"Lincoln Harvey has managed to do something quite remarkable here: this book is at once historical and constructive; academic and accessible; detailed and concise; systematic and practical. It is good to see serious work on theology and sport, and this book is a fine example of what serious theology about contemporary issues should look like."
--Tom Greggs, King's College, Aberdeen University, UK
"With lively prose, conceptual clarity, and a deep affection for the subject matter, Harvey kicks off an important conversation about how theologically we should make sense of--and order our love in relation to--a central cultural phenomenon of our times: sport. Wonderfully insightful, historically rich, and theologically punchy, this is vital reading for anyone who plays, watches, or is utterly bemused by the world of sport."
--Luke Bretherton, Duke Divinity School, NC
"This is a brilliant book. Brief but profound, full of ideas and intriguing insights, it achieves something rare and yet deeply satisfying for those of us who love both God and sport--relating them to each other in a way that does proper justice to both."
--Graham Tomlin, St Mellitus College, London
"Lincoln Harvey is a soccer fan of the most besotted sort, a supporter of Arsenal. What, as a Christian, should he make of the hours spent absorbed in an activity that does nothing but itself? I give away only a hint of his profound proposal by citing a chapter title: 'A Liturgical Celebration of Contingency.' This is high-flying theology that manages to be a good read--not a common achievement."
--Robert W. Jenson, Saint Olaf College, MN
"Sport,' says Lincoln Harvey, 'is only for sport.' But A Brief Theology of Sport is about much more than sport . . . In winsome fashion, it advances a conversation that is much needed and a thesis that deserves a response."
--Douglas Farrow, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
"This important book provides an accessible and yet theologically rigorous account of how Christians should think about, and more importantly, 'play' sports. Dr. Harvey is to be commended for the way he has meticulously examined the nature of modern sports through an interdisciplinary (mainly theological) lens, offering insights into the nature of sport, play, and competition, as well as the complex history of the sport-faith symbiosis. His systematic reflections on why we play, watch, and love sport through consideration of key Christian doctrines is arguably the most significant and original contribution of this book--one situated within an embryonic, but fast-emerging literature that has long been in need of a theologian's heart, mind, and pen. As an Arsenal football fanatic and theologian, the author passionately lives in his storied analysis of the sport-faith relationship. Thus, this volume, while being an invaluable source for those in the academy, connects to those well beyond the academy."
--Nick J. Watson, York Saint John University, UK
"This is an impressive contribution--required reading for anyone interested in thinking deeply about the place and meaning of sport in Christian life. In this brief book, Harvey unpacks a stunning array of theological insights that deserve thoughtful reflection by all Christian sport enthusiasts. Don't look here for a list of dos and don'ts, because the book is fundamentally about why: why sport is important in the life of faith, much more important than widely believed. Fair warning: those looking for ways sport might be made more useful or more productive in the service of the church, or who regard sport as a form of worship, or who are looking for Scripture verses to pump up their competitive zeal will find no support here. Neither will the rabid sport fan whose commitment verges on idolatry, nor will those who bow the knee to commercialism and professionalism or conflate sport with military exercises. Instead, Harvey points to a higher, heretofore unexplored reality of sport anchored in the doctrine of creation. Sport, says Harvey, is a liturgy of self-contained, embodied, meaningful non-necessity . . . a 'communal actualization' of our identities as beings brought forth out of nothing, but put 'on a trajectory towards God.' Harvey both celebrates sport and warns of its dangers, showing us that harvesting sports' spiritual bounty requires that it be approached with a certain serious non-seriousness. In competition we may win or we may lose, but either way, the game remains a 'wonderfully unnecessary but internally meaningful way to chime with (our) own unnecessary but meaningful life as creatures of God.'"
--Shirl James Hoffman, author of Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sport