A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 8.15.2005

    If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection

    **Update** The following post made it as an illustration into this message.

    My side of the family is having a reunion this week. It is not an obligatory, roll-the-eyes reunion. We look forward to it every year. What I don’t look forward to is the traditional game of golf. In many things, I attain the great ranking of “average.” This is not so with golf. Golf is a test of emotional control, a strain on my sanctification, and a total waste of money. Shooting deer is one thing, shooting golf is another.If golf were the pursuit of moral perfection, my integrity would be in serious danger. Contrary to self-esteem philosophy: I AM NO GOOD. In golf, I am totally depraved. I don’t drive well. I’m lousy with the irons. My putting game is not even a game. I don’t know what to call it.Driving. Fairway. Green--three strikes, and I’m out (Is that a mixed analogy?). At least the average man can learn to drive well.

    My depravity in golf doesn’t mean that every last shot goes across the road or into the water. Every once in a while I do hit the ball straight down the fairway. I’ve even been known to par a hole now and then. I’m not as bad as I can be every day, yet that fact doesn’t mean I’m a good golfer--let alone worthy of the PGA.Sometimes comparing myself to others is comforting. Sometimes. While preparing to tee off into the water, I could say, “Hey! At least I’m in the game! Some people aren’t even trying! Look at ol’ Joe lounging around over there. I’m better than he is! He just watches golf on cable.” However, just because I’m better than ol' Joe doesn’t mean you’ll see me in the Masters any time soon.

    The game of golf has a religious ceremony where sins of the past are simply disregarded and another opportunity is awarded. This ceremony was instituted by Saint Mulligan. In fact it is called “The Mulligan.” I love this ceremony: My past is forgotten, and I get another chance. My only problem is that the past repeats itself with uncanny precision. I am still depraved, because religion is not enough.

    Let’s go to the next level and think of morals and professional golfers. Professional golfers would not at all appear to be depraved. They make a living at what they do. Their skills are nothing short of amazing. But trouble still looms for them in this golf/morals analogy. The requirement for “goodness” is perfection.What is the perfect game of golf? Parring every hole? Birdie-ing every hole? Just what is it?Would not a perfect game of golf be getting a hole-in-one from every tee? That’s what moral perfection would require. Moral perfection would demand a hole-in-one from every tee--with no mulligans. Not just for one game, but for every game, every day, for all of life. Neither an eagle, a birdie, nor par is good enough.

    Perfection is the standard--a standard that even Tiger Woods cannot attain.So when it comes to golf, I guess we are all depraved.What about our souls?

    posted by John Rush 9:20 AM
    Tuesday, July 26, 2005


    At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Andy Kraus said...

    Interesting analogy. It was nice to see your blog. Where in NE TN are you?
    Andy Kraus
    PCC '89


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