Tim Tebow. If you watch sports or read a newspaper or are on social media you've seen the mania that has erupted over this man. Kids are "Tebowing" at school (getting down into the one knee posture he uses to pray after a game), sportscasters are mimicking the pose and it's even become a synonym for praying in certain circles. I might be old fashioned, but there is a lot about this phenomenon that I believe isn't healthy for Christians and Christianity.
Let me first be clear on a few points. I personally respect Tim Tebow a lot and am pleased that he wears his Christian beliefs proudly and is so open in discussing his faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He's a good Christian role model for young people (as are a number of present and past athletes in the NFL and other sports).
That said, my concern is with "Tebow-mania" in America where a lot of people have taken his posture for praying and made it into an ugly sport all of its own. Go online and you'll find YouTube videos of groups of people laughing and joking and "Tebowing". The term "Tebowing" is found everywhere on the Internet, some of it being totally vile and disgusting. I accidently happened upon one such definition as I researched the "Tebowing" phenomenon and it literally made me sick. I saw hundreds and hundreds of posts on Twitter after the playoff game last week saying things like "Tebow + God = Victory" and "With Tebow and God on their side the Broncos can't lose". Are you kidding me? Did God really bring Tim Tebow and the Broncos to victory over the Steelers? If so, did God thereby ignore the prayers of Troy Polamalu of the Steelers, one of the most devout Christ followers in the NFL (for many, many years) who just so happens to not be as demonstrative as Tebow? So God likes Tebow better than Polamalu? Good grief! God equally loves every Christ follower, whether it be Tim Tebow or Troy Polamalu or you or me. I do believe that John 3:16 makes that pretty clear.
Let me ask a few questions. Why would God answer Tim Tebow's prayers on the football field but not someone else's prayers for a person who is terminally ill or for a friend who's jobless and about to lose their home? Has "Tebow-mania" created a false idea of who God really is in the eyes of people who don't know God? Herein lies the danger of letting something like this get to the level it's now reached througout the country.
True prayer is reverent worship of God. Jesus himself says in Matthew 6:5-6 "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."
Jesus is our example for prayer. When he wanted to pray and be in communion with his Father, he most often went somewhere to be alone. As for me, I'll stick with the example set by my Savior in my personal prayer life. Don't get me wrong - open prayer is great when done for the right reasons. Praying over friends and their needs at church or outside somewhere, praying over a meal with family and so forth are wonderful ways to show and practice our faith just as Tebow does when he gets down on one knee in a football game.
I truly believe that television and social media like Twitter and Facebook have a platform with the tremendous potential to create good in this world. They also have the potential to create a frenzy around a person and a posture, with the unfortunate result being that a portion of the public will take it to places it should never go. Mocking or joking or turning what Tim Tebow does in prayer is not honoring God in any fashion. There are now people who are literally putting Tim Tebow on a pedestal with God, and that's outright idol worship. There are young kids to adults who are worshipping Tim Tebow the man and not our Lord and Savior. It's all a part of what we've created with "Tebow-mania" and it's not a good part of it at all.
I appreciate Tim Tebow's hard nosed approach to the game and his ability to help his team win a lot of them. I appreciate that he is such a strong believer in Christ. I don't appreciate what has become of "Tebowing" in the media and in the lives of impressionable people. We should certainly appreciate Tim Tebow's honesty about his faith and discuss it with our kids, with friends and with non-believers. Tim has a huge platform that he uses very well to express his views and we can do great things with it. Let's use his openness as a Christian athlete for reaching out to people who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Now that's a really cool thing to do. Unfortunately, prayer is being mocked, God is being mocked and that really scares me. What we've seen with "Tebowing" is a result of what happens when people idolize someone and their physical expression of faith and then let it mutate into something that it was never meant to be. As believers, we should never let it go to the extreme as we have in the case of Tim Tebow.
It's not what our God wants. It's not what our God deserves.
Let's honor God and pray to Him as Jesus did.
That's my prayer for everyone who reads this blog. And I say it in Jesus's powerful and mighty name.
|Nice Article!||By pmaki on Jan 15 2012 at 10:43 AM|
|And I agree 100% with the context. I also really like the Troy Polamalu faith comparison you used to get your point across. I think the simple fact that Faith is way bigger than a football game and that God doesn’t play favorites before, during or after the course of a football game - says a lot. Imagine the paradox that would create for believers on both sides of the ball.
|Tebow||By chris on Jan 19 2012 at 10:14 AM|
|I personally respect Tebow for standing up for what is right and I truly believe he has good motives. You'll never see him swear into the camera and that's rare these days. He's not the best QB but he is a winner and that counts for alot. He plays his game and doesn't conform to many people's ideas. Win or lose he'll come out on top. Thanks. Chris.|