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The faith-and-football shuffle

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 10, 2007 | 5:28 pm

Like many athletes who are outspoken about something as personal as faith, [Lions QB Jon] Kitna—with his ubiquitous cross hats and constant biblical references—is often dismissed as a loon. But his impact in Detroit is undeniable. He is part of a team prayer group on Friday afternoons and hosts a Bible study for teammates and their wives at his home on Monday nights.

. . .

By combining two of the most fervent elements of society—faith and football—a previously anonymous journeyman quarterback has catapulted himself into the zeitgeist.

“People feel football is too trivial for God to care about, especially with so many bad things happening in the world,” says Tim Pitcher, a spokesman for Athletes in Action, which uses sports to push Christianity. “For a lot of people, the worlds shouldn’t mix.”

Yet they do, sometimes with uncomfortable results. After the Colts won the Super Bowl last February, Tony Dungy asked his team to kneel and recite the Lord’s Prayer.

While everyone complied, several players looked at each other in disbelief at the request, which forced them to interrupt their celebrations and interviews. To reporters in the room, the moment appeared awkward and forced.

 

GetReligion notes this nice ESPN The Magazine profile of Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, which is used to talk about the large issue of faith and football. Here’s four recent posts on gridiron spirituality:

The first end zone prayer

Godspeed, Kevin Everett

Grace and idolatry on the gridiron

Michael Vick loves the Lord

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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