Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I love sports. Watching, playing, talking...I just love sports. One thing I wish I'd learned much earlier in my life was how to be more coachable. I don't think that I was ever a coach's nightmare but I never really learned how to take criticism well. And I certainly never learned to seek out criticism in order to get better. I preferred to learn from seeing and then trying to imitate. But that leaves lots of room for errors in form and technique.

"That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4: 10

I feel that matters of faith aren't too different for me. In the past year and a half I've learned a lot about things that I wish I'd known before. In talking with a peer, we both expressed this sentiment and my peer even said, "I find myself asking, how did I not know this already?"

I'm still learning about sports and faith, and I find myself asking this question more often than I'd like to admit. Going back to being a student has forced me to become more coachable. I'm reading books by respected theologians, and discussing them with professors and peers. Growing in knowledge is work. In sports, you're never too good to work on fundamentals. The same can be said for matters of faith. As followers of Christ, we are called to constantly work out our faith: spend time reading, discussing, and allowing ourselves to be "coached."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Room for error

I recently read an article in the school newspaper about a lecture given by ESPN's VP of event production (here's a link to the article http://dukechronicle.com/article/kristiansen-details-espn-s-evolution ), and thought his comments about risk and failure were interesting. I would encourage you to read the article, but if you don't want to: he basically said that ESPN has become what it is today through taking risks and getting involved in numerous areas beyond their original niche. In one of my favorite parts of the summary of his lecture, he says that "at ESPN... you're encouraged not to be afraid to fail."

"He told them:“Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere." Luke 9: 3-6

Failure is quite the F-word in the world/culture I come from. There's not a whole lot worse or more embarrassing than failure for many people (including myself) that I know. In fact, the chance of failure can be so terrifying that it becomes paralyzing.

Being freed from a fear of failure can be quite liberating, yet also perplexing as we're unsure how to assess our own performance. I can imagine Jesus' disciples feeling glad to have instructions for failure in their being "sent out" in this passage, but still wondering what would be the terms by which they were graded.

I wonder if freeing people from a fear of failure would produce more innovative and efficient work to be done at work, at home, at school...etc.? How can we become more accepting of failure as a way of encouraging responsible risk taking? What if we became less surprised by failure of our co-workers, friends, and family?

PS- It's also worth noting that Jesus gives the disciples authority to drive out demons and heal sicknesses before sending them out or instructing them in case of failure.