Today's guest is Tim Ellsworth.Tim is the co-author, along with Scott Lamb, of the book, Pujols: More Than the Game. Tim is the director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He is also the editor of Baptist Press Sports. Tim has written countless articles illuminating the interaction between faith and sports. He and his wife, Sarah, have three children—Daniel, Emmalee, and Noah.
Now, without further delay, my interview with Tim Ellsworth:
1. Why did you want to tackle Albert Pujols as the subject of your newest book?
I'm a lifelong Cardinals fan, so I've obviously been cheering for Pujols since he joined the team in 2001. He's obviously one of baseball's all-time greats, so that in and of itself made him someone that Scott Lamb and I wanted to write about. But his story goes much deeper than just his accomplishments on the field. Scott and I have known for a long time that Pujols is a devoted Christian, and that devotion to Christ fuels his charitable efforts with children who have Down Syndrome and with the impoverished in the Dominican Republic. All of those factors combine to make him a compelling subject.
2. Was there anything about Albert Pujols that surprised you when writing this book?
One of the recurring themes among those we talked to was how authentic Pujols is -- that what you see is what you get, and how he's the same person now, after years of sports celebrity, that he was when he was an unknown. That probably was the most surprising thing.
3. You mentioned in your book about how Albert Pujols has an accountability team around him. How important is accountability in the Christian walk?
Very important, and I think that as much as possible, that accountability should come in the context of a local church -- a community of faith in which God's people are encouraging one another in holiness and faithfulness.
4. You have written a lot about Christian athletes. Do you feel that Christian athletes receive more scrutiny because of their faith?
This is a complex question. Yes and no. In one sense, Christian athletes should receive more scrutiny -- because their lives should look drastically different from those who don't claim Christ. So if their lifestyles don't match up with their profession, chances are they're going to hear about it. That's not to say that we as Christians should blast a Christian athlete for every misstep. Just because they're Christians doesn't make them perfect, and none of us would like to have all our shortcomings proclaimed to the entire world.
In another way, I don't necessarily think Christian athletes receive more scrutiny. We've all heard the cliches that Christian athletes are soft and can't be as competitive as others, but I don't buy that, and I think those who promote such thinking are really ignorant of the facts. Pujols and many other top-notch Christian athletes (Kurt Warner, Tim Tebow, Adam Wainwright, etc.) are strong evidence to the contrary.
5. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I hope ultimately that they'll be drawn to Jesus Christ -- because as great of a baseball player as Pujols is, he's still just a man who suffers from the same affliction (sin) that we all do. Pujols needed a savior and found that salvation in Christ. And I hope people will see in Pujols an example of how new life in Christ should result in such fruits as generosity to others and compassion for those in need.
Thank You Tim!
Well there you go. Make sure you check out Tim's book and you can also check out Tim's blog. You won't be disappointed.
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