If you don’t have a clue what my title refers to, then you are probably not:
-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.