Posts Tagged ‘Failure’

Failure Matters

Friday, December 8th, 2017

In a challenging era of adaptive change, where the future of churches arguably relies on the increased growth of a service-oriented centeredness, community, curiosity, and experimentation as opposed to a solely Sunday-oriented theology, congregation, certainty, and tradition, we need to comfortably sit with this … that failure matters.

Working hard enough, embracing change, calling us all back both to the center of our faith and at the same time calling us out into the world … all this means we will fail.

Hopefully failing forward, and hopefully coming to embrace that “failure matters” because the mission matters enough for us to try hard enough that we will be met with failure time and time again.

Failure (and the fear of failure) gives you a chance to have a voice….

Because failure frightens people who care less than you do.

Seth Godin

On the other side of failures lies resilience and discovery.  A “stilling of the waters.”   A peace-filled voice saying in one of my favorite passages of scripture, “This is the Way.  Walk in it.”

The Beauty of Failure

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Why talk about failing?  Three reasons courtesty of Seth Godin….

  1. Because success is easier to deal with and you’re probably doing fine with that.
  2. Because your narrative about failing is keeping you from succeeding.
  3. Because you will have far more chances to fail than you know what to do with.
And failure is the Christian narrative.  Chrisitanity is as downward story, a story of willing descent and failure.  And a story of an ultimate redemption that reclaims the whole.
One idea, one way to hold that bigger picture… Peter Gomes, the former Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard Divinity School, tellingly wrote that the beauty of Christianity is that we can be more than our biography.  We have our identity, made in God’s image and likeness, and we have our biography, our life circumstances, our external life.  Who we are vs. what we do. Our soul vs. our resumé.
And our care tends to lean towards biography instead of identity.
That is why Christianity in a sense can be so revolutionary as we lean instead away from biography to identity.  A Copernican shift of center.  And a shift that ALWAYS entails a blessed beauty – the blessed beauty of failure.  As one author phrased it, a “living witness to a simple life on the edge of the dominant consciousness.”
Failure then?  The joyous path to being more than our biography.

Some Days We Just Miss It!

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

There are days we just miss it, days known more for halting, stumbling humanness than for anything grandiose or athletic.  And God is there too.

I think it no small thing to always check ourselves against several benchmarks, one of the most important being “joy.”  Can we look at those “less than” moments with a sense of joy?  Can we smile?

We do a disservice to creation when we obsess on performance issues measured up against an  imagined perfection.  ”Perfection” is a mathematical concept not a human one.  That does not mean sloppiness ascends to the level of virtue.  It does mean however joy remains a mark of the spiritually mature, be that in moments of achievment or in moments/ days where we just plain miss.


Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

I love this photo of a US Gymnast receiving her Silver medal. Big surprise – she was favored for the gold!

The picture leaves you torn doesn’t it. Part feels compassion for someone whose life dream, so close to realization, fell away at the last moment. And another I imagine wonders “How about a little perspective? Second in the WORLD is not bad news.”

Failure is part of life.  We need structures around us to protect us from certain failures.  What we don’t need however is a padded room that keeps from failure.  Some words to think about …

In order to construct our life’s container we all need some help from “the perennial tradition” that has held up over time. We cannot each start at zero, entirely on our own. Life is far too short, and there are plenty of mistakes we do not need to make—and some that we need to make. We are parts of social and family ecosystems that are rightly structured to keep us from falling, but also, more importantly, to show us how to fall and also how to learn from that very falling.  

We are not helping our children by always preventing them from what might be necessary falling, because we learn how to recover from falling by falling! It is precisely by falling off the bike many times that you eventually learn what the balance feels like. Those who have never allowed themselves to fall are actually off balance, while not realizing it at all. That is why they are so hard to live with. Please think about that for a while.

Getting Ready for …..

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Started working on this year’s Easter service.  We will be focusing on the Road to Emmaus.  What a beautiful story!  I won’t ruin it by outlining the plot but at its core it is about “Success” and “Failure” – our view vs. God’s.

God’s call appears to go well beyond what we can imagine it to be.  Our story about faith hems us in – both in good ways and bad.  And much of the Easter story is about those illusions being destroyed – the illusions of the disciples, to the skittish Roman Occupiers, to the sanctimonious Pharisees.   Is God an earthy King, concerned with GDP and American Exceptionalism?  Is He here to set people against one another in a class war?  Does He spend His time parsing out the legitimacy of particular forms of worship?   Actually God is far more free than any of those.

“Success” and “Failure” are often our own private and misguided way of framing our world.  Maybe Easter leaves us with the simple acknowledgement that even that illusion of an all too readily cleaved world, broken simply between “success” and “failure,” must die, our call being to “participate in the qualities of love and faith.”  God is THAT free – able to choose both “Success” and “Failure.”