Block 3, Friendship - Bottom of the Ninth #116

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Bottom of the 9th - Friendship

Friendship - Block 3, John Wooden's Pyramid of Success

by Keith Wahl

John Wooden says this about "Friendship" and the next two blocks of the Pyramid:

The three blocks between the cornerstones are the "people blocks" of Friendship, Loyalty, and Cooperation. People make us better. It is easier to reach our potential when we learn the value of including others in our quest. We can accomplish so much more when we work with others.

Wooden strikes a truth here in ways we see in our own lives, but also on the movie screen.

Have you ever noticed that movies have a pattern in their storytelling? That concept of a mono-myth is for another time, but, for the sake of this message, we'll focus on one of the stages of that kind of storytelling - seeking out community.

None of the great film characters of screen history could have made it alone. Luke Skywalker? Nope, not a chance. Indiana Jones? Plenty of help. The Avengers? Only when they came together as a team did they succeed. Seeking out community in the form of mentors, helpers, and guides along your journey is vital to the character's journey and our human experience. The next time you watch a movie, pay attention to how the main character has to seek out community in order to succeed in his or her transformative journey.

The Bible speaks to this in voice of the writer in the letter to the Hebrews. In Hebrews 12:1-2, the author refers to a "great cloud of witnesses" helping us in our journey of faith:

Hebrews 12:1-2 - "

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." (NIV)

It saddens me that in our little "i" society, that we have too many kids in this current generation seeking to complete their journey on their own. They struggle with constructive criticism that could advance them in their journey. When things get difficult, they don't dive in, they tend to run. The Bible doesn't give us a picture of rainbows and puppy dogs at every turn - life is going to be difficult. It takes real friendship, tried through the fire, in order to help move us along on our journey of transformation.

In forming his championship teams, Phil Jackson has often used this passage rom Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book:

"Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.â€

In the end, the lone wolf dies. We must draw all generations into community and friendship in order to survive. Again, may we take the simple perspective of this prayer written in one of the books about Wooden's pyramid to heart:

"Dear Author of friendship, I thank You that I can have You as a friend through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Please send a few good friends my way so that I can be part of a three-strand cord of strength and bring more glory to Your Name. Use me to help them and them to help me faithfully walk with you. Thank You."

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