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God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC Paperback – August 24, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

Review

In bathtubs and highchairs across America, children are being held hostage by lunatic parents threatening to withhold sippy cups of chocolate milk unless their toddlers and tykes sing the War Eagle fight song. In this hilarious and soaring debut, storyteller Chad Gibbs tracks down the genome that causes parents throughout the SEC to terrorize their offspring in this manner. What’s next, Chad? Waterboarding infants?” ---Karen Spears Zacharias, author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide? -- Karen Spears Zacharias

“As a die-hard Alabama fan, I approach books about football authored by Auburn fans with a healthy amount of skepticism. But God and Football had me laughing out loud, nodding my head, pausing to think, and cheering along. Gibbs so perfectly captures the essence of SEC football, it’s as though each page is alive with the collective tension and excitement of game day down South. This book is at its heart a celebration---of football, fandom, family, and faith---and Gibbs is a brilliant writer . . . for an Auburn fan, of course.” ---Rachel Held Evans, author of Evolving in Monkey Town -- Rachel Held Evans, , Author

“Gibbs gets it right and tells it well! The connection between the rituals practiced in the South during the fall on Saturdays and Sundays is frequently misunderstood. Gibbs’ insights regarding the relationship between God and football are not only humorous and honest, but frequently holy. This book will help you understand why you like SEC football and why you should love God.” ---Gary Fenton, senior pastor, Dawson Family of Faith, Birmingham, Alabama -- Gary Fenton, , Senior Pastor

From the Back Cover

In 2008 over six million people attended an SEC football game. They spent thousands on season tickets, donated millions to athletic departments, and for three months a year ordered their entire lives around the schedule of their favorite team. As a Christian, Gibbs knows he cannot serve two masters, but at times his faith is overwhelmed by his fanaticism. He is not alone. Gibbs and his six million friends do not live in a spiritually void land where such borderline idol worship would normally be accepted. They live in the American South, where according to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 84 percent identify themselves as Christians. This apparent contradiction that Gibbs sees in his own life, and in millions of others', has led him to journey to each of the twelve schools to spend time with rabid Christian fans of various ages and denominations. Through his journey, he learns how others are able to balance their passion for their team with their devotion to God.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310329221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310329220
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
5 Reasons To Read God and Football

1) Your name is in the acknowledgments. These are the most epic acknowledgments I've ever seen in a book. If it takes a village to raise a child than it took the entire South Eastern portion of the Untied States to write Chad Gibbs' book.
2) It's about fans: There are lots of books written about the athleticism and commitment of football players. But I'm sure lacrosse and cricket also has dedicated athletes. The difference is football is made by the passion of fans--especially in the S.E.C. Gibbs knows this, he's a fan himself. The book is written from a fan's point of view, and that helped me discover insightful things about faith and football along with the author in every chapter.
3) It's about faith: Gibbs finds all sorts of insightful parallels between God and Football. He notes how churches would be a lot better if they were like one large tailgate party. What if churches welcomed and celebrated everyone that came in with freshly barbecued food? Or what if we could talk about our faith with the same enthusiasm and passion that we use to talk about our team? This is not browbeating. This is from an author who wonders at times if he's more passionate about Auburn football team than his own faith.
4) It's about football being the center of our lives: Lots of books have been written on people's addiction to food, drugs, etc... but few have been written about how important football has become in our lives. So many of us are addicted. I think I fall into the addicted category. Last year I tivoed an NFL replay of game that I watched two days before. But how does this affect our faith? Can we love God and Football? Again Chad Gibbs provides some insightful answers.
5) It's funny. If you don't know Chad Gibbs is very funny.
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By Jimmy on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. Incredibly funny. Like the other reviewers said, I found myself actually laughing out loud several times, which is pretty rare for me. Even if you aren't the most religious person in the world, you will still love this book. It isn't really a "preachy" book at all. It just chronicles one (very funny) man's evaluation of his own faith and the balance he struggles to strike between his worldly passion (college football fandom) and his devotion to God. And he doesn't claim to have found that perfect balance at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Reading the title, I thought it might be like a devotional book where he evaluates bible verses in connection with games he's attended or something like that, but it's really just a narrative of his travels to all 12 SEC campuses in one year, coupled with his own humorous observations about fans, himself, and life. I'd really recommend this book to anyone just looking to have a break from the everyday grind. It's a really easy read; it's fairly cheap; and I guarantee you that you'll be smiling while you read it. Just a fun book.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Chad Gibbs came up with an excellent idea in his book "God and Football: Faith and Fanatacism in the SEC." To wit, college football fans are some of the most rabid in the world -- and they rely on faith as much as anything else to get them through the ups and downs of their chosen team's season. And more people spend time watching college football than they do in church, no matter how upright and Christian they may appear -- so aren't there lessons that can be learned from that?

This is an enjoyable romp through the SouthEast Conference (or SEC for short) with much witty commentary and byplay from long-time college football fan (and Auburn graduate) Chad Gibbs; the moral of the tale, that we tend to spend far too much time worrying about football, is sent up wittily, yet without irony, due to the fact of Gibbs' own football fanaticism, which he ruefully admits in his prologue.

I enjoyed this book, and have already re-read it for the language, for the descriptions of the various venues in and about the SEC, and for Gibbs' twin loves of faith and football. God doesn't have to "just" be in church, though the way God is often referenced at football games probably isn't the preferred way (as Gibbs points out); truly, if you live your faith, you should be able to find ways to enjoy your life and know God (or whatever form of the Deity you worship) and appreciate your relationship with the Higher Power no matter what you're doing.

Four stars, recommended for football fans, lovers of humor, and those seeking higher meaning but not wishing to come off as boring old sticks.

Barb Caffrey
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I've often felt compelled to compare my loyalty to my team to my loyalty to God, but never have I felt the Razorbacks took a higher stance. I can relate to many of the actions of some of the people interviewed but my take on their behavior was totally different than Chad's. As for the music director who went to every game, then came home and led worship service the next morning, I find that commendable. He enjoyed his team but still put God first by being in church and worshiping despite how many hours of sleep he had. I have seen many people who do put sports before God but anyone who is worried about it is already on the right track.

Chad did do an excellent job of making the book interesting. He had some great experiences and met some good people. I'm glad that he stepped out of his comfort zone and visited churches of different denominations.
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