Ahead of the Inaugural Global Congress for Sports and Christianity (IGCSC) which will be convened at St John's University in York, from 24-28 August 2016, US-based Catholic sport scholar, Anthony Maranise, an oblate of the Benedictine Order, has released the second edition of his book, Sport & the Spiritual Life: The Integration of Playing & Praying.
Maranise will join fellow Christian sports scholars from across the globe in York a few short months from now; one of whom, Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, Chaplain for Sport and CEO of the London-based John Paul II Foundation for Sport, reviews Maranise's book below:
An original and wide-ranging book; both in format and content, written by a man who has experience of sport underpinned by a strong belief. This book enables Maranise to express his admiration for St Augustine of Hippo as well as his knowledge on how and why some sportspeople tattoo.
One of the strengths of this book is the thorough identification of scripture texts applicable to the practice of sport. The Benedictine 'ora et labora' resonates with 'pray and play': even, perhaps 'pray through play'.
As a survivor of leukaemia, Anthony has a deep appreciation of life. The exercises he offers at the end of a number of chapters will make this book a useful educational tool in many settings.
Perhaps future editions of this valuable book could explore the differences between the Roman Catholic and Protestant views of sport; its sacramentality and glorifying God as opposed to helping people get fit in order to be able to work for the Kingdom of God.
The dangers of sport are admitted. It's potential for generating ecstasy and thus supplying much of what religion offers leads some to use sport as a surrogate religion - with all the harm this generates. His 'Abstract Developmental Model for Athletes' chimes closely with the John Paul 2 foundation 4 Sport's "PIES of Life" model and the mutual influence of the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual dimensions of human life on developing the full potential of human life through sport. I look forward to Anthony's next book- which I am sure will appear - as time and further experiences enable us to grow.
SPORT & THE SPIRITUAL LIFE: THE INTEGRATION OF PLAYING & PRAYING (2nd Edition). By Anthony Maranise, OblSB (with a Foreword by Rev Kevin Lixey, LC). Charleston, South Carolina [US]: Order of Saint Benedict, 2013. Pp. xi +126. $24.50 USD.