Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
I love Tim Tebow. There I said it. But not for the reasons you think. Tim is not a great football player, as evidenced by his absolute drubbing by the New England Patriots. Although his statistics as a quarterback have been improving, and his capacity as a leader to instill a competitive fire in his teammates is unquestionable, he’s still young and NOT the second coming of the Messiah. He’s just a human being who loves the game like a little kid.
And that’s what I love about Tim Tebow. When the millionaire athletes in the NBA couldn’t agree on how to split three million dollars, it’s awesome to see someone willing to sit on the pine, anxiously waiting like a ten-year old kid, wondering, “Can I go in coach? Can I go in?” Tebow plays the game with a sense of juvenile glee that is infectious. He’s like a goofy kid with a over-sized body that would play ’til the street lights came on, and then want to play some more. What I love about Tim Tebow is his love and appreciation for the love of the game. He enjoys the moment for what it is: the now.
And then there’s his faith.
I actually don’t mind Tim’s expression of his faith. As a follower of Jesus I revel in my capacity as a United States citizen to share my thoughts without concern for imprisonment. It’s everyone’s human right to speak their mind and share what is important to him. We love Tebow’s love for the game but some just can’t stand his love for God. And when I sit back and listen to the chatter, I can begin to see the concern. We like to separate our lives into neat little compartments, hoping that none the two shall meet. But they do. Tim brings the church pew onto the field and says, “I’m gonna make you think about it.” Tim has so far been an upstanding guy as well. He’s so far avoided the scandal that would shutter a major beloved star (read Tiger Woods). His character is in line with his faith.
Which makes me wonder why some like to hate on Tim Tebow. And recently I read an article that seemed to highlight, at least for me, what the tension is. In a postmodern, media-driven age, we’re now recognizing our capacity to question everyone’s stand. And Tim Tebow has aligned himself with a specific type of evangelical Christianity, one that it known as much for what it is against as much as what it is for.
Charles P. Pierce asks a really Provoketive question on ESPN’s column Grantland.
Let us be quite clear — Tim Tebow adheres to a particular form of American Protestantism. He belongs to — and proselytizes for — a splinter of a splinter, no more or less than Mitt Romney once did. This particular splinter has a long record in America of fostering anti-Enlightenment thought, retrograde social policies, and, more discreetly, religious bigotry. To call Tim Tebow a “Christian,” and to leave it at that — as though there were one definition of what a “Christian” is — is to say nothing and everything at once. Roman Catholics are Christians. So are Lutherans, Episcopalians, Melkites, Maronites, and members of the Greek and Russian Orthodox faiths. You can see how insidious this is when discussion turns to the missionary work that Tebow’s family has done in the Philippines. This is from the Five Priorities of the Bob Tebow ministries, regarding its work overseas:
It is the goal of the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association to preach the gospel to every person who has never had an opportunity to hear the good news of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Most of the world’s population has never once had the opportunity to hear the only true message of forgiveness of sins by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
It so happens that 95 percent of the population of the Philippines is Roman Catholic. Catholic doctrine just happens to be in conflict with what Bob Tebow and his son preach in regard to personal salvation. (To devout Catholics, for example, sins are not forgiven “by faith alone,” but through the sacrament of reconciliation as administered by a priest.) Bob Tebow’s goal is not to convert unbelievers. It is to supplant an existing form of Christianity. So who’s the actual Christian here?
Is the hate fueled by Tim’s love for God or his strong association with Evangelical Christianity, which pits itself against other faiths? The very foundations of it are rooted in the idea of Protest. In other words, is the public’s disdain for Tim really a statement against Tim’s evangelical version of Christianity, which publicly begins with what it is against as much as what it is for. And this stance is now being questioned and sifted. The public is asking if this is the best representation of Jesus in the public sphere. Does “Christian” look like someone who is known for finding the separation as much as the connection between two individuals?
What do you think?