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Good Game

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Sports and the Early Church2. Controlling and Proscribing Sport3. Bowling, Bicycles, and Other Snares of the Devil4. The Church Heads for the Playground5. The Rise of Sports Evangelism6. Christians and the Killer Instinct7. Building and Sacking the Temple8. Sport and the Sub-Christian Values9. Touchdowns and Slam Dunks for Jesus10. Prayer Out of Bounds11. Notes Toward a Well-Played Game

About the Author

Shirl James Hoffman is Professor Emeritus of Exercise and Sport Science at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The Executive Director of the American Kinesiology Association, he is the author of Sport and Religion and the editor of Introduction to Kinesiology: Studying Physical Activity, now in its third edition.


"Wonderful! This is an amazing achievement, blending sociological expertise, theological savvy, and profound spiritual sensitivities." --Richard J. Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary "This should be required reading for every thoughtful Christian." --Robert K. Johnston, author of The Christian at Play Tom Krattenmaker's recent Onward Christian Athletes (2009) explored the efforts of the Christian Right to join evangelical Christianity with professional sports. Here Hoffman takes a slightly different approach to what is essentially the same subject, tackling the relationship between faith and sports from a more ideological perspective. He suggests that while evangelical Christian groups are forging connections with sports (because sports is a high-profile platform), they really don't understand the nature of sports. He explores the fundamental paradox of joining sports (which encourages and celebrates success) to religion (which "consistently stresses the importance of losing"). The essential problem, he says, is that, in harnessing itself to sports, the Christian community doesn't really have a clear sense of its goal or a coherent plan to achieve it. As a result, sport is becoming, in many ways, a mockery of Christianity, a superficial set of rites and behaviors with no spiritual or philosophical foundation. Many readers may disagree with the author's thesis, but even they will agree that he supports it abundantly and argues it well. -- Booklist Magazine, 2010 The breadth of [Hoffman's] knowledge of the history of sport, especially in its relationship to religion, and his keen insights into what it might mean to think Christianly about sports contribute to a readable and impassioned plea for more careful and more spiritual reflection about what sports have come to mean for us and our world.i"? -- Journal for the Sociological Integration of Religion and Society [ Good Game ] will open your eyes to ideas and knowledge that may have never crossed your mind. -- Hard Music Magazine

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