In an earlier post, I had mentioned Tom Krattenmaker’s book Onward Christian Athletes which is critical of the influence that evangelicals have in the sports world in America.  I am scheduled to give a faculty forum paper on “Evangelicals and Sports” in chapel at BBS on November 8 (in about a month).   I am interacting mostly with this book but not exclusively.  My research assistant, Stephen Stallard (my nephew), has been digging for articles and books on the topic from our library and elsewhere. 

In my continued reading and meditation on this topic and of Krattenmaker’s book, I have come to agree with some of the things that are being said.  However, I am still concerned about what I perceive to be perhaps one more way in which the pluralists in society are trying to marginalize those who believe in absolute truth.  In one article in USA Today (“And I’d like to thank God Almighty,” Oct 12, 2009), Krattenmaker notes “But Jesus’ representatives in sports aren’t just practicing faith.  They are also leveraging sports’ popularity to promote a message and doctrine that are out of sync with the diverse communities that support franchises, and with the unifying civic role that we expect of our teams.”  His first statement that evangelicals in sports are not just practicing their faith is problematic on the face of it for me.  Evangelicals believe that evangelism is part of their faith, not something in addition to practicing their faith.  Taken to its logical conclusion Krattenmaker’s approach seems only to want those at the table of sports who never try to persuade others to their view.  He needs to restate this differently to come across reasonably to evangelicals.  I also wonder about the idea of a unifying civic role for sports.  Regional pride certainly exists, but to use this to argue against Baseball Chapel might be a bit much.  I am looking forward to writing the paper — I’ll probably start over the upcoming weekend.  I will outline both where I agree and where I disagree.

I will post my paper in my articles section and attach it to a post when I am finished with it.