The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon

Faith & sports not always best friends

September 17, 2014 --

By Tom Krattenmaker

 Award-winning Portland-based writer
Recent book: The Evangelicals you Don’t Know
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Soccer fans around the world were glued to the World Cup, and among the takeaways for American viewers is the reality that ours is not the only country where faith and sports form a potent pair. Host nation Brazil pulses with Christian fervor and is undergoing a dramatic shift from its historic Catholicism to highly visible forms of evangelical belief — often seen in the country’s soccer superstars and fans.

The outsized passions at the World Cup also frame the need for a truth often lost in the excitement: Sports and faith invariably blend, but they conflict, too, often at the expense of the latter. Sports-loving Christians, beware.

Just in time for the pinnacle of world soccer mania, a team of Christian scholars, pastors and coaches has prepared a new “Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life.” It extols the benefit of athletics and commends their “rightful place in Christian living.” But it calls on Christians not to ditch the values of Jesus in the rush to go all in on sports.

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