You may have found this site because you received a water bottle with the url www.InDeoSperamus.org. Or, perhaps you found this page while checking out the AIA-Brown site.
First, we want to point out our new AIA t-shirt design. It was created by Bradley Herzlich (Brown ’14). Get yours for $15 or for free if you attend an AIA opportunity. While the shirt may look simple, there was actually a lot of thought and intentionality for each element of this design. In fact, it means much more than meets the eye. In this brief article, I want to unpack (1) what the shirt represents to us and others; (2) what it reveals to us and others, and; (3) what it reminds us and others.
“In Deo Speramus, Pro Deo Ludimus” = In God We Hope, For God We Play
First, what does this phrase represent? Specifically, why the Latin phrase? Well, the Latin phrase embodies the Ivy League student-athlete. It’s a reference to the age of these Ivy League schools, going back hundreds of years. In 2014, Brown celebrated its 250th anniversary. Also, the two Latin phrases emphasize the hyphen between student and athlete, embodying both academics and athletics. Athletics in the Ivy League is a unique environment. Most of the athletes could’ve played elsewhere, perhaps on scholarship at a bigger school (in regards to sports), and yet they chose Brown University—an elite academic school with no athletic scholarships.
What’s more, a lot of the (non-athlete) students don’t know about the athletic world, much less care about it. In fact, athletes are sometimes looked down upon on campus, seen as not smart enough, or generally regarded as not belonging at any Ivy League school. It can be tough being any Ivy League athlete, and in ways that no one else can understand unless you’ve been there. We wanted a shirt that would encompass this atmosphere we live in. This t-shirt, and this motto, is our first crack at it.
Second, what do these two Latin phrases reveal? What do they mean? Let’s break it down word for word…
“In Deo” = In God. Is there one greater than God to put our hope in? Notice that it’s In Deo, and not in ourselves: our abilities, talents, skills, past success. And not in others: celebrities, politicians, presidents, professors, parents, or coaches. If we’re honest, aren’t these “others” where we often put our hope? Additionally, for the Christian, it’s the object of our hope and faith that is most critical and fundamental--unlike the popular notion that it’s the amount of our faith that really matters. Effort is important, no doubt—but in regards to being right with God, it’s grace through faith.
“Speramus” = we hope. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. In Hebrews 11:1 we learn that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hope is everywhere around here, especially in Rhode Island: Hope Street, Hope Club, the capitol city of Providence. The state’s motto is “hope” and on the state flag is an anchor. Many resources indicate the flag and motto are a reference to Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” And what is this hope? It’s the purposes and promises of God ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
“Pro Deo” = For God. As Christians, we want to be known more for what we’re “for” rather than what we’re “against.” We are for God primarily and ultimately, but this implies that we’re not for fame, self-worth outside of Christ, reputation among people, records, money…We’re not for laziness, dishonesty, immorality, illegality…We’re not for ourselves, our parents, our legacy…All of these audiences fail to ultimately satisfy and motivate.
“Ludimus” = we play. Playing for God is an act of worship to God.”So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) For the Christian, every aspect of our lives is under God’s rule and reign. Our entire lives, off the field and on the field, are to be lived for and with God.
In sum, God is our Audience of One. (Principle 1) We go all out for God because He’s blessed with our talents and abilities, and He calls us to excellence and to give it all we’ve got. This is our Inside Game (Principle 2). God gives us His word (the Bible) and His Spirit to work in and through us. (Principle 3) And when things get tough, when we get injured, when we’re hurtin’ for certain, we remember our anchor is God. (Principle 4) All of this enables us to have victory on and off the field and to have victory beyond competition. (Principle 5)
Finally, what does having these Latin phrases on our t-shirt remind us and others? Well, we can represent AIA-Brown at the various AIA opportunities (e.g., winter retreat, UTC, etc.)! It can be a great conversation starter too. For example, someone says to you, “Hey, what’s that say on your t-shirt?” And you respond, “It’s Latin. The first phrase is Brown University’s official motto, ‘In Deo Speramus.’ And the second phrase is the motto for a student group at Brown, Athletes In Action, ‘Pro Deo Speramus.’ In English, the phrases translate as, ‘In God We Hope, For God We Play.’ It’s something I try to live by.” Then, you can follow up with any of the following questions: “How am I doing with that?” Or, “What do you think about God?” Or, “What do you think of the quote?” Or, "what/whom do you hope in?”
Wearing the t-shirt is a reminder to yourself and others of the AIA Principles, of your true identity in Christ, and that your ultimate allegiance is in God and not anything or anyone else. The shirt is a visual reminder that you’re on God’s Team, and you are to act, live, play, and believe according to His playbook, His promises, and His hope. When you put on the shirt (external), remember that you are to “put on” Christ (internal, spiritual, personal), which looks something like what the Apostle Paul describes in his letter to the Colossians:
12 Put on then (clothe yourselves), as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.