topics worth the tussle: the games we play

My general approach for this “Topics Worth the Tussle” series has generally been presenting a few key verses to present a biblical topic that might be worth “tussling over” with college students. Please don’t think me unspiritual to take a slightly different approach today; I planned to present the topic and then realized that this, too, is a very collegiate topic that might be worth bringing up… even if that’s plenty awkward, too.

The topic?

How we – as Jesus followers – connect to sports.

I have made it very clear that I get really excited about the NCAA Tournament. And I also believe it’s a great chance to see the unique wonders of our particular mission field, the college campus (including in my “Sixty-Eight: A Vision Trip” essay, which apparently some people are even using with supporters and others! Hooray!).

At the same time, there have been some Christians who have (rightly) tried to examine whether our current “sports culture” in America might be at odds with what we profess as Christ followers. So I think that’s great for us – as college ministers – to wrestle with, and it might be great to bring up with your students, too.

Collegiate church planter Russell Atherton sent me the link to a CNN article highlighting some college ministry activity at Duke this week. While I personally have no idea if this thing was a valuable ministry event (but it certainly could have been), it’s definitely an interesting event. AND it was fun to see college ministry discussed at CNN and connected to March Madness. (The line at the end about the “tribal” nature of campuses was pretty interesting, too!)

Here’s the article: Amid March Madness, some Christians decry sports worship

There are several links in that article to people who have written about sports-and-Christianity. It’s definitely worth checking out.

The dangers of Christian obsession with Sports was also a Christianity Today cover story last year, so I’ll close out with some links to a few of their articles.

  • Sports Fanatics: How Christians have succumbed to the sports culture—and what might be done about it.
  • A Response to “Sport Fanatics” (above): Sport Is More Than Play
  • The Joy of Sports: There are a lot of Christian athletes who care about the Cross, the gospel, humility, joy, and sanctification.
  • My Top 5 Books on Sports: Picks from Andrew Parker, professor of sport and Christian outreach at the University of Gloucestershire


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