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Idol Chatter

sports-and-faith.jpgThe publication this past October of “Onward Christian Athletes” by Tom Krattenmaker couldn’t be more timely, what with Mark McGwire all over the news acting explicitly penitent as he discusses his steroid use, and don’t get me started on the scandal surrounding Tiger Woods and how he’s fallen prey to temptation about ninety gazillion times and with everyone including your little sister. Tiger Woods is a media circus unto himself at this point.
Anyway, for some really intelligent commentary on faith in sports, sparked by some reflection on these two sports heroes polarizing fans and news commentators at the moment, check out author Tom Krattenmaker’s Q&A from Religion Dispatches, “Proselytizing the Pros: Christianity in Big-Time Sports” as he reflects on the relationship between athletes and Christianity. It’s smart and engaging (amen).
Here’s a taste:
“What’s the most important take-home message for readers?
Pro sports fans see a lot of religious expression in pro sports–players pointing up to God after a touchdown or home run, for example, or thanking and praising Jesus in post-game interviews–and that was my starting point for the research. As I began to dig into it I was struck by how much organization and strategy exists behind and under all of this. Not to say it’s secret or sinister or anything, because it’s not, but fans don’t realize how much work goes on behind the scenes by the Christian organizations that minister to athletes and leverage sports to reach the public with their evangelistic message.”

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