Review of Intentional Walk, a book about the Christian faith of St. Louis Cardinals

Rob Rains, Intentional Walk: An Inside Look at the Faith that Drives the St. Louis Cardinals (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013).

Intentional Walk describes the role of the Christian faith in the lives of several Cardinal players and staff members. The book covers the Cardinals through the 2012 season, Mike Matheny’s first year as manager.

The Prologue gives insight into Matheny’s philosophy of managing by quoting a letter to wrote to parents of a little league team he coached.

Each chapter is devoted to a person showing how his faith has influenced his baseball life and personal life. Current Cardinals profiled include Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal, Jason Motte, and Matt Holliday. Chapters cover Manager Mike Matheny, Announcer Rick Horton, and Equipment Manager Rip Rowan. Chapters also cover persons no longer with the Cardinals including David Freese, Lance Berkman, Barret Browning, Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs, Jake Westbrook, and Carlos Bertran.

Chapel, Bible studies, and discussions about eternal matters occur regularly with the Cardinals. The commitment to Christ surpasses the commitment to baseball for these men. Their Christianity does not make them weak or uncompetitive. It makes them committed to excellence and doing their best as players. Their faith enables them to cope with victories and successes as well as with failures, losses, injuries, and disappointments.

The players make clear in their testimonies that, though they have a special fellowship with other Christians, they respect players who do not share their faith. Matheny said, “I don’t want to be anybody’s excuse to not find Christ.” He told his players of his commitment to Christ but he assured them he would never force his faith on others. He stated that he wanted to manage the team in a way that glorifies God.

The 204-page book inspires as the reader sees how these prominent sports figures seek to live their Christian faith as baseball players and in everyday life.

Classics of the Christian Faith

Five Classics

These five books are classics of Christian literature. They speak to the heart issues of Christianity in a forceful and dynamic way. They lead readers into a deeper understanding of the Christian faith. Here is food and guidance to help you grow in spiritual maturity and discipleship. Why not read several of these books as a project this summer? Why not fast from TV, videos, movies, the Internet and feed your soul?

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Perhaps the most widely read apologetic for Christianity written in English in the twentieth century. Sold millions of copies. Logical reasoning in defense of the Christian faith by a former atheist.

Stott, John R. W. Basic Christianity, 50th anniversary edition. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

Clear and easy-to-read introduction to the Christian faith. Over 2.5 million sold.

Packer, J. I. Knowing God, 20th anniversary edition. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Believing ignorance of God is the source of weakness in churches, Packer helps the reader gain a personal relationship with God through the knowledge of the living God from the Word of God.

Stott, John R. W. The Cross of Christ, 20th anniversary edition. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

Powerful book stating the doctrinal meaning of the cross, answering misunderstandings, and making personal application of the cross to our lives. Many consider this the best book on the cross.

Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 25th anniversary edition. New York: Harper and Collins, Publishers, 1998.

Practical guidance for one seeking a closer devotional walk with God and growth in spiritual maturity.

Three Potential Classics

Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998.

A relentless search for the evidence answering the question “Who is Jesus.” Worthy of serious attention from every believer and skeptic.

Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Dutton, 2008.

A refreshing and intellectually stimulating case for the reality of God. Contemporary and relevant as the author draws illustrations from his encounters with skeptics and seekers in his New York ministry.

Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs: Nav Press, 2002.

Challenging instruction for growing in our spiritual walk, shedding sinful habits, and progressively taking on the character of Christ. Practical guidance for being transformed in heart and life into Christlikeness.