The Image of God in the Human Body: Essays on Christianity and Sports

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This work uses sports as a metaphor for humanity itself. Using a biblical structure: creation, fall, and redemption, the editors show how God may have intended us to enjoy sport, how we have corrupted sport, and how we might reattach ourselves to God’s original purposes through sport.


“When one pauses to consider the centrality of sport in our globalized culture (one could simply add up the hours of television hours devoted to sport in a given week), it is truly remarkable that there are not shelves upon shelves of such work. . . .This book makes a bold contribution to that.” - James K.A. Smith, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College

“The editors point out, correctly so, that few if any research details the theology of sport. In a bold attempt to fill this void, [this work] provides theologians and sport researchers alike with a fresh, bold view of sport in our modern world.” – Dr. Paul R. Milton, Assistant Professor of Sport Management, Ashland University, Ashland, OH

“The diverse contributors that include theologians, sports philosophers, sociologists of religion and practitioners, have successfully achieved the difficult task of maintaining scholarly integrity, while ensuring accessibility for a non-academic readership.” – Nick Watson, Senior Lecturer, Sport Psychology and Sociology & Founding Director, Centre for the Study of Sport and Spirituality, York St. John University

Table of Contents

Preface by James K. Smith
A Brief History of Christianity and Sport: Selected Highlights of a Puzzling Relationship – James A. Mathisen
A Christian Perspective on Sport – Michael Wittmer
The Ambiguity of Embodiment and Sport: Overcoming Theological Dichotomies – Doug Hochstetler, Peter Hopsicker, and Scott Kretchmar
Created to Play: Thoughts on Play, Sport, and the Christian Life – K. Erik Thoennes, Ph.D.
Competition as Relationship: Sport as a Mutual Quest Towards Excellence – Stuart Weir
Idols in the Stadium: Sport as an ‘Idol Factory’ – John White
Sport as Spectacle and the Perversion of Play – Mark J. Hamilton
Escaping the Gender Trap: Sport and the Equality of Christ – Donald L. Deardorff II and Julie D. Deardorff
Redefining Human, Redefining Sport: The Imago Dei and Genetic Modification Technologies – Tracy J. Trothen
Some Preliminary Thoughts on Philosophies of Sports Ministry and Their Literature – Ashley Null
Reversing the Curse: Practicing the Presence and Presents of God in Sport – Valerie J. Gin
Advancing the Kingdom: Shalom in Sport – Timothy G. Gombis
Church and Sport – Graham Daniels and J. Stuart Weir
“Finding the Right Place”: Professional Sport as a Christian Vocation – Ashley Null
The Prophet at Copenhagen Conversing with Competitive Sport: Serving God and Man in Sport: A Divided Allegiance – Cindy White

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