The Rev. Janice Ford
The Episcopal Church of the Reconciliation
Even the most intense “I hate football” diehards have probably heard of Tim Tebow. His name has been bandied about for several months now, but even folks who might not normally pay attention to such things would be hard pressed to escape the fact that he and his team will be facing the New England Patriots on January 14th in an NFL playoff game. By the time our readers see this article, the game will be over, and there will either be great rejoicing or inconsolable weeping across “Patriot Nation.”
It happens that I am a big football fan, so I learned about Tim Tebow early on. This bright 24 year old was drafted into the NFL in 2010 as a third-string quarterback for the Denver Broncos. He was a Heisman Trophy winner, and has more sports accolades than most “armchair quarterbacks” could ever dream of. He’s handsome as they come, and has a winning personality. He’s done his team proud by bringing them into the playoffs this year, in spite of some of the sport pundit naysayers who declared him a “running QB” who would never be an effective passer.
So why in the world am I, the religion columnist for the Patriot, writing about Tim Tebow? Short answer: Tim is a man of great faith and he is not ashamed to show it. Since bursting onto the professional football scene as a mid-season replacement, he has not only forced many sports writers to eat their words in terms of his playing ability, but he has brought his unabashed faith in Jesus Christ into the end zone with him. The sight of this young man kneeling down in prayer at the conclusion of every touchdown, or praying before the start of each game has either caused fellow Christians to enthusiastically cheer him on, or caused others, who claim to be “offended” by those actions, to make fun of him (Yes, this means you, late night talk show hosts!).
My initial reaction to those who opposed Tebow’s public piety was to ask whether these are the same people who are against “celebrating in the end zone.” (For those of you who are not football geeks, that’s when the scoring player spikes the ball or does a dance or some other celebratory action after scoring a touchdown.) In other words, I wondered if people objected to what Tebow did because they were against ANY kind of public acknowledgement that a team had scored points in the game.
Soon after, I began to realize that celebrating in the end zone was probably not the issue at hand. Rather, it occurred to me that people poked fun at Tebow, or forcefully objected to his actions, for the same reason that any bullies do what bullies do. They do not understand this young man’s relationship with God, and they feel uncomfortable with it, so they cast aspersions on it.
What is really at the root of all this is that many people fear the power of God. At some level they understand that the goodness of God can overcome anything and anyone, and that leaves some feeling less than secure. They will deny it, but that is the truth.
I seriously doubt that Tim Tebow’s public displays of faith have a whole lot to do with getting his team into the playoffs this year, but I applaud his desire to share that faith with others. In the end, I am still rooting for Brady and the Pat’s, but I am also rooting for God.
- Friday, 13 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Religion