“Winning takes care of everything” Really?

We’re a little late to this party, but Joshua Case has a column on Tiger Woods, Nike advertising and Holy Week at Homebrewed Christianity that is well worth reading. It includes this passage:

The controversial Nike ad heralding that “Winning takes care of everything” is making the circuit trans-media. Radio shock-jocks love it, Today Show professionals are confused by it, and those who have ever felt the sting of marital infidelity once again feel enraged by the audacity of shamelessness exhibited by the world’s number one golfer and brand.

Tiger’s indiscretions are not the issue. My concern is what this narrative, this “winning is all that matters” attitude, means in light of this week – the most important week in the life of the Christian calendar.

From Palm Sunday until Easter, many mainline churches in America will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 services compared to their usual 4 or 5. This Holy Week, more than all other weeks, winning has nothing to do with who we as Christians claim to be in the world. Rather, if anything is to take care of everything, it is the deep and ancient practice of walking the Way of the Cross – a way that is marked not by what one is able to accomplish or win, but a way that is marked by how we are able to discover and live fully into deep oneness with God in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Christian triumphalists who will herald that the Nike ad is right on point with the message of Easter Sunday. Many will suggest that the Christian belief in resurrection is a winning, a taking care of everything. Yet what these Christians and Nike mistake in common is what Tiger and those who take the Way of the Cross seriously know best: the road to winning is filled with more self-learning, falling, failing, judgment, support from others, death, and personal inner growth than could ever be imagined.

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