Tebow Thoughts in Time for the Weekend – UPDATES

Over at the landing page you’ll see a new and thoughtful piece by Matt Emerson, who is plundering the depths and daring to wonder about how important it is to be who we are in the scheme of creation:

Through self-examination, spiritual direction, faith, and even something as basic as trial and error, a person begins to see what about him-or-herself is fake or unreal or simply artificial, and also what is true, holy, and authentic: what is wanted for the sake of the world and what is wanted for the sake of God.

It might not seem like an Advent piece, but it really is: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, “Scary” John the Baptist — they all fulfilled God’s plan by being willing to be all they were meant to be — to say “yes” to it, even though that meant putting an end to making claims to their own ideas.

That topic seems particularly apt as the nation continues to obsess on Tim Tebow, with his fans and foes alike seeming all too eager to assign meaning to his strengths and weaknesses, and — not surprisingly — the meanings they assign tend to validate their views, which can only lead them to back to themselves.

Jeff Pojanowski expands on all of that and challenges the narrative to go further:

And this is also why the hubbub around Tebow’s remarkable winning streak is dissatisfying. Popular media, more fixated on cultural conflict than actual culture, work to shape the Tebow phenomenon into a stock, religious-versus-secular kabuki production. In this tired morality play—one reminiscent of debate about the “meaning” of Sarah Palin—coastal New Yorker readers, ironists twittering pictures of themselves “Tebowing,” and handwringing strict-separationists are to square off against red-state, religious rubes with persecution complexes. The two sides emote against each other and somehow are to view Tebow’s on-field exploits as the arbiter of their struggle: watch him lose and smile at how existence mocks the folly of belief, watch him win and see God help His champion prevail in Babylon.

This construct profoundly misses the point, as I suspect Tebow would agree. Religious believers can cheer for the Christian hero in the modern coliseum, but it is also important to remember that his predecessors made their mark by falling to the lions, not by beating the Bears. Christ performed wondrous deeds but in the end won by losing on this world’s terms, and popular culture remains confounded by the cross and incurious about the apparent stranger on the Emmaus Road.

You’ll want to read the whole thing. Even Tebow cannot know to what ends he is being led. But he’s being who he is — to the delight of some and the consternation of others — and that’s what God asks of us: that we be open to finding out his plan for each of us, and then assenting to live within it.

Read more on Tebow Time on the main page!

High school kids suspended for Tebowing

I have a feeling this will not be my sole update. Keep checking back!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    I have to say some of the Tebow-mania, one way or the other, escapes me. Every so often, someone stands out in the NFL in a contrary way. Doug Flutie from a decade ago comes to mind.

    Despite the glitzy packaging, the NFL is a rather grim business, promoting the worst of conservative values, especially conformity. No-Fun-League is hurled its way, and not without a dollop of truth.

    People like Tim Tebow don’t fit the mold not because they’re outwardly religious, but because they do not conform. I don’t think a commentator on Tebow-mania can get around that fact. Now, if the NFL can find a way to sell the man, then his faith will become irrelevant. And if Mr Tebow continues to stay out of the pocket, he’ll eventually get hammered. It has more to do with business than faith, or the opposition to it.

    Speaking as a liberal, if Mr Tebow can find a way to thumb his nose at the NFL establishment, either from a marketing or strategic vantage point, I’ll root for the guy. Except, of course, when he plays against the Bills.

  • Liz

    I think the media goes to the stock caricature of an icky Christian brazenly claiming that God wants him to win (like that Rabbi’s column) because to recognize how Tebow’s faith informs his behavior would be to admit that Christianity (or any deeply held faith) might just make a person better. For example, Tebow was wired for the Bears game and it captured the following conversation (http://tinyurl.com/cmcjysa):

    “In one of the neat moments, Tebow encourages Demaryius Thomas after the receiver lets what would have been a touchdown pass slip through his hands at the 10-yard line. Thomas takes the blame as the two sit on the bench before Tebow responds, “Hey, guess what? You’re about to go catch the game winner here in a minute. No big deal. It just makes it closer for a little bit longer. You’re about to go catch the game winner, and then you’ll be the hero of the game.”

    The praying isn’t just for show – they could deal with that – so they criticize the stereotype of a Christian to avoid giving Tebow’s faith any credit for his success as a player AND a person.

  • http://ejswensson.posterous.com/ Eric Swensson

    I think “he’s being who he is” is the most succinct way to describe the man. About the phenomena, he is a screen on which an awful lot of people are projecting.

    Thanks for this.

  • http://savkobabe.blogsot.com Gayle Miller

    Tim Tebow is an authentic, stalwart role model in every way. He has spine, he has a superior work ethic and he has enormous leadership skills. All his life people have told him “can’t” and all his life he has ignored the negative message and proven that he “can” and can do it superbly. And all of this is a result of an unshakeable belief in his Savior and that, to me, makes him a total hero. Christianity has occassionaly been served poorly in history thanks to the efforts of highly fallible humans, but Tebow is an example of what it can and should be in our lives. Would that I could do as well! But like most of us, I’m still a work in progress.

  • Greta

    Tim seems to be a young man with very solid faith which is shown off the field in a lot of ways and on the field as well. Confidence that good things are going to happen transferred from leader to the entire team has power greater than almost any other factor. We could use a political leader who is able to provide that much positive confidence to the American people. The last one to do this was Ronald Reagan. We were close right after 9/11 with W. Bush, but today there is a lot more anger not based on policy, but on party. We will have to watch to see if any candidate can develop that level of trust with the people from the Republican field. We know that it will not come from Obama. Running a postive campaign based on “morning in America” type of focus will have a huge impact in this time of concern much like it did during the Carter years. Too few voters remember how negative things were back then and how fast Reagan changed things around.