Playing to Win | Week 6

By: John Mark Elliott

Posted in Program Updates on October 5, 2015 | View all posts

“Life isn’t played to keep from losing. We play to win.”

Depending on context, this statement could be 1) a rousing axiom used by Coach Taylor in the football locker room during a Friday Night Lights episode or 2) a sobering reminder from a neurological psychiatrist to the Fellows of Trinity Forum Academy about the telos of the Christian life. You can guess the context in light of this blog. And here I sit and write sobered up, but still staggering from Curt Thompson’s wise words.



Photo by Zach Miller Photography, from a Trinity Forum Evening Conversation


His statement summed up what the week was about.  It was a Luke 5 gut-check reminding us why we, as Christ followers, are here: “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I [Jesus] have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Yep, this week was about hurling promises of God against the lies I unknowingly operate under.

The truths Curt told us were healing balm to my parched soul: The Christian life is not about not being messy. The Christian life is about being creative with the messes we have. We don’t do this Christian thing in order to avoid suffering, brokenness, and disappointment, we do it in order to be found and known by the one who created us to be in community with him. In a nutshell, being a Christian isn’t about knowing things—things like how to avoid messiness or even knowing things about God—it’s about being known—knowing that you are loved and not alone.

That’s the goal. Being known. Being loved.

And that’s what the Fellows are preparing to do in the weeks ahead. We are sharing our life stories. One by one. Inviting others into our messes. Exposing our mountaintop joys, valley-deep regrets, unbridled fears, bruised hearts, mended spirits, broken bodies, crushed dreams, complicated relationships. We are doing what Jesus already did for us. He played to win by entering into our mess, dying naked and exposed on a tree. It was a go big or go home life, death, and resurrection that didn’t avoid mess, but faced it head on so that we could be fully known. So we at TFA are entering into that life. We are taking a risk. Going for it on fourth and long.  Going big or going home.

Call it what you will: We are playing this Christian community game not to not lose, but to win.