I just finished my second Roland Merullo novel "Golfing with God". The first one I read was "American Savior" about Jesus' return to earth to run in the Presidential election. I enjoyed "American Savior". So, I thought I would enjoy "Golfing with God".
Roland Merullo has a knack for weaving spiritual lessons into stories that are engaging and funny while they are making you think about spiritual principles. In this, his second novel that I have read, and in American Savior, the main characters have the opportunity to meet with Jesus and God, get to know them and ask the questions I'd ask if given the opportunity. Golfing with God's main character is Herman Fins-Winston, an English golfer who came within a whisper of making it on the pro tour. Herman (who prefers to be called Hank) is enjoying his stay in heaven after his life as a teaching pro when he's approached by one of God's helpers who offers him the opportunity to help God with the "yips". God, it turns out, likes a challenge. So, to play golf, He limits Himself to a human mind one that has lost its confidence on the greens and reaches out to Hank for help. As you may quickly guess, there's a lot more to it than that.
The story is a story of self-discovery as Hank plays golf in heaven and on Earth with the likes of God, Buddha, Mary and Jesus. Roland doesn't make the mistake of trying to get too deeply into the head of the character of God. The story is more about the education of Hank than about the nature of God. Hank and God take a visit to Earth for a golfing vacation because Herman says God can only get better under the conditions of Earth. While on Earth, Hank plays a match that has huge implications not only for Hank but for thousands of others. It's a fascinating illustration of interdependence- how the actions of one man do not impact on his life but the lives of untold others. It's apparent that Roland Merullo's worldview (universe view) is a mixture of Christianity and Buddhism. In American Savior, there is more emphasis on the Christian view (as Jesus is the candidate). In Golfing With God, I found much more about the ideas of interdependence, karma, self-determination and reincarnation. However, most Buddhists do not believe in a God. So, the idea of golfing with God is definitely not a Buddhist concept. And, I have to say I struggle with the concept of God in a body- however, putting that aside, I found the book to be quite enjoyable. If you love golf, you'll love this book. But, even if you don't the parallels between your golf game and the adventure of life probably will not be lost on you.