At Our Church There Is No Pecking Order

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I am always intrigued by the casual, but interesting conversations that take place in the barber shop. If you enjoy watching people and listening to them talk, the barber shop is an ideal and informative place to hangout. Perhaps, I may need to clarify that I am not talking about the “Barber Shop” in Drippings Springs. I haven’t been, but I have heard the “buzz” (pardon the pun) that it is an enjoyable place to spend an evening. The Barber Shop in Dripping Springs is probably more likely to be a venue to “let your hair down” rather than get it cut off. I’m talking about the barber shop where I get my hair cut.

Some of you are thinking that “barber shop” should be one word instead of two. I honestly don’t know what I think. Actually, I first thought it should be two words based on my memory of the signage, but spell check highlights the need for it to be one. I changed it to one word and it looked odd. It changed it back to two words and find that it still looks odd. Consequently, I did a Google search. I discovered that George’s Barber Shop in Saugus, Massachusetts claims to be the oldest family owned barber shop in America. Reportedly, it has been in business since 1902. I also checked the website for my barber shop. They also opt for two words being correct. Consequently, I’m going with the two words usage.

If you like the concept of second guessing, you might also consider the word or words for the following: timeframe or time frame, businessman or business man, barstool or bar stool, phonebook or phone book, headcount or head count, breakdown or break down, goodnight or good night, anymore or any more and homeschool or home school.

Saturday morning I had been in the barber chair for a few minutes when the next customer came into the shop. He sat down, picked up the newspaper, read the headlines in silence and then said, “I am going to stop going anywhere. If you leave the safety of your home, you put yourself at risk. You’re likely to be shot.” Another barber in the shop added, “ Or stabbed by someone.”

The man also expressed frustration that James Holmes was only sentenced to life in prison for the movie theatre murders in Colorado. He then doubled back to his original comment about the safety and security of staying close to home.

It doesn’t take much exposure to the evening news to believe he could be right. What a troubled and perplexing world in which we live. The man was also disgruntled and saddened about the heat related death of an infant in Austin this week. The parent reportedly forgot their child was in the car. He said, “I don’t understand it. How does a parent accidently leave their child in the car? If I ever sent my kids to the car, I went with them. I never left them alone.”

Actually the more the man talked about his values as a parent, the more I found that I liked him. The customer and my barber obviously have been friends for many years. At least that’s the impression I gathered from snippets of their conversation. They moved from the troubled state of society, to news near and dear. The man said, “My son has a new job. He is now working 8 to 5 instead of having to work at any time of the day or night. It was really rough on him for a while. He likes the new job much better.”

The barber then said, “Your son doesn’t come home much, does he?” The father said, “No, money is tight right now.” I thought about my kids. I immediately felt guilty that I take their comfortable lifestyle for granted. Not everyone has that luxury. I’ve lived long enough to know that when your kids are doing well, you are doing well. It really can complicate one’s life when you have to cut corners to make ends meet. I was grateful my children weren’t dealing with that level of stress.

The man then said something that jolted me back to his story and that of his son. He said, “The church they attend is small. Of course, it is a Catholic church and they are really involved, but it is a small church. He then added, “It is the same church that Joe Biden attends. They live in Delaware”.

It was a feel good moment for me. I like the thought of people being valued and regarded as family in the “family of faith” regardless of circumstance or income level. Isn’t it true, the cross of Christ is a level playing field? When we come into relationship with him through faith, we become family.

Too frequently, income levels, power trips, founding fathers, class distinctions and any number of other variables, including whose been there the longest, define who gets the last word if there is disagreement. The thought of folks for whom “money is tight” attending a small church and being a part of the family of faith with a person whose prominence and influence is recognized across the world is significant. I really like that!

I attend a small church west of Dripping Springs. If you blink your eyes, you miss the small community all together. Sometimes people notice the sign and wonder about what life is like in our locality. I’m sure they have the same kinds of questions when they drive by the church. It is a picturesque country church that looks well care for and maintained. Ours is not a sleepy little community. While it is true that everyone doesn’t fall into the category of “banker, lawyer and Indian chief”, there is a broad diversity of folks and interests.

I’m pleased to report that the church I attend pays no attention to income levels, power trips, founding fathers, class distinctions and any number of other variables that normally define the pecking order. At our church there is no pecking order. The only two variables that matter is that we have a God who loves unconditionally and the realization that this side of eternity we are all broken. From those two understandings we forge a family of faith united in hope and supported by grace. It is unlike any other church I’ve ever attended. People come and intuitively know they are home.

All My Best!

Don

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