A Tale of Unintended Consequences
Evangelical engagement with popular culture is not one-sided or simple, and through the process of working out the role of sports in evangelicalism, Christian athletes developed new understandings of their religion and their bodies. Due to increased athletic opportunities for women and a shift of emphasis within sports ministry to valuing individual religious experience over traditional witnessing, women came to dominate sports ministry, and when they did, they used their religious embodied knowledge to rethink their own bodies and the evangelical demands on their bodies to be feminine and straight. Examining evangelical involvement in athletics shows how evangelical engagement with secular culture forced participants to develop a religious self-reflexivity that threw some deeply held religious understandings into flux. This conclusion tells the story of how the body came to occupy a central role in sports ministry, revealing the unintended consequences of prioritizing embodied religious experience.
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