The Reason for Sports: A Christian Fanifesto


Three cheers for . . . cheating, pride, and greed?

This book is for the avid sports fan who loves Jesus. Let's face it: Sports-with the scandals, cheating, arrogance, and more that often accompany them-are complicated to watch. How should Christian sports fans enjoy the good in the game amidst all the bad?

There are books on how to worship God with our marriages, our money, and our sex lives. Books on how to "think biblically" about movies, ...

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Three cheers for . . . cheating, pride, and greed?

This book is for the avid sports fan who loves Jesus. Let's face it: Sports-with the scandals, cheating, arrogance, and more that often accompany them-are complicated to watch. How should Christian sports fans enjoy the good in the game amidst all the bad?

There are books on how to worship God with our marriages, our money, and our sex lives. Books on how to "think biblically" about movies, television, and the arts. Books on how to vote and how not to vote as a Christian. But there is little thoughtful, Christ-centered writing on the subject that drives most of men's banter with each other and consumes the bulk of their free time: sports.

Learn from a Pro.

Author Ted Kluck understands these complications with being a Christian sports fan-and a Christian athlete. He played professional indoor football, coached high school football, and trained as a professional wrestler.

He knows how to write well about sports because of these experiences and also because he watches them (dedicatedly), and has written about them. Ted's award-winning writing has appeared in ESPN The Magazine, Sports Spectrum magazine, and on's Page 2.

Written in the vein of Rick Reilly (Sports Illustrated), Chuck Klosterman (Spin, Esquire), and David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again), The Reason for Sports will both entertain and shed light on some of today's most pertinent sports issues (race, drugs, hero worship, and more) all through a biblical lens.

Enjoy His Expert and Humorous Articles.

In twelve articles, Ted humorously and honestly investigates the world of sports from a Christian perspective. Through a Biblical lens, he examines topics such as:

  • Jock Apologies
  • Steroids
  • Stories about famous athletes such as Mike Tyson and Tom Brady
  • Fantasy Football
  • Sports, film, sexuality, and humility
  • Racial reconciliation

Not only will you be entertained as you read this book, but also you will be trained to think Christianly about many of today's most pertinent issues in sports.

"There are plenty of books about Christian athletes, and plenty of books by Christian superstars. But there is precious little writing on sports from a Christian perspective. It's amazing really. Americans are obsessed with sports, especially men, and yet Christians haven't done much to reflect on the good and bad of sports. That's why I love Ted's writing. He knows sports. He's played sports. He's done real sports reporting. And he's a strong Christian who knows how to write."

Book review by Kevin DeYoung on

A Short Excerpt from Ted's Introduction:

Sports are a huge part of the lives of American men, including church men. Our churches have informal basketball, golf, and softball leagues. Guys talk about sports in the church lobby. Yet with all the books teaching us how to worship with our marriage, our money, our "quiet times," and our sex lives, little is written about the subject that drives most of our banter with each other and around which much of our free time revolves.

How do we worship God with this part of our lives? How do sports help us to grow in sanctification? How do we think theologically about the myriad of moral dilemmas in sports?

On the pages that follow, hopefully, you'll be able to enjoy sports with me as I try to find the good in a sports world that at times has gone bad. I'm not going to try to convince you that Mike Tyson or Ricky Williams should be your spiritual guide, or that you shouldn't cheer for Mike Vick because he drowns puppies, or that you should cheer for all American QB Tim Tebow because he etches a Bible verse on his eye-black before every game. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about all of these people. But I'll invite you to begin formulating your own theology of sports with me.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

This is not your normal sports book. Nor is it your normal Christian book. Here's to some abnormal reading then for those seeking a different point of view.
-Kenny Mayne, ESPN sports journalist

Ted Kluck helps us think about sports Christianly without the Christian clich├ęs and worn-out sports piety. He's an athlete and a fan whose writing implicitly reminds us why God created sports: for the joy of play.
-Mark Galli, Senior managing editor, Christianity Today

Ted Kluck is passionate about sports. He's even more passionate about the gospel. You won't read any athletic rags-to-riches stories or find any cheesy quotes about 'leaving 100% on the field' in The Reason for Sports. Instead, you'll find insights into God, the gospel, and the sometimes crazy, sometimes wonderful world of sports.
-Stephen Altrogge, Author of Game Day for the Glory of God

Ted makes it clear that while we do love our sports, the only real sports joy is found when honoring Jesus Christ. With much humor and much love, Ted gives enlightening and biting perspective on the athletes and events we remember most. What a treat to be convicted of our own idolotry of sports and, at the same time, laugh out loud! How can you not embrace a book that quotes both Allen Iverson and J. C. Ryle? Not a lot of sports guys reference 19th century evangelicals. (Ryle, that is . . . not Iverson.)
-David Stein, Host, Sporting News Radio Network

Most Christian books on sports are books about Christians playing sports. Not enough are books that give a Christian view on sports. This book fills the gap admirably. The writing is funny, honest, and provocative, and the subject matter is relentlessly interesting. Ted Kluck knows sports and knows how to write. We need more books like this one.
-Kevin DeYoung, Author of Just Do Something

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802458360
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,399,170
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

TED KLUCK is co-author of Why We're Not Emergent and author of Facing Tyson, 15 Stories, Paper Tiger and Game Time. His award-winning writing has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine, Sports Spectrum Magazine and on's Page 2. An avid sports fan, he has played professional indoor football, coached high school football, trained as a professional wrestler, served as a missionary, and has also taught writing courses at the college level. He currently lives in Michigan with his wife and two sons.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note: Brief Thoughts on the Use of the Word "Fanifesto" in the Title
Introduction: Autographs, Cliches, and the Summer of My Discontent
1. It's Hard to Say I'm Sorry: Sin, Confession, and the Jock Apology 
2. Wilder at Heart:  Steroids, HGH, and Building the Bigger Athlete
3. Honesty (Authenticity) and Sports: Why I Love Mike Tyson and Ricky Williams and You Should Too
4. Dishonesty and Sports: Nick Saban, Jason Kidd, and Letting Your Yes be Yes
5. What Might Have Been: Tony Dungy and Games of Inches
6. Is This All There Is? Tom Brady and the Mixed Blessings of Blessing
7. Pride and the Mixed Blessing of Curses: The Incredible Bulk (Bust): Tony Mandarich  
8. A Reflection: When Bad Fantasy Teams Happen to Good People; An Aside on David Mamet and Mixed Martial Arts
9. Sports and Film: On Man's Need to Have Friends and Feel Heroic
10. Sports and Sexuality: Why the NFL Scouting Combine and Viagra Commercials Make Me Feel Like a Piece of Meat
11. Sports and Humility: Why I Love Muhammad Ali (but Why He Also May Have Ruined Sports)     
12. Black Like Me: Sports--One Place Where Racial Reconciliation Doesn't Feel Awkward or Forced
Epilogue: A Town, a Tornado, and a Team

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