October 23, 2017

Does God Like Tebow More Than Brady?

Did we witness a miracle on Sunday?

The Denver Broncos, who finished the season a mediocre 8-8 (which calls to mind one of my favorite poems: “There’s a 50 percent chance of rain today/Now that really tells me a lot/It means it might rain/And it might not”), were playing the once-mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL playoff game. The Broncos were playing at home, yet they were considered the underdogs. Most every betting tout in America had the Steelers as overwhelming favorites.

Yet here we were, in overtime with the score tied at 23. Denver won the coin flip and started at their own twenty yard line. In the first overtime play on Sunday, Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow found a wide-open Demaryious Thomas in the middle of the field with a laser-like pass. Thomas then stiff-armed the closest Steeler defender and raced to the endzone to cap an incredible victory for Denver.

But was it a miracle?

Football commentators were quick to point out that Denver had 22 first-down plays prior to overtime, and in 21 of those plays, they ran the ball rather than passed. Pittsburgh was expecting the run, and thus they had their defense set to stop whoever Tebow handed the ball off to. There were no safeties downfield to prevent Thomas from scoring once he caught the ball. It could all be explained with Xs and Os.

Yet pastors and religious commentators chalked this up to one more miracle for the Chosen One, Tim Tebow. God is blessing him because he is open about his faith, so they say. God is causing Tebow and the Broncos to win so Tebow can have a wider platform to tell others about Jesus. (For the sports-challenged readers among us, read this primer on who Tim Tebow is.)

Besides, they say, look at the evidence. Tebow, who (in)famously wore eye black patches under his eyes while playing college football in Florida reading “John” and “3:16,” threw for 316 yards Sunday against the Steelers. And he set an NFL playoff record with 31.6 yards per completion. It was a very-well watched game, with the TV audience spiking at—you got it—31.6 percent.

How can all that be just a coincidence? they say. Doesn’t that show clearly that God is on Tim Tebow’s side?

Or are we reading something that isn’t really on the page?

Sports and religion have a very long history together. St. Paul used many sports analogies—shadowboxing, running the race, etc.—in his epistles. The Olympics have long been tinged with religion (not just Christianity, either). But it wasn’t until midway through the 20th century that the American evangelical form of Christianity became so tight with sports. Frank Deford, in a 1976 piece for Sports Illustrated, called it “sportianity.”

Sportianity, as this brand of religion might best be called, is thoroughly evangelistic, using sport as an advertising medium. The idea is simple enough: first, convert the athletes, who are among the most visible individuals in our society; then, use these stars for what is generally known in the business as “outreach,” an up-to-date rendering of the old-fashioned phrase “missionary work.” To put it bluntly, athletes are being used to sell religion. They endorse Jesus, much as they would a new sneaker or a graphite-shafted driver.

It was in the mid-1900s that evangelical organizations started reporting the number of people saved at their crusades in much the same way the number of homeruns, touchdowns and free throws were reported in newspaper box scores. Preachers talked about “winning people to Jesus.” They invited the unsaved to “cross the goal line to salvation.” Deford quotes a pastor who delivered the opening prayer before a hockey all-star game:

“Heavenly Father, Divine Goalie, we come before You this evening to seek Your blessing…. We are, thanks to You, All-Stars.

“We pray tonight for Your guidance. Keep us free from actions that would put us in the Sin Bin of Hell. Inspire us to avoid the pitfalls of our profession. Help us to stay within the blue line of Your commandments and the red line of Your grace. Protect us from being injured by the puck of pride. May we be ever delivered from the high stick of dishonesty. May the wings of Your angels play at the right and left of our teammates. May You always be the Divine Center of our team, and when our summons comes for eternal retirement to the heavenly grandstand, may we find You ready to give us the everlasting bonus of a permanent seat in Your coliseum.

“Finally, grant us the courage to skate without tripping, to run without icing, and to score the goal that really counts—the one that makes each of us a winner, a champion, an All-Star in the hectic Hockey Game of Life. Amen.”

That makes my skin crawl. I would have run out of the ice rink screaming in agony had I heard that in person.

In the 1950s, an outreach program to high school and college athletes was birthed in Norman, Oklahoma. Fellowship of Christian Athletes used big names from college and pro sports to attract people to their events. Deford observed,

Nowadays, the huge FCA breakfasts, which are held in conjunction with college and high school conventions and at various bowl games, have much the same air as an ABC cocktail party or a presentation for Converse or Wilson Sporting Goods. Sport is a big, diversified corporation, and Jesus has become a healthy part of it—and His franchise produces a nice little profit.

Sportianity. A mixture of sports and a form of Christianity. A form that says “To the victors belong the spoils.” A form that renounces losers and favors winners. Just imagine: If the Broncos had finished 2-14, how many would be heralding Tebow as an example of a victorious Christian? Or think of it this way: How many athletes do you hear thanking God after a brutal loss? How many golfers have given thanks when they come in at 15-over-par? Have any basketball players, after missing a last-second layup that would have won the game, ever said, “Praise God for that last missed shot. If I had made it, I might swell up with pride.”

Christian athletes makes us feel good about our sports-obsessed culture. If we are watching an outspoken Christian hurl the football downfield, we somehow don’t feel as guilty for not spending time with our family. We no longer feel self-conscious about wearing the jersey of our favorite team to church. “How ’bout that game last night?” is heard more often among men at church than “How can I be praying for you this week?”

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with Tebow or any athlete publicly proclaiming their devotion to Jesus. And I am not against games on Sundays—or any day, for that matter. I love sports, especially baseball. I’m counting the days until pitchers and catchers report to begin Spring Training. I’m wearing a Padres cap and Reds hoodie while listening to a Xavier basketball game as I write this. Sports—and winning—are not the issue here. It is how we elevate Christian athletes to a place where they don’t belong. How we mix Christianity and sports to make each something it is not.

So as the Broncos head to Foxboro, Massachusetts for Saturday’s game against the Patriots, who is God rooting for? The publicly-praying Tim Tebow, or the taking-care-of-business Tom Brady?  Does God side only with those who are visibly on his team? Will it come down to which team has the most Christians? For certainly Christians will come out as winners. Still, it seems to me somewhere that I recall hearing about Jesus hanging with losers. Of course, losers aren’t playing past this weekend, are they? Losers go home, winners to DisneyWorld. (For the record, I’ll be pulling for Denver, not because of Tim Tebow, but because I despise the New England Patriots. Sorry, Adam Palmer.)
And please, whatever you do, don’t bring up the Bengals. It still hurts. They obviously need more Christians on their team.

Comments

  1. Mike the Geologist says:

    CM – I can’t believe to forgot to include this prayer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J74y88YuSJ8. In fact you can even sing it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZnDt2wEFjk. Boogity, boogity, boogity….amen!

  2. Being from the South, we all know only SEC football matters. I guess Alabama fans must have prayed harder than LSU fans last Monday.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yes, but according to my nephew, Clemson is as close to holy as it comes and look what happened to them against West Virginia! I guess someone, somewhere is chalking that one up to demonic possession of the defensive line.

    • Nah, Bama is just a better team. ROLL TIDE!

  3. Well, that covers it — every blog I read except the ones aimed at hardcore Linux geeks have made a post about Tim Tebow 🙂

    ….and the song in my head is Steve Taylor’s “Bannerman.”

    • Funny…. I had “Jesus is for Losers” going through mine. 🙂

      • awesome song, and great reminder that God loves us not because we are talented or pious. I like Tebow, but let’s not make him the model of God’s favor.

      • I did too, but Taylor’s lines about “The Critics who live who whine” didn’t make me think of Jeff, but the situation overall. Never has a guy taking a knee after a touchdown seemed to inspire so many…. Armchair Quarterbacks.

  4. It’s just another extension of the Prosperity Gospel. If you’re faithful to God, you will be successful, we are told. And the fact that winning championships does require a certain amount of character (maybe not morality, per se, but definitely character) reinforces that.

    I will say though, the fact that Tebow’s such a lightning rod says very little about him, and a lot about American culture. He has definitely never said anything like, We won because God liked us better, or said that the Broncos success was due to God’s favor. The only people who have said that are the ones who pull for him simply because he’s a Christian. (I pull for him, but I’ve been a diehard Florida fan since I was about 3 feet tall. And we need to pull for Gator alums, because the current bunch sure isn’t giving us much to cheer about.) And then the people who pull for him out of a tribal attitude (sorry, but tribal is the best word for it) really annoy the people who aren’t sold on him because he completes less than 50% of his passes and isn’t the best at reading defenses, and who are also maybe tired of the fact that he’s ALWAYS bringing up Jesus. So when Tebow struggles, those who aren’t sold on him feel validated. But then, Tebow’s struggles only serve to further validate the perception of divine favor when he does end up succeeding. In the end, it morphs into some kind of meta culture war thing. But all it is, is an evangelical Christian who is an okay quarterback and a really good runner whose intensity, personal charisma, and leadership ability tends to elevate the play of those around him.

    • +6, and then +1 for the extra point.

    • I just read an article on Yahoo that said we’re not even arguing about Tim Tebow the person anymore. We’re arguing about the image people have conjured up of Tim Tebow.

      I’m a UF grad–2002–so I love me some Gators 🙂 I agree with your comment about our current bench. I’m proud of both Alabama and LSU but man….I’d have loved to see some orange and blue in that game. Oh well, there’s always next year (if the Mayan’s were wrong–fingers crossed).

  5. Being a history buff, I remember reading somewhere that one of the most common similarities in the decline and fall of past great civilizations was that they built more and bigger sports “stadiums” prior to their collapse. Now whether God had anything to do with that…? All I know is that “God loves Penn State because he made the sky blue and white.” And look what happened to them??

  6. I love Tebow!

    But, hey, kid…keep the prayers at home.

  7. Not a Sports Fan says:

    I heard a joke once that said, “God only backs the teams he has money on.”
    Do we really think God cares that much about entertainment? What are sports other than a milder form of tribal warfare. “Our god is greater than your god! We’ll prove it by annihilating you!”

    • “Do we really think God cares that much about entertainment?”

      No, but he does care about the participants.

      “What are sports other than a milder form of tribal warfare.”

      If that is your perspective, then I understand why you would not be a sports fan. On the other hand, if you look at it from the perspective of athletes doing amazing things, hard work paying off, individuals forming a team, people having clean fun, etc… your perspective may change.

      • Not a Sports Fan says:

        It’s still about competition and being better (actual or vicariously) than another person.
        (And hopefully making ridiculous amounts of money doing it)

        I don’t get that connection with Jesus’ teachings.

        • Thank you. And Amen.

          I don’t care about Tim Tebow and I’m tired of hearing about him. He may be a nice guy; I wouldn’t know. I do know that most people don’t get to that level of athletics by being nice and most don’t get there without some help along the way, whether it be money or performance enhancing substances. He may well be the exception. Again, I wouldn’t know.

          But as I read all the publicity about him, I can’t help but wonder where are all the good people to support with equal ferver the kid who is likewise is faithful and loves Jesus, but has flat feet, little charisma, and maybe average academic skills? I don’t see it much.

          I do wonder what the reaction will be if an equally charismatic QB comes along who is Muslim, or Jewish, or Buddhist and makes some display of religious ferver after a win. Would people be as thrilled? Or be shocked to see that maybe that other god likes football more than Jesus.

        • It is about doing the best you can, using an “iron sharpening iron” method.

          • Not a Sports Fan says:

            You’re probably right.
            I’m sure that’s what the writer of Proverbs was referring to.

  8. “Yet pastors and religious commentators chalked this up to one more miracle for the Chosen One, Tim Tebow”

    How many are actually doing this? Rather, are more simply applauding his expression of faith, and his overall character?

  9. My biggest problem with the Tebow mania is that people keep saying ‘look at how God is blessing his team because he is outspoken about his faith’. Which in my book makes God kind of a jerk, because it seems to me that an Iranian pastor facing death for being outspoken about his faith and converting others has a WHOLE lot more on the line than possible ridicule for bending the knee on the sidelines of a game played in front of a nation where there are churches on every corner. Yet I don’t see God blessing him for being outspoken.

    So I can only conclude that either God is kind of capricious jerk who likes sports more than suffering people…or maybe it’s us who are reading the whole thing wrong…

    • Rea ~ I agree with your statement. Only it is not God who is a jerk ~ it’s American Christians ~ we are “reading the whole thing wrong.” We read it that “all those who live godly lives will be cheered by thousands and receive mega bucks endorsements.”

      What it really says is: ” In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”

      2 Timothy 3:12

      • Oh, I absolutely agree, it isn’t God who is the jerk. But that would seem to be the logical conclusion if one only looked at the external factors of what we, the privileged in society, consider ‘favor’ to look like.

  10. Welsh Willie says:

    Does anybody know if American footballer Timothy Richard Tebow is named after Timothy Richard, the 19th century Baptist missionary to China?

  11. Tebow didn’t place the spotlight on Tebow. The media and our crazed sports culture have done that. Moreover, I suspect God doesn’t side with one team over another. But He will use those faithful to Him…including those in a sporting profession. In that sense, God might “pick a favorite” from time to time. It’s refreshing to see Tim Tebow — a young 24 y/o — honor God publicly through the medium he’s been thrust into…. For the most part, he has demonstrated maturity beyond his years.

    One interesting note: I live in Longmont, about 30 miles north of Denver. If you think Tebow mania is making a large splash nationally, you should see it here! After the game last week, a local sports reporter was interviewing Tim in the locker room, asking him the typical questions. Tim silenced the reporter with his answer. He commented that as much as he loves football, it isn’t important in the long run. It’s just a game. He went on to say that in another hour, he was meeting with a young girl who has had 70+ operations and was going to spend some time with her. “Those are the kind of things that matter,” he noted.

    The interview was over….

    I pray for Tim Tebow, not because he’s popular…not because I want the Broncos to win. I pray for him because he has been thrust into a position where every move he makes is scrutinized and dissected. I pray that God builds a hedge around him, and keeps him from doing anything that would bring shame to God, himself and the Body of Christ. Moreover, I pray that God will continue to draw Tim to Himself, filling him with the desire to Know God and be faithful. I pray these things for Tim Tebow in the same way I pray for my son and daughter. The only difference is that Tebow is under the eye of a nation. Most of us, are not….

    • Tebow, perhaps to his credit, doesn’t seem to say much, but I suggest he’s responsible for the attention: he does kneel down rather publicly and, at least in college, wore Bible citations under his eyes, and made an arguably anti-abortion commercial for the Super Bowl, the most watched event on American TV.

      In other words, his piety, if you want to call it that, has been remarkably and purposely visible, precisely in order to evoke reaction from others.

      • I agree Pilar! At this point, I see no sense in running out from the sidelines and Tebowing. I don’t want to sound judgemental, but sometimes we need to take it to the closet, if you know what I mean. I would like to also say that haters are gonna hate….so whether he Tebowed or didn’t….anyone in the spotlight who is open about their faith are gonna have the haters hatin’ on ’em. I believe Jesus said such a thing.

      • Randy Thompson says:

        True, but such demonstrations are fairly typical in sports culture. I’ve seen players cross themselves before stepping into the batter’s box and after scoring touchdowns. I’ve seen a number of players point heavenward after scoring a touchdown or hitting a home run. It’s as good as any other occasion for practicing the presence of God.

        It says more about our general culture that such things draw more attention that persecuted or martyred Iranian pastors.

      • I have to have an opinion on this, because like Justin, every blog I’ve read has had something about Tim Tebow on it. So, despite the fact that I’ve never seen him play and am living a whole ocean away, here goes!

        The mingling of sport and Christianity is the end-result of the late 19th century fad for Muscular Christianity, where English teachers, authors and enthusiasts for Empire emphasised the value in schools and university colleges of sports – and team sports in particular – as physical training to subdue the body and as having moral and not just merely physical influence and value:

        “The term “Muscular Christianity” became well known in a review by the clergyman T. C. Sandars of Kingsley’s novel Two Years Ago in the February 21, 1857 issue of the Saturday Review. (The term had appeared slightly earlier.) Kingsley wrote a reply to this review in which he called the term “painful, if not offensive”, but he later used it favourably on occasion. Hughes used it in Tom Brown at Oxford; saying that it was “a good thing to have strong and well-exercised bodies,” he specified, “The least of the muscular Christians has hold of the old chivalrous and Christian belief, that a man’s body is given him to be trained and brought into subjection, and then used for the protection of the weak, the advancement of all righteous causes, and the subduing of the earth which God has given to the children of men.”

        In addition to the beliefs stated above, muscular Christianity preached the spiritual value of sports, especially team sports. As Kingsley said, “games conduce, not merely to physical, but to moral health”.

        This attitude got exported to the overseas Dominions and ended up in America with such organisations as the YMCA. It’s not surprising that it crossed over into college sports and from there into professional sports. And as ever, success and winning was seen as a badge of God’s favour.

        Regarding the Biblical quotes on his face and the practice of “Tebowing”, how much of this is actually down to the pressure to witness and win souls that Michael Spencer talked about as “Wretched Urgency”? I can easily see a sincere young Christian like Tebow being told/asked/cajoled to witness for his beliefs publically, and to use his position in the spotlight at college and afterwards to ‘bring souls to Jesus by demonstrating that you’ve given your life to Christ’ through not just what he says in interviews but in public gestures that everyone can see. I don’t want him to feel he has to deny the importance of his faith, but I do wish that people weren’t reading the tealeaves of “Winning means God’s favour!” and on the other side waiting for a big fall so they can go “Ha, ha, where’s your God now?” I don’t think Tebow is so silly as to think God will never let him or his team get beaten, and that he’ll be able to handle defeat, but the pressure on him could get ugly in time.

        From what I’ve heard about the Superbowl ad, it didn’t say anything about abortion overtly. The hostility of the response to it was fascinating, though; the notion that “the right to choose” may involve a choice not to abort seems to have infuriated many into a frenzy.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          In other words, Tebow is the latest example (and victim) of Christian Celebrity Syndrome.

          Whenever a Celeb gets outed as a Christian (not a Catholic, not mainstream, Christian = Evangelical), he or she gets paraded around as a CELEBRITY Witness for Christ. Until they burn out.

      • If you watch Troy Polamalu, he crosses himself before and after every play.

      • God uses people in different ways, where they are. If Tebow wants to publicly kneel and pray, and if at the same time some other Christian wants to express his or her faith in more private ways, it’s all good. That’s the beauty of it: Whatever kind of personality God gave us — whether it’s an outspoken one or a more reserved one — He can use it for His glory.

    • I love your thoughtful and gracious response, Michael Mills!

    • Great response. Tebow is a great kid. This is something that many of us lose sight of. He’s still a very young man and he’s expressing his faith in the best way he can. He is doing his best. Does he have some growing up to do? Of course. Could he probably do some things differently here and there? Sure.

      It’s easy for all of us to parse his every action, and say how we would do things differently, but overall the kid has been a great example of faith in Jesus. At the same age, I had none of his maturity or thoughtfulness. I look forward to seeing how he matures and grows in his faith.

      When we watched him on TV against the Patriots (the last time), after a touchdown my daughter asked her mommy “Why is he kneeling?”

      My wife replied that he was thanking God and that sometimes it’s good to thank God when something goes well in our life.

      Great teaching moment.

  12. Matt Purdum says:

    Somehow I think Jesus loves losers, outcasts, and people without looks, talents, fame, or money. I know that’s heretical, but still…

  13. Billy Graham scored many more touch-downs in the old Mile High.

  14. As a Denverite and living in the middle of all the Tebowmania I wrote on Monday, this facebook status:

    So I have a news feed full of Tebow and the 3-1-6 headlines from yesterday’s game. Personally, I don’t believe in coincidence. But then I also don’t think that God cares all that much about football compared to the billion other things that went on yesterday. However……for those of you who don’t know, John 3:16 is kind of a big deal in regards to the whole point of the Bible. And it was Google’s top search today. Seems to me God has a bigger purpose than who won yesterday’s game and who’s winning the playoffs, etc. Hey – I’m just sayin’!

    I wouldn’t want to be looked at, talked about, criticised, or modeled as much as Tim has in recent months, or in those to come. You know God is good if they make it to the Super Bowl and God is not good if they don’t. I look at things from the perspective of one, like many of us, who have struggles with so much junk and how this gets played out in secular media makes me sick. HOWEVER, none of us can shake the fact that it’s gettin’ a whole lotta folks talkin’…….

    • I’m predicting a Christian quarterback Superbowl. On one hand, we have outspoken Tim Tebow leading the Denver Broncos. On the other hand, we have humble Aaron Rogers leading the Green Bay Packers.

      And of course, we all know how that will turn out –

      http://www.amazon.com/Leap-Faith-God-Must-Packer/dp/0939995212/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326401545&sr=8-1

      • It would be the pinnacle of faith and surely show forth the Lords favor on our land. At least it would make civil religionists giddy with excitement. Like AFA’s Bryan Fischer, who some time ago had determined prayers at sports events have kept America safe:.

        “Remarkably, we have established the practice of converting every major league stadium, every NFL stadium, and every NBA arena into a temporary cathedral in which hundreds of thousands of Americans every week pray to God and ask him to watch over this land.”

  15. Check Onward Christian Athletes by Tom Krattenmaker for analysis on this topic.

  16. I fear for Tebow, because he is in a position that amounts to almost a no-win. If he screws up a game, the analysts will all shout “Overrated!” The media is just salivating like a pack of rabid dogs, ready to shout “Phony!” if he puts so much as a toe out of line, let alone takes a hard fall. And somehow things seem never to turn out well for anyone that Christians put on the national pedestal. He’s got a lot of pressure on him, and all the kid wanted to do was play football.

  17. This is a real conundrum for American evangelicals: On the one hand we have God’s blessed one in Denver and on the other, the good old American, mom and apple pie “Patriots”.

  18. Richard Hershberger says:

    “God is blessing him because he is open about his faith, so they say.”

    This is just the sort of thing that gives non-Christians, and even non-Evangelicals, the heeby-jeebies, suggesting as it does that openness about being Christian is not utterly unremarkable in America. We see something similar if Rick Perry’s applause line that he is not ashamed to proclaim his faith. This is the myth of the oppressed majority, and one of the least winsome characteristics of Evangelical Protestantism.

    My personal reaction is that this is a guy who loves street corners, as they give him a platform for prayer. And his right and left hands know exactly what is going on with each other. I’m guessing that chapter 6 of Matthew doesn’t get a lot of play in his church.

    • Does anyone not stop to think “Whom the Lord loves, He chastises”? A sign of God’s blessing might be defeat!

      • I’m a KC Chiefs fan , now and always, and I had NO IDEA that GOD loved my Chiefs, and the CUBS, I guess, so much. Thanks for clearing that up, Martha.

        • The Cubs have been blessed for nearly a century.

          • Richard Hershberger says:

            I’m a Phillies phan. God seems to have turned his face away from them recently (at least until the post-season started) but I would remind you that they have been blessed with losses over 10,000 times in their history: more often than any other team in any sport in the world!

        • I’ve had a lot of practice with the success of Manchester United and the eclipse of Liverpool to mutter “The wicked flourish as the green bay tree”, greg r.

          😉

        • Yeah. Seeing ousted Denver quarterback Orton beat the Broncos the week before was poetic justice.

      • In that case, He’s loved my Dolphins for a LONG time!

  19. I don’t doubt Tebow’s faith or sincerity, but evangelicalism as a whole does not have a good track record when it comes to Christianity intersecting with celebrity, fame, wealth, winning and so on. The healthiest Christian message would be that God’s unconditional love for us does not depend on success or winning,a nd that the Bible demonstrates if anything God’s special concern for the weak, the poor, the failures, and the outcasts of society. But, whether intentionally or not, that is not the message that is being conveyed to the average churchgoer and sports fan by those with the loudest microphones and largest audiences. There is part of me that thinks I’m once again watching evangelicalism squander what could have been a golden opportunity. I hope I’m wrong.

    • For a better, more humble Christian testimony, I’d suggest watching Aaron Rogers and a surprising number of his teammates on and off the field…

  20. First of all as a Steeler fan living in Pittsburgh I’d like to say that Pittsburgh with its injuries to its running backs and quarterback just plain beat themselves. We fans knew we were vulnerable in the secondary – but that’s life.

    As for Tebow – I think kids need a positive role model and like Troy Polamolu sometimes its good to see this kind of stuff. Let’s face it, this guy has been doing this kind of thing before football so he’s genuine. Could use a little humility maybe but its better than a Plaxico shooting himself or a Michael Vick or even Ben Rothelsberger (some character issues there).

    Of course this evangelical hero worshiping because he mentioned God is similar to the folks running around seeing Mary in everything from sandwiches to refelctions from building windows in the Catholic faith. But at the end of the day if its causing some kids to focus on something positive instead of someone like the equivilent of Marilyn Manson then that’s a good thing eh?

  21. “How can all that be just a coincidence? they say. Doesn’t that show clearly that God is on Tim Tebow’s side?”

    What is the differnce between trying to read providence and trying to read tea leaves….. Hitler steamrolled through Poland and France. Was God on HItler’s side?

    If I go by the logic of the quoted statement above, then if Tebow loses, God is not on His side…. Bull manure! If Tebow is a Christian believer, then God is on his side win or lose, in poverty or riches, in sickness and in health, for beter or for worse. For crying out loud you evangelical idiots! What do you think the book of Job is about??? Do you really read your own Bible???

    The problem I see from the reaction from both the Tebow lovers and haters is neither seeks to really understand and value Tebow’s athlieticism, and the measure of his athleticism is not in the immediate successful season he has now, but in what he will or will not do in future seasons. Is he going to grow and mature as a quaternback? Is he willing to listen to constructive criticism and seek to deal with his weak spots and polish his strong points? The hype distracts from the things that are going to count in the long run if Tebow wants to make a career in the NFL.

    Over the last few years I’ve watched Matt Stafford grow and develop into a quality quaterback for the Detroit Lions. It remains to be seen if Tebow is of similar caliber. I wish him well and would like to see him succeed. As for the “Tebowing” , both haters and lovers make to much of it…..

    (Billy Goat steps down off the soap box…)

  22. This joke was in yesterday’s paper:
    *
    Tom Brady, after living a full life, died. When he got to heaven, God was showing him around. They came to a modest little house with a faded Patriots flag in the window. “This house is yours for eternity Tom”, said God. “This is very special; not everyone gets a house like this up here.” Tom felt special, indeed, and walked up to his house.

    On his way up the porch, he noticed another house just around the corner. It was a huge 3-story mansion with Orange and Blue sidewalks and driveways, a 50 foot tall flagpole with an enormous Broncos logo flag waving, a swimming pool in shape of a horse, a Broncos logo in every window, and a Tim Tebow jersey on the front door.

    Tom looked at God and said “God, I’m not trying to be ungrateful, but I have a question. I was an all-pro QB, I won 3 Super Bowls, and I even went to the Hall of Fame.”

    God said “So what’s your point Tom?”

    “Well, why does Tim Tebow get a better house than me?”

    God chuckled, and said “Tom, that’s not Tim’s house, it’s mine.”

    • That joke is a takeoff on one told about Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, and probably older than that.

  23. Nobody’s mentioned is the glaring error of focusing on 3:16. I think it should be 31:6 A quick search reveals this gem among the 31:6 verses in the Bible: “Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish;”. Or if we want to get even more arbitrary, why shouldn’t we look at the 6:13 or 61:3 verses, seeing as hebrew is read right to left?

    And why should it be John 3:16? My favorite is: “Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.”

  24. Robin Cranford says:

    I live in the south and we talk about football a lot! We know Tebow is a Christian but on every team in the SEC there is a Christian. Every team has a Chaplain! So, if Tebow loses does that mean God is mad? What does this say to the Christian man or woman who experiences nothing but defeat? Does it say to them that they are not Christian or God is angry with them? We should get a Lutheran take on this one… The Theology of the Cross vs. Theology of Glory.
    The crummy thing is I don’t think Tebow is bringing this on, it is all the evangelicals around him.

  25. Before the Patriots played the Broncos earlier in the season, Brady spoke very positively about Tebow and took the Broncos very seriously. They then went on to tounce the Broncos. The Patriots shut down the run and forced Tebow to throw. To his credit, Tebow continues to grow and expand his game; I think this is why the Broncos beat the Steelers. He’s a great guy. He is very positive, humble, and upbeat. I really worry that his evangelical fans will ruin him. Just remember what fundagelicals did to Bob Dylan.

  26. I just read how one of the editors over on the boundless website was all giddy over an opportunity to interview the Driscolls. I wanted to puke.. Frankly, evangelicalism needs more problems like Tebow and fewer heroes like Driscoll.

  27. “God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you – even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition.” from American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    If God helps the most worthy teams win, what does it say that China, with it’s oppression of Christians, won more Gold medals than any other nation in the 2008 Olympics? And to take this logic to it’s horrifying conclusion, does this mean God is the factor for all upsets and strong showing for those who proclaim they are faithful? Is he the reason Eric Rudolph succeeded in the bombing of the Olympics in Georgia (to continue with the sports theme here)? Or even more horrifying, the reason hijackers were able to crash three planes into inhabited buildings despite all the steps taken to prevent that sort of thing? We know they were devout and prayed to God regularly.

    Attributing successes to God is a dangerous game, as how do we decide which successes are Godly and which are not. I think there was an Onion article a while ago about a football team blaming God for their loss. Why don’t we ever see that in real life, anyway?

    As to Tebow himself, I can’t help but dislike him for his ad during the Superbowl, but I do respect his beliefs. However, I would pay good money to see someone paint “Matt 6:5-5” under their eyes before a game with him.

  28. I keep catching flak for criticizing the idol we’ve made of this man, especially those who are equating stupid videos of people “Tebowing” with actual prayer (particularly prayer in public school). Seriously, these conversations exist on my facebook page right now.

    People can’t separate the humble, selfless, Christ-like man from their own agenda. They don’t want to be like him, they want someone to root for and someone popular to validate the beliefs they wear on their shoulder but don’t actually practice. And I’m the jerk who keeps pointing it out.

  29. Is Tebow doing anything different than Joseph or Daniel when they where before kings and answered that it is God who gives interpretations? They would have stated this in public(i.e. royal court) and their deeds were proclaimed throughout the kingdoms. Even Nebuchadnezzar and Darius decree that their people should believe in God because of Daniel. Or how about Eric Liddell who ran or chose not to run to give glory to God? Tebow seems to be following this model in wanting to show that it is God who gives him ability and talents and is using them to reflect God’s glory. The context people want to place this in is the medieval duel in which God gave victory to the one who was right. It is interesting to see how this notion still holds sway but I don’t believe it applies.

  30. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    The idea is simple enough: first, convert the athletes, who are among the most visible individuals in our society; then, use these stars for what is generally known in the business as “outreach,” an up-to-date rendering of the old-fashioned phrase “missionary work.” To put it bluntly, athletes are being used to sell religion.

    And this is supposed to have a trickle-down effect in converting the worshippers of said Christian athletes.

    Where does this leave those of us whose only memories of sports were bad ones? The high school Omega Males where the Alpha Males were all on the Varsity Football and threw their weight around on the rest of us? Where God is the God of the quarterbacks and cheerleaders, not us mere mortals. Not the Omegas on the bottom of the high school heap.