Part Two: Princeton Women's Basketball Coach Courtney Banghart Talks to What In God's Name about Competition, Courage, and Social Media

Jan 17, 2019, 10:15 AM

Welcome to What In God’s Name!

Be curious. Go deep. Shed light.

The core of today’s show is the second installment of Chris’s conversation with Courtney Banghart, head coach of the Princeton University women’s basketball team. Courtney is reflective about her work with young athletes, and about competition and competitiveness as facets of contemporary American culture. Of special interest in this part of the interview, Courtney talks about social media and young people.

At the conclusion of the interview, Chris and Shayna share their highlights from what Courtney had to say, and add some theological reflection.

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Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:23 Chris and Shayna begin the show with some much-needed interpretation of what “progressive” Christianity might mean. It is certainly not to be confused with “progressive” politics.

01:41 Shayna offers context on why a show that looks at current events and culture from a theological and philosophical perspective, would interview a women’s basketball coach. What is the intersection?

03:09 The second part of the interview with Courtney begins.

03:28 To compete requires courage. Conversation ensues.

05:33 Would you say that winning and losing is about result, and competing is about process?

08:00 In our culture, it’s a temptation to think of losing as failure. Is losing failure? If not, what constitutes failure?

08:56 How do you balance a focus on process with the need to produce results? Courtney shares her thoughts.

11:22 Courtney raises questions having to do with the mental health of young people within the dynamics of social media, curating an online persona, personal authenticity, and competition.

13:56 The fear of failure, examined.

17:35 Competing at social media: accumulating likes and followers. What are the implications of this dynamic? How do we build or instill or educate our children toward inner strength, the “internal real?”

20.34 Chris and Shayna reflect on losing as failure, and the notion that competing requires courage. From a theological perspective, Chris talks about vocation: God’s calling us to share our gifts in the world, and how that requires courage and involves failing.

23:27 Shayna reflects on the issues Courtney raises about social media and young people. What if you’re not “winning” at social media? What if you don’t have a coach who’s talking to you about creating a stable inner landscape? The theological reminder is that, from the Christian perspective, the love of God holds us, and empowers us, to shine the light of our authentic selves.