Tag Archives: sports

Stuff Chris Armstrong likes #2

A brief, clear-eyed analysis of “prophet” Harold Camping, linking him appropriately to his 19th-century equivalent, William Miller, and explaining why people believe this sort of end-of-time prognostication.

An explanation of, I kid you not, fracking. And if your geek quotient is high enough that you think immediately of the remake of Battlestar Galactica when you read that word, then you’re going to be way off.

A neat online “make-your-own-timeline” website, with an example of a church history timeline someone created on it. Continue reading

What is redemption, really? The late, great NBA basketball player Manute Bol

I hunkered down by the TV last night and watched the Minnesota Timberwolves seemingly klutz their way through another draft. Dunno how all that’s going to work out, but I’ll be in my seat at the Target Center to watch it unfold for a few games next season (I share a season ticket with friends).

Meanwhile, it only takes an article like the recent one in the Wall Street Journal about the late Manute Bol to remind me how much more important are the things of God than the trinkets of NBA drafts and NBA seasons. What a man Bol was. Check it out.

Muscular Christianity’s prodigal son, college sports

With the Super Bowl looming, and Christianity Today putting out a big “sports issue,” it’s time to weigh in with a church-historical take. Yes, this one’s on college sports rather than pro sports. But hey, March Madness is just around the corner.

And yes, I can do a history riff on anything. That’s one of the fun things about being a historian.

(Note: this story was originally posted on Christianity Today’s website a few years back, when a scandal involving Baylor’s basketball program had just hit the front pages)

Muscular Christianity’s Prodigal Son, College Sports
In the wake of a basketball scandal at a prominent Christian university, we take time to remember the Christian roots of college athletics
Chris Armstrong

Inappropriate payments and academic fudging on behalf of college athletes. Rampant performance-enhancing and recreational drug use. Cursing, furniture-throwing coaches. Medically questionable practice regimens that may have contributed to players’ deaths. The past decade has not been kind to college sports.

Texas’s Baylor University has been pursuing a very public quest to become America’s “Protestant Notre Dame”—a top-ranked research university with an explicit Christian commitment. But recent revelations of drug use and under-the-table scholarship payments in the athletics program, on the heels of a basketball player’s tragic death, are currently distracting everyone’s attention.

Other than the fact that this scandal is occurring at a Christian school, this feels like “old news”—sadly familiar in the big-money world of Division I college sports. But it may lead the faithful to ask a new question: Should a Christian student think twice before getting involved in high-profile college sports like basketball or football? What kind of values will he or she learn in that setting?

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, this question would have been unthinkable. Why? Continue reading