Running for Jesus! The Virtues and the Vices of Disability and Sport

John Swinton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The author explores some of the virtues and the vices of sport for Christians. Although sport is clearly a popular and potentially fruitful enterprise for human beings, it has its glories and its temptations. On the one hand, sport can be a magnificent exhibition of the beauty, diversity, power, and God-given potential of the human body. On the other hand, in drawing attention to the things that our bodies can do, we risk glorifying ourselves rather than bringing glory to God. The ways in which Christians negotiate this tension is crucial for faithful discipleship. The author uses the idea of running for Jesus to illustrate the goals of sport and the subtle tendency toward idolatry that accompanies the sporting enterprise. Central to the author's intention is challenging us to think through precisely which Jesus we choose to worship. The Jesus of power, competition and win at all costs, or the Jesus who suffers, who is gentle, and who perceives winning in quite different ways from much of contemporary sport. Sport has to do with bearing witness, and bearing witness does not require winning; it requires faithfulness. The question is: to whom do we choose to bear witness should we engage in sport?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Disability & Religion
Issue number2
Early online date3 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • disability
  • disability studies
  • pastoral theology
  • practical theology


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