Monday, February 22, 2010

Do You Yell 'Fore' or 'Four' After Whacking a Golf Ball?

For the past few months, I have seen quite a bit of golf...from my windshield. We have been house-sitting for some dear friends who are on an extended mission to Kenya and their beautiful home is located next to a golf course.

I'm not a golfer, but I drive by them every day. I don't have anything against golf or golfers. I just don't want to wear the plaid shorts and can't afford the toys involved with both fishing and golfing. So, I choose to fish and gladly encourage other fishermen to take up golf.

As an outsider to the golfing community, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts with members of the golfing community. I like the idea of golf. It seems like it would be kinda fun to whack a ball and try to get it in the hole. But it's the golf culture that keeps me off the golf course.

In an attempt to take golf seriously, many golfers buy the latest sticks, the best golf balls, the coolest golf carts, and all the trimmings of golf wear (designed by Rodney Dangerfield, I assume). They watch the golf channel, read the golf magazines, get golf haircuts, and fly their expensive sticks all over the country to play on the best courses. They have it all!

I need to be honest, though. I have picked up on a distinct aura that eeks from ambitious golfers. They wear it like cologne. They parade it like a fashion model. Honestly, it looks quite silly to a non-golfer. They look so stoic and serious as I drive by them. Very few of them wave. It wouldn't be proper, I guess. There must have been an article about that in the magazine. Or perhaps, they can tell I'm stifling a giggle as I see how serious they are about the culture of golf. Most of them lean on the sticks or sit in the carts and talk to other golfers. I assume they are talking about golf.

It's not like basketball at all. No sweating. No jumping. No running. No clock. Unlimited time-outs. Did I mention plaid?

The road from the golf course to the highway is a dangerous one. Before the sun rises, the golfers are tearing down the road. Like a dinner reservation with Jack Nicholas, they cannot and will not be late for their tee time. They are in a hurry to leave the 8-cylinder SUV so they can scoot quietly along in a cart filled with batteries under their bottoms. From my windshield, I can see through theirs. The aura penetrates glass. The same magazine article forbids windshield waving, too.

Why am I picking on golfers? Besides the fact that I'm having an awful lot of fun with it, there is a point. What do Christians and church goers look like to non-Christians and non-church goers? Do we look like golfers to non-golfers? I've given you an outsider's thoughts into the golf culture which most golfers would scoff at. Nor would they care what a non-golfer thought about their culture! The golf culture exists for and within the golf community.

The church, however, should be different. The church exists for those inside and outside the Christian community. Shouldn't we care about how the unchurched and unsaved see us? Shouldn't we wave? Shouldn't we create an inviting spirit of friendliness and avoid running over them on our way to church?

Most people like the idea of a God who loves them and a Savior who died for them. They really do. But, oh, those Christians! Smug. Scowling. Pew-protecting. Do we really want to know how many of them balk at turning their blinker on at our places of worship because of US?

Newsflash, Christian friends. They don't have to be like us to worship with us. The only aura that a church ought to have is when we ask each other, "How aura you, my brother/sister?" Instead of an aura, there ought to be a tangible residue of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion. We're not a country club. We're a hospital. A haven. A home. For everyone.

Waving Through Stained-Glass Windshields,
Perry Crisp

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