tiger woods apologizes :: but, why?

February 19, 2010

Don’t freak right out.  If you read the title of this post and thought I was giving Tiger a free pass for some reason…  NO WAY.  Of course Tiger should apologize.  To about a bazillion people for about the same number of reasons.

Today Tiger stood before the press and a room of about 40 people (including his Mom in the front row) at the clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour.  There he delivered a 13 minute apology, making no excuses for his behavior.

To view the apology in its entirity, go here.

While pundits will debate whether or not his apology was contrite enough, sincere enough, or genuine at all,  I took note of one phrase in particular.  About at the midway point, Tiger made this statement:

“The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me…”

I know.  He was making a statement about his celebrity and that fact that he doesn’t get a free pass to live by different rules than the rest of us, just because he has fame and money behind him.  But what struck me was the fact that Tiger – a Budhist – would allude to some moral code that he and I – a Christian – would share.

What boundaries, Tiger?  Are you refering to some kind of moral absolutes?  Guidelines that just ARE – that “apply to everyone?”  Where do these moral guidelines come from?  Societal norms?

It is interesting to observe the public recognition that there ARE boundaries.  Moral guidelines.  That apply to everyone.  What is fascinating is that our society both recognizes this truth and tries to live as if we can all make up our own rules as we go.  What’s right for me might not be right for you.  Rather, what’s wrong for YOU might not be wrong for ME…

So, Tiger, I believed you.  I thought your confession was heartfelt.  It may be a much needed buisiness decision.  It might very well be part of your therapy.  But I believed you.  I’m just asking a follow-up question.  If you believe in these boundaries of which you speak, where do they come from?  Because if you don’t know the One Who has established the guidelines, I wonder if you really need to apologize at all…

Discussion begins… now.


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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

4 responses to tiger woods apologizes :: but, why?

  1. If a Buddhist apologizes in the woods, and no one hears him is it really an apology?

    My house consisted of two parents that were two “different” sects of Christianity. Mom took us kids to the Evangelical Church, and my Dad took us to a more Charismatic Branch. Repeat-both Christian. At dad’s church, we were not allowed to do things such as dance or listen to music as those led to impure thoughts. Gambling and drinking were no-no’s also. However, smoking, chewing tobacco and “straight” porn were acceptable means of entertainment. At mom’s church, the porn was a definite sin, but dancing, music and a hand of gin-rummy were acceptable. Smoking was OK, as long as it was done behind the barn.

    So, was the church dictating acceptable behavior or was the farming society using the church to provide a moral guideline that worked for that section of society that made up its congregation?

    I’ve seen portions of your services that you’ve posted. My father’s church would rather burn the building to the ground than allow musical instruments into the worship service. Do you feel the need to apologize for that? Of course you don’t. Can you imagine getting to the pearly gates and having God say, “Hey Josh…thanks for stopping by. You’re done some very special work in your life. You have wonderful children and a stellar family. You’re used your life to honor and worship me. But…we really don’t accept drummers”.

    So, who should apologize to whom and for what?

    Perhaps these aren’t “religious” questions at all. Perhaps there IS a moral code innate in a human that has been integrated into religion rather than religion integrating it’s moral code onto society.

    Chicken or the Egg.

    Negating Tiger’s apology based on his faith I think is a slippery slope. Only Christians can apologize? There are good and bad people in the world, as well as good and bad Christians.

    • Heather, thanks so much. Two things… I’m still laughing at your opening question. 🙂 Second, this is a brilliant analysis. And yes, I realize that in a short blog post, I sacrifice nuance for brevity. Therefore, I basically asked the question (under the table)”If a person doesn’t follow a Christian based-moral code, can they really have one at all?” Your comment helps flesh out the discussion. Brilliant observation that even within the Christian Church there is a certain degree of moral relativity. In the end, I believe there are moral absolutes. Black and white right and wrong. I also believe that no one but Jesus has ever gotten the code altogether right. And we ALL excuse ourselves from certain moral guidelines out of convenience. Grace can cover our failings. My guess is that what is right or wrong is determined either explicitly by God’s Word or by a decision framework that we engage that either honors God and brings Him glory, or is self-serving. Our moral codes as Christians probably all fall somewhere on that spectrum.

      Excellent and insightful comment, Heather. Thanks so much. And yes, I agree that we cannot negate Tiger’s apology based on his faith. That is a VERY slippery slope. Just because I don’t know where Tiger derives his moral code doesn’t mean I don’t think he is subject to one. We all are. 🙂 God bless!

  2. I find it amazing the responses which I have heard from what happened with Tiger Woods. It just proves the theory that this society lives by what they see in their own eyes what is right for them at the time. I have heard the comment that of coarse he would do that since he probably has women throwing themselves at him all of the time. I have also heard of shock and horror since he should be an example to those around him.
    If a person has “rules” or “morals” that they live by, you can’t just pull those ideas out of the air. They must be based on something. If you state that you believe something and someones asks you why, it would be rediculous to respond “just because”. Your belief system comes from one place or another.
    The fact that one church states that one sin is not as bad as another does not negate the truth of the Word of God or the holiness of God. It just proves that we as human beings have done even more to mess up the true and amazing name of God that was given to us.
    Only when I take a stand and say that I believe something (although I may not always live up to it as a sinner) and point to God’s true Word to back that up does it take the focus off of me and put the true focus where it belongs. In the true love and grace of Jesus and God the Father.