Brian Dawkins: The Best Eagle Ever



Brian Dawkins 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Speech

Faith, family & football: these are the three key elements in the life of Brian Dawkins, arguably one of the best players to don a Philadelphia Eagles uniform in the modern era. Dawkins is passionate about everything, and everything starts with faith. Faith the noun and faith the verb were Dawkins’ No. 1 traits. He practiced what he preached and he lived what he learned.

Dawkins’ speech at the 2018 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony was one for the ages. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and stop reading right now and watch it. Please. It’s totally worth it. B-Dawk was the first Eagle to reach the Hall since Reggie White, the “Minister of Defense” in 2005, and it was worth the wait. I’ve watched the clip over and over and I’m moved to tears and cry like a baby every time.

Dawkins began his speech by giving praise to God. He shouted “hallelujah” before uttering any other words. It set the tone and paved the way for a stirring, rousing, emotionally moving speech that revealed that there was no shame in Brian Dawkins game. His past, private struggles are now very public, as he detailed how his pain gave birth to his gain. Dawkins faith and his family, especially his wife, were vital to helping him deal with the vicissitudes of his life,

Dawkins was a great football player and he wasn’t great by accident. He was a great player because he is a better person. He urged everyone not to settle, but to push through the pain, because there is purpose in pain. You saw how he played the game; he played with reckless abandon. And that’s how he lives. Dawkins told us that his pain increased his faith exponentially. He said that he went “through” his struggles – he did not stay in them. And he encouraged everyone with these words: “Don’t stay where you are; keep moving and keep pressing through.”  

If we didn’t learn anything else from the 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, we learned this; it’s faith that gets us through, it’s family that carries us through, and football, for most of the inductees, as rough and tough as it can be, connected the two together. Brian Dawkins, Randy Moss and Ray Lewis are symbols of the faith we need to have in God, the strength that family gives us, and the joy of being a part of a championship caliber team that endures pain and struggle and secures victories and upsets and comebacks and turnarounds in providential ways. 

So take it from Brian Dawkins: push through. There’s s gain on the other side of your pain.


Somewhere Between Hopefully and Probably


We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.  John 6:69, KJV

Most people live between hopefully and probably.  They hope they will, but think they probably won’t.  They are hopeful, and they believe victory is probable, but they’re never quite sure.

Most people aren’t sure.  Most people aren’t confident. Most people don’t believe.  They live between hoping and knowing, wishing and trusting, longing and realizing. There’s a big difference between the two extremes, and while balance is good, their aim is not to rock the boat, not to offend, not to go too far one way or the other.  They’re neither up nor down, in nor out, cloose nor far; they’re just somewhere between.

Most people live in between. They’re not that bad, but then again, they’re not that good. Most people are unsure, unclear, and uncertain. They’re not hot or cold, but, like the Laodiceans, they are lukewarm – tepid and insipid, flat and fleeting, blah and bland. They whiff and waffle, toss and topple, and never take root downward in order to bear fruit upward.

Most people don’t have great faith. The team that will win the Super Bowl is full of great players and great athletes and is a great team that believes. Great players don’t hope, they know; great athletes don’t wish, they trust; great teams don’t just desire to win, they determine to win.

Somewhere between hopefully and probably is not the address of those who believe. Somewhere between hopefully and probably is not the locale of the bold and the brave.  Somewhere in between is not the domicile of the gutsy and the gallant.  In turn, those who know, trust and rely on God understand that we live in a purposive universe.  We believe in the God of the universe, and this God created all things with and for a purpose.  Even sports.

We do not live in between. We believe that “all the ways of God are meaningful” and that “there is an ultimate Divine Omega which is implicit in an original Alpha and that all that God Does in the meantime has a significant relation to the purpose of the process.”[1] That is why “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, KJV).

So where are you? Are you between hopefully and probably?  Hopefully not, but I fear it’s probably so. What do you believe? What are your sure of? Who do you trust? The God of the Bible is the only one we can trust, rely on and totally depend on. There is no one like Him.  We “believe  that there is meaning in things, and that this meaning, to some  extent evident to rational reflection, is augmented  and clarified when seen in the light of the revelation.”[2]  This revelation is seen in all of creation, and in life, and in sports.

My Eagles believe.  The players, the fans and all of Philly believe that the Eagles will win their first home playoff game in what seems like forever against the New Orleans Saints. Will they win? Hopefully. Can they win? Probably.  But we do believe. And that’s better than being stuck in no man’s land between no place and nowhere, having no confidence, no commitment and no conviction.  Yet and still, while we believe, we also realize that it’s only a game, but clearly it’s not JUST a game.

[1] Edwin Lewis, “A Philosophy of the Christian Religion” (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers), 1940, p. 4.

[2] Ibid.