Austin, Don the Lawman, and Identity

"Keep Austin Weird." 


While in the grocery store in Austin, I stopped for a moment and looked at the coffee cup display.  Black coffee cups with white lettering.  Each cup had this phrase proudly displayed.  "Keep Austin Weird."  This is a part of the identity of Austin, Texas.  Don’t get me wrong.  I happen to like Austin.  But there are aspects of it that are—different. 


I passed by these coffee cups and continued walking through the grocery store.  I stopped at the fruits and vegetables section.  A family passed by.  He was pushing the grocery cart.  A guy–over six feet tall–wearing a dress that went to his ankles.  Meanwhile, a little girl was dancing around the cart, obviously excited to be in the store.  The man’s wife was looking at some fruit.  I then noticed what was written in large bold letters on the back of her shirt; "They are all lying to you!"




Then there is Don the Lawman.


My friend Larry walked into a cafe in Abilene, Texas. There, he saw a familiar figure at a table by himself. After finishing his meal, Larry got up from his table and walked toward the man.

"Aren’t you "Don the Lawman?" asked Larry.


"Uhhh–why yea!"


"I used to watch you on television."


After Larry said these words, he noticed that people in the restaurant seemed to get very quiet. It was obvious they now had some questions. "Who is this guy? …Saw him on television?"   


Larry told him that he had a friend who would enjoy his autograph. "Don the Lawman" went to his truck to get a glossy picture but couldn’t find one. Instead, he brought back one of his business cards. He signed it, "To my pal Jim."


I have this card in front of me at this moment.

No, I don’t know Don the Lawman. I have never met him. But–Larry and I used to watch him on Abilene television a long time ago. He was a bail bondsman and a pro-wrestler.  (Now that’s an interesting combination!)  He had great commercials.  I remember coming home from class at Abilene Christian University after a long three hour theology class.  I would turn on the television and soon he would appear in one of our local commercials–Don the Lawman.   


His card brings back memories of those commercials. There is a picture of him from head to toe on one side of the card. He is wearing a cowboy hat, no shirt, pants tucked into his cowboy boots. His hands are resting on his hips. At the top of the card are these words in bold black ink–"The Lawman" Underneath these words are written, "Pro Wrestler."  Now that card will get your attention!


It’s kind of interesting, the words and phrases that we use to describe ourselves. Those words–those phrases speak to our identity. Who we think we are and who we would like others to perceive us to be.


As I begin this day, maybe it would be helpful to really give some thought to my identity. Specifically, I need to think about the implications of my identity in Christ. What does it mean to be "in Christ"?


Some of the mistakes that many of us make during the day (losing our temper and exploding; letting our emotions rule; yielding to behaviors that we know are sinful, etc.) occur in part because we are not thinking about who we are.  Isn’t that really what it means to live as a Christ-follower?  Doesn’t it mean that we live out our new identity?


We are–different.

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10 thoughts on “Austin, Don the Lawman, and Identity

  1. JIm,

    As always, a great thought provoker. How many of us have taught on this idea because it is something we have struggled with personally? Wouldn’t it be nice to get all the way through one day being exactly who you wish you were?

  2. Over the years, I’ve had my identity in many things other than Christ. I’m very contented these days to claim nothing more than Him. And to be Janice’s husband and Josh and Jessica’s daddy! Very good post, Jim.

  3. Yes, Jim. Some of the disparaging words I say about myself out of a habit of years is really not conducive to identify what God made us as humans, in the first place- and much less what he is remaking us to be in his Son! Yes. I needed that!

  4. Isn’t it funny how being different, can translate to some, being weird. I love Austin and all of it’s quirkiness. There are no molds here to fit into. That is how I feel about Christ. He lets me be who I need to be and loves me no matter what.