A Physical Culture Classic that Everyone Should Know

By Adam Park Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s 1858 article, “Saints and Their Bodies,” named a problem, a problem that gave voice to a bourgeoning American physical culture movement then, and for years to come. So articulated, the problem concerned nothing less than the spiritual and physical health of the Creator’s most precious creations. “By spiritual laws,”…

Boxing: The Brief History of a “Science”

By Adam Park I recently tried to explain to a four-year-old why I whimpered in pain when she “honked” my nose. It was not easy. Boxing, I said. A friend punched me there several times because we were playing a game. She looked perplexed. But we weren’t fighting, I quickly qualified, we were just having…

The Religious Origins of Sports in America

by Adam Park   For far too long, lamented Thomas Wentworth Higginson in 1858, “the saints have been ‘ashamed of their bodies.’”[1] For Higginson, Christians had failed to realize the interconnectedness between body and spirit. Christians needed something more physically robust. And as it so happened, America’s bourgeoning physical culture movement was ideal. Noting development…

Virgin Evangelical Athletes and the Campaign to Make Abstinence Sexy

By Scott D. Strednak Singer, Guest Contributor I’m a fan of Tim Tebow and Lori “Lolo” Jones, but not for the reasons you may think. For many Americans, Tebow and Jones are standard-bearers of a “born-again” Christian subculture desperately trying to retain cultural relevancy in an era when moral exhortations and claims to righteousness are becoming…