Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Winning 'Bigly' Isn't Everything

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Winning 'Bigly' Isn't Everything

Article excerpt

According to Donald Trump, the time is coming when we're going to be winning bigly.

"Bigly" is the latest edition to the Trumptionary, a lexicon that is sure to come in handy over the next six months. Savoring his victory as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee the other evening, Trump declared, "We are going to win bigly. Believe me." It's the latest gaffe, or should we say a malatrumpism. Or something like that.

Political candidates of both parties can get tongue tied from time to time. Preachers do, too. I've mispronounced names of the deceased at funerals, and mangled syntax. Bigly may be no big deal. The deeper issue, however, is what we mean by success.

In a culture of anxiety, winning is everything. Success is defined as clawing your way past your rivals to stand alone on the mountain. In churches, success is nearly always defined by keeping pews and plates filled. Profits, not prophets, are the measure of achievement.

But something about those measures seem inadequate to me.

We recently constructed a paper tree inside our church lobby. Within a few days, it had grown from bare sticks to a healthy foliage. You might say it's getting "bigly." With its brown paper limbs and recycled packaging trunk, this paper tree is filling out nicely while challenging our congregation to a richer and deeper understanding of success.

My son created the tree as a way of illustrating a point I was trying to make in a sermon. Sometimes a tree is worth a million words. After a few hours of twisting paper and stapling branches, the tree's majestic form emerged. It took a while, but then he was the first to admit that he's never created a tree before. With some help from others, pretty soon the tree began to flourish.

On Sunday, members began jotting down prayers on green paper leaves. I remarked that we were "leafing our hearts to the Lord." As leaves were added and the tree grew, it became apparent that this was much more than a tree. It was a symbolic expression of how we are rooted in our community. …

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