Salt. What an amazing additive. Salt. Never set the table without it. Most of us handle a salt shaker each and every day. For me, it always made food taste better. In the right amounts salt will accentuate the natural flavor of an otherwise bland food.
The Salt of the Earth
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” What a brilliant description of His children— they bring the flavor of God’s Kingdom into the earth.
A playful paraphrase would be, “My children are in the world to accentuate the real purposes of creation.” What if society declared, It’s so great that we have so many Christians living in our city, they are such great fun, lively, gracious people; they just make everything a little better!Continue reading Barbershop Theology – Pass the Salt→
I have attended college. I have attended four of them. I learned a lot at college. I have degrees that suggest, “Hey, this guy learned.” But I can never replace the lessons I learned as the shoe-shine boy in my dad’s barbershop.
Hundreds of people came through Caldwell’s Barber Shop over the years. Between public school and the barber shop I received an education in Apache, Oklahoma. Here’s another story that has helped me understand a little more about the world, myself, and the truth to live by.
Salesmen and “Simpletons”
A unique sub-set of folks that came through Apache viewed us locals as rubes or hayseeds. I was always entertained when some of the locals would oblige the stereotype. They did it purposefully. Most of the people that visited our fair small town were gracious, winsome, and very kind. A few of them were condescending (a few salesmen) they “shore was high themselves.”
As a boy, I was maybe ten or eleven years old, I could be easily impressed by a smooth presentation and a new gizmo with an interesting name. The old timers who loitered in Dad’s barbershop weren’t so easily moved. My job was to observe from the sideline as the pitchman worked the crowd and then watch as one of the locals morphed into Gomer Pyle. Continue reading Barbershop Theology – a lesson from a hot check→
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→
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.
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→
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?”