Tim Tebow: Forever a Winner

I received this picture in an e-mail from a friend the other day and it asks a very good question:

Tim Tebow, former starting quarterback for the University of Florida, and, presently, starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League, is the most controversial figure in professional sports today.

Tebow is a devout Christian.  He is someone who talks the talk and walks the walk….a very rare quality for a professional athlete to have.

Because he dares to be a witness for his faith, he is  a huge target for Liberals in this country, who would rather Christians sit down and shut up, while at the same time hollering at the top of their lungs that Conservative Americans are intolerant, because we refuse to embrace Sharia.

For example, on December 28th, 2011, abc.com reported the following:

A tweet from liberal firebrand Bill Maher has incurred the wrath of conservatives across the U.S., who are now calling for a boycott of the political commentator’s HBO series after he slammed Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

Maher, after the Broncos lost 40-14 to the Buffalo Bills Saturday, tweeted, “Wow, Jesus just f***ed #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.”

Tebow, who has left sports fans in awe of his prowess on the football field, is known to be devoutly religious, and has popularized the term “tebowing” – as in getting down on a knee and praying as events, such as a football game, still unfold around you.

The comment by Maher, who is an atheist and took world religions to task in his 2008 documentary “Religulous,” led to some colorful backlash, notable from Fox News’ Eric Bolling: “Bill Maher is disgusting vile trash. I can’t even repeat what he just tweeted about Tebow..on Christmas Eve. #straighttohellBill,” a tweet from Bolling read.

Meanwhile, a movement to boycott Maher’s HBO current events show “Real Time with Bill Maher” is developing across Twitter. The comedian has yet to comment on the controversy.

Maher’s tweet must have been missed by Tebow himself, who after the game wrote on Twitter, “Tough game today but what’s most important is being able to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everyone GB2.”

What is it about a Christian man giving thanks to God during a professional football game that is so controversial?  Last Sunday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked a couple of “experts”:

…What is it about him that has drawn so much attention and controversy?

One thing may be how visible Mr. Tebow is, said Brian Miller, an assistant professor of sociology at Wheaton College, a well-known evangelical school in Illinois. His practice of singing gospel songs while on the sidelines, taking a knee in prayer at the conclusion of the game, thanking Jesus Christ in postgame interviews and telling reporters “God bless,” before leaving all are hard to ignore.

“I think that ties to his outspokenness,” Mr. Miller said. “Any time someone talks about religion that strongly, people will react strongly.”

By contrast, players like Mr. Polamalu are quieter in the way they signal their faith or discuss it.

“When he crosses himself, he isn’t really talking to anybody, he’s not necessarily on camera,” said Mr. Miller.

The concept of “civil religion” helps explain the reaction to Mr. Tebow, Mr. Miller said. Civil religion is a term used in the sociology of religion field, he said, in which “you can invoke God sort of vaguely in American life” without spurring many objections. Examples would be a politician saying “God bless America” at the end of the speech or the phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

But “when you get to specifics, like mentioning Jesus,” you have crossed a boundary from the socially acceptable “generic Christian culture” and into the realm where people become uncomfortable, or angry, Mr. Miller said.

Others see Mr. Tebow as courageous and a representative of what faithful Christians should do.

“If you believe in God, if you believe in Christ, and you want to show it, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Mr. Clark said. “I think sometimes people criticize what they don’t understand. I think he takes a little bit of negative criticism that’s unwarranted. Also, I think sometimes they make it like he’s the only Christian in the NFL. And that’s not right, either.”

A University of Pittsburgh religion professor said that it’s what Mr. Tebow says, as well as his style, that attracts criticism.

“I would first point out that if God exists, it seems unlikely that she spends her time worrying about the results of football games,” said Paula M. Kane, Marous Chair of Catholic Studies at Pitt, in an email response to questions.

She said that Mr. Tebow “represents a certain tendency among American Christians to adopt or opt for that kind of evangelical model of being highly (some would say obsessively) focused upon Jesus and imagining that only those who embrace his style of Christianity are true members of the faith” and who “see others as prospective converts because they are somehow defective.”

Mr. Tebow said he is not trying to make a grand statement with his words and actions; he simply wants to be a good Christian.

“I’m just somebody that has a relationship with Jesus Christ, and if they view that in me, then that would be a huge honor,” Mr. Tebow said. “Hopefully they just see someone that loves other people, loves what he does, tries to get better every day and tries to be someone that goes out there and makes other peoples’ lives a little better.”

Often, he said, his religious expressions are as much for him as they are other people, to “humble myself and continually tell myself who I’m putting as No. 1 in my life.”

In a telephone survey conducted by Poll Position, 1,076 Americans who are familiar with the player were asked, “Do you believe that any of Tim Tebow’s success can be attributed to Divine Intervention?” Forth-three percent of respondents said yes, 42 percent disagreed, and 14 percent expressed no opinion.

Tebow and the Broncos lost their Play-off Game last night, 45 – 10, to a strong bunch of New England Patriots.  I’m sure there will be some idiots out there today, questioning the sovereignty of God, and the entire efficacy of Christianity, over the outcome of one professional football game, a myopic view of egregious proportions.

What the critics don’t understand is, that when it comes to the game of life, Tim Tebow has already won…even when his team loses a game.

Share
This entry was posted in Religion, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tim Tebow: Forever a Winner

  1. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the excellent article. You.are right!