Playing, watching, and fantasizing about sports are now defining features of our culture. Are we just enjoying more leisure time together, or have sports become an unhealthy obsession?
"If sports have become the playthings of irresponsible corporations, and being a fan often turns into a hollow, pseudo-religious semblance of true belonging," Eric Miller observes, "there yet remains the undeniable beauty of the sports themselves and the creatures of God who find themselves so irresistibly drawn to them." Michael Kerrigan, C.S.P., urges us "to see sports as the new field for twenty-first century Christian mission."
We have built a generation of "stadiums on steroids" to fund the runaway economics of professional baseball, Philip Bess notes. Can we return to building neighborhood ballparks, from the big leagues to Little League, which are centers of community life?
Jordan Cox describes congregation-based sports, recreation, and leisure programs in which "participants mature as disciples as they learn to live out their faith through sports competition on the field, court, gymnastics mat, or in the swimming pool."
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to articulate a Christian perspective on sports in modern culture. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.
Download the entire Sports issue and the set of six Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.
- "Play On!," by Eric Miller
- "Sports in the Christian Life," by Michael P. Kerrigan, C.S.P.
- "The Grace of Neighborhood Baseball Parts," by Philip Bess
- "Would Jesus Wear Face Paint?," by Geoff Bowden
- "Upward Sports," by Jordan Cox
- "Joyful Recreation," by Robert B. Kruschwitz and Haley Stewart, on Jan Steen and David Teniers the Younger
Hymn and Worship Service
- "We Give Our All to Christ," by Terry W. York and C. David Bolin
- Worship Service, by Sharon Kirkpatrick Felton
- "Long-Distance Running," by Hannah Elliott
- "When Sports and Religion Mix," by Philip Wise
- Other Voices, Quotations on Sports
- "God in the Gym," by Roger Ward
- William J. Baker, Playing with God: Religion and Modern Sport
- Tony Ladd and James A. Mathisen, Muscular Christianity: Evangelical Protestant and the Development of American Sport
- Clifford Putney, Muscular Christianity: Manhood and Sports in Protestant America 1880-1920
- "When Playing Becomes Sports," by Rick H. Hoyle
- Shane Murphy, The Cheers and the Tears: A Healthy Alternative to the Dark Side of Youth Sports Today
- John Garner, editor, Recreation and Sports Ministry: Impacting Postmodern Culture
- Joel Fish with Susan Magee, 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent: Making Athletics a Positive Experience for Your Child