From Publishers Weekly
In recent years, a number of sports figuresAranging from baseball player Dave Dravecky and football stars Deion Sanders and Reggie White to former college football coach and founder of the Promise Keepers, Bill McCartneyAhave spoken publicly about the depth of their Christian faith. More important, many sports organizations have witnessed an increase in the number of Christian groupsAlike the Fellowship of Christian AthletesAthat athletes have become involved in. Ladd and Mathisen, who teach at Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Ill., contend that since the late 19th century, evangelical Christianity and sports have been socially intertwined. The authors assert that "muscular Christianity" can be characterized by its emphasis on manliness, morality, health and patriotism. They discuss the ways that Christian evangelists like D.L. Moody and Billy Sunday "emphasized involvement in sports as a common ground for evangelism, as a means to manliness, and as a method for character development." Ladd and Mathisen also argue that the Depression era disengaged the link between Christianity and sportsAwhich, they note, was repaired after WWII. The bond between Christianity and sports, the authors say, became institutionalized in the latter half of the 20th century in organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action, as well as by the presence of sports chaplains. While the authors neglect to comment on how such muscular Christianity responds to the excesses of today's sports players, they nevertheless offer a readable account of a small chapter in the history of Christianity. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I loved this book and read it in one sitting. I've spent my entire life in professional sports and been a part of the "Muscular Christianity" scene for over thirty years. This book put it all together for me and now I understand the background of Christianity and sports as a powerful combination. Ill be recommending this book very enthusiastically. -- Pat Williams, Orlando Magic, Senior Executive Vice-President
This fine book deftly interweaves sports and missions, athletics and premillennialism, football and evangelism. This may be the best, most historically astute study of muscular Christianity to date -- Randall Balmer, author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America