Posted on by Jeff Raught


MULLIGANS      September 2013 Jeff Raught

Hello my name is Father O’ My and I am the Vicar of St. Paul’s 3rd United Church of the Reformed Regifters.

Our Mission Statement: “Passing along the goodness of the Lord without attaching to much human crapola”

In golf, a mulligan is a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty, due to an errant shot made on the previous stroke. The result is the hole is played and scored, as if the first errant shot had never been made.

I recently met with my nephews to play a round of golf. None of us play that often, but always enjoy it when we get the chance. When they were just boys and I was teaching them, I encouraged them to not keep score. It seemed more important to just keep swinging the club. There are a lot of fundamentals in a golf swing. It’s tougher than it looks, striking that little white dimpled ball. And keepin score? Well that can just get in the way. Besides, we were just trying to have some fun. In essence, those first rounds of golf were filled with mulligans.  As we played this summer at a remote course in northern Pennsylvania, we were the only ones out there. It was a warm Tuesday afternoon, with a gentle breeze blowing off the mountains. There was no one playing behind us, and we decided on unlimited mulligans off the tee. Now, you don’t normally do that, but we weren’t holding anybody back. It was a grand gesture that we all embraced, well beyond the golf game. As I look back we continued to give out “life mulligans” to each other that day. I’m not sure that we were intentional about it and perhaps did it unknowingly. Whatever the case, it made for a truly wonderful time together.

Sometimes when family or friends get together after a long absence or special occasion, there can be high hopes of how everything is supposed to flow. It can be nearly impossible for everyone’s expectations to be met. It should be a time for everyone (including you) to not have everything just the way you want it. Yet we don’t approach those things that way do we? Oh My. But when you are giving out mulligans, well, everybody gets a second chance…..over and over and over. We can take a mulligan for the way we say something or maybe sometimes the way we hear things. I wish we all would hand out mulligans more liberally to each other. When things go astray “Could I take a mulligan on that?”  It’s kind of an adult version of a “do-over”.

There are a number of theories where the term came from and frankly it doesn’t matter to me. But I do want to be more mindful of how I both treat and receive people. When customer assistance seems anything but assisting, it’s time to offer. “Hey, would you like to take a mulligan?” You don’t give out mulligans because someone has earned it. That’s not the point. We all go through much fumbling and bumbling in our life. We all need that second or even third chance at something. So next time you see someone who has just sliced one into the woods of life, go ahead and tell them “Hey, let me give you a mulligan on that one.”

Mulligans – God’s way of reminding us what grace is all about.





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One Response to Mulligans

  1. Marilyn Henderson says:

    Love it. Now I know what a mulligan is even though I don’t play golf! Might even be a good sermon title someday …

    Thanks for being so … you!

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