First Topic – Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports
In recent years the United States has seen an influx of Christian athletes and coaches into big-time sports, as well as a heightened importance placed on sports in church programs and enormous platforms for intercollegiate sports at Christian schools and colleges. However, as Shirl Hoffman critiques, a Christian vision of sport remains merely superficial, replete with prayers before free throws and praises after touchdowns but offering little if any alternative vision from the secular sports culture. Far from being the kind of life-affirming, faith-affirming events that they could be, games played in Christian college gymnasiums, for example, too often end up as mockeries of the faith statements given prominence in their mission statements. Here, in this thoughtful, narrative-driven exploration, Hoffman retells numerous fascinating stories from the world of ancient and contemporary sports and draws on the history of the Christian tradition as he seeks to answer the question What would it mean to think Christianly about sport?
Second Topic – American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll
Aristocrat. Catholic. Patriot. Founder. Before his death in 1832, Charles Carroll of Carrollton - the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence - was widely regarded as one of the most important founders. Today, Carroll's signal contributions to the American founding are overlooked, but in the fascinating new biography American Cicero, historian Bradley Birzer rescues Carroll from this unjust neglect. Born out of wedlock, Carroll became the best educated founder, a man of supreme intellect, imagination, and integrity. He recognized the necessity of American independence well before most other founders, brilliantly analyzed the situation in the run-up to the Revolution (though that analysis is now ignored by historians), inspired the creation of the U.S. Senate, and helped legitimize his religion, Roman Catholicism, in America.