Archive for February, 2008

Debate continues: What place does religion have in sports?

Source: Orlando Sentinel

The images are everywhere: players pointing skyward after scoring touchdowns, teams gathering for prayer, coaches praising God following victories.

Religion has always been a part of the sports world, but its presence today is hard to ignore. Some say more athletes and coaches have been emboldened to speak out because of the rise of conservative Christianity in politics, where it has become mainstream to discuss religious beliefs.

President George W. Bush helped usher in that era, and was elected largely because of the religious right. We are seeing Christianity play a role in the Republican primaries with Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. But there is a major divide in politics that parallels a similar split in the sports world: There are those who believe God belongs everywhere, and there are those who believe God belongs only in church.

In sports, both sides of the “to preach or not to preach” question are jockeying for attention. The more we see the vulnerability of athletes and corruption in sports, the more each side feels it is necessary to speak out either for or against religion in sports. That presents a series of questions: (more…)

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February 24, 2008 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

China Won’t Ban Bibles at Olympics, Assures Evangelist

Source: Christian Post

Christian evangelist Luis Palau is encouraging Christians to bring their Bibles to the Summer Olympics in China, claiming that the Chinese government is “wide open” and will not stop visitors from bringing Scripture into the officially atheistic country.

“I have asked officially from people here and over there. Any person can go in there and take Bibles, as long as they’re not selling them,” Palau told The Christian Post in an interview on Thursday.

“If they’re giving them away, they can take all the Bibles they want. And I think that’s going to happen. And I think that’s very valuable.” (more…)

February 24, 2008 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Putting His Faith in Telling the Truth

Source: New York Times

Considering that his old buddy Roger had thrown him under the stagecoach five days earlier, Andy Pettitte was in a tolerant mood about Clemens on Monday, even if it fell slightly short of turning the other cheek.

Pettitte still loves Clemens like a brother, he said, even if Clemens testified at a Congressional hearing that Pettitte “misremembered” that little conversation they had in 1999 about human growth hormone. Pettitte has testified under oath that Clemens admitted using the stuff, and Clemens has denied it. A small misunderstanding between buddies.

“The truth will set you free,” Pettitte said, quoting Christ’s words in John 8:32. Pettitte’s manager, Joe Girardi, had used the same phrase earlier in the day. Pettitte has played a bit loose with details in the recent past, but Monday he seemed chastened, horrified, by his public exposure, and seemed to need a public forum to set himself free. Always quick to note that he is not very smart, Pettitte did it four or five times during a news conference that was remarkable not only for its length of 57 minutes, but also for its tone of humility. Pettitte rarely preaches in the clubhouse. His references to his Christian faith generally come out in the context of the life he is living, which has always seemed controlled and sober and decent. (more…)

February 20, 2008 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

Jim Caviezel urges Christians to embrace Jesus in their heart

Source: Austin American Statesman

The handsome, lanky movie actor strode coolly onto the stage during the PromiseLand West service Sunday morning.

He wore a simple black suit with no tie and longish styled hair with streaks of blond. His tan, chiseled face looked nothing like the bloodied, bearded Jesus he played in “The Passion of the Christ” four years ago.

And as Pastor Randy Phillips began interviewing him, Jim Caviezel spoke so softly, he appeared almost shy.

The hundreds of church members and visitors who packed the auditorium at Westlake High School seemed to take a collective breath.

Here was a mere man — yet someone who had captured their savior so convincingly in a film that grossed more than $370 million in the United States and became one of the most effective tools for evangelism in modern times. (more…)

February 20, 2008 at 9:09 pm 1 comment

A message of faith from the fast lane

Source: Orlando Sentinel

There are few more devoted followers than NASCAR fans, whose fervor rivals –and sometimes exceeds — their Christian faith. So it should come as no surprise that a college lecturer has made their twin passions the subject of a new book, Godspeed: Racing Is My Religion.

“You can’t separate them,” says the author, L.D. Russell. “A race is a kind of morality play in which fans witness the drama of human existence. We live in the face of unbeatable odds. The ultimate defeat is waiting for us.”

Without question, he writes, “Racing is a religion, a cult of true believers with their own rituals, myths and a system of ethics that rival Confucianism.” Russell compares the NASCAR rule book with the Bible’s book of Deuteronomy.

Today, like millions of NASCAR fans, Russell, 52, expects to be glued to his television.

“I never miss the Daytona 500,” he says, but at the same time he’ll also be going over papers from the course he teaches on racing and religion at Elon University in North Carolina. (more…)

February 20, 2008 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Opera singer believes ‘if God brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it’

Source: Seattle Times

You might call Lisa Daltirus the Save-the-Day Queen.

The soprano, who stars in Seattle Opera’s upcoming “Tosca,” has made something of a specialty in rescuing opera companies in distress. But never was the drama higher than on the evening in 2003 when Daltirus was sitting in the audience at the Richard Tucker Foundation’s benefit gala in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall.

The soprano performing excerpts from Verdi’s “Aida,” Aprile Millo, was struggling with illness, and announced that she would be unable to continue. Suddenly Daltirus looked to the aisle by her seat in the audience and saw the foundation’s executive director beckoning to her. They knew she had just sung the title role in “Aida” in Delaware; could she step in? Right now?

Daltirus had five minutes to warm up. She went onstage to sing the Triumphal Scene, and the first person she saw in the audience was Leontyne Price — the retired super-diva who used to own the role of Aida.

“There was no time to be scared,” remembers Daltirus, chatting recently during a break in rehearsals at Seattle Opera’s offices. “I am a deeply spiritual person, and I always believe if God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.” (more…)

February 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

London finds his calling far from the cheering crowd

Source: Shelby Star

To step back and take a look at Tommy London’s life, in and out of sports, you’d have to marvel at the achievements.
At Shelby High he was a Shrine Bowl player on an unbeaten Golden Lion championship team in 1972. He went on to play at the college level for Lou Holtz at N.C. State and spent time in the NFL with the old Cleveland Browns, then in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Roughriders.

Yet, until his decision to go into the ministry (1996), his biggest mark may have been how he successfully navigated the transition into a post-football career. He went into the insurance field and raised a family, passing along a love of sports to his children.
Yet London now takes on the biggest game he’s ever been involved with each Sunday when he steps up before the Cloverdale First Baptist Church (near Roanoke, Va.) to handle his pastor’s duties.
“It was a big change, going into the ministry,” London said in a recent telephone interview. “I’d always praised God and thanked him for giving me the success I had. Now he’s letting me be a representative for him. Pro football is good but this is so much better. (more…)

February 20, 2008 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

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