Sports Illustrated has come to my mailbox for nearly 40 years. I hope it comes for 40 more. But I also hope whomever is assigning the stories in the future begins to think more about the readers than their political and social agendas.
Super Bowl week featured a cover of a praying Ray Lewis rising from the water, and a cover story by New York Times’ religion columnist Mark Oppenheimer on Christians in the NFL. The story was enough to cause PJMedia writer Andrew Klavan to declare he would not renew his SI subscription, and most serious Christian athletes are almost certain to have at least some problems with the piece.
Which led me to wonder why this writer was picked to write that piece? So I tracked down Oppenheimer and hosted him on Thursday’s radio show for a two hour talk about his piece, his own religious background, and the subject of faith and football.
The transcript of the interview is here. The emails from listeners who stayed in their cars in driveways until a break when they could rush into their homes to keep listening confirm it was a very good conversation. Football and God? A Harvard radio host and a Yalie Bonesman-debater-turned New York Times columnist? An evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian Browns fan and a cross-country loving soccer-coach Conservative Jew? What could go wrong?
This same week a collection of on-air debates I have hosted between the most prominent of the new atheists –Hitchens and Dawkins and others—and skilled Christian apologists appeared as an eBook, titled Talking with Pagans. I am thus used to navigating the faith space and to the vast gaps that exist between believers of all sorts.