I like Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio. Nothing new. I’ve talked about him before here on this blog. My local sports radio station used to carry his entire show from 9 AM to 1 PM, and I almost always at least had it on in the background. Then they recently, for reasons I don’t understand, replaced his show with Dan Patrick. Patrick is good but not nearly as good as Cowherd. Cowherd is more philosophical and ties life lessons to sports almost daily. Patrick is more of a jokester and tries to be too cute. So I downloaded the ESPN radio iPhone app and can listen to The Herd, Colin’s show, in its entirety. I’m sure my local station doesn’t like this, but I don’t want to listen to Dan Patrick. I want Cowherd.
Today was one of those days when Colin said something very valuable to not just sport but life. He talked about failure. His quote: “Everyone who succeeds has failed.” Man is that ever true. He expanded on that to say that if someone is not willing to admit to you that they have succeeded without failure, they are lying. And he’s not talking about little mix ups. He’s talking about near catastrophic failure and listed several individuals to back up what he was saying. Bankruptcies, divorces, prison time, major injury, etc. Devastating failure. If you plan to succeed, you better expect major failure along the way, because if you don’t fail, you also won’t succeed.
So why don’t we see our faith’s this way? Why do we always talk about reaching some level of perfection or “sanctification?” Does that even make any sense with what we know about what it takes to grow and improve? I hesitate to use the word “success” when it comes to faith and belief, partly because I myself am trying to get away from the notion that it’s all about a set of rules. “Success” can very quickly turn into needing to earn something. Probably a better idea of success in faith (and maybe this is only pertinent to the Christian view) is when we realize and are truly comfortable with the idea that we don’t have to do anything to earn anything. Accepting grace is success. And the road to that place involves failure.
And God has to know that. He set the system up for crying out loud. The world works that way. Everything in it works that way. Before there is success there is failure. Always. No way to get around it. And then sometimes there’s even more failure. It just works that way.
What does that say about this fear of hell that is so prevalent in Christianity? I would like to say that I am beyond this fear of hell. But I’m not. I think I’m getting over it bit by bit by bit by tiny little bit. But I’m far from being beyond it. It almost feels like I’ve been traumatized in some way. Not sure where that comes from.