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Controversial New Book Reveals the Truth About Faith and Sports

Contact: Audra Jennings, The B&B Media Group, 800-927-0517 ext 104, ajennings@tbbmedia.com 

DALLAS, Jan. 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- The church is home to some of America's biggest sports fans. Christians relish team rivalries, the sports analogy as sermon illustration, the thrill of playing, Christian celebrity athletes and even church-hosted Super Bowl parties complete with a five-minute devotional at half time. These are sacred institutions among Christian who seldom question the prominence of sports in their lives. Yet, since 77% of evangelicals believe that the mass media is "hostile to their moral and spiritual values," one wonders why evangelicals haven't also sensed that hostility in media-bloated competitive sports. Christians frequently voice criticism about the violence in video games, but violence in sports such as football and hockey, which involves their children more intimately and dangerously, is rarely examined.

In Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports, Shirl Hoffman, Ed. D exposes the dichotomy between the values Christians pursue in most areas of their lives and the attitudes and behaviors they accept and promote in the sports arena. Hoffman is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of kinesiology, physical education and the relationship between faith and sports. He has taught at every level of education, coached college basketball and was a gifted athlete. As he penned Good Game, Hoffman knew his slaying of several sacred cows would draw the animosity of some readers. He challenges readers to thoughtfully consider topics like:

• The Killer Instinct--what is the true cost of competition?

• Building and Sacking the Temple--why people of faith, particularly Christians should avoid violent sports...including football!

• Sport and the Sub-Christian Values--do competitive sports really develop character?

• Touchdowns and Slam Dunks for Jesus--how sports evangelism alters the gospel.

• Prayers Out of Bounds--why the athletic field is not the place for prayer.

Hoffman contends that in popular sports, Christians have created a kind of sanctuary for themselves in which they are not expected to think or act like Christians, as if both athletes and spectators enjoy a special exemption from the fundamental teaching of Jesus (i.e. love your enemies, the first shall be last, etc.). As a body of believers, the church has failed to think about sports analytically. Good Game presents a compelling case to that end, incorporating research many would like to ignore and example after convincing example lifted straight from the sports page.