The Gospel According to Sports

We are proud to introduce the first book to be published under The Growth Network imprint: The Gospel According to Sports. Ron Dozier is a gifted teacher with a treasure chest of knowledge about the word of sports and more importantly, the Bible. You will be amazed at the way he connects the concepts of spirituality to sports history. We're certain that his book provides a unique contribution to the world of spiritual growth resources. Read a little of the introduction here.

There has always been a love/hate relationship between the sports world and religion.
 
Church pastors often refer to sports figures in their messages, but will also make snide references when comparing sports audiences to their congregations. They applaud the enthusiasm and endurance of sports fans while shunning the sometimes docile complacency and impatience of their parishioners. You may have heard some such comments as: “I don’t hear any response from you people out there. I know that you would show more enthusiasm if you were at the game.” Or “Some of you are looking at your watches and nodding off; you wouldn’t have any trouble with time or staying awake if the game went into overtime.”

Religion and sports each have a major role in our culture, and impact all our lives. Sports personalities who overtly claim no religious affiliation cannot ignore a spiritual presence or influence in their lives. Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden said, “It is most difficult, in my mind, to separate any success, whether it be in your profession, your family, or as in my case, in basketball, from religion.” On the other hand, world renowned evangelist Billy Graham said, “The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course.” People who profess no real interest in sports cannot disregard the media attention associated with pro athletes and their accomplishments. The late Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren once stated, “I always turn to the sports page first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” 

These two institutional juggernauts constantly seem to be vying for our time, devotion, and, of course, our money – usually at the expense of the other. The snapshot of many church congregations is in stark contrast to sports audiences. Churches tend to be inundated with a predominance of women while sports audiences typically have a strong male representation, as evidenced by the types of commercials on the television and the scantily clad cheerleaders at the game.

Recently, I heard a very opinionated churchgoing woman say, “When I have children, they’re going to be real Christians; they’re not going to play any sports.” Are sports the antithesis of Christianity? There are many Christians who view sports audiences like a mission field, as if those who attend are unconverted heathens. Zealous believers can oft times be seen parading in front of stadiums and arenas sticking literature – which usually ends up becoming half literature (litter) – in the hands of unsuspecting fans. Some try to preach to passersby, while others try to display gospel signs inside the event. Is this how it has to be? Can’t sports and religion just get along? 
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Ron Dozier

Ron Dozier is lifelong Bills fan, faithful Yankees fan, fantasy football master and a committed church bible study teacher. Recently retired, he’s able to spend more time watching NFL playoff games, March Madness, and the like. He and his wife Terri live in Columbus, Ohio.