Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To Tebow or Not to Tebow?

Don't read my blog about Tim Tebow, or at least, before you do, read Chuck Klostermann's essay on Tebow first, which is the best thing written about him yet. Why? Because CK is an √úbermensch. He's like the Tim Tebow of non-fiction essays. Or something.

Ok, now that that is out of the way (and having lost half my readers who are now off reading the Klostermann essay and getting lost on Grantland), let's answer the age old question:

To Tebow or not to Tebow?

To me the answer is Obvious. Tebow. Tebow all the time. Tebow without ceasing.

Why? Unfortunately it seems that most folks who are commenting on Tebow miss an essential point, that Tebow is not praying in order to win, in some kind of directly causal way, as if his prayers cause the wins, but rather, Tebow simply gives thanks for his wins by praying. That's a huge difference.

To say it another way, Tebow is more theologically subtle than people are giving him credit for, and although some people, including his own pastor apparently, are interpreting Tebow as proclaiming some kind of prosperity gospel, it is not at all clear that is how Tim Tebow understands his own prayers.

Tim Tebow is prosperous, yes. But does that mean he isn't allowed to pray, and pray wherever he is?

Seriously, if you get a new job, don't you say thank you to God? If you find out you don't have cancer when the biopsy results come in negative, don't you say thank you? So Tim Tebow kneels and says thank you.

But Tebow does more than that. He also wears that ridiculous eye makeup, which makes him look like an athletic and happy member of the band Green Day.

I started toying around with the idea of featuring the lectionary texts on eye-makeup for Sunday worship, but then decided to skip it until it becomes more fashionable. For now, I think I'll just get a tattoo or something.

But here again, we're to remember that professional football is a show, even a religion. Tebow isn't the only one who wears the eye paint. He just was clever enough to actually put a message in the eye-makeup. He found a billboard where no one had noticed.

So, let's all get over ourselves, and let Tebow pray. He may be ostentatious, he may have a slightly different piety than yours, but the dude can play a good game of football, he seems like a genuine and nice guy, and it's completely within his right to pray without ceasing.

Now let's turn things around. Could you please explain to me why more people aren't Tebowing? I watched a mocking post go around Facebook lately implying that Tebow shouldn't pray in thanksgiving for a touchdown because in the meantime 30,000 children die of preventable diseases. However, that should simply be a reminder that more of us should be praying, not that Tebow should stop. Unless you think there shouldn't be professional football (which actually is a viable argument, but for another time and place, not here).

We should all be Tebowing in order to bring a stop to preventable diseases. And like Tebow, we should do what it takes to WIN GAMES against hunger and disease. What did you do today? What did I do?

The first thing I'm going to do is go Tebow, and start with confession. "God, I'm sorry I have not worked harder to end preventable diseases among children in our world." Then I'm going to say, "Thank you God for my health."

I might also go shop for some cheap mascara.


  1. You took the words right out of my mouth. I would also add, RE the part about the "suffering children of the world," that, from what I read about the man's life and witness, Tebow is actually far more acquainted with the real suffering of the world than most.

  2. Philip, I think you are right, and Diane, you are welcome! :)

  3. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Well done. I like how you turn it around for us to prayt, er, I mean, Tebow more for the world.
    Peace, G

  4. I definitely agree. Tebow, Tebow all the time because Tebowing is good. I've been fighting off friends and people who have been leeching on to Tim Tebow because of his football ability, and the idolization they are seeing about him. I keep telling them, "If Tebow were a real Christian, he would be stopping all of this idol talk and idol attention being paid to him." I don't have a problem with him "Tebowing" on the sideline, but it's how it has been presented to us. People just need to get real perspective about what he's doing on the field, and that it isn't the work of God, it just happens to be luck and good play that leads to the wins, not God or Christ's hands on his arm or brain to win games.

  5. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Maybe Jesus likes football and appreciates the effort Tim Tebow puts into it, AND the thanks he gives for doing it well. Does anyone get all exercised about the baseball players who cross themselves every time they get on base? Get over it and hit your knees, often!!
    I'm only anonymous b/c I can't figure out how to name it otherwise.
    Pastor Patti

    1. I think it was pretty clear that Jesus and the Christian tradition didn't like big stadium events. However, I agree, this seems a specific attack on football (perhaps because football is the biggest game in town?)

  6. Anonymous9:49 PM

    I did read Klosterman's essay on Tebow. It was excellent, as is yours. At the very least, Tebow provides an opportunity for us all to examine our comfort level with open displays of religiosity. We are a culturally conflicted bunch, aren't we? Many of us claim this is a "Christian nation," but we are debating this individual's sincerity in his public displays of Christian faith. Pretty interesting stuff.