tribute to Kain was cool.

Here’s the picture that the logo was based on.  Like I said: awesome!


Conrad Kain (1883-1934): Canadian mountaineering legend; first-ascender of 60 routes in BC alone (including not only Bugaboo Spire but also Mt. Robson)!  And check out that beard.  Beautiful.

ConradKain2So stroke your beard, and raise a cup of coffee in honour of the legendary Conrad Kain.

The Return of the Beard (blog)!

After wrapping up this blog at the conclusion of my sabbatical I couldn’t help but notice that it was to the detriment of the internet at large.  And so, due to precisely no demand whatsoever, here is the return of Tim’s “Daily” Beard (daily being in quotations because I have no intention of actually posting daily).

So why the rebirth of this nigh-unto-pointless blog? Well, to my great shame I have shaved. Seriously, for a good number of days I really, genuinely regretted that decision. I kept on seeing myself in the mirror or catching a brief reflection in a window and being startled: who was that abomination staring back at me?

Why did I shave? Why indeed!

The short of it is that a good comrade in ministry convinced me to participate in Movember. It is a worthy enough cause that I have no problem supporting, however this “friend” of mine insisted that we both start in the same, er… condition.  Suffice it to say that my acquiescing to his request be sufficient evidence of the depth of our friendship.

Thus the point of this blog is to chronicle the resurrection of my once magnificent mane!  The inspiration for this iteration of the beard?  We’ll start with my father.

We’re currently on holidays and stopped by my mom and dad’s place.  I was hoping to browse through some of their old pictures and find some vintage pics of my old man with some sweet facial hair.  Better than pictures, we found slides!  This beauty is from 1971:


But since I’m growing this for Movember, I thought I should probably connect the mutton chops with a moustache thus forming the “Friendly Mutton Chops.”

I know that this is a ridiculous self-portrait, but it’ll give you an idea of how things are getting started:


And so here’s my plea: let me not have shaved in vain!

I would be honoured if you would consider contributing to men’s health through my movember page which you can view here.  If you don’t care to donate through me you can also donate to the team my church has put together (or any one of the individuals who make up that team).  Check them out here.

And if you’re not up for donating or participating yourself, well, feel free to come back here from time to time to view random pictures of my ugly mug and other facial hair oriented content.  ‘Cause that’s a thing.

The end of the beard?

Well, for those of you who still check back here from time to time I should clear things up and let you know that, in all likelihood, I won’t be blogging here anymore.  So while my beard will continue on in its various forms this blog will not.

For those who care to follow along with my meanderings I will still post whenever I feel like it over at my other co-blog, Sweet Like Meat (click).

For those who have an insatiable desire for more bearded content I will enthusiastically point you over to Bearded Gospel Men (click)the pinnacle of bearded Gospelly goodness on the web.  I am also very humbled and honoured to be an occasional contributor on that prestigious site.

Please make sure to check out BGM on:

Tumblr (click)WordPress (click)Facebook (click), and Twitter (click).  More beards, more Gospel!


Bearded Gospel History: Gregory of Nyssa

Bearded Gospel Men


And now another episode of Bearded Gospel History, with Sir Timothy Braun!  Today, July 19, marks the celebration for St. Gregory of Nyssa, an extremely important figure in the early church.  Some say he drew his incredible theological and philosophical powers directly from his beard!  (Actually, nobody says that but me, but it’s a reasonable theory!) 

-The Proprietor

“Let the inspired Scripture, then, be our umpire, and the vote of truth will surely be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.” ~ Gregory of Nyssa

The 300s AD were a crazy time in Church history.  The Church went from a severely persecuted minority to a legitimate, legally recognized faith.  In the midst of this transition they were also fighting theological battles, doing their best to protect the Church from heresies like Arianism.

Into this theological fray leapt the bearded brotherhood now known as…

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Sabbatical Reading List

Well, my sabbatical is now officially done!  It’s kinda crazy.

So what did I accomplish?  Well, I might do a post a bit later reflecting on the sabbatical as a whole but, since back in April I posted about my reading goals, at the very least I can give an update on that.  Really, that’s pretty much the only objective, measurable aspect of the sabbatical.

Here’s what the list looks like now:


Tim’s Sabbatical Reading List:

(s) – started; (x) completed; (_-rr) re-read

Main Study Goals:

– (s) Hebrew for the Rest of Us (Lee M. Fields)

– (s) Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament (Christopher J. H. Wright)

– Knowing the Holy Spirit through the Old Testament (Christopher J. H. Wright)

– Knowing God the Father through the Old Testament (Christopher J. H. Wright)

Roger E. Olson

Roger E. Olson

General Theology:

– (x) Against Calvinism (Roger E. Olsen)

– (x) The King Jesus Gospel (Scot McKnight)

– (x) Hearing Her Voice (John Dickson)

Christian Living/Spiritual Life/Prayer/etc:

– (x) Letters from a Skeptic (Greg Boyd)

– (x) Beginning to Pray (Anthony Bloom)

– (x) A Longing for Holiness: Selected Writings of John Wesley

– (x) In Constant Prayer (Robert Benson)

Greg A. Boyd

Greg A. Boyd

– (s) The Orthodox Way (Timothy Ware)

(s) Life with God (Richard Foster)


– (x) Lilith (George MacDonald)

– (x-rr) Dune (Frank Herbert)

(x-rr) Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)

– (x-rr) Ender’s Shadow (Orson Scott Card)

– (x) True Grit (Charles Portis)

– (x) A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card


So there you have it: 13 books in 3 months ain’t bad (with 4 more currently ‘on the go’)!

I suppose the most obvious thing one notices on this list is that I didn’t actually finish any of the books that I had initially listed as my official “study goals.”  I got off to quite a good start with my “baby Hebrew” and Old Testament theology and was really, really enjoying them.  However, as the sabbatical moved on I felt as though God wanted me to set aside those study goals and to focus more on developing a greater depth of relationship with Him.  Thus my “main study goals” remained dormant on my desk while I took up other books like Bloom’s “Beginning to Pray,” Benson’s “In Constant Prayer,” Foster’s “Life with God,” etc.  So, while I always hate to see unfinished items on a list!, I’m glad that God led me to these other books.  They were edifying and challenging; reminding me to constantly seek depth over ‘intelligence,’  reliance on the Spirit over ‘information,’ and dynamic relationship with God above all things.

Brilliant Beards #9

Wow!  It’s been way too long since I’ve done one of my “brilliant beards” posts.

Well, since I’ve been reading books by Anthony Bloom and Timothy Ware I’ve been reminded that our Orthodox brothers really know what they’re doing with the whole beard thing.

Brilliant Beards #9: Orthodox Priests, Monks, etc.

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

During my sabbatical one of the books that I really wanted to read was Anthony Bloom’s classic, “Beginning to Pray.”  Bloom writes in a beautifully accessible and irenic tone yet with the wonderful simplicity, profundity, and mystery one expects when reading almost anything coming from an Eastern Orthodox author.  Without a doubt, this book will be one that I will reread on a regular basis.

Plus, check out that beard!

metropolitananthonybloom abloom

Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware:

OK, so obviously I’m not Orthodox.  I’m a Baptist pastor who grew up Anabaptist (and still have some pretty strong Anabaptist leanings).  But one pet peeve of mine is when people make unfair caricatures of other belief systems, be it other religions or just other denominations.  So, if I want to better understand Pentecostal Christianity, for example,  I’m not going to learn about it by reading a Catholic author’s take on it; I’ll find a well respected Pentecostal author and get his take.  If I’m going to understand Catholicism I’ll read stuff by Catholics rather than someone with an obvious Protestant bias, etc.

With that serving as a basic explanation, a while ago I picked up The Orthodox Way by Timothy Ware.  For those looking for a relatively easy to read explanation of contemporary Orthodox beliefs, this is probably the best book to check out.  I’ve only been reading through it slowly and occasionally, but I’ve found it fascinating, stimulating, intruiging, and challenging.  I think it was he who I read somewhere was described as “the Orthodox C.S. Lewis.”  From what I’ve read this seems like a fair statement.

And, again with the beard!KallistosWareKalWare

And, well, this is just a picture of some random Russian Orthodox Priest that I thought was awesome!Barnaul-priest_1806987i

So, while I’m in no ‘danger’ of converting to Orthodox Christianity, you gotta admit that these guys have brilliant beards!

Call of the Wild

I had hoped that during this sabbatical I might be able to spend more time in the woods than I actually did.  But, as many of you know, the weather around here has been pretty bad the past few weeks, so I only managed to get out this past weekend and even then we had to put up with at least two hours of solid rain.

Regardless, it was a great time to hang out with my brother in God’s amazing creation.  For me, there’s nothing quite so cathartic as being out in nature, so it was a good way to head into my last week of sabbatical.  Yes, it rained.  Yes, the bugs were bad… really bad.  Yes, it was totally worth it!

Here’s the spot we chose to make our camp.

Duck Lake No. 463-20130623-00396

Here’s what it looked like once we set things up.  Since we were hiking in (not too far; a 3km hike from the road to our spot) we kept things fairly minimal with just a tarp and our bivies.

Duck Lake No. 463-20130623-00415

Duck Lake No. 463-20130623-00417

Once the sun came out it was amazing!


Here was our kitchen set-up.  It was a real pain to find ‘dry’ wood for the fire but we managed!  At least the smoke kept the bugs away.

Duck Lake No. 463-20130623-00411

The tools of the trade (Gransfors Bruks small forest axe; Condor Hudson Bay knife).

Duck Lake No. 463-20130623-00414

The beard shines brighter in the woods!


The bearded Braun brothers in the bush!


The Final Week

Well, here we are, the final week of sabbatical!  Here is the progress we’ve made, my beard and I:

IMG_8035 IMG_8037 IMG_8038


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