First of all, sorry for all of you out there who read the blog often who have been looking this week for entries. I was out of town and completely out of reach from any computer until tonight. Speaking of that, I have an interesting story about a man I met on a golf course.
Tuesday morning I attempted to play Bent Creek Golf Course near Gatlinburg, TN. It was designed by Gary Player (and no, I did not take any steroids before playing). Anyway, the course has strict rules and I was by myself so they put me with 3 others to make a group of 4.
There were two older men (who obviously played together on the course often), and one other older single man who was on vacation from Indiana. He smoked a cigar the whole time that I can still smell if I try.
As we played, one of the older men, who had a Santa Claus type beard and a portly figure, struggled to hit the ball well at the beginning. When he made a bad shot he used an expletive. It only happened a couple of times, but it was still there. By about hole 3 we exchanged some imformation about ourselves. When I told him I was a preacher, he smiled and said, "Just a minute, I have something for you." He asked me how many weddings I had done and I said, "Only a few." He told me he had performed over 3,000. Next thing I know, he pulled a business card out of his golf bag. He was the "reverend" for the HillyBilly Wedding Chapel in Gatlinburg.
The game went on and it began to rain and fairly heavily at times. We stopped after 9 holes. He apologized for his language and said he was glad I had come his way. He told me that years ago he had been an alcoholic, but that he had not even had a desire for a drink for 26 years. He also said that lately he had been slipping and that he was working on his weakness with his tongue (aren't we all).
I could tell so much more about this man but I will save it for classes and sermons. I learned a lot that morning about how people approach religion. I will be sending him a letter next week and I hope to correspond with him some more. He was a really nice man, who wants to do the right thing. He just needs the proper direction and more knowledge of the Bible.
People have a great misconception about preachers. They think that once they find out that one is with them they have to change their behavior. I have no more a direct line to God than the next man. I am not about to file a report, either. I am not a reverend, pastor, et cetera. I am a human being! My name is Jeremiah Tatum. It's just me!