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Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits and Players into Preachers Hardcover – Oct 16 2009


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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A timely window into those post-game huddles and what they signal for religion in America Oct. 19 2009
By Robert P. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Insightful journalist and commentator Tom Krattenmaker has given us a steady diet of compelling, nuanced snapshots of the changing role of conservative Christianity in America through his USA Today columns for years. Now, with his lens tightened to the professional sports arena, he gives us a detailed portrait of how conservative Christianity has taken on (and taken over) professional sports, transposing athletic field to mission field.

One of the strengths of this book is Krattenmaker's careful construction of the recent history, beginning in the 1990s of well-organized, well-financed sports ministries that encouraged (and sometimes expected) athletes to use their pre- and post-game cameos as opportunities for religious testimonies and evangelistic appeals. One contribution of Krattenmaker's analysis is that it shows that the seemingly spontaneous religious overtures by individual players and prayer huddles after games are supported and encouraged by a conservative Christian institutions, deploying a cadre of chaplains in ballparks on each Sunday of the season, that often remain out of view of the cameras.

One of the original contributions of this book is the integrated way Krattenmaker wields investigative journalism, fair-handed social critique funded by empathy for a world that is not his own, and an appeal to democratic values that undergird a free, pluralistic society. Krattenmaker is not out to undo religion, or even conservative Christianity, in sports. Rather the book aims to bring it out into the light and make it more accountable and representative of the wider religious public. Krattenmaker convincingly argues that because professional sports are not only among our most popular public rituals but also often the recipient of public financing, a reform resulting in more inclusivity is the only way to bring "fair play" to the intersection of sports and religion.

Dr. Robert P. Jones
President, Public Religion Research ([...])
Author, Progressive & Religious: How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars and Transforming American Public Life
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
More Talking, Less Yelling Dec 23 2010
By Dan Merchant - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As an observer and commentator on the precarious intersection of faith and culture in America, Tom Krattenmaker has established a reputation as fair, thoughtful and controversial. Controversial in this sense: Tom is convinced it is better to talk about things, particularly the things we don't agree on, than it is to divide into teams and shout each other down. From his excellent USA Today columns, to his pivotal interview in the award winning documentary Lord, Save Us From Your Followers to his insightful new book Onward Christian Athletes, Tom helps us connect the dots and provides much needed perspective. Tom's exploration into the corner of the public square known as professional sports is expertly researched and well written. By turns the book is challenging and generous - depending on where you stand personally and it's this dynamic that gives Onward Christian Athletes it's staying power. If you don't understand why Jesus let Kurt Warner throw a game changing pick-six to James Harrison just before halftime in the Super Bowl then you need to read Onward Christian Athletes. Okay, in all fairness, the author doesn't know why either, but we can decide God loves the Steelers best or we can discuss it civilly. You make the call.

- D.M.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great, balanced book from an Oregon Book Award Finalist Jan. 27 2011
By Pauls Toutonghi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was impressed -- but not surprised -- when I heard that Tom Krattenmaker was one of four finalists for the Oregon Book Award in General Nonfiction. This is a strong and balanced book, a sober-minded look at a topic -- the use and abuse of religion by athletes -- that doesn't get much middle-of-the-road coverage. Here's someone who's not afraid to discuss the importance of religion, but also willing to criticize, where it's necessary. This is as close to an unbiased book about religious belief as can be written, and it strikes me as a very honest book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"The Way Things are and the Way Things Ought to Be..." Feb. 6 2012
By Big D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Essentially, this is a non-evangelical Christian writing on the appropriate role of religion in pro sports and he leaves no stone (no pun intended)unturned. Evanglical Christians will consider this book an attack on them, but it's not. It is fair and for the most part even-handed. Good book, but at times the reader may be reminded of the sermon that went on and on and on and seemed to never end. At times, the author overstates his point with too many examples and dampens enthusiasm for the read

But it's worth the read, especially Chapter 8 when he asks the question: "Where would Jesus be today in the high dollar, political savvy world of pro sports?" A good, provocative question and his answers and thoughts make that chapter alone a must read.

Goes over the edge a little when discussing racism in pro sports, all of the usual concerns--lack of of minority coaches and top administrators---are all very real and valid concerns. But he misses the mark, as Paul would say, when he suggests that Tony Dungey, a Christian and the first African American coach to win the Super Bowl should have used the trophy presentation ceremony as an opportunity to raise racial concerns rather than saluting his team and coaching staff. Dungy put the team above social concerns...and isn't that what teamwork is supposed to be about...not us against them and us against one another, but team....and there's still no "I" in team.

Evangelicals won't like this book, and neither will team officals in the NFL, NBA and MLB. The author raises questions that need to considered and addressed. But this is not an attack on evanglical Christianity. It is, rather, a detailed look at the intersection of faith and sports in our world today.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Tiger Woods style family values Dec 19 2009
By Tom Markus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The book takes a fascinating look at how some athletes wear their lifestyle choice on their sleeve. It seems truly odd that they flamboyently demand acknowledgment of their behavioral choices. With the recent interviews of Tiger Woods saying he always puts family first, it makes you wonder. How can an athlete truly believe that the Lord chose him to win like some Vegas oddsmaker?


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