Barbershop Theology: Identify Theft

"Lady Barber," ~ WW II era, photo curteousy of Carol Pearse

Who are you? The class clown? The jock, the drama girl, the tall guy, the dud with the funny laugh?  He’s the cowboy, she’s the artist. It’s interesting how we identify ourselves and others.

Sometimes our profession becomes our identity.  I am a doctor, a teacher, a plumber, a mechanic, or a zoo keeper.  That’s a good one — Zoo Keeper.

For a part of her life my mom was “the lady barber.” In fact, I was with her just the other day and she referred to herself as a retired barber. I thought it was odd at the time, I mean; she does about a hundred other things really, really well. She is a singer, an artist, a collector, a genealogist, a Sunday school teacher, a mom and she is Grandma.

Back to the “lady barber” moniker – Dad’s shop had two barber chairs and he was particularly busy on Tuesday afternoons and all day Saturday. Mom got her barbers license and went to work on those days. If you called her a hair dresser you would be corrected immediately. She far prefers the title barber. Believe me, she would have no problem setting that record straight.

The one thing she has always allowed to pass is the Southwest Oklahoma version of her name.  Her given name is Sonia, pronounced ‘SO-nya’.  But it comes out differently in our Caddo County dialect. There it is pronounced ‘SAWN-yuh’.  In Apache you can say Sonia or Sawnyuh, everyone knows who you are talking about.

I read a quote the other day that made me think about identity.

“The essence of sin consists not in the infringement of ethical standards, but in a falling away from the eternal Divine life for which man was created and to which, by his very nature, he is called.”

My simple translation is this, “Sin is not breaking rules, sin is not becoming who you are supposed to be.”


I am convinced that the great tragedy of the garden (see Genesis, chapter 3) is that Adam and Eve lost their identity. They lost the greatest title anyone could have, “Follows of God.” I am just as convinced that the great victory of the garden was the reclamation of identity.

When Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemene, He too was faced with a choice. Where Adam’s choice was not God’s choice, Jesus prayed, “not my will but thine be done.” And the great falling away from Divine life was confronted by the beautiful and good life of Christ. What followed was the ugliness of our sin being heaped on Jesus. He bore this sin that we could regain our true identity. What was stolen in the first garden is found in the second garden.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son . . . so that we could get our identity back; so that we might be called, sons of God.

“And now, with the help of God, I shall become myself.”  Soren Kierkegaard



2 thoughts on “Barbershop Theology: Identify Theft”

  1. What a treat to read this writing by my son. The period of time in my life I was a barber lasted 37 years. I might add the older I get, the easier it is to correct pronounciation of my name. One of the perks of getting old.

    1. Sonia – we’ve so enjoyed Dallas’ Barbershop Theology series. It was a truly cool thing to hear about your barber years! – Red Dirt Kelly

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