Friday, February 1, 2008

Georgia Author’s Books Put God and College Sports on Level Playing Field

Do God and college sports really belong on the same field? One Georgia author thinks they do.

Ed McMinn is the author of an ongoing series of daily devotional books that are unusual in their combination of sports and faith. As an avid college football fan, McMinn wanted to create a format combining his passion for sports with his love of God to encourage other Christians in their daily faith walk.

A devotional book for fans of any and every sport that a university has to offer, each day’s devotion begins with a Bible verse and then recounts a story of a university hero, legend, tradition, or great victory and relates it to scripture. The devotion moves from a sports moment to a moment of reflection about God. McMinn tackles many everyday issues including success, living faithfully, self-esteem, work, fatherhood, relationships, and pressure.

“I was looking for an outlet to take faith into the real world; to reach sports fans with a Christian message in unexpected, but realistic places,” McMinn says. “For many people, their faith is a one-day-a-week thing, maybe on Wednesday nights also, but the rest of the week it is a separate life. The point these devotional books make is that the things that you love outside of your church life are also places where God can be found.”

McMinn’s God Bless the Vols and God Bless the Crimson Tide were published in 2007 by Howard Books, the Christian publishing arm of Simon & Schuster. Extra Point Publishers continued the series with the publications in 2007 of Daily Devotions for Die-Hard Fans: Georgia Bulldogs and Daily Devotions for Die-Hard Fans: Auburn Tigers.

As a University of Georgia alumnus, McMinn understands how strongly fans feel about their sports team and encourages Christians to feel that strongly about their faith as well. He is pastor of Grace Church in Perry, Ga., entering the ministry after an extended career as a newspaper editor and college teacher of journalism and English.

“It’s all about passion,” states McMinn. “I frequently am asked how I came up with the idea and all I know to say is divine inspiration. It’s a joke, but also contains much truth. I am a pastor now, but I went into the ministry very late; for most of my life I was a newspaper guy and a college teacher. That love of English and of writing has stayed with me and coupled with being a sports ‘nut’, the idea came to try to meld the two: college sports and God. As a matter of fact, many people tell me they get so carried away with the stories that they read straight through the whole book in a few days and then go back and treat it like a devotional.”

The books are reader-friendly with a light but poignant theological perspective on integrating faith into other life passions. Research has already begun for expanding the series from college sports to NASCAR and branches of the military.

All four books are available on the Internet through and and locally in specialty shops and chain bookstores.

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