Monthly Archives: May 2016

“Winning” isn’t anything

I just read that Baylor University, ostensibly a Christian school, allowed their football team to conduct its own internal investigations into accusations that some football players had engaged in sexual assault on campus, according to an investigation ordered by its Board of Regents.
They acted like they didn’t need to follow the law, or legal procedures under Federal Title IX. In fact, the president of that university (the famous Ken Starr) has just been demoted because the football department’s staff was never trained in Title IX procedures, which was apparently the university’s responsibility. The football coach was, of course, fired.
No matter now; one of the football players is serving 20 years for rape; another is serving 6 months for sexual assault.
Actually, no – THANKFULLY, no. I’m grateful the Law kept after the individuals who should have called those footballs players, that football department and the university to account, a long time ago!
Why was this allowed to continue at Baylor? Could it be that Art Briles, the coach, brought Baylor to its first successful season since 1980?
In other words, they were “WINNING”! And winning at any cost is, in some circles anyway, considered a virtue. But not in Christ’s circles. And of course, to the victims of these sexual offenders, the cost was far too high. (To win football games??)
We need to keep this in mind in the echo chambers of our mass media as we keep hearing Donald Trump diagnose our national condition as that of “losers,” and his main contribution to office that with him as president we will be “winning” so much we will get tired of it.
Mr. Trump doesn’t go into details often (it’s be yuge! Believe me!), but the whole notion of being winners deserves some examination.
It would be great to be strong, healthy, with an economy that provides for everyone. It would be great to be good, so that all our people have access to education and health care, and our communities are strong enough to be willing to care for the least-of-these. It would be great to be at peace, so that we would hardly know what to do with that “peace dividend” we thought we were going to have in the 90s. If you want to make America “great”-er, those are visions I can deal with.
But the essence of “winning” is that someone else must “lose.” I’m all for cheats and thieves to lose, but why should I consider it a good thing if I have more because I took it out of the mouth of someone else who wasn’t in on my scheme? Trump thinks that’s winning.
Why should I think I am finding peace by building walls and throwing out people who’ve been here contributing for a long time…or by attacking the innocent families of deluded terrorists? That’s not even peace. It’s détente. Trump thinks that’s winning.
And in which way are we going to win if we can’t even figure out which side of things Mr. Trump is on? He’s for and against abortion, for and against Obamacare, for and against everyone carrying a gun! Don’t we have to know the name of the game before we can win it?
The problem with winning as a goal, is that it is just too easy to cheat, to overpower others, to take things that don’t belong to you and to overlook real criminality as long as you get the prize in the end. The problem with winning is, it’s always making losers…and victims. And leaving aside the gospel for a moment, losers don’t usually really go away. You just have to deal with them again, bigger and madder than before. Ask Ken Starr.
No, Mr. Trump isn’t going to bring us peace OR winning. Jesus really already taught us that. Peace, real peace, comes from the Lord, and he showed us that the way of peace in this world is going to look radically different from what politicians must seek. Real peace comes from following Jesus, who bent down to wash the feet of others, touched lepers and told us to turn the other cheek if someone wants to hit us twice.
We really can’t have both this world’s ideas of winning and eternity’s view of peace, unless we’ve put “winning” in God’s hands. I don’t know how that works for Christian football coaches (although I’m QUITE sure it doesn’t involve overlooking rape), but for those of us paying attention to elections, let’s not lose our perspective. Jesus WON our salvation by letting the Empire nail him to a cross (and then rising from the dead). He seems to know something they didn’t. Let’s go with him.