Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tim Tebow: Football vs. Faith in NY Times

Curious what everyone thinks of this story in today's New York Times about Tim Tebow at the intersection of faith and football.

I've been pretty clear on this over the years: Because of Tebow's fundamental popularity and visibility, I think that the demonstrative displays (from the eye-black in college to "Tebowing" two weeks ago) are overblown -- specifically as they relate to any argument that Tebow is somehow thrusting his beliefs on the rest of us.

If anything, I think that Tebow's genius-level communication skills and empathy has allowed him to be far more thoughtful and nuanced about when, where and how he expresses his faith -- specifically, I think he doesn't force it on audiences he knows are not interested.

Let's not confuse public displays of faith -- or even a fundamental interest in evangelizing -- with Tebow somehow imposing on anyone who might not be interested in it.

(This is actually a big part of the long-awaited "Tebook" I have been working on. But read the piece in the Times and think about it for yourself. Always enjoy your comments.)

-- Dan

4 comments:

  1. Sorry, really long comment.

    When I read the NY Times comments, I also notice how some commenters are reading more into Tebow's actions and words than I've seen him do, as you noted, or making general comments not specifically about him. I agree that he doesn't seem to be pushing his faith onto others, and his Tebowing display didn't seem like he was doing it for the cameras. As you noted, he'll engage people when asked (notice the LeBron/Dwight Howard/Tebow tweet exchange this week). Even those who quote Matthew 6 (like in the comments section of the NY Times article) about keeping behind closed doors are taking it out of context, when it's talking about prayer by hypocrites looking for human praise, Tebow is going on Matthew 28 to spread the message.

    Anytime someone says a way is better, sincerely as Tebow is, it's because he wants others to have the same joy/experience, like telling someone how great this car is, this speaker, this vacation spot, this philospher, etc. The Christian athlete often sees the fame as the pedestal God provides to speak and thank God, so he uses the pedestal while it's there.

    Why such vicious backlash? The NY Times touches on some of it. If it's the media blitz, that's as much the media as anyone else taking the story and publicizing it because people are interested (e.g., why are the Red Sox and Yankees always covered ahead of X team?) ad nauseum.

    If it's the tying of Christianity's success/failure with his success, I think that's a fair argument among even Christians. As Kurt Warner said in the article (and my guess is Tebow would say the same):"Your God’s not helping you win.” He could help with individual moments (i.e., Josh Hamilton), but even Hamilton didn't say God was going to make the Rangers win: he just gave Hamilton heads up on the home run, and produced the most peaceful at bat he had in the World Series.

    However, if it's because of geniune venom/hatred towards the man, for what? Does he SAY he's better than others? I don't recall that. Is he forcing the message on people? Prove that his display isn't more than a Jim McMahon headband, touchdown celebration, etc. He made one relatively benign commercial related to pro-life. The Jockey commercial certainly isn't faith-related. I'm with Dan on this.

    Is it because they think he's a hypocrite/can't stand hypocrisy? Find one person that says he isn't the geniune article. Nice, well-mannered, generous, strong personality.

    Offended that he's speaking in public? Can't he be allowed to put his voice in the marketplace (just like athletes saying they're gay, love partying, or make political statements)?

    If the message is foolishness (unless it's threatening to society), it will die out anyway--ignore it. If the message causes anger because of fear for what he's saying is a danger to society, fine, but opponents should have the grace that he has in opposing him.

    One last thought, especially for those with the really vicious words/emotions: is it because he's hitting a nerve with those who think he may have something with Christianity but oppose it so much because they don't want to admit they may have to change? If it was nonsense, they could simply ignore it, but we tend to be more defensive when something hits home.

    Don't get the chance to be here often, but my 2 cents.

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  2. Want to know why people are making fun of Tebow? I can tell you... Tim signed a 300,000 contract with NIKE... the company named in honor of the pagan goddess Nike. God says in Exodus 23:13...
    “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips." Let me ask you this... Would Jesus sign a contract with a company named after the pagan goddess Nike? NO WAY! I have been trying to contact the Tebows... still waiting to hear back! If Tim wants to be blessed and honored... He needs to honor God. Pass it on...

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  3. @ChristiansVSNike

    WOW!

    Seriously?

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