Southern Religion

‘Onward Christian Athletes’ isn’t about Brit Hume

Tom Krattenmaker says the takeaway from his book is:

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.

Brit Hume merely called oblique attention to the issue, as Krattenmaker explains in a discussion of his book, Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits and Players into Preachers, at Religion Dispatches:

To get us started on the new decade, we had Fox News commentator Brit Hume reminding us of the other primarily objective of the faith-in-sports movement: to use athletes as poster men for the virtues of faith and as carriers of the evangelistic message. Recall what Hume said in his now-famous (infamous?) over-the-air faith pitch to Tiger. Not only would a full Christian conversion bring the fallen golf hero forgiveness and redemption, Hume said. It would make him “a great example” to the world.

Clearly, Krattenmaker’s isn’t another “how to evangelize” manual.

Interesting stuff, if a little convoluted. Read on.


January 14, 2010 - Posted by | Cultural | , , ,

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