CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

It’s Tebow Time

Dec 12, 2011

If you don’t have a clue what my title refers to, then you are probably not:
-An American
-An American football fan
-An evangelical Christian

Tim Tebow has been making a lot of headlines of late, and he has both loyal fans and rabid critics. So what is it about Tebow that generates so much publicity and so polarises the community? He is a new and successful starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

That is no problem. What seems to be a big problem for many however is the fact that he is an evangelical Christian, and he is not afraid to give God and Jesus the glory for his success, even in public. For daring to do that, he has incurred the wrath of many.

Heaps has been written about him already, so I cannot add much new here. But for non-Americans, or for non-gridiron fans, or for non-evangelicals, let me offer a bit of commentary. I will rely here on three recent pieces which discuss Tebow. One is mildly supportive while the other two are much more supportive.

The first lengthy piece as found in the Wall Street Journal offers a moderate assessment of the man and his faith. Patton Dodd says this by way of introduction: “This combination of candid piety and improbable success on the field has made Mr. Tebow the most-discussed phenomenon of the National Football League season. Most expert analysts still consider him poor material for a pro quarterback. An inexperienced passer with awkward throwing mechanics and the build of a fullback, he likes to run over defensive players, which is a no-no in the NFL, whose starting quarterbacks are expensive and hard to come by.

“But onward he and the Broncos have marched, winning six of their last seven games and now tied for the lead in their division as they face the Chicago Bears this Sunday. Mr. Tebow continues to defy his critics—and to embody the anxieties over religion that are dividing today’s sports world and embroiling players and fans alike.”

Most people admit that he is a really nice guy. He puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to his faith: “As Mr. Tebow recounts in his book ‘Through My Eyes’ (written with Nathan Whitaker), after he won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, he had the idea to use his fame to raise money for the orphanage that his family runs and for other organizations. Since National Collegiate Athletic Association rules prevented him from raising money for his own causes, he worked with the university to found a student society that could be used for charity.

“According to the former Florida coach Urban Meyer, Mr. Tebow’s philanthropic efforts reshaped campus culture, and for a time, volunteering became fashionable. In his senior year, the powder-puff football tournament that he launched, with the help of the university’s sororities and fraternities, raised $340,000 for charity.

“Mr. Tebow’s acts of goodwill have often been more intimate. In December 2009, he attended a college-football awards ceremony in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The night before, at another gala at Walt Disney World Resort, he met a 20-year-old college-football fan named Kelly Faughnan, a brain-tumor victim who suffers from hearing loss and visible, continual tremors. She was wearing a button that said ‘I love Timmy.’ Someone noticed and made sure that the young woman had a chance to meet the player.

“Mr. Tebow spent a long while with Ms. Faughnan and her family, and asked her if she’d like to be his date for the award ceremony the following night. She agreed, and the scene of Mr. Tebow escorting the trembling young woman down the red carpet led much of the reporting about the event.”

But the secular left still hate his guts. They especially went ballistic when Tebow filmed a Super Bowl pro-life commercial for Focus on the Family in 2010. The ad told about how his mother was advised to abort her son following a placental abruption. She of course refused and we now have Tim. The lefties, atheists and pro-aborts were spitting chips at that ad.

Another lengthy article which is also well worth reading in full speaks of his faith in some detail. Kelly OConnell notes how some other Christian athletes do not necessarily approve of his very vocal public profession of faith: “Aaron Rodgers is the current leader of the Green Bay Packers, while having a phenomenal record-setting year again. Yet, what was interesting about his criticism of Tebow’s evangelizing is – who would have even known Rodgers was a Christian if not for his criticism of Tebow? Rodgers said this about Tebow:

“‘Well, I started playing before Tim, so these are things I’ve thought about for a long time, and I think one thing that I try to look at when I was a younger player, and I mean, in high school, junior college, and Division I, I was always interested in seeing how guys talked in their interviews, talked about their faith, or didn’t talk about their faith. And then the reactions at time, I know Bob Costas at one point was critical about a player thanking Jesus Christ after a win, questioning what would happen if that player had lost, or do you really think God cares about winning and losing. That’s all to say that I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words”.’

“Yet, if every Christian was as silent as Rodgers about their faith, how would anyone else get saved? Further, isn’t Rodgers wasting the opportunity that his fame gives him to explain where he draws strength, wisdom and inspiration?”

She argues that we need another Great Awakening and only those bold and fearless enough to publically proclaim Christ will bring it about: “What Tim Tebow brings to America is the tremendous gift of unapologetic faith. Seeing this young man stand next to even other Christians brings to light the culture of compromise which now envelopes America like a suffocating fog. In fact, hundreds of millions of Americans claim to believe in Jesus without ever mentioning this to anyone who does not believe….

“Perhaps America will be saved from collapse by brave souls like Tebow, willing to set aside the approval of the elites to deliver a message to a confused and lost generation. And if we ever needed another Great Awakening, the time is now.”

But my favourite piece on Tebow comes from Doug Giles. He hits the nail on the head when it comes to the double standards of the PC crowd: “I wonder if the Tebow critics would be as mouthy about his faith if Tim’s name was Achmed and the god he praised after a TD was Allah. I doubt it. Why do I hesitate? Well, it’s principally because Christophobic toads are afraid to turn the verbal guns they use to berate Christians on Muslims, that’s why. Plus, they’d probably go to jail or get fired for ‘hate speech,’ but good Lord, you can certainly rag on Christians, now can’t ‘cha?

“Yes, my children, Christians are fair game because the brethren won’t retaliate with an underwear bomb when you rip on them, and ridiculing them won’t get one censored. The harpy head lice know it and thus proceed with their daft quips about Tim’s faith displays. Macho, macho men.”

He continues: “Let me see if I get this straight: A sex worshipping, multi-tattooed thug with three illegit kids from three different women scores a touchdown and then proceeds to simulate a sex act in the end zone – in front of our children and the millions watching by television – and that’s okay? Why sure it is. Who are we to judge? Matter of fact, let’s give that future inmate a Nike ad and bump his contract up a few mil because he brings spice (and crabs) to the game. Ah … sweet progress.

“On the other hand, in this evil-is-good and good-is-evil highway to hell culture, Tim Tebow, a model citizen, points toward heaven or bows a Rodin-style knee to Yahweh, and boom … he’s the bad guy. Well, if that’s the way it is in this culture of corruption then I’m supporting the rebel, Tim Tebow. He’s a rebel with a cause. The others are ridiculous without a clue.”

He concludes, “I’m trying to get what’s left of my mind around Tebow’s crimes against humanity. So far here’s what I have come up with:

“1.  Tim believes in Jesus Christ. As do, I believe, um, millions upon millions of other folks. Let me check. Yes, I’m right. Google says there are a bunch of Christians out there.
2.  Tim’s a virgin. You can’t be a virgin anymore in our day, right? Yes, not being a whore in the 21st century is a sin to many like Charlie Sheen. Let me ask the ladies this question: Would you be cool with marrying a handsome, multi-millionaire star quarterback who you know doesn’t have some STD eating his junk? I thought so.
3.  Tim is public with his praise to God … as were Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, the Apostle Paul and America’s founders.
4.  The Broncos miraculously keep on winning.
In summary, Tim is guilty of gratitude to God for all that He has given him, purity when it comes to sex and winning football games. Wow, what a loser.

“Oh, one more thing: This goes out to the obnoxious atheists who are spewing smack about Tebow’s devotion to God. Say you’re wrong in your assessment of whether there is a God or not, and oops, it turns out He does exist. I’m a guessin’ that you might be messin’ your pants one day when you have to go toe-to-toe with the One whose faithful followers you’ve been mocking for the last few years. Go Broncos!”

Giles is my kind of commentator, and Tebow is my kind of Christian. Neither one pulls any punches or plays any games. Both know about the war we are in and both are willing to speak out, despite all the flak they get, not only from the usual suspects, but from limp-wristed Christians who have never once stood up for their faith in public, but are quite happy to blast other Christians who have.

We need more bold and courageous Christians in the public arena. I am sick and tired of all the namby-pamby nominal believers who will never rock the boat and never open their mouths when they should. Jesus well spoke of such cowards: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9).

Oh, one final word: an important disclaimer: I am an American (living in Australia) and I am an evangelical Christian. So shoot me already if you think that makes me too biased. But I am also a Green Bay Packers fan (they are now 13 and 0 for the season – Go Pack!). But two out of three ain’t bad. If the Pack must lose, I guess it can be to Tebow and the Broncos. Praise God for whichever of the two wins.

online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203413304577084770973155282.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsTop
www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/43133
townhall.com/columnists/douggiles/2011/12/11/rebel_rebel_tim_tebow

[1898 words]

31 Responses to It’s Tebow Time

  • Joy…. Rapture….. I was telling my husband how utterly frustrated and annoyed I am by the total silence I receive from the 100+ FB Christian friends (8 of which are pastors) whenever I speak out/beg them to get involved re: Homosexual marriage/abortion/euthanasia etc He responded by sending me a link to your website. THANK YOU JESUS!!!! I am not alone 🙂 If I were to mention a love of high heels, a caffeine addiction or post a vid of a cute kitten on FB I would get several responses from my Christian friends. Mention anything that Christians are actually supposed to stand for and TOTAL SILENCE!!! I believe imprisonment for speaking out against SSM/Abortion etc is a very real future reality if Christians do not stand up now! Sadly Christians in general have heard nothing except ‘prosperity’ preaching for decades and therefore do not have any interest/passion for social issues. My husband and I move around Australia every couple of yrs and I base my comment on the ‘safe prosperity preaching’ we have heard everywhere we have been. We have been long term members at many churches and never once heard preaching on any real issues. The church will not even address pre marital sex and Divorce let alone SSM. They don’t want to ‘offend’ anyone. Thank you for being brave enough to speak out. God bless you for it. BTW I loved the article and laughed more than once 😀

    Julie Downs

  • Thanks Julie

    Yes you are sadly quite right. If you talk about how many points you scored in some dumb game on FB you will get a good response. If you stand up for Christ and his Kingdom, or stand up for traditional marriage, or the right to life, or the need to be fully consecrated to Christ, you get either silence or rebuke. But hey, I will always like your posts.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Julie, I don’t have anywhere near 100 friends on facebook, leave alone Christian friends, but the ones that I do have, also not one ever commented to a Christian statement I had made, or commented or replied to a link re homosexual marriage/abortion/euthanasia etc. But thanks to Bill and people like you I no longer feel alone in this world.
    Manfred Sollorz

  • Well Bill, being a fellow American here in Australia, you knew I would read this piece! Very funny parts throughout, however, I always get the feeling that it is almost “fashionable” to be a Christian in the USA. I don’t believe Christians in the US get nearly the harassment that we get in Australia. Even when I was at University over twenty years ago, it was “cool” to be Christian (which I wasn’t at the time.) and it has only become “cooler” since then. I know that the MSM can be cruel to Christians in America, but Fox News has really given Christians a mouthpiece that we sorely lack in Australia. Oh and by the way, Julie Downs, I’ll be your friend on FB and promise to get fired up whenever you mention the “unmentionables.” Well, that’s three of us…Bill, Julie, and Anna…so far.
    Anna von Marburg

  • oops sorry…and Manfred…make that four of us!
    Anna von Marburg

  • Hey we are growing in numbers by the minute! Who will make it five?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Me! 😀 I’m getting a few responses on FB from my fellow mothering colleagues on issues such as Santa, etc. But nothing on the big topics….a bit pathetic really.
    Julie Lawson

  • I recently had an argument with a friend about the quote “preach the gospel at all times – use words if necessary” and how it implies that using words isn’t necessary when the Bible says quite differently.

    It seems that this quote, which in many ways is a good one, can be an excuse to disobey Christ and His command to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

    Good on ya, Tim and you’re proof of another Bible truth that Christians argue with me on – “All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”. We need to radically change our definition of persecution.

    Thanks for posting this, Bill.

    Grahame Gould

  • Thanks Grahame

    Yes I need to write an article on this saying. Sure, our lives are meant to be a continual witness, but God has chosen to communicate in words. People need to hear the gospel. That is why we are sent to preach the gospel.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks for the support and encouragement. It’s fantastic to know there are more people out there. If anyone wants to add me on FB please do and I will also accept you. We can support each others posts and hopefully over time stir up some of our brothers and sisters to action 🙂
    Julie Downs

  • Tim Tebow is a good example of a talented athlete living a wholesome life and demonstrating his faith. I was interested in a commentors comment that he would like Tim more if he would just stop talking about Jesus. Tim is certainly causing a stir in a sport mired by professionals living base lives.

    I’d be happy to connect on FB too and make it six 🙂

    Aaron Downs

  • Funny that you should post this Bill. Reading this article http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7319858/the-people-hate-tim-tebow yesterday lead me to inform some of my fellow South Africans about who Tim Tebow is. A NFL following friend told me about him last year and I have been following him ever since. I noticed he gets up to 100,000+ ‘likes’ on his facebook posts in about an hour which is crazy!

    Anyhow, all you guys should youtube some of his stuff as well: ‘Tim Tebow movie’ ‘Heisman Trophy 2007’ ‘Everything in Between’ or just check out his website: http://www.timtebow.com/

    Great article I also read on him http://www.gq.com/sports/profiles/200908/tebow-florida-heisman-nfl-photos-quarterback-injury-concussion, anyone with kids pursuing a career in sport, by them his books and let them hear him.

    I like his motto: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work as hard.

    Tebow is arguably probably not the most talented player ever to play in the NFL which is why many doubt his abilities but one thing he does is he stands for God and truth, work extremely hard and the rest just seem to happen – and if nothing happens his peace and comfort is still God.

    Servaas Hofmeyr, South Africa

  • Dodd’s article actually first ran on a website called Patheos, a site which has a FB page devoted specifically to its’ evangelical articles here: https://www.facebook.com/PatheosEvangelical?sk=wall

    If you really want to annoy your FB friends, share the articles from that page with them!

    Susan Miller

  • Julie Downs
    I closed my FB account 4 weeks ago because of the very thing your talking about. I got fed up that day because I got sick of talking to myself. So in my fit of rage I thought I’ll show them and deleted my account. But now after reading your post and my anger has subsided I’m thinking, I’m not showing them anything.
    Thanks Julie.
    Daniel Kempton

  • I don’t follow the NFL but I’ve read a bit about him since his appearance in FOTF’s prolife ad. It’s quite admirable how open he his about his faith. A good example for us all.

    Peter Sanderson

  • Thanks Daniel

    Yes we need to use things like FB for the Kingdom. Forget those who ignore you or persecute you. Truth must get out into the public arena, so we must all do our bit.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Peter

    Yes he seems to be most exemplary indeed.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Great article Bill!

    I saw some commentary on Tebow this morning. To see a brother in Christ publically and so naturally thank Jesus was wonderful, and indeed brought tears to my eyes.

    If only every Christian athlete did the same, and come to think of it, every other Christian politician, business mogul, movie star and such. How much easier would that make it for the every day bread and butter, run of the mill average Joe Blow Christian like us to do likewise?

    Thank God for the likes of Tim Tebow.

    George Kokonis

  • Quite right George.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • You’re right, Bill! It’s a breath of fresh air and invigorating hearing people standing up for their faith in Jesus Christ and standing up for Christian principles.
    Trevor Grace

  • Daniel Kempton

    I also wanted to close my FB account out of frustration so I totally understand why you did it. I have kept on plugging away and have decided that even if they don’t reply they are seeing my pro life/pro family posts and are being confronted by the issues almost daily. Hopefully over time this might stir them into action!

    Bill is now ‘liking’ my posts (thanks x) along with my husband. I think those of us who are like minded should friend each other and support one another on FB because when other Christians see the open support/comments they may be brave enough to join in.

    In the last few days I have had 1 Christian FB friend start to respond by clicking ‘like’ She is a 15yr old pastors daughter 😀 Praise God!!!! I’m excited!!

    Bless You
    Julie Downs

  • Anna von Marburg

    Hi Anna 🙂

    I can’t find you on FB!! Can you add me?

    Julie Downs

  • That quote about the gospel is not meant for us to be silent, but for us to live out the gospel in our daily lives. Our lives should be backing up our words. Who would believe a foul mouthed, smoking and drinking person who calls himself a Christian? That is what is so good about Tim Tebow is that he is living that quote out perfectly. I am not a Gridiron follower, but even i am impressed by what Tim has been able to achieve.
    Ian Nairn

  • Julie, I can’t find you? Meet me over on Bills FB page..still learning how to drive FB. About the quote above Bill, by St. Francis, I’ve always found it the height of arrogance for people to use it to describe themselves and use it as an excuse for not speaking up for Christian ideals. St. Francis, on the other hand, was able to say it as he lived a radical spiritual and physical gospel poverty that shouted to the world without words that he was in love with Love.
    Anna von Marburg

  • Ian Nairn;
    Agree. But the quote ”…use words if necessary…” is a popular fallback for the verbally challenged (i.e.cowardly).
    And when Rodgers surprises everyone with the revelation of his Christianity, words were necessary.
    Tim Lovett

  • “If necessary use words”

    Sure, a lack of words is not always an act of cowardice. Consider Daniel’s friends who remained standing,while everyone else was bowed down. Yet at some point they were asked to explain why they didn’t bow down.

    No shame if you can’t express what you know as well as some others; we all have different talents. But at the very least, use enough words to point your rival towards a close friend that can.

    Neville Schoof

  • Yes quite right Neville.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, well said. You might be encouraged by the different varieties of public witness from your team mentioned herein, nearly a year ago and very publicly, including not only faith in Christ but issues of personal integrity accountability and even the issue of pro players and the culture destroying vice of pornography. Rogers even shines more than you might think here: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34574

    From my Facebook today; I’m about as “in to” mere organized social-justice, as I am in to mere organized-religion. Not! Oh but when Jesus is foremost and Lord and His words honored and are enlivening Christian faith and justice, I’m TOTALLY into that! Really (said with the recent pop culture cliche attitude and tone)? REALLY! (Said confidently!)

    Joe Whitchurch, Indiana, US

  • Balance — I like St Francis but “Faith comes from hearing …. ” so “for everything there is a season” and always check yourself for cop-outs ! Cheers friends.
    Anna Cook

  • Bill, another down to earth article, easy to read as it is relating to day to day events.
    Julie, please add me on FB. And yes, so called ‘Christians’ remain silent on the least preached about topics, including what you named and adultery.
    Bill, keep writing and stand strong God’s way, the only right ONE WAY. Thank You.
    Judith Bond

  • Go Julie! We love you.
    Rob Withall

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