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Playing for GodEvangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry$
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Annie Blazer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479898015

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479898015.001.0001

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Making the Save

Making the Save

Conversion and Witnessing

(p.27) 1 Making the Save
Playing for God

Annie Blazer

NYU Press

This chapter describes how Christian athletes have struggled to redefine witnessing and recommitment in ways that reinforce their understandings of evangelical distinction and moral superiority. Unifying evangelical Christianity and sport has entailed expanding witnessing to encompass behaviors on and off the field: Christian athletes now see their athletic performances as a way to influence others toward conversion and develop believers after conversion. Witnessing without words—using sportsmanship to demonstrate moral distinction—is the primary mission of many of today’s sports ministry organizations. These practices function in much the same way as verbal witnessing. Witnesses are able to cement their own identity as saved, perceive a distinction between themselves and the unsaved, and use this identity and distinction as evidence for their religious beliefs. However, this chapter shows that it is incredibly difficult, perhaps impossible, to reconcile the desire to demonstrate compassion for one’s opponent on the field with the desire to win.

Keywords:   conversion, witnessing, sportsmanship, winning, behavior, moral superiority

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