Tag Archives: devotions

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

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”

Simple Sabbath: Hope is in the Eye of the Needle

Mark 10:17-27

Maybe you’ve read this passage before, or perhaps a similar passage in Matthew or Luke.

The story is basically this: Jesus was ministering one day and a rich guy runs to him as Jesus is about to leave, falls on his knees and asks how he can inherit eternal life.  Jesus gives him the standard 10 commandment “don’ts” and the rich guy states he has kept all these commandments since his youth.  Then Jesus goes on to direct the guy to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor and follow him.

At this, rich guy gets bummed out and leaves because he has a lot of stuff.  Jesus tells his disciples it’s easier for a camel to make its way through the eye of a needle than the rich to go to heaven but, that through God, “all things are possible”.

I love the reading of this passage in Mark, particularly, because it states that Jesus looked at him and loved him.  Won’t it be cool some day when Jesus looks at you that way?

This passage has given me a lot of reason to pause and think over the years because so many people like to write the end of the rich guy’s story in a negative frame.  But I’d caution you; the end of this particular story is not written in the Bible. So many folks just assume that the rich guy did not do as Jesus instructed him, but we don’t know whether he did or not.  I’ve heard people use this passage as New Testament justification for the death penalty.  But this passage ends with hope: “with God all things are possible.” In other words, rich guys getting into heaven and camels getting through needle eyes.

I encourage you to find the hope Jesus’ disciples were presented on that day.