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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Golfing Religiously

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

A very intense business man went to the local doctor suffering from stress.  His GP said to him: “I have a simple solution for stress.  If you don’t golf, start.  If you do golf, stop.”

The late Bishop Chuck Murphy came from Pawley Island, South Carolina, an area which has dozens of world-class golf courses.  So naturally he loved to tell golf stories.  While in Vancouver BC, he gave us one of his favorites: “Moses, Jesus, and an old man are golfing. Moses steps up to the tee and hits the ball. It goes sailing over the fairway and lands in the water trap . Moses parts the water and chips the ball onto the green.

Jesus steps to the tee and hits the ball. It goes sailing over the fairway and lands in the water trap. Jesus walks on the water and chips the ball onto the green.

The old man steps up to the tee and hits the ball.  It goes sailing over the fairway and heads for the water trap, a fish jumps up and grabs the ball in its mouth. As the fish is falling back down into the water, an eagle swoops down and grabs the fish in its claws. The eagle flies off over the green, where a lightning bolt shoots from the sky and barely misses it. Startled, the eagle drops the fish When the fish hits the ground, the ball pops out of its mouth and rolls into the hole for a hole-in-one.

Jesus then turns to the old man and says “Good shot, Dad!”

Our local Seymour/Deep Cove area is a bit of a golf haven, with two golf courses: Seymour Golf & Country Club , Northlands Golf Course and two driving ranges: Takaya Golf Centre and Seymour Creek Golf Centre.

With three active sons in their twenties, I have  had the pleasure of giving them golfing tips.  I have many happy memories of caddying for my father at the UBC Golf Course.  As a teenager, I had a membership at Langara Golf course and used to golf religiously three times a week.  I even golfed in the snow which was quite a feat.  Because my parents had paid for my membership, I remember feeling guilty if I wasn’t golfing enough!

My eldest son, who has worked over seven years at Safeway, wanted to be ready for a Safeway Golf tournament.  After teaching my son everything I knew about golfing, I decided that it was time to go to the Parkgate Library and listen to the pros.  Fortunately the library had dozens of golf books and videos.  There is even a ‘Golf Rules & Etiquette for DUMMIES’ book!  Every book and video had literally hundreds of helpful tips about one’s grip, a proper backswing, a proper stance, getting out of bunkers, and secrets of putting.  From Jack Nicklaus to Arnold Palmer, all of them seemed eager to turn my sons and I into the next golfing superstar.  You may be happy to know that after looking at many videos and books, I have decided not to quit my day-job.  As professional golfers are away on tournaments for well over half the year, my wife would miss me too much.  And then there is that little problem of getting it on the green.

One of the most fascinating golf books that I found at the library was The Way of An Eagle by  Robert Darden and PJ Richardson.  It features the stories of more than forty top golfers who shared the secrets of their success on and off the golf course.  Common to all the golfers was a realization that golfing itself was not enough, that there was more to life, and that life could be discovered through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  All of these golfers had found a greater inner peace and serenity that carried them through the ups and downs of intense tournament life.

As a teenage golfer, no matter how well I did, it didn’t feel good enough.  I struggled with perfectionism and performance-orientation.  But now like the pro golfers in the Way of the Eagle book, I have found that my identity doesn’t come from how well I do.  It comes from God himself who loves me no matter how well or poorly I play.  God has given me an inner peace through Jesus Christ that nothing can steal away from me.  As I help my sons learn how to golf, I pray that they may carry this message of inner peace with them wherever they go.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Dr. James Naismith: Father of Basketball

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Almost every North American has played basketball, even if only shooting a few baskets at the local park.  At my high school ‘Winston Churchill’, we had a passion for basketball. In Grade Eight, my dream was to become a basketball star.  My only limitations were getting the ball in the hoop and the fact that I was only five foot two.  Back then, I had no idea that basketball was invented by James Naismith, a Canadian on loan to the United States.  I was also unaware that basketball had deeply spiritual roots.

Dr. Naismith had a rough life growing up. When he was only eight, his parents died from typhoid fever.  Earlier the family sawmill in Almonte, Ontario, had burned down. Having visited the Naismith museum in Almonte, it gave me a deeper appreciation of the many challenges that James had to overcome.  After leaving school at age fifteen, James worked for five years as a lumberjack.  During his lumberjack phase, he had a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ which led him to attend McGill University in order to become an ordained minister.   Naismith commented: “Finally I decided that the only real satisfaction that I would ever derive from life was to help my fellow beings….”

Naismith studied so hard at McGill that he neglected regular physical exercise. His friends convinced him that involvement in sports would make him a better student.  He grew to love football, rugby, baseball, field hockey, and lacrosse.  Naismith discovered that his passion for sports helped him connect with young people when he shared the gospel with them.  His sister however was deeply disappointed that James chose sports ministry instead of looking after a local congregation. Sadly she never attended any of his later basketball games.

To pursue his sports ministry, James Naismith moved to the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. The YMCA was a pioneer in the ‘muscular Christianity’ movement, being among the first to integrate prayer and bible study with athletics.  By 1905, almost 50,000 men took part in YMCA college Bible studies, including 1,000 at Yale University.  Naismith greatly admired Coach Stagg who made a point in the dressing room of saying “Let’s ask God’s blessing on our game.”  Naismith noted that Coach Stagg “did not pray for victory but he prayed that each man should do his best and show the true Christian spirit.”

James was asked by another coach Dr Guilick to create an indoor winter game for bored students. Calesthenics, involving sit-ups and marching, was not exciting enough for them.  Alluding to Ecclesiastes, Dr. Guilick had made the statement: “There is nothing new under the sun. All so-called new things are simply recombinations of the factors of things that are now in existence.”  James responded by saying: “All that we have to do is to take the factors of our known games and then recombine them, and we will have the new game we are looking for.” Two weeks later on December 21st 1891, basketball was invented.  The thirteen rules of basketball which James drew up have remained as the foundation of the game.  Drawing on another game called ‘duck on the rock’, Naismith had the students throw soccer balls into baskets.  Initially they used real peach baskets and there were no backboards to bounce off.  James intentionally invented a game that would encourage less violence and more sportsmanship.  By placing the goal way up in a basket, the participants were less likely to harm each other near the goal as in hockey. By not allowing players to run with the ball, he also eliminated the violent tackling found in rugby and football.  Even today basketball has far less group violence than other active sports.

William Baker said that basketball was first spread around the world by believers using the YMCA gospel of godliness and good games.  Canada was the first country outside of the United States to start playing basketball. Ironically because British women were the first to start playing basketball, British men saw it as a women’s game and initially refused to play it.  Basketball did not enjoy instant success at first. But now over 300 million play basketball around the world.

Both Canada and the United States claim James Naismith, with both nations dedicating special postage stamps to his memory. Though Naismith is honoured in eight Canadian and American Halls of Fame, he never profited from his invention of basketball, even losing two houses to foreclosure. Unlike basketball players today, Naismith did not endorse sports equipment, or sell products in ads. In contrast to the twenty-three million dollar top-NBA salaries today, Naismith saw basketball as being for fun, not for profit. James’ stated vision was “to win men for the Master through the gym.”

Naismith was not just the inventor of basketball.  After his brother Robbie died unexpectedly from infection, James decided to also become a medical doctor. As a minister, coach and medical doctor, he was able to minister to the body, mind and spirit.  The Journal of Health and Physical Education eulogized Naismith as “a physician who encouraged healthful living through participation through vigorous activities” and a builder of “character in the hearts of young men.” As one of his students mentioned, “With him, questions of physical development inevitably led to questions of moral development, and vice versa.” Naismith challenged the National Collegiate Athletic Association to “use every means to put basketball (as) a factor in the moulding of character…”

 With good coaching, said Naismith, basketball could produce the following results: “initiative, agility, accuracy, alertness, co-operation, skill, reflex judgement, speed, self-confidence, self-sacrifice, self-control, and sportsmanship.”  James saw self-sacrifice as “a willingness to place the good of the team above one’s personal ambitions”, saying ‘There is no place in basketball for the egotist.’  Sportmanship was described by Naismith as ‘playing the game vigorously, observing the rules definitely, accepting defeat gracefully, and winning courteously.’  In short, James wanted athletes to play by the Golden Rule and to love their neighbour.  May Naismith’s vision continue to inspire our young athletes to greatness and godliness.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca