Win by Two is a gripping story about two men, Adam Donyes and Derrick Derrell, from very different backgrounds whose lives intersected on the basketball court and around a shared friendship and eventually a shared faith in Christ. Join Scott and Sean as they interview Adam and Derrick—you’ll be encouraged by their story.
About our Guest
Adam Donyes is the founder and director of the Kanakuk Kamps Link Year Program. He played D-1 basketball at Boise State University. Derrick Derrell works in Raytown, Missouri, is a speaker and faithful dad to his three sons.
Scott Rae: Welcome to the podcast, Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. I'm your host, Scott Rae, Dean of Faculty and Professor of Christian Ethics here at Talbot School of Theology, at Biola University.
Sean McDowell: I'm your co-host, Sean McDowell, Professor of Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
Scott Rae: We're here today with two very special guests, Adam Donyes and Derrick Derrell, who are the co-authors of a fascinating new book that links basketball, friendship and racial reconciliation together, called Win By Two. It's a fabulous story, very compelling, about how they met, and became friends, and serve the Lord together, and just this incredible friendship that developed out of their chance meeting on a basketball court.
Let me ask both of you, just to start with, it's a fascinating story, and I understand why you wanted to get the story out. But writing a book on it is a lot of work, it's a lot of effort. What motivated you to actually take the time and effort to write the book, to get this story out at this time?
Adam Donyes: Yeah, well, this is Adam. COVID really helped that. There was a quarantine, and my heartbeat was to help Derrick in any way that I could, and just get his story out there, because I think his story is so powerful and compelling, and I got to play a small part of it.
The motivation was really, hopefully, to give Derrick some more opportunities like this, where he gets to get on a podcast, or he's even gotten a couple of speaking opportunities, to just share his story in a time where I feel our country desperately needs to come together, rather than continually divide that wedge.
I don't want to answer for Derrick. So Derrick, you can speak into your motivation for letting us get the story out.
Derrick Derrell: It's really that simple. All right, for example, it's really about timing. And I can only speak honestly from my point of view. In the past, in my culture, which I don't believe in being a victim, I've seen a whole lot of people that look just like me. I mean, that's just how it went. In the inner city, you see a whole lot of people.
But then, once upon a time, I met this guy named Adam Donyes. How we met is how we met, basketball, whatever, like that. In my heart, it had to be, it's a rapper I used to like, named Nas, and he called a title called, It Was Written. I'm a firm believer that it was written in stone that me and Adam met, because it never made no sense how we met, do you know what I mean? But we met.
In the process of meeting, over time, all that culture stuff for me, although it still exists, went out the window, because it really made sense, that when you look at the Bible, how God made no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, because of the investment or the time between the two of us, even though, I mean, this man was a great asset to my life, with just being himself.
We weren't doing nothing extra, it's just what was valuable, over time. He was not acting, he was authentic. And a lot of things in my background, lacks trust. You don't trust people. You can start directly in your household. You don't trust people.
So if you have to, you can cut me off in regards to the way I talk, but I'm telling you the truth, how this played out for me, at least. It's deeper than a basketball game, although it started with a basketball game, that he was the oddball that came to the court. What I mean is, he's just standing over there, and I'm looking at him, and he's trying to have games.
[inaudible] pretty sure all over the place. I've been to Venice Beach, sometimes it's hard to get rec, and I'm over here, "Well, why can't we play?" So then, I picked some up on my team, because I'm a dominant figure there. And in my mind, I can win with anybody.
Well, you would have thought this was a re-enactment of White Men Can't Jump. We were running a scam artist, because I have a brother who is very, very, very, very talented street ball player. And for some reason, "Here, Adam, here. Yeah, You go." I'm thinking, "Your hands are about to be full, anyway." But my arrogance is that we'll win regardless.
The funny part of this story is, though, guys, Adam can play defense. And I didn't know that. Adam was giving my brother a hard time on defense, and my brother's nice, but then, guess what else Adam can do? Adam can shoot. Guess who knows none of this? All this may seem small to some, so we're playing ball, before you know it, it we're casually talking.
I'll say this much, timing, because at the end of the day, not to be emotional, you're talking to a guy who had all the trust issues in the world. But as you can hear from you first, hey, man, in this day and age, you all, you give people they flowers while they're there.
I love Adam Lee Donyes. That is my brother. He means the world to me.
Sean McDowell: Derrick, it's so moving to hear you say that. Let me take a step back, because I want to hear about both of your backgrounds. But first, Adam, to paint this picture, you and I have something in common.
Our wives have the same name, we drive basically the same car, and we're both short white scrappy point guards. I played at Biola, you played at a D1, higher level. So tell us a little bit of your background, your love for the game, and why you chose to even go play in a place where you first met Derrick?
Adam Donyes: Yeah, thanks for asking, Sean. I grew up in a broken family, actually, not too far from you, in Spring Valley, California. And it was, basketball saved me from a lot of other ills. What I mean by that is, I have some family members that chose drugs and alcohol, and abusive, broken relationships.
So I idolized basketball. And I think, in a unique way, God protected me through his grace, through the game of basketball. Rather than going to prom, or chasing girls, I was in the gym, shooting shots. From there, I got to go to Boise State and play basketball at Boise State.
From playing at Boise State, I ended up in the Midwest because I met Joe White, President of Kanakuk Kamps, at a Promise Keepers event that he was speaking at, actually with your dad, Josh McDowell. And I met Joe at that event. And Joe told me about Kanakuk Kamps.
Upon graduation from Boise State, I came out here, started working in the camps. And then I needed to figure out what I was going to do during the year. So I turned down a di op job, a director of operations job, at a Division One school, and decided to mentor and coach high school kids in the Branson area, at a place called Hollister, did that for four years.
Then I got hired after that to be the head varsity coach up at Kansas City Christian, where I met Derrick. Like the book says, I was sitting in my house, grading papers, and I looked out and I got tired of grading English papers, and I wanted to go play. These guys had some intense pickup going, and I still had a little bit of gas in the tank to play.
I went over there and started playing with them, and as the story unfolds, I just built this phenomenal relationship with Derrick, who I also do love dearly. Yeah, and so, that's the SparkNotes version of how this whole thing went down from my side.
Sean McDowell: Is it fair to say, Adam, that you went and played at pickup games that normally, somebody from a Christian school, who was white, just probably wouldn't go play? Is that fair? Like, it's a surprise to see you show up, and want to ball there?
Adam Donyes: Yeah, yeah, Sean, there's no question. The funny thing is, and people should read the book, if they get a chance, not because I think I'm a great writer, but because of the story is God's story. So many people at the court, Sean, and Derrick would tell you this, so many of them thought I was an undercover cop for a little while.
They were looking at me, they were, "Who is this dude? Is he an undercover cop? What, what, why is he hanging out? Why is he watching us? What's going on?" Yeah, no doubt, it was not where you would find most Christian guys looking to find pickup games. They would more likely be going to the rec on the other side of the state line.
Sean McDowell: Now, Derrick, you described when you saw Adam show up, and learning that he could ball, and I've played with him and affirm that he can ball. But let me tell you, do you mind sharing a little bit of your background experience? You mentioned, a couple of times, just trust being an issue with people, and how that went into meeting Adam?
Derrick Derrell: When this book got started, there was still, I would say, a lot of pain within me, even though I was fighting it, because I had an amount of grieving going on, but I had to resist it, I'll fight the grieving, because of the particular living situation I had. So my grieving had delayed.
As I read the book or as I think about the book, I always ask myself these questions. It's like, you have a psych evaluation, hypothetically speaking. Well, one year later, they give you the same test, just worded differently. You get to see how much your answers didn't change. You see?
Now I'm going to have you do me a favor. Re-ask me that same question, so I can become more focused on the actual answer, rather than making it drawn out. What did you originally just ask me?
Sean McDowell: That's fair. We heard a little bit of Adam's background that he brought to this relationship. He met with you. What would you be willing to share that you're comfortable with, of your background, that you brought to this relationship, meeting Adam.
Derrick Derrell: Okay. I'll give you this much.
All right, I'm pretty, I don't know how the word is. Not the most emotional person, but ever since meeting Adam and another family, the Donyes, honestly? I mean, the Donyes, the Mceldowneys. I didn't use to hug people.
Sean McDowell: Wow.
Derrick Derrell: No, what I'm getting at is I wasn't a guy that ... I could come down the court, might dunk on three people, in the high school game, everybody on the team, "Do not slap his butt," you see? I was just one of those kids. It wasn't to be tough. It's because of different things that happened in the past.
I didn't hug people. Adam Lee Donyes, the Mceldowneys, the Jensens, basically it's almost like they're saying, "It's okay." I mean, I'm going to tell you how far I've came.
I'm one of those people, I'll never forget going to counseling, and I keep a wall up, and the counselor, who was a KU fan, and I'm a diehard KU fan, he says to me, something. I go, "I don't really follow me, because man, I always let you down. You can't believe in me."
And I'll never forget it. He says, "That's not always true, but I could tell you really believe that." And I said, "I base it on facts, and [inaudible 00:11:36]."
So I look at these years later, right? And I say, "Do I still feel that way?" I'm in the meeting last week, talking about something, and as I'm talking to a particular person, I make this phrase, as they're name dropping all these people. I says, "I trust Adam Lee Donyes." Just came out like that.
January 23rd, 1980, I didn't know they were writing it down. And they, it's like, "Do you trust me?" I says, "Well, I have to get to know you." What I'm getting that is, what's understood don't have to be explained. So you say, what comes into this particular situation? Adam didn't even beat me down with Christianity. That's what people might not understand.
I grew up going to church, but it was like a go through the motion. Your mama say, "Go to church on Sunday," your mama don't [inaudible 00:12:30]. "Yo, Mama ..." You didn't have no choice. And then you got to see what people do after church. So me being guilty, I'm judging people based upon their actions away from church, so I thought it was just fried.
When you get Adam, believe it or not, the weirdest thing in America, for me, at the time ... Brought me a Snicker to the park. I'm thinking, "Why is this guy bringing a Snicker to the park?" I mean, it never made no sense. And it's not like he brought me a Snicker and stepped to the side to give it to me. He gave it to me in front of everybody.
Now, the Snicker was good, too. Don't get me wrong. I mean, hold on. It was delicious, and for some reason, it's almost like my favorite candy now. But for some reason, I don't know if that my street savvy came upon him. But I'd always goes back and say, "It was written," because, guess what?
Adam accepted me for who I am, and seen something in me, that I could be more than what I am. One of the best attributes I can tell you about Adam, I don't even know if this is answering your question, due to different pressures in my life, if there was nine people at the park, and I was the tenth person ...
Not to pat myself on the back, I was a pretty good basketball player, especially in street ball. There was nothing in the world you could give me to do, to play basketball, until I played with my youngest son, for at least 30 to 45 minutes.
So just imagine, if you played competitive basketball, you're, "Dude, we're trying to play basketball," I didn't care what you was trying to do. My son needed my time. One day, Adam comes up to me. I thought, "He's about to be like these annoying people that thought he had some type of conversation that convinces me to play."
Instead, he heard me out, and his words was, "Kids do need their fathers." When he said it, that's a good [inaudible 00:14:21].
Sean McDowell: Amen.
Derrick Derrell: And it sums up something. Those words, do you understand me, carry so much weight. And who would ever thought that when my son turned one, his very first birthday cake, it came from Adam Lee Donyes. Unexpectedly. So this ain't about sitting up here, let me praise Adam, as I do joke and say, "Well, he might be the last Adam, from a Biblical standpoint." [crosstalk 00:00:14:49].
This ain't about gassing up Adam, or whatever, because none of this is perfect. It's called, "You give a person their flowers while they can smell them," because eight billion people coming to my funeral carries no weight for me, because last time I checked is, I'm dead. And who knows what's in the afterlife?
But as for him, I can't answer what I brought to the table, other than me being real. I told him the truth, who I was. The biggest compliment he gave me was when I told him that I was in trouble with the law, I thought he was faking. You know, he didn't believe me? I did not know I had changed that much.
That was the biggest compliment. He was, "Yeah, right," and I'm like, "No, I really am. I really am." And it shocked me. I remember that night, thinking, "Dang, so everybody don't look at you and think something bad?"
Because before I was ever in trouble with the law, I swear before God, the society I was living in, man, you got harassed for cops for nothing, just for walking down the streets. And I'm not a guy who bash cops. This is just my reality, it's my story. At the end of the day, these are true facts.
Scott Rae: Adam, a question for you. One of the really interesting parts of the story is how you and Derrick ended up coaching together at the Christian high school that you were coaching at. It's a very interesting turn of events.
So you sort of wandered into Derrick's world, on the street court, and then he comes into your world, coaching at this Christian high school, this predominantly white environment. How did that come about for you guys to coach together, and what was that experience like for the two of you?
Adam Donyes: Scott, thanks so much for asking that question. Yeah, so I didn't know how it was going to go.
I just knew Derrick was really knowledgeable about basketball. I needed an assistant coach. I valued him, our friendship was growing. So I took a huge shot in the dark and I walked into my superintendent's office and said, "Hey, I think I found a guy for my assistant.'"
He said, "Really?" And I said, "Yeah," he goes, "Well, I'll need to interview him." I said, "I know, but there's one caveat." He said, "What's that?" And I said, "He's a convicted felon."
He looked at me, and he says, "And you think we should hire him at a private Christian school?" And I looked back at him and I said, "Well, isn't that exactly where we should hire him?"
Sean McDowell: Exactly.
Scott Rae: Exactly, that's right.
Adam Donyes: He kind of froze for a minute, and he said, "I'll need to meet with him." And he met with him, he was blown away. He was blown away with Derrick's humility, with Derrick's countenance.
And what was really neat about it, Scott, was you saw transformation begin in Derrick at this point, because the tide was shifting, where he was getting an opportunity to succeed in the right way. The players at our school absolutely loved him.
He got to be a part of some different retreats and culture things he'd never engaged in before. And it was really neat to see how transformative that process began to be for Derrick.
Sean McDowell: Derrick, I'd love to hear, from your perspective, what it was like stepping into a different setting, different community, and not knowing how people maybe perceived you, or didn't perceive you. Share a little insight what it's like, from your side.
Derrick Derrell: Don't get me started. It was trash. It was straightforward.
Sean McDowell: Man.
Derrick Derrell: I'm just messing with you, man. I warned you earlier, I like to joke. All right, now, let me start over, and I'm going to try to be quick.
One, this is the behind the scenes stories. I didn't believe it was possible. You hear me?
Scott Rae: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Derrick Derrell: I might have even showed up late. You hear me thinking, "There's no way in the world, if I'm correct." I'm like, "There's no way," and I'm, "Who do this dude think he is, super Dave Armstrong? You can get me hired at a private Christian school?"
No, these are the behind the scenes. I was so scared to tell people that I was really going there. Guess what? I went there. I talked to the guy. I'm always, especially back then, I was always dressed for the occasion. He'll tell you. I made sure I got my suit on, I got my this on, I got my that on. Make a long story short, they hired me.
So when they hired me, this reality check comes in. I'm going to a little bit further. I'm like, "Hold on, man. This is God. How is this happening?" And I'm remembering the first time I really prayed.
I'm like, "Are you ser ... I'm starting to put things together." I'm, "Whoa, crazy. Dude, you forgot the prayer? Did you forget to pray?" It's almost like a reminder.
Now I go to the school. I stick out like a sore thumb, but I will not focus on the negative, because there were families there, that were kind to me. Now, it's not fair, because I'm ... What's that dude's name? Captain America. I got my shield. You say, "Who's my shield?" It's Adam Lee, you hear me? I got Adam. All right.
I also got Christ, the closer I got to him. So if anything went weird, I'm knowing I can go be honest with Adam, but then, there was some families there who really were pretty cool.
Now there was some situations, but that's neither here nor there. But what he gave me was a perspective to see something I didn't have growing up.
Adam Donyes: Derrick, Derrick-
Derrick Derrell: I had kids on the team-
Adam Donyes: You and Sean just instantly became best friends. You just mixed theology with Marvel.
Scott Rae: There you go.
Adam Donyes: So you guys just became best friends.
Derrick Derrell: So, you get the fact that I see all these fathers that come there, and parents that come there, and so many kids didn't get that much clock, right? Whereas, the way I grew up here, I was winning nine points per game of high school, and his parents might not even be there to know.
Sean McDowell: Wow.
Derrick Derrell: Well, as you're sitting on the bench, and I'm looking at these particular things, I realize these are the times to talk to kids about being confident, without being arrogant. And I realized, I could communicate with the kids, without every other word being bolder. I don't have to go out here and throw a chair like Bob Knight.
I don't like that, but I can still challenge these kids, just to look at them and say, "I want more," without putting them down. You hear what I'm saying? Just teaching them to excel.
Sean McDowell: Yeah.
Derrick Derrell: You hear what I'm saying? Just teaching them to excel.
Sean McDowell: Yeah.
Derrick Derrell: Well, these are things that, not only are they're learning for me, I'm learning for myself, you know? These were good deals. As I'm looking around, I said, "Man, the family really goes out here and support kids, even if their kid don't get off the bench."
I'm laughing, at first, and I'm thinking, "This is pretty neat, just the support." And it's teaching me a lot of things about awareness, character, and then, more or less watching him.
When I talk about this particular guy once again, who was so ambitious, because he was more than just a coach, for me, at least. He was more than just a head coach of this team. To see him deal with parents attacking him, even him being attacked about hiring me, because everything was not peaches and cream, you see? And how he stood strong, even when it was challenging my heart, he would have loved to fold.
And these are discussions we've never had before, but I felt like, it would have just been a lot easier for him to fold, but he stood strong. The problem with it is, I wouldn't have easily allow him to fold, because nothing was more valuable than my relationship with this young parent we're referring to, on his phone.
Over time, I realized this core phrase he loves to say for life, that you know what, as much as you feel about him, have you realized, Derrick, he feels the same way about you? There's nothing better than to love, but yet be loved back.
Sean McDowell: Amen.
Scott Rae: Hear, hear.
Derrick Derrell: That's priceless.
Sean McDowell: Hey Derrick, how tall are you?
Derrick Derrell: About six-four, maybe a little taller.
Sean McDowell: About six-four. Okay. Got you. Hey, we're going to move on to a couple other issues, but can you paint the picture, Adam, when you're in that game moment, and you basically turn the clipboard over as the head coach for Derrick to coach? I loved this moment. I felt like, this is like a Hoosiers moment-
Adam Donyes: Exactly.
Sean McDowell: ... When Gene Hackman gets himself kicked out of the game, so the assistant steps up. Paint that picture and how that went for us.
Adam Donyes: Yeah, I can remember it like it was yesterday. We were playing at a school that was about two hours north of us, and we're on the bus. Derrick that day drove behind us, so he could get home faster, because he lived in a little different direction than we did.
So he wasn't on the bus. He was driving directly behind us, following the bus to the game. And I walked to the back of the bus with all of the players, and the Lord, I'd just been praying on the bus and the Lord had laid on my heart to allow Derrick to coach.
I went back to the players, and I said, "Hey, fellows, the Lord's really laid it on my heart to have Derrick coach you guys tonight." One player looked at me and said, "You know, this is for the conference championship."
Sean McDowell: Wow.
Adam Donyes: I said, "I'm very aware of that." Then all of them said, "We're in, Coach. We're 100% in."
So we get to the venue, and we get into the locker room, and I hand Derrick the dry erase marker, and I said, "You're coaching tonight." He looks at me, and says, "You got jokes." I said, "No, no, I'm dead serious, I don't got ... You're coaching tonight. He's like, "What do you mean, I'm coaching?"
I said, "No, I'm sitting on the other end of the bench. You're sitting there." To make matters even more interesting, the coach he was coaching against that night was one of the all time high school winningest coaches in Kansas State history.
Sean McDowell: Oh, my goodness.
Adam Donyes: Yes. When Derrick realizes he's really coaching, he's in his three-piece suit. Now I can start to see the sweat beads starting to come on at this point, thinking, because usually, he's just chilling. He's having fun, and he ain't nervous, and so, he did a phenomenal job. And I sit on the end of the bench.
I even told the very well-known coach. I said, "Hey, I'm not coaching tonight. No disrespect to you. I just think this coach has earned this opportunity to coach." He didn't like that.
There was one time that the opposing coach literally marched, where he was within three feet of Derrick, yelling and screaming at the refs. And they didn't even tee him up, which was just kind of crazy-
Sean McDowell: Ah, gosh.
Adam Donyes: ... how much power this coach had. It was a tight game at half. Derrick ends up rallying them, calling the right plays, to finish the game. They win the regular season conference championship. And I go back in the locker room, and I just tear up. I just, I couldn't handle it.
Sean McDowell: Wow.
Adam Donyes: I'm sitting here looking at Derrick have success, good, the right kind of success, for the first time in his life. And it was just one of those God moments where, Sean, you step back. And you're saying, "That's unbelievable, What just happened."
Scott Rae: That's quite a moment, and Derrick, I'm sure that's a memory you'll have for a long time, too.
Derrick Derrell: Yes, it is. It is.
Scott Rae: What was that like for you, stepping in for him?
Sean McDowell: Well, thank you for asking, because now I'm going to tell you my point of view. Well, and I'm going to watch all my language, because I was very, very caught off guard, because what I like to do behind the scenes, a lot of the times I drove to games is ... Because I had a father who did drugs, right?
I wanted my father, who really wasn't in my life, to see the changes I've made. So behind the scenes, after I'm driving back, where I would drive all these weird hours to games, I would sneak off and see my father, and talk to my father. And if you remember, Adam, he started to coming to the games, too.
Adam Donyes: Yup.
Derrick Derrell: This mattered to me, because you only have one father, and we weren't close at all. But that mattered to me, because if I could change, I wanted him to see these things. I had no clue.
I remember Adam calling me up to these bleachers, and he's telling me this. He's very right. I thought it was a joke. The background of everything was going on was real. I was full of anxiety.
And I took pride in being sharp like Shannon, and rich like Gannon. You probably don't get the slang, what I just used, but I take pride in being very dressed, like Pat Riley, without the slicked back hair, for the games.
But as an assistant coach? Next thing you know, I'm actually out here, and Adam's telling me what to do. Well, I have a cheat code in my head, once I realized, because I really didn't believe him until it happened. I did not believe him to have ... I'm like, "If they're saying the April Fool's joke, I ain't never seen one. This is the funny part."
I'm going to cut this story in a second. As I was getting nervous, I looked at the star player on the team, 101, and his name was Ryan Mceldowney. And I looked at it, I think, "[inaudible 00:28:36]." And I said, Hey, I'm going to do the best I can." And one suggestion, pretty much. "Do not lose this game for me, okay?"
Ryan Mceldowney will tell you, I remember him telling me this. I said, "You don't want to lose anyway." And Ryan gave me a hug and said, "I would die on this court before I lose this game for you."
Sean McDowell: Wow.
Derrick Derrell: And I said, "That's all I need to hear." And we somehow won this game. But when he really overwhelmingly hit me, was that drive home, is that he trusted me to do this, and he's not lying. They got rushed for standard real close to me.
I'm going to tell you the truth. There was a culture clash. But the one thing I took pride in was not embarrassing that. Because, coming from where I come from, you can only imagine the thoughts going through my head.
Sean McDowell: Sure.
Derrick Derrell: Because I'm, in my mind, the nicest way to put it? First off, you need to fall back. But it would have never been said that nice. Because some of these schools, that'd be predominantly white, man, they said things that were cruel, you know?
Sean McDowell: Yup.
Derrick Derrell: Adam knows what I'm talking about. They picked at the players. It was weird how this went. Growing up where I grew up, that was almost normal. You had parents I heard yelling and cussing their kids and stuff. I wasn't expecting that at these schools.
But back to your point, on my way home, I bawled, because I'm, "He was willing to risk that for me." It goes back to this phrase, "What makes me so worthy?" And then it's, I have to get my Lord and Savior, who bled on the cross for six hours, for the sake of all of us, to glory.
That's my Jesus Christ, because I know what it's like to when I thought Jesus was a crutch. But I don't believe Jesus is just a crutch. I don't believe in none of that stuff.
Even when it comes to everything that's going on, political, not to get too far gone, as I always tell people, I remember when my guy said, "We already have a king. But we're insisting on having Saul. But we already have a king."
At the end of the day, my king is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the invisible God who manifests in the flesh. That's who I trust. And I seen those particular things playing out over time, when I least expected it. You get where I'm coming from?
Scott Rae: Amen. I do, yeah. Yes.
Sean McDowell: I do. Derrick, you're not only a coach. You got a little preacher in you. I love it.
Derrick Derrell: You got it.
Sean McDowell: I love what you're proclaiming, and we are going longer than we normally do. But there's a question I just want each of you to maybe briefly answer, if you don't mind is, what have you learned about racial reconciliation from this relationship and this experience?
Why don't you start, Adam? And then we'll go to Derrick.
Adam Donyes: Yeah. I would tell you that there's a lot more fear on both sides that needs to be broken down. And what I mean by that is, one thing, Sean, it frustrates me when people say they don't see color. Because I do see color, but I see it as beautiful. It's a [inaudible] day. It's unique.
It's, God created Derrick Derrell, beautiful, black, just the way he is. And so, I don't say, "I don't see color." I do, but I also see a color as him in the image of God. For me, it really encouraged me.
If I'd be willing to step out of my comfort zone, walk in someone else's shoes, go into Derrick's hood, be around his friends, be around his people, it helped me have a further understanding that I never would have cultivated, had I not been willing to fully engage that, and allow news, or social media, or other people dictate how I view a certain people.
For me, it's done, God's done amazing work in my heart through the process, he's given me a huge passion to see everyone through the lens of a [inaudible] day, and just how beautiful God's people are, and at the time, Derrick wasn't pursuing Jesus, that God wants to reconcile people to himself. And it doesn't matter if they're green, yellow, orange, God wants to reconcile people to himself.
If we allow fear to hinder that, Sean, it won't happen. As we know in Second Timothy 1:7, that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and self-discipline. So if I engage Derrick with love, and discipline and courage, it's amazing to see what God has done.
Sean McDowell: Amen. I love that. Derrick, maybe share something you've learned about racial reconciliation from this relationship.
Derrick Derrell: I'm one of them people who believe in, for me, I just liked having a level playing field. My favorite subject's history, and I just didn't like the way things were portrayed. Reconciliation and dealing with Adam, it taught me to be able to trust. And dealing with the Mceldowneys has helped me, the ability to trust, because the other people were not black.
But the first people I'd never trusted were actually black, that's the funny part, but I had trust issues to begin with. So racial conciliation, for me at least, is that, just treat people fairly, and I couldn't find a greater friend than them.
I can name a few others that are Caucasian. That's the problem, I'm trying not to overtalk a subject, because I-
Sean McDowell: Sure.
Derrick Derrell: ... Feel like you're saying, we're on a time limit, and I only know how to talk how I talk. I like to talk naturally and realistic. I don't like to be programmed.
Sean McDowell: Sure.
Derrick Derrell: That's why I be like, "You all sure you want me on the podcast? Because if you want me to talk, I want to speak my mind. I don't want to be controlled."
Sean McDowell: Sure.
Derrick Derrell: But in reality, it's almost like the same kind of difference. I've seen particular things in Adam's life, over time, that are personal. And I'm, "Wow, how we could go through some of the same things in its own unique way," and little do you know, until you talk, until you meet, we're all stranger, you know how relatable things can really be.
Because, like you say, "I don't see colors," that's like saying you don't see shapes. Yeah, we see color. But at the end of the day, we shouldn't be judged based upon that, because we're all created by the guy himself. I'm, "Now, come on, how can we sit here, and act like that?"
Where I'm from, we'll say, a area of Chillicothe, and where, in Chillicothe, there's no black people, and that's your excuse? Well, then, I'll say, "Well, I'm from 12th Street, and I don't see white people."
Then that's my excuse. Hold on, though. But on 12th Street, or Chillicothe, Missouri, we all got the same 66 books in the Bible. So to me, that's a piece of crap, man. That's my opinion.
Because if we're really studying God and loving God, the way we're supposed to love God, and understanding the Jews and the Gentiles? Come on, man, you're just making up excuses.
Because my God believes in one race. That's Derrick's, Derrell's personal opinion, there's no justification for the way we try to justify how things are or aren't. And that's my opinion.
So, racial conciliation, I love Adam just as much as I love my blood brothers, in some cases, probably even more. I love the Mceldowneys, they are my family. I mean, they are. Last time I checked, they're not black, but you know what?
I don't have to keep breaking that down, "Well, hey, I have this one white friend, named Adam." No. "I have a friend named Adam," point blank and simple. I don't have to keep scribing these particular colors or whatever like that.
Once upon a time, when I first met Adam, I thought he was [inaudible 00:36:37]. This is a true story. So, it lets you know how much further I have changed, but that's a good thing.
Because man has a plan, but God has a better plan. That's just how I truly feel.
Sean McDowell: Amen. That's a great line to wrap up on. This is officially the longest podcast we've ever done, Scott. And the reason for that is this is a beautiful, beautiful story.
Scott Rae: This is also one of the best stories we've had on here.
Sean McDowell: That's exactly why we're doing it, because, as you all know, there's so much division, and racial, just unrest, right now. And the two of you, you're saying, "You know what? We're going to take a risk. We're going to build a relationship. We're going to listen to each other. We're both going to be challenged. We're both going to grow."
I think it's just a biblical example. And it's also, it's a great read. So I hope our listeners will pick up Win By Two, by Adam Donyes, and by Derrick Derrell. It's just a great read.
Even if you're not a basketball fan, Scott and I are big hoops fans, you will thoroughly enjoy the story, and just be motivated by it. And guys, when I was reading a few times, just even being moved to tears of how much you see the Gospel coming through.
So, deeply appreciate both of you. Again, hope our audience will pick up a copy of the book, Win By Two. So Adam and Derrick, thanks so much for coming on.
Adam Donyes: Scott, Sean, appreciate you guys so much. Thank you, truly mean it.
Derrick Derrell: All right. Thank you very much. Before you go, remember, this guy came and visited me when I was incarcerated, on his own dime. You see?
Adam Donyes: Love you, Derrick.
Derrick Derrell: I mean, there's a lot to this story for me. I mean, there's a lot of things that he just did, naturally, before, ever a book even came across, you see. It's like, some things just last forever, and that's this friendship. Hey, but thanks for the time.
Scott Rae: That's why we want our listeners to get the book, because there's a lot more in the book than we've had time to cover here. It's just a terrific story.
Adam Donyes: Thank you, Scott.
Sean McDowell: Yeah. And what's great about it, it's on Amazon, you can find it. This is not a program. It just comes from your heart, Adam.
That's really where it begins, a heart to love people. So you guys are awesome. Really appreciate you guys coming on.
This has been an episode of the podcast, Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. To learn more about us and today's guests, Adam Donyes, and Derrick Durrell, and find more episodes, go to biola.edu/thinkbiblically. That's biola.edu/thinkbiblically.
If you enjoyed today's conversation, give us a rating on your podcast app, and share it with a friend. Thanks for listening. And remember, think biblically about everything.