All posts by dcaldwell23

Simple Sabbath — Because We Fail

I fail. I have failed. I will fail.

 As people we fail; as friends we fail; as a spouse we fail. Failure is in us and all around us.

Phil Mickelson, golf

Misery loves company – – – Or so I’ve heard. I do know that I feel better about my shortcomings when I see others who struggle.  Just the other day I watched my favorite professional golfer, Phil Mickelson, miss a two-footer. TWO FEET!!!  Come on, man!!! Oh well, I understand. I miss plenty of the same kinds of putts.

I’m re-reading one of my favorite books, The Killer Angels, a Pultizer Prize winning historical novel by Michael Shaara. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg. The first time I read the book it made me cry. I was sad for all parties involved.

I’m a huge fan of General R.E. Lee. Huge! (Lincoln too)

General Robert E. Lee

But as I read the story yet again, I find myself saying, “Please listen to Longstreet, and please don’t march those young men into the Union center.” But Mr. Lee is very stubborn and the carnage is nauseating. Following the frontal assault on the third day of Gettysburg Lee surveys his beaten army and say, “All this has been my fault.” The venerable Lee had failed*.

Do we know anyone else who has failed? How did Jesus’ students do at test time?  In Matthew 26:2 Jesus said, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion.”

He went on teaching them of things to come and we pick up this familiar story in the Garden.

Judas' symbol of failure

1. First we recount Judas’ betrayal. He rats Jesus out. We see this picture of a Benedict Arnold; he double-crosses Jesus; he is a snitch, a squealer, a two-faced friend. The term Judas’ Kiss is forever a despicable image.

  Consider all the ways we are unfaithful to Jesus in the same manner. When we allow our plan to supplant the purpose of Jesus Christ, we betray the Lord.

2. Jesus asks his disciples “keep watch” with Him in the Garden. They fall asleep. We see this picture of sloth, laziness and/or indifference. They must have really been tired, huh? Continue reading Simple Sabbath — Because We Fail

Barber Shop Theology – The Big & Small of it

The Big and Little of the Gospel

 I’ve heard it said that the gospel is simple enough for a child to understand and still so complex that theologians can discuss it at great length. This makes the gospel all the more beautiful.

Just how wonderful is the gospel? Even angels long to look into these things. I Peter 1:12

Precisely what is this gospel? It is ‘good news’. But what is the content of this good news?  Well, for this Barber Shop Theological foray, let’s see the big and the small of the Gospel.

My dad, Oscar, first stepped behind the barber’s chair of his shop in Apache, Oklahoma in January of 1963. I was in the first grade. There is no telling how many thousands of haircuts he has given over the past 48 years.

My dad tried to retire once and sold his shop in town, but a stream of guys from around town found their way to the house and the chair he had put into the garage, and soon he was only semi-retired.  To this day, he still greets customers by their first names as they show up a mile north of town to get a haircut. On my recent visit home Continue reading Barber Shop Theology – The Big & Small of it

Barber Shop Theology … continued (Hurry & Wait)

“Hurry up and Wait”

 What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world (even if he hurries) and lose his soul. Mark 8:36

Speed. There is definitely a need for speed in our society. Wait, did I say need? Okay, there is a want for speed. You might think that with all the time-saving devices, gizmos, and machines at our disposal, we would have plenty of time to sit and ponder. Nope, we are busier than ever.

I’m not a terribly impatient person, but I chuckle at my ability to choose the slowest check-out person at the grocery store. In an age of fast foods, express lanes, Jiffy Lubes, quick printing, speed dialing (and dating), instant messages, well, you get the picture — the fact is, we can do more, faster than at any time in history, and yet we regularly hear, “I just don’t have enough time!”


Barber Shop Theology

Last week I referenced the beauty of waiting, particularly, waiting for a haircut. When life puts you in a holding pattern, what do you do with it? Scripture says, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.” This suggests value in waiting.

Waiting is like most other activities of life, it can serve a wonderful purpose when we choose by faith, to embrace joy because that activity belongs to God. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God.” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Waiting and Action

I remember many, many great waiters in my dad’s barber shop.  But one young man particularly stand out from the others. He was out of work and was spending more and more of his time reading the newspaper and listening to the barber shop banter.  He was developing a routine, complete with a standard answer for those who wanted to know what he was up to.

The question would eventually come. “So, what you been up to? I heard you was out of a job.” Continue reading Barber Shop Theology … continued (Hurry & Wait)

Barbershop Theology: Waiting for…


Barber Shop Theology

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. ~ Psalm23:1


“Hurry up and Wait”


I have an advantage over the others; I have learned the value of waiting. No, I have not perfected waiting, I just know there is an art to it. As a barber’s son and retired shoeshine boy, I have logged many hours just watching people wait. Some are better than others.

“Back in my day,” a phrase I am growing more and more fond of, life moved more slowly. We didn’t have instant anything. The closest thing to space age was Tang and Jiffy Pop. Those two items still amaze me.

Jiffy Pop, space age magic!

I went to my local barber shop a few days ago. I was in a hurry. I don’t remember why, but there was surely an important reason for my rush.  The shop was busy, very busy. Darn. Oh well, I have my Blackberry and I can keep up the hurried pace. But something in my barber’s son DNA kicked in; I put my gadget away and decided to wait. It was everything I remembered it to be. Continue reading Barbershop Theology: Waiting for…

Simple Sabbath – “Drink Up!”

Ever had a feelin' called the blues?


An Overflowing Cup

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

Many of David’s Psalms speak of anguish and heartache. He seems a bit whiney to me at times. Have you ever felt this way? I certainly have—and so did Guy Mitchell. His most famous song was “Singin’ the Blues,” the song of a really sad man. The blues left him with nothing to do but cry y y y y y. Throughout the Psalms we can see David singin’ the blues. He expresses sadness and anguish. At times he sounds like a man who feels all alone; he is filled with hopelessness and despair. David is a man who is all dried up, and at times feels he will be alone the rest of his days.  It is against this backdrop of the blues that Psalm 23 seeps from his soul. Continue reading Simple Sabbath – “Drink Up!”

Barber Shop Theology: Integration of the Mind

As I have reflected on those days growing up in the barber shop, it has been fun to romanticize the experience; the wide-eyed wonder of being a boy privileged to hang out in the town “man-cave” has taken me to very vivid recollections. Heck, I’ve managed to charm myself. However, I’m not particularly comfortable or proud of some parts.

This day I reflect on barbershop conversations exactly 45 years ago this month.

History note – June 11, 1966 – Police arrest 22 of about 200 protesters picketing Doe Doe Recreation Park, a private, segregated amusement park with a swimming pool in Lawton.

One of the most wonderful places I went to as a boy was Doe Doe Park.  The swimming pool was huge. It had swings, and a tower and multiple diving boards. In 1966 this place was pristine, especially in comparison to all the dirty cow ponds, shallow creeks and muddy lakes most of us were accustomed to. There were no swimming pools in Apache.

I remember Doe Doe Park fondly. I remember that it was for white only. Sadly, that didn’t bother me; it was the world as I knew it.

Doe Doe Park Pool, Lawton

In the barber shop men talked about the “Negroes trying to swim with the whites.” I remember one person referring to some “uppity coloreds causing trouble down at Doe Doe Park.” Apparently some “Northerners” were involved, whatever that meant; I pictured arrogant and rude people. It seemed to me that these were not good people. Now where did I get that idea as a ten year old? Continue reading Barber Shop Theology: Integration of the Mind

Barbershop Theology: First Haircut

Because I want to be a responsible citizen and give careful note regarding the topic, I’ll submit this preface. Alcohol abuse is bad.  Drunkenness is bad.  In fact, I would go further and say the only kind of indulgence I have ever seen that isn’t bad is the love of God.

The following recollection is one of my favorite and clearest memories, and for no good reason. I think I just chalk it up to the unique experience a kid could have 40 or 50 years ago. It’s also a tribute to all the other lessons unremembered in the people business.

The Barber’s Son and Shoe Shine Boy

As I have been remembering and writing about the hours I spend in my dad’s barbershop, it has finally dawned on me that what seemed like my entire childhood was actually a short window of time.  I was the shoe shine boy in 1965, and probably didn’t retire completely until 1968. Oh, I was in the shop a lot before and after that, but that was when I logged a lot of hours.

As the shoe shine boy I had the cool job of hanging around as men came and went all day. I listened to all manner of talk about the weather, price of cattle and/or references to hippies. Now that I think of it, hippies never came into the barber shop.

Saturdays and Saturday Nights

Saturdays were long. My dad would open the shop at 7am and we didn’t close until 9pm. I waited most Saturday mornings to go to work with my mom.  She didn’t step behind her chair until a minute past 9 in the morning.  I passed my day by shining shoes for a quarter and slipping off when things got slow to watch guys play pool, maybe play a pin ball machine or splurge to buy a Coke with a shot of cherry or vanilla in it.

On Saturday nights the street in front of the barber shop would always come alive with teenagers “dragging Main”. (Technically it’s Evans Ave. but I only throw that in for posterity.)  Continue reading Barbershop Theology: First Haircut

Barbershop Theology: Mortality, the Mortician, and Me

It was cold. I remember that.

I had just started my part of the closing routine in Caldwell’s Barber Shop, sweeping clumps of hair, filling the lather machine, and straightening up the magazine tables. I was at the barber shop following a day at school. Mainly, I was just killing time and hoping we could close promptly at 6:00. I was anxious to go home.

The barber shop door opened and I turned to see Mr. Crews entering. I figured he would sit and wait. He would be the final customer of the day.

Mr. Crews owned the funeral home in Apache, Oklahoma. In fact, these many years later, it’s still Crews Funeral Home located in the middle of town. I always thought Mr. Crews was a really nice guy. But the funeral director didn’t sit. He walked over to my dad and said something, Dad nodded his head. Mr. Crews left.

Dad finished the haircut, thanked his customer and said, “thank you, come back.” (He always said that.)

Then Dad unplugged his clippers and wrapped them in a fresh towel. He placed a pair of scissors in his breast pocket, turned off the lights and as I was already moving toward the door. I ran to jump in the pick-up truck. I started the vehicle since the keys were right there in the ignition.

I slid across to the passenger’s side as Dad climbed in behind the steering wheel. We drove all of a half a block and stopped at Crews’ Funeral Home.

“What are you going to do?” I asked, though I could have guessed.

“Just wait in the pick-up,” he said.

“Are you going to cut a dead guy’s hair?” Continue reading Barbershop Theology: Mortality, the Mortician, and Me

Barbershop Theology: Let’s Make a Deal, Pt. 2

Peter was shocked; he was insulted. He protested the notion that he would EVER deny his Lord. Jesus rightly predicted Peter’s infidelity. Jesus knew Peter much better than this famous disciple knew himself.

“Lord, I would never do such a thing,” Peter objected.

Jesus calmly replied, “Not only will you deny me once, but you’ll deny me three times.” And Jesus said it would happen before the rooster was well into his morning.

Good Intentions

The thing is, most of us have good intentions. Whether to read the bible more, attend church more regularly, or to start exercising, the spirit is willing.

I’m not going to cuss and no more throwing my golf clubs; I’m nixing the desserts and I’ll stop saying negative things about anybody. It’s the right idea and a great plan. Jesus looks at us, smiles and says, “Grace to you.” I know this. He continually extends that portion to me.

The Barber’s Son and The Deal

On the main street of our little town, all the businesses were owned by our friends and neighbors. Mr. and Mrs. Elliot opened and closed Elliot’s Department store. We purchased our jeans and underwear there. Mr. and Mrs. Hodge operated Hodge’s Grocery Store. He was in the back working as the butcher and she at the counter smiling and saying, “Thank you for coming in.”

We had Evan’s Drugstore, Inman’s Variety Store, Swanda’s Insurance, Lynch’s Western Store, Malone Ford, Kardokus Implements and perhaps the quintessential period piece general store, Levite’s. I can still recall the family names of gas station proprietors. And my favorite spot just a few doors up from Caldwell’s Barber Shop —- George’s Pool Hall. Continue reading Barbershop Theology: Let’s Make a Deal, Pt. 2

Barbershop Theology: Let’s Make A Deal

I suppose it was a Saturday afternoon. It could have easily been a weekday in early summer. Hair clippings clumped around the base of my dad’s barber chair and it was my habit to grab a broom and sweep from time to time. (A habit highly encouraged by my dad).

The barber shop had three, huge store-front windows. They seemed particularly large to an eleven year old who had to clean them. The sunshine across Evans Avenue was long gone. The air was peculiarly static.  Folks outside moved purposefully to their vehicles, casting weary glances at an ominous gathering of clouds.

A storm was coming. It had been a topic of conversation that afternoon in the barber shop.

In Oklahoma, there is often a strange stillness and weightiness to the air before a storm. We have “thunder-boomers” and tornados; it’s not a storm unless it affects you personally. There weren’t sophisticated weather reports and no such things as Doppler radar. We stepped out front to survey the color of the sky, the smell of the air and checked horizons for wall clouds.  It had grown too dark to tell very much, and it was still the middle of the day.

I don’t remember how the storm front arrived; I am very familiar with hundreds of Oklahoma storm fronts since. I do remember looking across the street at the large trees behind the Malone Ford Dealership.  The tops of trees were starting to whip violently. This was turning into the scariest storm of my young life. There was blowing debris, the building creaked, and the windows actually bowed.  I was terrified! Continue reading Barbershop Theology: Let’s Make A Deal

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. Continue reading Barbershop Theology: Identify Theft

Simple Sabbath: All Things New

Several years ago I lived through a nightmare. A very close friend lost his thirteen year old son. He was a good kid, a little bit goofy, but a handsome young man who sparkled with innocence and energy.  The doctors did not save him; there was no option for an experimental drug or miracle treatment. In a terrible accident, this teenager died — a healthy boy who awakened that morning with his whole life ahead of him; a child lying in a funeral home that night.

It was horrible.

My friend and I sat on the back porch late into the evening.  I could feel the emptiness, the darkness of Dad’s soul. I’ve never felt more helpless; it was so final, and it felt so unfair, unnatural and wrong. I spoke at the funeral. I was angry. I was angry with the boy, I was angry with me . . . and I was angry toward God. Death was not welcomed, it was wretched. By faith I summoned words to convey a better life to come and how we would all see our young friend someday in heaven. The whole time I never once doubted that God is good, and that we can trust Him. But, I can still remember the anger. Continue reading Simple Sabbath: All Things New

Barbershop Theology, Part Five: Down on Their Luck

I was sitting in a waiting chair as my dad whisked his barber clippers in short motions at the back of his customer’s neck. Another Saturday in the barbershop, a lazy afternoon of casual greetings, conversations about the weather . . .  I was probably reading a Richie Rich comic book.

The scene is quite clear to me because it was the second such experience of the summer. As the barber shop shoe shine boy I was privy to this man’s world of adult conversations and a wide variety of news and opinions.  This day the door opened, banged back and then opened for a gentleman who as pushing it with a crutch. I’m sure I stared.

He pulled himself into the barbershop and with clarity of speech and standing erect to muster some dignity he declared himself a beggar and would be most appreciative it anyone could help a fella who was ‘down on his luck.’  I stared because the man only had one leg and one arm. The lines etched into his face suggested that life had been hard for him. Very hard.

I’ll never forget my dad’s two questions. First, dad asked him how he had lost his arm and leg.  Without hesitating the fellow said that he had been trying to jump a train and he had ‘miscalculated’ the jump. Bad luck seemed to be the theme of his life, or at least that was his perception and he even conveyed a resigned attitude about it.

Then my dad asked, “Do you drink?” (My dad could cut to the chase like that.) Continue reading Barbershop Theology, Part Five: Down on Their Luck

Barbershop Theology, Part 3: Table or Booth?

Now that I live in a metropolitan area I have adapted to the magic of the business lunch. “Hey, let me buy you lunch sometime and we’ll talk about that.” Recently my schedule called for three breakfast meetings, four lunch meetings and a couple of dinner things.

Lunch was altogether different at the barber shop. I recall watching the clock, growing hungry and for a lull that would allow us to go eat. Since my family rarely ate outside the home, walking across the street to Woody’s Café loomed as a Saturday treat. Over the years I passed the hamburger-and-fries stage and grew to anticipate a cheeseburger with onion rings.

One day I ordered with Mom. (She was the Saturday help, extra barber, and that’s another story to be told later.) Anyway, she ordered a chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and corn. And I learned to love cottage cheese with peaches. Taking my break from the shoe shine chair and eating at the café was a welcomed relief. The food was a much anticipated treat.

To this day one of my small habits is to seek out a rural diner/café/restaurant. One where there are family pictures on the wall, a sports schedule for the local high school team, out-dated décor and pictures with horses. Continue reading Barbershop Theology, Part 3: Table or Booth?

Barbershop Theology: Relationship before Rules – Part II

Quanah Parker " arguably the perfect representative of the good, bad and ugly of the treaties, tribes and tumult of America's westward expansion."

We do not become good so that God will love us.  Rather, it is the love of God that makes us good.

Quanah Parker is arguably the perfect representative of the good, bad and ugly of the treaties, tribes, and tumult of America’s westward expansion. Quanah’s story is remarkable and more particularly, his mother’s story is a plotline in many of great movie westerns. Indeed, hers is a remarkable tale as well.

Growing up in Apache, Oklahoma I had school mates who were direct descendants of the Comanche Indian chief, Quanah Parker. Parker has many descendants. He married seven times, though he never kept more than three at a time. When an Indian Agent told him that he would have to choose only one wife, Quanah replied, “You choose and you tell ‘em.” Continue reading Barbershop Theology: Relationship before Rules – Part II

Barbershop Theology, Pt. 4: “The Nose Knows”

Do you smell that?  I can.

There are certain types of floor polish that smell just like my old elementary school in Apache, Oklahoma.  On rare occasions I will walk into a building to the perfect combinations of soaps, cleaners and mop bucket — boom! Ahhhhh, there it is—the long hallway that takes me down to Mrs. Alexander’s fourth grade classroom. A thousand images flood my mind when I get a certain whiff of my youth.

I’m surprised we could smell anything at all back in the sixties. Everybody smoked. Part of my job as the barber shop shoe shine boy was emptying ash trays. Let’s just say, I emptied them a lot. These days I nearly gag whenever anyone within a quarter-mile lights up a cigarette.

I can smell my memories.   I think that’s why I’m always looking for a barber shop that smells right.  If I walked into something like Spring-Fresh-Potpourri I would turn around and leave. Surely there’s a man law about this: There shall be no potpourri in a barber shop. So what makes a barber shop smell right?  Jeris Hair Tonic, Butch Wax and clipper oil—these contribute basic components to real barber shop smell.

On Fridays, several customers would make their way in from the Sale Barn where cattle had been auctioned. The Angus, Herefords and multi-various bulls, cows and calves were fond of leaving green souvenirs which the men’s boots would inevitably pick up. The barber shop took on even more character when the farmers and ranchers came to town. Smells good don’t it?

Don’t ask me why I love some of the aromas of my youth so much. My best answer will be nostalgia, sentimentality, or perhaps a coping mechanism which works to suppress my neurosis.  Saddle soap, leather dye and cowboys boots dipped in a cow lot—man if somebody would bottle that I’d wear it as cologne! Continue reading Barbershop Theology, Pt. 4: “The Nose Knows”

Barbershop Theology Pt. 1: Relationship Before Rules

1965 with my little brother and sister . . . age 9, a workin' man.

My first job was a great gig. I learned a lot about responsibility, customer service, work ethic and satisfaction in a job well done. I was a shoeshine boy.

In 1965 my dad gave me a corner of his barbershop and spotted me the money to buy Kiwi Shoe Polish, saddle soap and a few brushes.  The pool hall owner, George, gave me a couple of strips of pool table fabric. I used the green felt to finish each shoe shine with a brisk buff.

The cost for a shine was 2 bits (that’s a quarter). Often times I would get a ten cent tip. I could finish a long Saturday with a pocket full of change, black fingers and the swagger of a workin’ man. (Oh the stories I can tell you about my years in the barber shop. Lord willing, I shall do so in posts to come.)

Of course you are wondering, “Hmmm, and just how do I get a cool job like that?”

Well, you don’t have to go to college or anything. In fact, I got my start when I was nine years old. I don’t even remember interviewing for the job. Continue reading Barbershop Theology Pt. 1: Relationship Before Rules

Simple Sabbath: Comanche County Burgs

Postcard showing Meers Burgers and Store in Meers, Oklahoma.

Down in southwest Oklahoma there are a group of burgs that are filled with great people. Ninnekah to Rush Springs, go west from Rush Springs and you’ll hit Sterling. Keep going you can roll through Elgin. Turn right in Elgin and you can find Fletcher or Cyril. Keep going west and stop at Porter Hill.

Now if you’re really savvy you know where we are headed. Maintaining westerly course you’ll find yourself on the Meers Porter Hill Road that runs smack into Meers itself. They tell me it’s famous, but I grew up not that far away and it’s just Meers. I don’t have a great spiritual thought regarding Meers and Meers Burger. I just want you to know that I know where it is.

I really just want to go back through Elgin and stop between there and Sterling. I used to drive from Apache to pick up my high school sweetheart out there. I met my Sterling girl (that’s where she attended all twelve years of school) in 1972. We’ve been sort of an item ever since.

Right out of high school I married a Sterling Lady Tiger. It wasn’t an Elgin Owl, not a Fletcher Wildcat, not a Cyril Pirate or Cement Bulldog. This Apache Warrior thought that country girl was the catch of his life. And now, nearly forty years later, I still think she’s the one.

We Got Married

Ok, this is where we transition to that faith part of my writing assignment. When we got married she took my last name. How about that? Or, as we Apachean’s say, “Ain’t that sumpthin?”

We were way too young when we got married. The odds were stacked against us in many ways. Continue reading Simple Sabbath: Comanche County Burgs

Simple Sabbath: Suffering the Indiginity of it all

Image by the Associated Press.

If you’re a country kid in Oklahoma you remember these words, “The bus is coming!”  My brother and I could actually see the bus coming from about a half mile away. Mr. Beavers was a permanent fixture behind the steering wheel. He was an icon of rural route bus driving in his OshKosh overalls, Apache Farmers’ Coop hat and stoic face forward.

On that bus pure evil thrived. To Mr. Beaver’s defense, it wasn’t his fault.

There was this kid who took it upon himself to dismantle and utterly destroy the spirit of a couple of overweight, homely and underprivileged girls who rode that bus. The evil boy couldn’t tell you why he detested the girls, nor could he tell you why their “F’s” on spelling papers evoked his disdain.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Their hand-me-down dresses with patches were particularly good fodder for the boy’s arsenal of contempt. If the girls seemed to be laughing or dared do anything except sit quietly they would be subject to ridicule. It went on for about a semester. It was mean. It was a form of murder, the killing of those poor girls’ souls.

I didn’t directly engage in the aggression. I did something worse. I laughed.

Sticks and stones may break my bones,

But words, those vile, insidious words,

What suffering when malice brings,

It’s what makes junior high HELL. Continue reading Simple Sabbath: Suffering the Indiginity of it all

Simple Sabbath: Sidekicks & Shows About Nothing

"Arrr, grrr, garble, grrrr, howlllll, arrr *and all sorts of Chewy noises*" (translation: I'm not the sidekick, I'm the main character! Who said I was the sidekick?!)

I don’t know who invented the sidekick, but there should be a lifetime achievement award going to someone. There are many famous sidekicks. For Fred Flintstone, Lone Ranger, Johnny Carson and Sherlock Holmes – they are: Barney Ruble, Tonto, Ed McMahon and Dr. Watson, respectively.

A sidekick does not get center stage or major billing; the supporting role is always subordinate to the main character. (Oh, like you didn’t know that… drive a stake: subordinate to the main character.)

I’m sure there is another blog that extols the virtues of distinguished sidekicks. But I mu st note, just for the record, that the greatest sidekick of all time is Tonto. He had dignity, he had a horse named Scout, and he was fit.


We are geared for stories and we love heroes. We especially love stories with heroes who have cool sidekicks. I wonder if sidekicks know they are sidekicks?  I mean really, think about it… I’ll bet Chewbacca thought he was the main character. But come on man, who’s he trying to kid? *

Yes, there are stories. We all like to think that we have our own story. But I submit that there is but one Story, The Story and there is only one Hero, capital ‘H’.

The Star of the Gospel –God, the author of all that is, authors the ultimate story. His story begins in creation; the Bible is His script beginning to end. He reveals Jesus, the true and better Hero. The interesting thing about regular guys like me, is that we somehow think we are the main character. For the most part we pretend to write our own script (Can you say tragedy?); there are self-salvation projects too (all a farce).

The Gospel rewrites our dead-end characters.

By casting Self as the main character, we become comfortable with sprinkling verses from God’s Script to help our story along. According to bumper stickers, Jesus becomes our “best friend” or “co-pilot.” Man fancies himself a “friend of God” because he is willing to let Jesus play a supporting role. But the hero of the God’s story does not accept supporting roles. God has given Him pre-eminence; He must have first place in everything. Continue reading Simple Sabbath: Sidekicks & Shows About Nothing