Tag Archives: Simple Sabbath

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: 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

Simple Sabbath: Anthems, Cheeleaders and Downs…and Ups


What a great opportunity! You must be doing something right in your career if you are asked to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

February 6, 2011
Sunday –I put away the book I have been reading as my wife pulls the home-made pizza out of the oven. It’s Super Bowl Sunday at my house. It is getting close to pregame hype and kickoff. After a brief panic — “Ahggg, where’s the remote?” — I go old-school and turn the television on MANually.

Christina Aguilera singing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLV.

Nestling into my spot on the couch I am good to go. I have pizza, drink and smugly think, I don’t need no stinking remote, I’m watching all the commercials. (Yes, I have bad grammar in my thought life.)

And now singing our National Anthem,” I hear the public address announcer’s voice, “Christina Aguilera.” Two things go through my mind:
1. Hey, they shoulda got that Youtube, homeless guy to introduce her, that would be cool;
2. Oh, so that’s Christina Aguilera.

She starts singing and I quickly conclude, oh yes, she’s waaay better than me. This pizza is good.

“Don’t get any of that on the couch,” I hear a familiar voice from the kitchen say.

And then, whoops! What? Did she just… I think she messed up. FUMBLE! Another bite of pizza — nice recovery Christi, I muse, and for a brief second or two I feel badly for her. Bless her heart, thats gotta be tough. You know she feels just terrible.

As I reach for another piece of pizza I see the Facebook notice lighting up on my Blackberry. People seem to have opinions about our Anthem and Aguilera. Since I am viewing remote-less, I juggle my pizza and phone to read the comments. The early opinions seem to be that she is now the worst person on the planet. Ouch, tough crowd.

“Are you using a napkin?” that same lady in the kitchen asks.

Continue reading Simple Sabbath: Anthems, Cheeleaders and Downs…and Ups

Simple Sabbath: The Gospel in an Alabaster Jar

Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her. Matthew 26:13

First, a small etymological exercise: gospel – our Old English form of this word is godspell, god (long o) which is good –  spell or story/message, translation of Latin. bona adnuntiatio, itself a translation of the Greek word euangelion “reward for bringing good news.”

The context of our verse is the impending crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. Jesus encounters a woman who pours a very expensive amount of perfume on his head. Jesus tells his indignant disciples that she has done “a beautiful thing.” (see Matthew 26, Mark 14)

By all means, build your life on the gospel. Let’s see a few ways that the perfume incident helps us convey the gospel of Jesus –

1. Jesus said wherever the gospel is preached, the story of this woman should be told. It is a story of passion for Jesus. It is a story of total sacrifice. It is a story of pouring out all earthly possessions to express a heart devoted to Christ the Lord. We must tell such faith stories.  Apologetics, reason, sound doctrine, etc., — all are important as we share the gospel. But few people come to Christ as a result of logic or debate. The power of the gospel is a testimony of faith. Concern yourself less with converting your neighbor; choose, by faith to love your neighbor.

2. The beauty of this moment was the woman’s fountain of passion. Let us ask, “Was this an act of compassion or an act of sacrifice?” Go and learn what this means (see Matthew 9:13).  Can we strive to impress Jesus? Should we offer sacrifices? Some people believe that sacrifice will make them more acceptable to God. But the Sacrifice has already been offered according to the gospel. It was not the woman’s sacrifice that Jesus commended, it was her passion. This woman found Jesus; she found a reason for hope and one who would set her heart on fire.

3. The woman’s social faux pas was her impulse to do something. She seems to have been carried away by her emotions. She let her feelings get the best of her. Nobody told her to do it, something stirred her from within. She forgot to ask a simple question, “What will others think?” While society criticized her, Jesus commended her. (There’s a big lesson for parents and teachers. Can you think of a time when a student let the heart get ahead of the head? The gospel says don’t be so quick to reprimand.)

Continue reading Simple Sabbath: The Gospel in an Alabaster Jar

Simple Sabbath: Apostle’s Creed, Lots of “isms,” and the WHY, not the HOW

What is the Bible? What’s it for?

The Bible is God’s revelation to man. Okay, so?

What is He revealing?

To begin with, the Bible reveals how the world was made, how it was ruined, how it was rescued and how it will be made new. The Bible reveals God’s Word. Every mountain and every molecule is the word of God. He spoke and it is!

Ultimately His Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Bible reveals Truth and the Truth is God’s glory; His glory is the redemption of man through Jesus Christ. And that’s the Truth, believe it or not.

Ooooohhh wow, deep stuff.  (sarcastic tone  for effect).  Well, yes.

From the Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

This history of the Apostle’s Creed is a worthy lesson. We will not cover it here, but we will contemplate the “first truth”; From Genesis 1 the Creed submits: “God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Here are four musings from Genesis 1 in this Simple Sabbath post:
1.    God’s creation is good. He said so;
2.    God is one and has created from Himself;
3.    God creates everything by His word;
4.    We love His creation because we love Him and are created to enjoy Him forever.

1. A Good Creation:  The Bible reveals Spirit and matter existing with integrity and in unity (it is coordinated, so to speak). The material world is good. There is a marvelous unity in creation. Genesis teaches that the Spirit is present “moving over the surface” or hovering. View this presence as His love and care for creation.
Though Plato has the entire western world distrusting all things material, and would prefer that we ponder the next reality, we reject his posit (dualism – just say no.)  It’s a wonderful world; God created it and said, “It is good.”

Listen, that first miracle wasn’t random. That water to wine thing at Cana was appointed by the Divine. Jesus was dropping his calling card. More than a rescued social event, Jesus sets the stage for the Kingdom of God. He fills those water cisterns with joy…that’s right, joy! … right here and right now.

Continue reading Simple Sabbath: Apostle’s Creed, Lots of “isms,” and the WHY, not the HOW