There’s a barber shop on my way to work. It’s not a beauty shop or a hair salon or a coiffuring center. It’s just a good ole fashioned barber shop, with a swirling red, white and blue barber pole out front.
For the past 7 years, I have driven by this place – but I’ve never walked inside. I’ve thought about it, though. Actually, I’ve fantasized about it.
Perhaps I should explain.
It’s not the prospect of having of my ever-thinning and ever-graying hair cut that draws me to this place. I already have someone who lops my locks every couple of months, with whom I am well pleased.
No. What draws me to this particular barber’s shop is the large sign in his window that advertises a $20 shave. Admittedly, that’s a lot of money to pay to have one’s face shaved – especially when one has his own electric razor at home that’ll do the job for free. But ever since I was a little shaver, I have longed to sit in a swivel chair, draped in an apron, lathered to the limits, and have a guy use a straight razor to give me a nice warm, close shave.
Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to justify such a luxurious and self-indulgent extravagance. If only it was a little less expensive.
Ah, watch what you ask for, beloved.
Last month, I attended a 5-day church conference at the Marriott in Lancaster, PA. During a brief break from our business, I took a short stroll. A few blocks from my hotel, at the corner of King and Prince Streets, I spied a sandwich-board sign with a painted picture of a red, white and blue barber pole and the promise of a $3 haircut!
Upon closer inspection, however, I noticed that this place wasn’t a barber shop but a barber school. In other words, they didn’t want customers - they wanted guinea pigs.
Inside the barber school, hanging on the wall, was a more complete price list of the various services the students offered. The one that caught my eye was the $3 shave.
My first (second and third) reaction was to dismiss that possibility as quickly as I dismissed the $3 haircut. After all, what kind of person would literally stick their neck out to allow a nervous neophyte to put a straight razor anywhere near their jugular vein just to save a few bucks?
A person of faith, that’s who! A person with a tremendous amount of faith. A person with so much faith that their cup o’ faith runneth over, that’s who! (see Genesis 22)
In other words, a person not like me.
To be honest, I don’t have faith…
…that ISIS is going to stop terrorizing the civilized world in the foreseeable future;
…that our country will solve its racial divide so that we can finally live in harmony and unity, as God intended;
…that we’re going to suddenly stop mortgaging our children’s fragile future with our local, state and national budget deficits.
Then again, I didn’t have faith that I would ever see…
…the end to Apartheid in South Africa;
…the collapse of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall;
…a black man living in the White House, and a woman being nominated by one of the major political parties for the presidency.
Soooo, maybe the next time the Big Bad Wolf of doubt and fear threatens to enter my house of faith, I will, with the confidence of Christ, proclaim, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”