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Krattenmaker to speak at DePauw Wednesday

Monday, October 5, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- Tom Krattenmaker, an award-winning writer specializing in religion in public life and author of a new book, will visit DePauw University on Wednesday as a guest of the Mendenhall Lecture Series.

A columnist for USA Today and author of the new book, "Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks Into Pulpits and Players Into Preachers," Krattenmaker will discuss "The Salvation of Sports? Sports World Christianity in the Age of Religious Diversity."

His speech, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. in Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.

Following the program, Krattenmaker will sign copies of his new book, which will be available for purchase.

Krattenmaker serves as associate vice president for public affairs and communications at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He writes regularly for USA Today's "On Religion" commentary page and is a member of the newspaper's editorial board of contributors. Krattenmaker was honored by the American Academy of Religion in its 2009 journalism awards program with third place in the opinion-writing category. His work has also appeared in Salon, the Los Angeles Times, the Oregonian, the Philadelphia Inquirer and numerous other publications.

"Onward Christian Athletes," Krattenmaker's first book, is due out this month from Rowman & Littlefield.

A synopsis states, "Players pointing triumphantly to the heavens. Lavishly paid pro athletes proclaiming their Christianity in public every chance they get. Faith Nights at professional sports events. The hand of God proclaimed in every win streak. Pro sports teams are supposed to provide a civic rallying ground where fans of widely varying background and faiths come together.

"In Onward Christian Athletes, religion expert and commentator Tom Krattenmaker takes us behind the scenes of the conservative Christian movement to evangelize in the club house and enlist pro athletes to promote a specific brand of Christianity outside the mainstream of a religiously and politically diverse America."

"Tom Krattenmaker, in my opinion, is one of the most informed and relevant writers on the Evangelical movement today," asserts Kevin Palau, executive vice president of the Luis Palau Association. "His critique is fair and his knowledge is impressive."

Krattenmaker is a former newspaper reporter for the Orange County Register and Associated Press. He appeared in Dan Merchant's documentary "Lord Save Us From Your Followers," and on ESPN's Outside the Lines, the Christian Broadcasting Network, the Canadian Broadcasting System and numerous other outlets.

DePauw's Mendenhall Lectures, which were inaugurated in 1913, were endowed by the Reverend Doctor Marmaduke H. Mendenhall. His desire was to enable the University to bring to campus "persons of high and wide repute, of broad and varied scholarship" to address issues related to the academic dialogue concerning Christianity.

Although Mendenhall was a pastor in the North Indiana Annual Conference of what was then called the Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the parents of the United Methodist Church, he explicity dictated that lectures be selected without regard to denominational divisions.

The endowment has allowed DePauw to bring theological and religious scholars of international repute to campus for nearly a century.

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