Baseball and religion. Though many might say there is no connection, or at the very least wonder what kind of connection there might be, The Faith of Fifty Million will convince you that there is, indeed, a connection, and will help you to understand it better. A collection of essays by religion scholars who are baseball enthusiasts, and longtime fans of our national pastime, The Faith of Fifty Million looks at the cultural, social, and religious aspects of one of the most popular sports of all time.
In nine chapters, or innings as one reviewer called them, The Faith of Fifty Million offers insightful essays probing the good, the bad and the ugly about our national pastime. Topics for the essays include: baseball as civil religion, Shoeless Joe Jackson as baseball's scapegoat, baseball as a model of racial integration, the kingdom of baseball in America, a spiritual reminiscence of baseball, a comparison of the characters of Christy Mathewson (Matty) and Grover Cleveland Alexander (Ol' Pete), connections between Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea and baseball, women and baseball, baseball as metaphor, and comparisons between the history of baseball and Christian theology.
Baseball and American culture are intertwined and have been since baseball's inception. This book argues that the same is true of baseball and religion in America. Stanley Hauerwas, in the foreword notes that as a critic of civil religion in America he must "recognize that baseball, for better or worse, is the great exemplification of that [civil] religion." And one of the essayists argues that baseball is the outworking of the liberal Protestant hope for the Kingdom of God to be realized in America. In the end, however, this book affirms that whatever the religious and social implications of baseball are, baseball is, ultimately, just a game. A game which reflects and impacts the values of both America and Christianity, but still a game. So step up to the plate and take a swing at The Faith of Fifty Million. You won't be disappointed, and you certainly won't strike out.
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