Saying “We’re bigger than the Eagles,” like I was on Sunday, as the Philadelphia Eagles demolished the Minnesota Vikings, is kind of like when John Lennon said “We’re bigger than Jesus” about his band, the Beatles (ever heard of them?). The only problem is that on the scale of popularity with which John was measuring, he had a chance of being accurate. But it’s in the same spirit of grandiosity that I stand by my claim. Circle of Hope is bigger than the Eagles.
The Eagles have a lot to love about them. They are one of the most philanthropic teams in the NFL this year. One player, Chris Long, donated his whole salary. Malcolm Jenkins started a foundation that works to provide education, character development, leadership, life skills, health and recreation to city kids; and he led the Players Coalition which lobbied owners to donate $89 million to charities addressing the racial justice issues raised by the coalition players who protested in various ways during the national anthem. And there’s Carson Wentz who is as Jesus-loving as Tim Tebow, but without the shove-it-down-your-throat flair. There is a movement of faith happening in the Eagles locker room. I love this! Lastly, eagles are hands down the coolest bird (and I love birds!)
Pro sports, especially football, is fraught with objectionable aspects. Violence, brain injury, millionaires, militarism, misogyny… But when the city floods into the streets in crazy joy you have to feel the love. Spontaneous joy is a rarity, and even if you’re not into the inspiration, you can be into the joy. E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!
So when I say Circle of Hope is bigger than the Eagles, it is my own sincere, personal appreciation that I am surmounting. Circle of Hope is bigger than the Eagles because we are in the celebration, and we will be bringing something else to celebrate long after the Crisco gets washed off the Broad Street poles. We have any number of chants that are much catchier and more beautiful. We live in joy that includes the crowd at the Linc and everyone who doesn’t care at all.
We’ll be meeting at our five locations on Sunday evening. Come and join us if you’re looking for some joy that doesn’t smell like pigskin, but don’t be surprised if you find people like me who love it all but love you, and what we’ll be doing together, even more.