OK, let’s get the obvious out of the way right off the bat. What is a loyal Atlanta Falcons fan doing giving ink to a rival quarterback? Easy answer, while I may follow Matt Ryan and my Falcons week-to-week, I want to be more like Tim Tebow in my day-to-day walk with God.
What I am referring to is the ongoing media and pop culture storm brewing about the Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and his open and unapologetic displays of his Christian faith. Most notable is his kneeling for a quick prayer after plays or pivotal moments in a game. This act has now gotten a pop culture nickname of “Tebowing” and pictures of it are all over the internet, Facebook and other social media sights. There is even a website devoted to the act that sells t-shirts and has a “fan of the week” page.
Colton Orr from the Toronto Maple Leafs recently made headlines by kneeling in a mock prayer in an obvious parody of Tebow after scoring a goal in a shoot out (another reason I’m a Caps fan). The television commentators can be heard laughing and joking about it as if it’s akin to high fiving a teammate or waving to someone in the stands. Even Saturday Night Live has gotten in on the act with a recent skit where Jesus visits Tebow in the Bronco’s locker room after a game (more proof SNL hasn’t been funny in years).
Now I have to confess, I have very mixed emotions over all this. On one hand I am tempted to dismiss these folks as simply ignorant critics and take it all with a grain of salt as someone’s idea of humor, albeit somewhat classless and at time borderline tasteless. I’m sure there are things I find humor in that many folks don’t so does this somehow classify any differently? Yea, I think it does. More and more of me has become tired of, and even a bit angry over, the constant and never ending mocking of no longer just Tebow the person, but what he stands for in his very personal religious beliefs.
Tebow’s faith is really what is under fire here. His open and unabashed faith in Christ that has somehow given his critics free hall passes to pick on not just him but specifically his Christian faith. If this were anyone other than a Christian I have to wonder if the politically correct police would allow the same mockery of a Muslim or a Jew or even a Native American. Somehow I doubt it.
See the kicker here (no football pun intended) is that Tebow’s faith is my faith so as a fellow brother in Christ when they mock the God of Tim Tebow they also mock my God.
“Indeed, they will do all this to you because you are committed to me, since they don’t know the one who sent me.” John 15:21 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
I have to admit I struggle to “turn the other cheek” as we are told three times in the Bible (Lamentations 3:30, Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29) when I see or hear of someone mocking Tebow for his faith. But in this anger management dilemma comes a wonderful opportunity. Tebow already has shown grace and peace in the midst of this storm by quietly continuing to be himself and continuing to put the focus on God and on his teammates, not on himself. He is living the example preached by Peter when he said “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phil 2:3, NIV) in consistently taking the focus for the credit and glory off himself and placing it elsewhere, Tebow is following the example of Christ himself.
Tim Tebow is not ashamed of his savior or his faith and is willing to take a knee in front of thousands of sports spectators and millions watching on TV to give thanks to God and praise him. I have to ask myself, would I do the same? Or even more personal and closer to home is how would you respond to someone when they made a comment about Tim Tebow or Tebowing? Would we take the moment to share our faith and witness to someone about Christ? Would we share what Jesus means to us and our lives? Would we take a stand for our Christianity?
How you and I answer says a lot about our own faith and our own level of comfort in sharing and showing that faith to others. While I may not take to suddenly taking a quick knee in prayer every time I successfully photocopy something at the office or send an email (or post up a new blog entry) I can say this, I want to be more like Tim Tebow in not being afraid to display my faith and share it with others, regardless of the criticisms or scorn.
“That is why I suffer as I do. However, I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I’m convinced that he is able to protect what he has entrusted to me until the day that he comes.” 2 Timothy 1:12 (International Standard Version 2008)