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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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Spiritual Warfare and Christlikeness

Spiritual Warfare and Christlikeness

Narratives of Bodies and Battlefields

(p.78) 3 Spiritual Warfare and Christlikeness
Playing for God

Annie Blazer

NYU Press

When Christian athletes feel connected to God, they often describe this as a feeling of “Christlikeness”: an affiliation and proximity to Christ that grants them the power to push themselves in their sport. When Christian athletes feel a sense of distance from God, they often frame this as part of “spiritual warfare”: Satan uses the athlete’s frustration or fatigue to stand in the way of the pleasurable sensation of Christlikeness. For some athletes, spiritual warfare can function as a closed system where instances of athletic hardship are part of God’s plan, distractions by Satan, opportunities to pursue Christlikeness, or all three. However, this paradigm does not hold perfectly. Other Christian athletes resist framing their lives as spiritual warfare and criticize sports ministry’s practices. These contradictory experiences demonstrate that Christian athleticism is not a unified whole but a work in progress, spearheaded by those with a vision of using athletics as an avenue to embody Christlikeness.

Keywords:   spiritual warfare, Christlikeness, Satan, hardship

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