Festschrift to My Brothers

It was my pleasure to gather with fellow Beta Delta ATO’s this past weekend for a few rounds of golf and a lot of fellowship. The group of men spanned some five or six pledge classes from 1976 to 1981. Interest in the golf gathering waned a decade ago but has been renewed in the last few years.

The gathering is in its 21st year. I religiously avoided the gathering for the first eighteen years. It was sure to be filled with debauchery and foul language that marked my own days at the University of Alabama. While I cannot avoid sin any more than the next guy, those things are at least not hallmarks in my life. Sadly, they once were.

But the truth be told, my insecurities kept me away. Wanting to think I am personally confident in my call, I was not sure others would be. People were sure to wonder if the dramatic change in course was real. Heck, I am fairly certain members of my own family of origin wonder the same though I am 23 years down this path of ministry including a year of mission work in Bolivia.

What did I find? What had I missed? What did I rob myself of for 18 years? An incredibly strong fellowship! You might not know it from the outside. The ribbing is incessant and none of it is new. I am convinced boys wrestle to show their appropriate affection for their male friends. Attend any junior high church function to confirm that. Men, on the other hand beat the crap out of each other verbally, with insults. About the best you can do at Divot Masters, especially after making the turn and the beers consumed before the turn set in] is “your drive didn’t suck nearly as bad as his.” I was reminded again and again I would be a good golfer if I could only aim. Thanks Shane.

When you get beyond the belched draught, the occasional course language, and foot wedges on steroids, you find fellowship, true community. One finds a group of men willing to meet you where you are. Success in life doesn’t give you a leg up. And a failure to meet expectations does not hinder your participation. I think it not hyperbole to say most, if not all, of those men would take a bullet for me, at least a proverbial bullet, and I would like to think I would do the same for them.

So I have been in the business of building such community or fellowship for more than a couple of decades with varying degrees of success. I am not sure I’ve seen better. I am quite sure I have experienced less. So where do the Taus get it right? It begins with a Creed. One of my pledge brothers tried to recite the Creed Friday night. He was jovially hooted down. Typical of males, the brothers didn’t want to get serious or go deep. After all, the golf retreat is an escape from the weight of real life. But Rob was trying to get out something profound. It has indelibly shaped and molded these men. It goes like this:

To bind men together

In a brotherhood based on eternal and immutable principles

With a bond as strong as right itself and as lasting as humanity,

To know no North, no South, no East or no West, but to know man as man,

To teach that true men the world over should stand TOGETHER AND CONTEND FOR SUMPREMECY OF [for] good over evil;

To teach, not politics, but morals;

To foster not partisanship but the recognition of true merit wherever found;

To have no narrower limits within which to work together for the elevation of man than the outlines of the world:

These were the thoughts and hopes uppermost in the minds of the founders of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

Otis Allan Glazebrook


I wrote (read typed) the creed above from memory. It was last required of me, under some duress I might add, in January of 1981. I then compared it to the official version. I inadvertently omitted the six words in all caps and replaced them one extra-creedal word to compensate for the omission. That word is found in [ ]. Think about it. After 30 years, I can’t get the creed out of my head! I suspect that is true for most if not all of the brothers there.

So where do Taus get it right? It begins with a creed, “a code” for a few good men. And it should be no surprise that it produces Christian community. The Creed was written by Christians for Christians. Alpha Tau Omega has been and is always, in principle at least, a Christian fraternity.

So a tribute to my brothers! Thanks for doing fellowship well and making me a part of it. VTL

One Response to “Festschrift to My Brothers”

  • John McCune Says:

    Wow. Nice tribute and glad you were there. Very much enjoyed reading this and other entries. For the record, Shane’s aim aint so good either. Thanks John
    VTL. -JMac

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