Symposium Explores Faith, Culture and "The Spirit of Sports” Nov. 5-7 at Baylor

spirit of sports
Oct. 28, 2015

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"The Spirit of Sports," a symposium hosted by Baylor University's Institute for Faith and Learning, will feature more than 120 presentations by athletes, sports chaplains, college administrators and faculty, coaches and journalists as they explore the moral and cultural significant of sports from a religious perspective.

"The Spirit of Sports" will be held Thursday, Nov. 5 through Nov. 7, in the Bill Daniel Student Center, 1311 S. Fifth St. on the Baylor campus. A full conference schedule can be found here.

“People play sports, watch sports and even argue about sports, but rare is the chance to slow down and think more carefully about sports through the lens of the Christian faith,” said Darin H. Davis, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Faith and Learning and assistant professor of Christian philosophy and ethics at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. “This symposium draws internationally known scholars, players, coaches and commentators to help us think about the games we play and why they matter."

“This year’s theme on sports is significant, since sports are one of the most important cultural phenomena of our time,” said John B. White, assistant professor of practical theology and ethics and director of the sports ministry/chaplaincy program at Truett Seminary. “This attraction to sports converges with the ascendancy of Baylor athletics, and our new program of study on sports ministry at Baylor’s Truett Seminary makes it doubly relevant for our institution.”

Featured presenters include:

    Lisa Fenn, former award-winning feature producer, ESPN

    Chris Broussard, NBA analyst and columnist, ESPN

    L. Gregory Jones, former dean and Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams, Jr. Professor of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School

    Ken Starr, Baylor President and Chancellor, The Louise L. Morrison Chair of Constitutional Law, Baylor Law School

    Grant Teaff, former head football coach, Baylor University and executive director, American Football Coaches Association

    Paula McGee, former professional basketball player, preacher and speaker on social justice and the Black Church

    Randall Balmer, professor in the arts and sciences and chair, department of religion, Dartmouth College

    James K.A. Smith, professor of philosophy, Calvin College

    Jeff Warren, senior pastor, Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas

    John Wilson, editor of “Books & Culture” and editor-at-large for “Christianity Today”

    Tracy Trothen, ethicist focusing on sports and religion, Queen’s University, Ontario

    Nina King, deputy director of athletics/administration, legal affairs and chief of staff, Duke University

    Patrick Kelly, associate professor of theology and religious studies, Seattle University

    Daniel McMahon, principal, DeMatha Catholic High School, Hyattsville, Maryland

    Dutch Baughman, executive director, Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association

    Paul Heintzman, teacher and scholar of sports, leisure, recreation and the environment, University of Ottawa

    Johnny Derouen, chair of the human growth and development division, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

    Marcia Mount Shoop, writer, teacher, and minister focusing on race, gender, and justice in sports

For registration and cost information, including a full schedule of events, visit "The Spirit of Sports."

by Bethany Harper , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The Institute for Faith and Learning was founded in 1997 to assist Baylor in achieving its mission of integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment, and its goal of becoming a university of the first rank committed to its Baptist and Christian heritage. Since its founding, the Institute has developed several major programs in support of this mission, cultivating high-quality research, sponsoring conferences, mentoring students, and encouraging teaching faithful to the Christian intellectual tradition.

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