Jillian Maas Backman
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Jillian Maas Backman Answers to the Naked Golfers of Bethany College

On Friday, August 26, Jillian Maas Backman will be giving the keynote at the Bethany College Convocation Ceremony, as well as launching her new book, BEYOND THE PEWS.  The big news of the day is the suspension of the Golf Team for showing it all and putting it up on Facebook.  

Faced with the opinions on both sides, those for the suspension, and those opposing it, we asked Jillian how she feels about sharing the publicity of her book launch with the “naked golf guys!”  The rest of the story is located at the link:  http://www.fox4kc.com/news/wdaf-college-golfers-in-hot-water-over-naked-team-pic-20110823,0,2139560.story

How do you feel about the naked golf team “exposing” their picture on Facebook?

Like everyone else, my first reaction was a great big WOW!  My second thought, as usual, I am right in the middle of the drama!  The story of my life……….and I love it!!!

I had just completed the final additions on my well -crafted Convocation speech for Friday and God shakes it up for all involved.  Students, faculty, parents and Bethany College.

These students need to realize that role model status comes into a person’s life unannounced.  By choice, they made a commitment to represent Bethany College to the best of their abilities.  They are examples of living out their soulful callings.  Bethany provided each one the opportunity to develop their athletic talents and take it to the next level of accomplishments.  That is a hard thing to wrap your head around as a college student living under this kind of expectation.

The speech to the student body addresses this very issue.  The world they live in is much different from years past.  We are no longer community “islands” unto ourselves.  Back in the day when you acted out in this manner it would stay within the confides of local neighborhoods.  This kind of isolation is long gone in today’s open societies.  The explosion of internet sites like Facebook personal actions become world known with a push of the “send” button on a computer.

Sometimes our spiritual/soul center gets lost in the shuffle of all the excitement and fun in college.  Decisions that seem reasonable in the moment may not be the highest good for your long- term authentic soul self

“One should always keep your actions in line with your spirit/ soul intentions and let that be your guide for healthier choices.” 

Do you agree with the decision by administration to suspend the team for the next three conference tournaments?

Obviously, a strong message needs to be sent out to any student in this country that represents upstanding college institutions like Bethany.  Actions like this call for appropriate consequences.  I have no idea what is appropriate is in this situation and leave that up to the institutional professionals to determine.

The one concern I have is the effect this will have on their spirit/soul identity.  Spiritual growth occurs differently than intellectual growth. The naked golf team knows by now this was not a wise decision by any strength of the imagination.  However, there will be an on-set of spiritual remorse to those involved.  Spiritual growth is based upon a series of life lessons.  Your actions in the world either add or detract value in our universal spiritual growth.  Unfortunately, this group of young people had to learn this lesson earlier than later in life.  Forgive yourself, spiritual lesson learned and make a better soul choice next time.

You are speaking at the convocation ceremony this week about the “Journey Within-Curiosity,” as the official launch of your new book.  BEYOND THE PEWS, will you address the curiosity of naked golfers?

Anyone who spends time with me knows I have a tender heart.  My empathy for others is sometimes over the top with spiritual healing for those in times of need.  Even though they have presented me with a perfect teaching scenario for other students.  There are other examples of Spiritual Curiosity and opportunity I am using that demonstrate the point without expounding on their public embracement.

Do you feel this type of publicity about Bethany College is necessarily negative, or does it show a sense of humor by the students involved?

I have to admit, at first glance I chuckled at their naivety.  If you read the article closely they were following the cues from another large state college institution with a similar team photograph.  Their intentions were based on being creative and funny and it back- fired.  This was simply a misguided gesture at best. 

The college experience is about being able to explore who and what you are for the future.  I would hope that we honor Bethany College for instilling enough confidence and courage to take risks.  They must have loved themselves and each other to take the plunge together on this one.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Either way they did it!

Working in the media community you learn any publicity is good publicity, negative or positive.  There is a buzz on the internet today about the incident.  Only time will tell what the outcome will be on this situation.

Surely this will have an impact on the next few days when you will be there, how will you handle it?

I believe there are no accidents in the world and for some reason I am meant to be a part of this story.  My job in the next couple of days is to go into mediation and ask the spiritual question to myself, Why?

God’s work in the world it is so unpredictable.  Some people fight against the change.  I thrive on it and have learned to adapt to God’s updated versions.  What a blessed speaker am I?  I will handle this situation with delicate words and calming tones one conversation at a time.

How can the lessons taught in BEYOND THE PEWS positively relate to the naked golf team?

“I am willing to risk exposing my human vulnerability for the chance to experience the ethereal learning curve of life.”  Jillian Maas Backman

When I wrote this quote in my book I had no idea it would become so literal.  By now the students are confused and remorseful for their actions.  Living an authentic life goes way beyond the confides of any institution, college or church.  It is about finding your true self through a life long journey riddled with tests along the way.  In the book and in my convocation speech this week I refer to these phases as spiritual life platforms.

As children our values and opinions are under the directives of other people.  In my book I talk directly about growing up as a preacher’s kid and the pressures associated with that lifestyle.

When you leave and go off to college you become responsible for designing your spiritual life platform.  There is no one telling you what you can and cannot believe in anymore.  You are on your own to create the vision of how God works through you.  It is a challenge to live in the process of God all the time.  There will be slip-up along the way.  In the book I refer to this as knowing your divine energy pattern.  I include exercises that help you figure out the life lesson you are experiencing and get back on track.  That is what the golfers need to do.

Ask themselves inward soul questions.  Open up to hearing the godly message and move forward to the next lesson at hand.

Watch for the next stop in Jillian’s book tour, Rainy Day Books event in Kansas City, MO, September 14.  For more information visit the link:    http://rainydaybooks.com/JillianMaasBackman


  1. Pingback: Change Already! with Jillian Maas Backman: Who’s Listening to the Message? | ImaginePublicity

  2. Hi Jillian: I spent three years of my graduate school life in the late 70’s and early 80’s in conservative Manhattan, Kansas – Kansas State University. At first, it was culture shock extraordinaire, but this liberal easterner got used to it and in fact, I grew to love the experience!
    I recall similar pranks there. In fact, I have a photo from about that time period when vacationing in Jamaica. while visiting the famous waterfalls (The name escapes me….). Unbeknownst to “us girls,” all the guys in the group mooned the group photo! Ha!

    Therefore, I think it is a “universal expression of anatomical liberation” more than anything else. I just wonder what were they actually trying to accomplish? In any case, it happened for a reason and you’re in it. You are a wonderfully insightful writer and I’m confident that you can think of a way to bring everyone together for the “group learning experience.” Kudos on your book!

    Donna R. Gore, M. A.
    Homicide Survivor

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