While running errands this morning, I was listening to the Martha Zoller show on the radio. The segment I heard was regarding Tim Tebow, and his open display of faith on the football field.
Let me say at the outset. I'm not a huge sports fan. I didn't watch the game. The only time I've seen "The Tebow" is when they show replays, or as the fad seems to be nowadays, people mimicking the gesture to poke fun at him. I could Google it of course, but I'm not even 100% sure of the team he plays for (Denver maybe?), and I believe maybe his team lost yesterday? (Okay, please don't throw rotten tomatoes at me. I can't help it.) I watch the Dawgs, and I'll watch the Braves once they get to the playoffs. Same with the Falcons. If they're in the last playoff or the Superbowl, I'll watch. If I'm not working. Working on Sunday afternoon/nights and Monday nights makes it a little difficult to be a fan anyway, so I'm glad I'm not. It would be awfully hard to be chained to a desk while the game was on.
Tim Tebow has been taking flack for publicly acknowledging his faith ever since ... well, I don't know... I guess as long as he has been playing maybe? I know the first thing I ever heard about him was not what a great player (quarterback??) he is, but about his gesture after a good play. I heard and read about folks making fun of him for "crying". For kneeling at the goal line. For verbally proclaiming his faith.
On the radio this morning there was discussion that some people are saying that he is "divinely" inspired to make the right plays. Seriously? There is talk of outrage among nonbelievers who are hoping to have the NFL declared as a "no religion" zone. Oh really? Well, good luck trying to take the religion out of Tim Tebow. Well, perhaps you could take the "religion" out of him, but I doubt you could take (his love of) God out of him, or any any way, shape or form prohibit him from having a relationship with Him.
Does he pray before a game? I'm quite certain that he does. (Probably all during it, too!) As I said, I only know what little I've seen/read about the guy. I haven't done any book reports on him or anything. I'm just making comments as a casual observer. And I've certainly not been privy to his personal prayers to The Almighty. From the little bit I know about him, though, if he is a true man of integrity and faith, I seriously doubt that his prayers are for lots of points, perfectly executed plays, and to bring glory to himself so everyone will think he is so great. I kind of think maybe (hopefully) his prayers are for the ability to do his best, safety for all the players, and that GOD would be glorified. Of course I can be wrong. But I'd bet his prayer is closer to the second example. After all, isn't that how we should model our own prayers when beseeching God's help for successful lives? The ability to do our best, safety for ourselves and those around us? and that He would be glorified ... whether we succeed.. or NOT?
This whole thing bothers me on several levels: Will people begin to see Tebow as another Joel Osteen? Do it "right" and you will be blessed? (No haters, please... JO is a very dynamic speaker and motivator, IMO, but I don't care for his version of the (un)Gospel. That's just me.) Will people begin to turn to God because He "blesses" TT so much? So what happens when his career starts to slide, when he's off his game, when (hopefully never) he is injured, when something horrible happens in his personal life? Will those people then blame God? Will God get the bad rap? Do you think that when the stadium lights go down, when the cameras are gone, and/or he's too old for the sport, do you think he will stop "Tebowing"?
Do you really, honestly think God needs Tim Tebow in order to be the Awesome God that He Is?
For Tebow fans, is it the "hip" or "in" thing to do... pray to God because T does it?
I'm not discounting the impact on people. Not a tall. I'm quite sure there are people everywhere who are deeply affected by his faith and his public display of it. The maneuver is a great testimony.
So what's all the outrage about? Come on, folks. It's not rocket science. He's a young man who has a relationship with God, and who's not afraid to acknowledge it. Does that mean that every believer has to behave that way? Of course not. Is it in good taste? That's a matter of opinion. As a believer, I personally enjoy seeing someone giving God credit for their blessings and talents, instead of pounding their chests and proclaiming "Look at ME! See what I can do!" Again, that's just me.
Why does it bother so many people? Is it a threat?
On the radio show they said that Fran Tarkenton has commented on this whole "religion in sports" thing. He said that religion in sports is nothing new. He was (is?) a man of faith, and said at the time he played football, he had to get permission from the elders of his church to play on Sunday. There have always been believers in sports. Ever heard of the FCA? (Even I know what that is! ha!)
And then there's that 3:16 commercial. I didn't see the game, but the commercial video has been posted all over Facebook and the internet, so I've seen it. What's the problem with it? I honestly just don't get why in the world people want to get so upset about it. People who don't drink beer and have horror stories regarding alcoholism don't get up and scream about beer commercials during football games. Celibate men don't protest against Victoria's Secret commercials (now that one made me laugh). You see where I'm going with this, right? So what... if there are atheist or agnostic people watching TV and they don't like the 3:16 commercial.. SO WHAT! Get over it! If you're threatened by such a commercial, then perhaps you're not as strong in your non-belief as you want to think you are. Put your atheist (or whatever else concept that conflicts with my beliefs) commercials on TV. Doesn't bother me a bit. Whoever has the money to buy ad space on the network ... gets the air time. I'm impressed that FOTF was able to come up with the money.
Are these same anti-religious people creating a fuss about all the Mormon commercials on TV? (Were there any of those played during the game?) I've always thought LDS church had the best commercials. As a teenager, I once wrote off for a free poster for my room that was distributed by them. I don't remember exactly what it was, but something very peaceful and beautiful. And now they have this campaign* on TV showing average, every-day people who live with the same struggles and triumphs as everyone else. And at the end, they say... ".... and I'm a Mormon." Great marketing for the LDS, IMO. (*And while they deny any correlation, my cynical mind screams that it is politically generated and/or sponsored by a certain campaign).
Do those Mormon commercials offend me? Heck no. Nothing they can say is going to make me become a Mormon. I'm not dissin' them, I just don't want to be one. I believe differently, and I'm not gonna change, no matter how Every-Day-Average the people in their commercials are. Could I vote for one for president? Absolutely, I could. I'll vote for the best candidate, regardless of his religion, (or lack thereof), if he is the best candidate (I hope I don't have to vote for THIS one, but that's another blog post altogether!) There are some, though, who wouldn't consider voting for one of those "weird Mormons", so the Every-Day-Average American might find him/herself with a little softer view on that, after the commercials. [As an aside... did you know that it is unconstitutional to "test" a candidate for the presidency based on religion? Yep, it sure is.]
Oh, sorry... I drifted way off topic here. I'll have plenty of time for those posts. It's shaping up to be a long election season...
Okay... back to religion on TV. Here's another angle to consider. You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. If anti-religious people rally against religious stuff, the Christians get mad. If the anti-gay people raise a fuss about shows depicting openly-gay (or even implied) relationships, the gay people get mad. If the atheist or whatever you call the nature-worshiping folks want to have something on TV the Christians get mad. The Christians get mad about a lot of stuff... lol...
There's this thing called the 1st amendment. (Help me here, Ron Paul...) Evidently anybody can say anything they want to say... but oh wait... Don Imus can't call a black girl "nappy headed", but Westboro Church can stand outside a fallen soldier's funeral and scream "Fag"?? (yikes, another subject for another day)
There's also this thing called freedom of choice. If you don't like something, do your best to remove yourself from it. If you absolutely cannot survive watching Tim Tebow doing his thing, then take a break from the TV. Close your eyes, or go to the fridge for a snack. Honestly. I know people who absolutely are disgusted at some of the sitcoms that depict the gay lifestyle. Okay, so they are offended by it. Do they watch it? Ummm, probably not. A Miss America (another show/organization which disgusts many) contestant was asked Saturday night about the "16 And Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" shows on MTV. I've seen some of these shows and they are pretty pathetic. I don't like them and for the most part don't agree with their message. I'm not going to get on my soapbox and scream about how they are offensive and should be taken off TV. I just don't watch.
One thing I would like to say, as a word of caution to my fellow believers. I think we need to be very careful to understand that while we want to see the right preserved for anyone, on any show, to acknowledge their faith... there are others who believe differently than we do about other things. These folks deserve the same consideration... they want to see *their* beliefs and values respected and preserved the same as we do. We can't criticize or judge them for standing up for what they want... without expecting them to criticize and judge us.
Bottom line - Tebow's relationship with God is a personal thing. His acknowledgement is a personal thing. Perhaps it is encouraging to some who have difficulty showing their faith in public. Maybe it will be a good commercial for God, like the ones we're seeing for the Mormons. Most assuredly it will turn some folks off. But it has nothing to do with football. I'll betcha when he gets a good parking place at the mall, he whispers "Thanks, God!" (I do, do you? lol) or maybe he hops out of his car and hollers it, I don't know. In a world where we worship athletes and rock stars, I find it very refreshing that someone (with a lot at stake) is willing to acknowledge that his talents are God-given, and not self-made.
But that's just me.
This post probably doesn't make much sense, and doesn't tie itself up very well at the end. It's just a bunch of rambling thoughts on a Monday morning. Now it's time to get to work.