Swinney on being a Christian in critical world: "I don't think you can turn that off"
|Friday, May 8, 2020, 8:37 AM- -|
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has never been afraid of criticism, and he’s never been ashamed to show his faith. For those that want him to shut that off and just coach football, he has a message for you: that isn’t going to happen.
On this week’s episode of Huddle Up, a weekly virtual sports gathering hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Sports Spectrum, former NFL head coach Tony Dungy and Swinney talked about how they operate a football program while still observing Christian principles. Swinney’s wife, Kathleen, joined the chat, and the Huddle Up hosts were recent NFL tight end retiree Benjamin Watson and his wife, Kirsten.
Swinney was asked about his faith, and he said that his job isn’t to make sure his players and coaches are saved, his job is to win football games.
“I always tell everybody, my job is not to save them. My job is to win football games,” Swinney said. “I’ve come under fire many times from different organizations and things like that because of my faith. They want me to just shut that off and not be a Christian.
“[My coaching staff] starts every day with a devotion. It goes around the room and everybody has an opportunity to speak. It could be spiritual, it could just be inspirational, it could be whatever. God has called us to be Christians in everything we do, and I don’t think you can turn that off.”
However, Swinney says he is also not afraid to help a young person grow in their Christian walk.
“If I get a young man that comes to Clemson and he’s strong in his faith, and he leaves Clemson and I didn’t help him grow stronger, shame on me,” he said. “If I get a young man that comes to Clemson, and he doesn’t know anything, or he’s searching, and I don’t cultivate that. ... Shame on me.”
For those who might want to criticize Swinney, he has a ready answer.
“So many people, today, they are afraid of criticism. They are afraid of not being politically correct, or whatever it may be. There’s a lot of hostility toward Christianity today,” Swinney said. “I always tell people, the hope of the world, it’s not in politics, it’s not in a new President, it’s not in a stimulus package. It’s not in anything.
“The hope of the world is Jesus. But God says in (Colossians) 3:23, whatever you do, you do it with all your heart as if you’re working for the Lord.”
Swinney said he hopes that people can see Christ in not only how he does his job, but how he lives his life.
“I hope that they see Christ in me as I do my job. I hope that they see the light of Jesus through me as I do my job that God’s called me to do,” Swinney said. “We’re called to love people. We’re called to serve people. And our whole philosophy of our program is to serve their heart and not their talent.”
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