Practicing…(Or as Mark Twain Said, “Golf is A Good Walk Spoiled”)

            I am trying to learn something new this summer. One of our members has generously loaned me her golf clubs, I’ve taken a couple of lessons, and my husband has exhibited a great deal of patience on the par three course with me a few times. My goals are very low (as opposed to my scores!) All I want to do is to be able to golf well enough to play socially with friends.

Golf looks so easy when other people play it. When I used to watch golfers on television, before I picked up a club myself, I would say, “I think I could do that.” People told me it was a hard game; now I know. There’s so much to remember, from how to hold the club, to how to stand. Keep your head down, bend your knees slightly, left arm straight. I’m looking forward to the day when some of those instructions become “muscle memory”, when I don’t have to think so hard about every move I make.

Like everything in life, one becomes a golfer by practicing. Saying I want to be a golfer does nothing for me. Buying the cute clothes and shoes does not make me a golfer. Only practice will do that. Only by putting the time in will I learn.

People often tell me they want a stronger faith, or they want to know the Bible better, or they want to be able to pray and feel a connection with the holy. Our spirituality is like any other aspect of our lives; there are no shortcuts. It’s practice that forms us and shapes us. “Praxis” is a word from the ancient Greeks. “Praxis” refers to the way we embody what we believe. It is the connection between the head and the heart. Some people define “praxis” as the combination of faith and practice.

When we involve ourselves in activities that involve hospitality, forgiveness, telling our faith stories, community-building, caring for ourselves in healthy ways, worship, music, and prayer, we are engaged in praxis. We are developing spiritual muscle memory. We are making ourselves more and more into the people God created us to be.

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