Thursday, December 15, 2011
Why People Should Despise Tim Tebow
Living in Denver, it's impossible to hide from the media's coverage of Tim Tebow. Yet, I'm beginning to realize Denverites are not alone. It seems to be THE prevailing national sports conversation.
Let me start by saying, "I root for Tim Tebow." I certainly rooted for him in the 2008 National Championship when they beat the Oklahoma Sooners, but that had more to do with their opponent than anything else. I appreciate a guy who won't compartmentalize his faith. We need more Christians who will not divide the sacred from the secular.
I was shocked by a Yahoo! Sports article this week in which a pastor, who claimed to be Tim's pastor, was quoted as saying, "It's not luck. Luck isn't winning six games in a row. It's favor. It's God's favor." According to the article, his pastor also said the Broncos wouldn't be winning games if God hadn't decided to reward Tebow's religious beliefs.
Which led my critical brain to quite the stream of consciousness...
-Does that mean Aaron Rodgers is being rewarded more than Tebow since he is the only quarterback to defeat Tebow and his team is undefeated? Is he even a Christian? That's worth a google search.
-Is God so preoccupied with helping NFL quarterbacks win games that he forgets to prevent natural disasters and the poor and marginalized of the world?
I don't think Tebow is the problem. He has never said God manipulates the outcome of sporting events. I think he's authentic as a disciple of Jesus.
My concern arises from the conversations I hear among conservative Christians. I continue to hear Christians who are upset about the media's uproar against Tebow. Christians feel slighted and even persecuted by what they perceive as a liberal media bias. Some wonder why Michael Vick's redemption story is more palatable than Tim Tebow's distinctively Christian story.
And underneath all of those concerns is a worldview. Lee Camp, professor of ethics at Lipscomb University, has called it a "Constantinian Cataract." Since Christianity's political emergence in the 4th century, Christianity has been at the center of culture. The church wielded power and influence. In many Western countries since then, Christianity has been the predominant religion.
But things are rapidly changing. The church is no longer the center of culture. The 21st century is more like the 1st century than any century since. We are in a post-Christian culture.
The response I've heard from Christians lamenting the media's bias assumes a worldview. Many of us still assume we are the majority.
But listen to Paul's words from 1 Corinthians 1: "He [God] chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things..."
Christians are called to be peculiar. We're called to be maladjusted. Tim Tebow is maladjusted.
Question: Why are we so upset about the way Tim Tebow is being portrayed.
Answer: Our frustration reveals our desire to be accepted and glorified by the culture. That's a radical misinterpretation of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Better Question: Why don't WE stand out as much as Tim Tebow?
Wrong Answer: Tim has a larger stage than we do.
Right Answer: Most of us are too adjusted to the world. We lack peculiarity.
It's time for us to stop hoping for the world to look more like Jesus. Sometimes that's a diversion from the harder work of becoming like Jesus ourselves.
It's OK to be an underdog. It's OK to be reviled. It's OK to be despised. Because when you are despised you join a long line of saints who have followed Jesus down that same path.
We follow a Savior who was despised. Perhaps we should be less surprised when an authentic follower of Jesus is despised as well.