Faith is a Double-Edged Sword

[ from A Man of Faith by scott pickard ]

Faith is a double-edged sword.

Faith gives a person a certain power and confidence; a comfortable and secure belonging to a group that one trusts, and the fellowship that arises from that association.

But the sharper edge of the sword is that faith can also drive a person down a narrow path that does not respect other points of view, with a purpose that is unshakable. In many contexts this kind of determination can manifest as a good thing and it will deliver successful, sometimes incredible results.

But in some cases this “blind faith” can drive people to seriously harm others (even kill them) all in the name of their “faith practice,” to both non-believers outside their circle, but also members inside for purposes of enforcement.

The disastrous irony of blind faith is that it motivates people to do things that they believe are good, right, just, and necessary by the principles of the faith they follow. What can you say to a person like this to convince them otherwise?

I ask you, is there a more powerful and sharper double-edged sword in our world than blind faith?

- sp -

The “Three Kings” at the 2015 Masters

by scott pickard

When I was ten years old, my family moved from Houston to Dallas, Texas, and my parents became members of the Dallas Athletic Club (DAC).  A couple of years later, they both volunteered for the 1963 PGA Golf Tournament which was held at DAC. My dad was a marshal and arranged for me to go to the practice session where three pros played with one amateur. So I followed them walking down the middle of the fairway (no ropes in those days) alongside Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus. I really did not understand the significance of who and what I was watching, and that these three men were the reigning “kings of golf” on our planet.

jack and arnie

Jack Nicklaus won the 1963 PGA.

I have a vivid memory of Jack Nicklaus hitting a driver off the fairway on a long par five, and back then with wooden club heads and the golf balls of the day, the ball would climb up into the sky . Nicklaus’ “driver-off-the-deck” fairway stroke made a loud “crack” as the golf ball shot out like a cannon and climbed up toward the clouds on a hot Texas afternoon, and then dropped down softly onto the green in two. It was magnificent!

Arnold Palmer hit a drive that started way out to the right soaring over the adjacent fairway, and then it turned left in a sweeping hook that brought the ball down into the middle of the fairway on the hole being played. WOW!

Gary Player hit one drive that took off low and skipped across and finally into the water. They all laughed including Player, so he re-teed and then blasted the next drive down the middle of the fairway. It surprised me that he made a mistake….. I didn’t know golf pros made mistakes!

I look back on that day with mixed feelings of awe and a little bit of regret that I did not fully grasp how special that opportunity was.  It was a milestone moment in my life as it opened my eyes and heart to the game of golf.

That was 52 years ago, and fast forward to April 9, 2015 (yesterday), as I watched the “Three Kings” perform the ceremonial first tee shots on the number one hole at Augusta National Golf Club to kickoff the 2015 Masters Tournament. Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player moved a little slower and a little less sure of themselves, each showing a little bit of anxiety that they would not muff their tee shots.  But in king-like fashion they striped their drives down the middle of the number one fairway to the delight and cheers of all the fans, including myself: still inspiring, still impressing, still showing us the way in the world of golf just as they did for me back in 1963.

Sports Golf  Golf is a declining sport, but why? sp What’s up with Tiger Woods? When will you shoot your age?  Is golf a sport? who cares, we love it in general: big hole golf | celebrity tournaments: Jalen Rose |  Fedex Cup | foot golf | handicap: formula | magic | online game: http://pgacharitychallenge.worldgolftour.com, Virtual U.S. Open | PGA: pgatour | performance: priming | rules & etiquette: smartphone, USGA, videos | sand: soft sand, hit hard; hard sand, hit soft | social: topgolf | speed golf | soul of the game | top ten courses: Chicago | trends: mitigation banking, The Future of Golf | youth: Drive, Chip & Putt tournaments: majors: British Open, Masters > Values/tradition, PGA, U.S. Open | Ryder Cup: Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup Diary 2012 sp books/movies: mentoring: Seven Days in Utopia | rules: Golf Rules Finder

THREE KINGS: Palmer, Nicklaus, Player kick it off at the 2015 Masters.

Golf is so much more than just a game for most of us golfers. It becomes a golden thread that weaves its way throughout our entire lives. That must be true because several weeks from now, I will be playing golf with my dad to celebrate his 98th birthday and just as Arnie and Jack and Gary do when they play golf together, dad will be trying his best to beat me, and me him.  It has always been that way with us, father and son.

I can only hope that my son and I will be doing the same thing 30 years from now.

- sp -