Tag Archives: Barber shops

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 (Introduction): “I Give You My Word.”

I grew up in Apache, Oklahoma. The air there is thick with Oklahoma culture; tribal Pow Wows, local rodeo hands, Mo Betta western wear, grazing cattle, sweeping wheat fields, Friday night football and salt-of-the-earth people.  These things describe my childhood home.

My dad was the town barber. As the shoe-shine boy and floor sweeper I spent hundreds, probably thousands of hours in Caldwell’s Barber Shop of Apache.  I learned to appreciate community and I met a lot of wonderful characters. It seems like yesterday and at the same time it seems like another age.

In my dad’s shop, and around the town, I saw a lot of business deals, from renting pasture and horse deals all the way to car trades and services to be rendered. The transactions were typically hinged on a final understanding:  knowing whose word to trust and when bovine excrement was in the mix. And I learned that a man was “as good as his word.”

In the beginning was the Word – the Gospel of John

Even before time and existence the Word is. The Gospel of John, in poetic form, unveils the declaration of eternal reality. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. This passage does not refer to “In the beginning” of all time and created existence. It refers to what is without beginning, the Infinite; In the beginning God . . .

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,

(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)

full of grace and truth.

If you want to touch truth, if you want to inhale grace, you have to take God at his Word. That phrase, “dwelt among us” is particularly a part of the disclosure of God. It refers pitching his tent, coming into our midst to abide.

Nelson Mandela noted, when we speak to someone in a language he understands, we reach his head. If we talk his language, we reach his heart. God spoke our language when the Word became flesh.

Continue reading Barbershop Theology (Introduction): “I Give You My Word.”