Our Annual Kermit Zarley Lectures are possible because of the donation of a good friend and former touring professional golfer, Kermit Zarley. If you want to know what a student athlete looks like, look at him: he won the NCAA tournament while at the University of Houston, he won seven consecutive NCAA events (Tiger didn’t even do that), turned pro and won some pro events — including an event on the Senior (now Champions) Tour. Here’s how we met:
One day, while sitting at my desk, Kermit called me to talk about a theological issue he was studying. He then invited me and Lukas down to a Senior Tour event, we went, we then had lunch, and we struck up a friendship — of now more than a decade.
Speaking of athletes — how about the Bears!!!!!!!!!!!! (Now back to Kermit.)
Kermit’s bio is not only about a great golfer, but also about a serious, serious Bible student. He has written several books, and has a major series on eschatology planned. The first book in the series, The Third Day Bible Code, is now out — I blurbed it and so did Dale Allison. Kermit is rare: he’s got an almost rabbinic approach to how the plan of history unfolds. You can also purchase it at his site.
Incidentally, my students use his The Gospels Interwoven. I know of no better harmony of the Gospels — it permits students to get all the facts and details without having to comb through paralles.
Because of how serious Kermit is about Bible study, about eight years ago I invited him to the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. He began going, and loved it. Once we were at a book booth when I saw R.E. Brown, and told Kermit who it was. He said, “Wow, can I meet him?” It dawned on me that he sees Bible scholars the way I see professional golfers — he once introduced me to Chi Chi and Lee Trevino. He asks scholars about their books, and they ask him about Arnie and Jack and Tiger.
If you have time to come to the Zarley lectures today or tomorrow, at North Park, Kermit will be there (in spite of a bad back that threatened his coming) — no doubt in conversation with someone. He’s one of the best conversationalists on earth.
Yes, we’ve played golf. No, I’ve never come close. In 54 holes of playing together, I’ve won two holes; I won’t say how many he’s won. But I will say this: he once said this of my golf game — “Scot, your short game is awful…” with a big laugh, and then “but from tee to green you’re not too bad.” I once made a 30 footer for a birdie, and knew the Zarman had a 20-foot tricky putt to tie me. So I chirped about the pressure he was under — he got that steely-eyed look and knocked it right in the middle of the hole on a left to right putt. With a wink he said, “Thought you had me, didn’t you!” Priceless.