Mentioned yesterday that my First Things post today would be joining in on the multitude of words being written about Tim Tebow. Patton Dodd has given a terrific overview of Tebow in WSJ and in his ebook, but I was interested in one small aspect of his phenomenon: how terrifying Tebow must be to those busy elites in politics and media who are so determinedly constructing the ungainly “profits-gained-outside-of-government-or-other-approved-venues-are-evil” narrative and the more subtle but insidious “you-can-be-religious-just-not-in-the-public-arena” one meant to quiet down the churches.
Tebow could play a brightly-lighted night game every week and take a knee five times a yard to nothing but cheers, if only he embraced this year’s anti-establishment, smart, and cool narrative.
That’s unlikely to happen, partly because Tebow—like many more people of faith than the stereotypes will admit—seems largely uninterested in dictating to others how they must live their lives, but also because the prevailing bureaucratically correct narrative is so convoluted. Apparently it is fine to pursue one’s potential, and even turn a profit, if one is writing autobiographies, doing a little insider trading, cheating on taxes, marrying well, being an athlete, being an artist, exploiting a job created just for oneself, running a federal entity into the ground, or taking a bonus from said grounded entity, as long as one holds the correct views or has curried the correct connections.
Absent those views and connections, one may still pursue one’s potentialities. But the pursuit must be unselfish, co-operative, and not-for-profit if it is to remain above suspicion and go unmolested by a growing resentment—one being cultivated by the dream-deferrals that come with thwarted opportunity, nourished by the red meat of class-war rhetoric and readied-for-combat.
It’s a puzzling thing, though. If unselfishness, co-operation, and bare profits were truly prized by the narrative builders, then monasteries would be heralded as authentic models of the doctrine of “fairness” and practical solutions to our socio-economic dolors; people would be encouraged to dedicate their educations, their talents, and their monies to help grow and sustain them. Ditto for parish outreaches, faith-based job-training programs and soup kitchens; church-administered hospitals, substance abuse programs, and crisis pregnancy centers.
All of these entities pursue justice and fair distribution. All of them serve without seeking profit; they serve without requiring allegiance; they do not require that those they serve conform to their beliefs. All they ask, in return, is the same consideration—that they be permitted to be who and what they are, and not be required to conform to the beliefs of others.
Some believe that is asking too much.
Rather than help form the narratives, Tebow runs counter to them.You can read it all here
UPDATE: Kevin Paul Dupont in the Boston Globe recommends a radical ideas: more, not less, talking.
Here in America, for reasons good and bad, for a country that lauds its alleged openness and purported inclusiveness, we’ll talk about anything, in front of anyone, at any time of day or night. Most of us are good with that. We talk about all of it with the ease and familiarity that we once spoke of God, and we do it without humility, excuse, or need of explanation.
Tim Tebow is not right or wrong to talk about his God, and because we are in America, we should be thankful that he has the protected right to do it, be it on game day or any other day. At the very least, we should be as tolerant and accepting of what he has to say as we seem to be about what everyone else is talking about these days.