Thursday, December 10, 2009

Casey Martin: What He Said & How He Said It

What a difference a conjunction makes. 

We have all heard the words “it’s not what you said but how you said it” and more often than not, the sentiment that accompanies this retort isn’t good. Yet, when Brian Murphy, host of the KNBR “Murph & Mac” sports talk radio show, asked golfer Casey Martin about the health of his leg and the likelihood of amputation, I was struck by what Casey said and how he said it. Casey gave a status report and concluded by saying “we’ll just keep praying about it.” For some reason those words drew me in. His response struck me as invitational as opposed to presentational; I wanted to hear more. I became curious about this athlete, his plight and his faith. Athletes profess their faith quite publicly all the time.
When they aren’t thanking “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” we see them using eye black to post scripture verses (Phil 4:13 or John 3:16) or pointing to the heavens in gratitude. I admit their overt claims and gestures of faith often make me uncomfortable; I seldom find that the presentational is invitational. 
Yet, authenticity speaks for itself. I cannot help but think that the "Parable of the Mustard Seed" serves as an appropriate image for what captured my attention on that morning commute. Casey's testimony of faith, if you can call it that, was so small; we hear “I’ll pray for you” or “pray for me” quite often. But considering who Casey Martin is, his words of authenticity prove to be like the mustard tree—very strong. 

It was at this time last year that “Murph” interviewed Casey Martin. In addition to the fate of his leg, they discussed Casey’s golf career at Stanford, his love for the University Oregon where he is now the head men’s golf coach and his latest endeavor—10th I had the good fortune of meeting and interviewing Coach Martin but a few months later. The November-December issue of HopeKeepers magazine recently published the following story about a man I will keep praying for. To read the published article "Casey Martin: God Has Been Awesomely Gracious to Me"

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