By day Ashley Null is an Anglican priest and scholar specializing in the theological notebooks of reformer Thomas Cranmer – and by night, he’s a chaplain to the most elite Olympic athletes providing as he describes, “Cranmer for jocks.” Elite athletes have to earn their worth, and this performance based identity can trickle into their spiritual lives. In his storytelling and lyrical way, Null reminds them where there’s fear, love can’t grow. Our efforts in life and sport are not to try to get something we don’t have, but to give away and express what we’ve been given.
No matter where’s he’s been in the world, the words win, build, and send have been central to the mission and work of Dean Bouzeos. Dean is currently Director of Operations for Athletes in Action, a ministry organization based in Xenia, Ohio known for using the visible platform of sport to win people for Christ, build them up in faith, and send disciples of Jesus Christ into their spheres of influence to make a difference. Dean shares the evolution of AIA and describes the organization’s growth and goals for a new generation of athletes.
A single question asked of Brad Kenney on a soccer field prompted a 20 plus year calling into sport ministry. Reverend Brad Kenney is the Chaplain for the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer USA and founder and executive director of Soccer Chaplains United, an organization created to grow sports chaplaincy in soccer communities, including for coaches and officials, in the US and beyond. Through his stories Brad describes the unique work of a sports chaplain at an elite sport level and passes on the humble wisdom he has learned from his mentors and years of faithful practice from the touchline.
Why would a self-described non-athlete and atheist write a book about Christian women and sports ministry? We put that question to Annie Blazer, an anthropologist of religion and author of Playing for God: Evangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry. Annie shares her story and the sometimes unexpected discoveries of her study. Annie raises good questions for us all to explore together as we journey forward in sport and faith.
In a quickly changing world, families and communities need something to rally around, and Brazilian pastor, author, and sport enthusiast Alexandre Borges de Magalhães believes sport has positive a role to play. Alexandre works at home in Brazil and though his broad connections across numerous countries to draw out the virtues of sport for youth and families. His rich Christian vision of the integrated human being encourages all of us to play sport to reach human fullness.
Play Like a Champion Today is a youth sport organization that sees great value in sport. The non-profit organization is leading a worldwide effort to promote a youth sports culture of opportunity, fun, and character development for all children. With deep roots in her Catholic faith, former gymnast, Notre Dame football cheerleader, and current PLCT program director Kristin Sheehan articulates the organization’s underlying theology and justice-oriented approach – helping all children to play like and be, a true champion.
Veteran FCA leader and sport team chaplain Roger Lipe recounts how he entered the world of sport ministry with little knowhow, but instead with a love of sport and a genuine desire to love and serve athletes where they are. Now a quarter century later, Roger shares his learned wisdom on a weekly blog to hundreds of sport chaplains around the world and has written 14 books to help mentor the next generation of team chaplains and life coaches. Join us for our chat with Roger, a natural relationship builder with knack for know what to say, and what not to say, when connecting with all types of coaches and athletes.
Lace up your skates and join us for pond hockey with Matt Hoven, Professor of Catholic Religious Education at St. Joseph’s College at the University of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. When teaching sport and faith, Matt probes far beyond simple connections, choosing instead to thoughtfully dissect both the turmoil and joy that sport has to offer, then reunite them as central practices for individuals and communities. In this episode Matt explains the rituals of religion and sport and how each can uniquely contribute to human flourishing. Quoting Pope Pius XXII and Father Bauer of hockey coaching fame, Matt urges us to always use technique, but let the Spirit prevail.
The famous ESPN 30 for 30 documentary The Two Escobars describes Colombia soccer by its connection to drug cartels, corruption, and violence. Christian Union Soccer Club founder Marcos Wittig tells his own Colombian soccer story, but with a much better ending. In this episode Marcos describes how a small soccer club in Colombia grew into a Gospel spreading mission reaching tens of thousands of young soccer players and their families. The amazing story continues today, and Marcos describes it with humility and gratitude, and invites all of us to Colombia to experience it for ourselves.
Tee it up! Tracy Hanson was a standout NCAA student athlete at San Jose State University and from there played 15 seasons as a professional golfer on the LPGA tour and around the world. After retirement Tracy began to explore the anxiety and unhappiness that plagued her professional life, leading her to come to terms with the harm and abuse she experienced as a child and young athlete. Tracy’s life story of sport and faith is one of redemption and hope and has led her to a new ministry helping athletes of all sports who have experienced similar trauma. Join us for this inspiring conversation with Tracy!
Don’t know much about Dr. Andrew Parker? He calls himself unremarkable, but he’s not. Dr. Parker has traveled a unique path, combining his expertise in criminal justice, research, and sport with a Christian faith driven heart to help the most vulnerable. Beyond his distinguished career studying the sport-faith connection and sport chaplaincy, he’s a wonderfully modest person with great insight. And, he’s got a secret to share!
When signing children up for sports programs, people always say that “sports build character.” However, it is obvious to those who play and study sports that that character is not always positive. In this episode, Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson talk to Andrew Meyer, associate professor at Baylor University, about the character of sport. Andy Meyer’s speciality revolves around the idea of Muscular Christianity and how many athletes, like Lance Armstrong, embody that ideal (or fail to). As Dr. Meyer says, “sport is what you make of it.”