Book Review: For God and Country
Fisher DeBerry was the US Air Force Academy’s head football coach for 23 years. He turned the USAFA football team into a national powerhouse, and he riled some people for his outspoken Christianity while working with young military cadets.
DeBerry’s book is part autobiography, part witness. It describes his upbringing and career as head coach, and also his philosophy as a Christian in public life. He describes his life as “the Three F’s: Faith, Family, and Football”–in that order. He describes many of the conscious choices he made to encourage faith and family priorities in those he worked with and coached. He speaks of the value of children, parenting, and the importance of school teachers–something few people may know DeBerry did before coaching college football.
His chapter on “Faith” is a wonderful read in which he says “we have our missions fields right here,” and encourages Christians to “spread the word daily by how we live and conduct ourselves:”
You don’t have to beat your chest and proclaim “I’m a Christian” to everyone you meet. But you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Being a Christian has everything to do with how you approach life and the way you treat people.
Your Christianity isn’t just about what you say, it is shown by the consistency of how you live your life.
Unfortunately, the book isn’t produced with the highest quality editing, and those who have no interest in the US Air Force Academy or its football program may find some of the book uninteresting.
This book was written before the lawsuit and controversies over religion at the Air Force Academy, which cited and frequently criticized DeBerry’s outspoken Christianity as football coach.
Recommended. It has wonderful pearls of wisdom and guidance, though some of its subjects are slightly niche. It does have some Christian living advice that would be pertinent to the military Christian. It’s a quick read and worth it, though those bored by football or USAFA may have to skim some parts.
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