Am i a DISCiple now? Maybe a FRISBEEterian!
Disclaimer – this is a bit of a personal blog and if you do not actually know me or like the sport of Disc Golf it might not be as interesting for you so I apologize in advance.
As you may know I took up the sport of disc golf around July of this year when a good buddy of mine wore me down. That is not technically true but he first asked me if I ever played some 14 months earlier and I mocked him a little, and when we eventually went it was because we were no longer meeting as regularly as we had been so I thought it would be a good way to hang out and have a chat, so the idea was my idea to play that first time.
What a long intro huh? But since that day in July I have enjoyed playing this weird sport called Disc (or Frisbee) Golf, it is very much a minority sport and the DG community is small in the US but in most metropolitan areas there will be courses that you probably have never seen or been to, you may have spotted the curious baskets (much like the one pictured above) and wondered what it is and what it is used for.
It is a unique game, frustrating to play but for all of it’s challenges it has a redeeming quality that does make you want to try it again. It is a great stress reliever due to the effort that you put into throwing the disc as far as you can (much like a driving range at golf) and an awesome way to get out for a walk and get some fresh air. It is surprisingly inexpensive to play with many parks having a low entry fee or be free to play and a lot of the equipment can be bought somewhat cheaply, a new single DX disc from Innova can be bought between $7.99-9.99 USD and some sets of three discs can be bought as cheaply as $25. Discs are classified like golf clubs with groups such as drivers, mids and putters. Personally the bulk of my discs came as hand me downs and the people that show you the sport may or may not be as generous as my DG mentor.
So why is this on a Christian blog? Well I thought right away if I am going to invest time with this how can I do this to the glory of God? The most obvious solution to begin with was by “inking” my discs. “Inking” is when you mark your discs as yours, either by putting on your name, phone number or PDGA number in the vain hope that if you lose the disc the finder will be honest enough to return it to you. I have found discs and called numbers in the past, often times I am just instructed to keep said disc, especially if it would be problematic to return it. When I inked mine I put my name, my phone number and also a bible verse to help at least get the word of God in front of people if I lose a disc.
The game is simple, the terminology is the same as golf and you will “tee off” from an assigned spot (in my local course it is a concrete slab) and aim for a target usually between 175-400 feet away. Most courses will have a “par” (number of throws to get the disc in the basket) and the scoring works in the same way that golf does and most local DGC (Disc Golf Clubs) will organized tournaments or leagues where you can hone your skills and get better. I am a casual player and probably will always be that, I have never “aced” (hole in one) or played a “par round” so I doubt I will ever enter a tournament and I am okay with that.
I find DG to be a little like the Christian life, it is frustrating when I do not increase my knowledge as quickly as I would like and being a guy I want to know how it works, am I using the right equipment? Is there a better way to do this? Am I applying my knowledge in the right areas? Would mentoring help? And the failure I feel when I miss a 20ft putt when I have the right tools to complete the job is akin to when a brother fails when you have invested so much in him and just want to see him succeed and grow in God. (The latter is more meaningful obviously as it deals with real life and the former is just a game)
Like Christianity it can be a dangerous sport, I read recently a lady who lost vision in an eye in Manhattan Beach, California recently won a $3 million settlement due to being struck with a stray flying disc. Unlike Christianity I doubt I will ever be persecuted for playing disc golf. I had my six year old on the course a few months back and had to be watchful because she wouldn’t know to watch out for discs and I have had a close call once before in a public park where a family were using the basket as part of their picnic station in a public park and I didn’t see them until I had “teed off” and I was happy that the direction that I had thrown it was away from the family.
In Paul’s letter to the Colossians we are reminded the following…
Colossians 3:5 (ESV) Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
And this is my point, we get all bent out of shape as Christians trying to fill every second of every day with “holy tasks” and that is good to do but we have to have some leisure time, we have to have some down time, we have to have some Sabbath rest. We should be looking to kill everything that is mentioned in verse 5, and substitute that with what is in verse 16. Verse 17 and verse 23 (I have Col 3:23 on the back of one of my discs) reminds us to whatever we do, we do it in the name of Jesus Christ, that is why I ink my discs as I do, I also pray for opportunities to meet new people and share Jesus with them on the DG courses. I also have to watch my conduct when I am playing because I want to be a living example for non-Christian DG players and cause them to question my life.
These are just a few random thoughts put together into an article, I pray that you were edified, encouraged and if you are also a Christian disc golfer or have questions for the author then please comment below.