It seems to be Tim Tebow week here at the blog, though without any prior planning toward this goal on my part. I wrote a piece on the Sunday night comments of NBC sportscaster Bob Costas that suggested that God does not “take a hand in the outcome of [football] games.”
Readers of this blog will know that I like sports but do not practice Sportianity and even have some concerns about the violence of football. Nevertheless, I thought that Costas’s surprisingly theological words were worth addressing. Here’s a snippet from the piece, entitled “Tebow, Calvin, and the Hand of God in Sports”:
Costas, one of the most eloquent and thoughtful voices in sports, suggested that Tebow’s recent string of performances was “approaching, okay we’ll say it, the miraculous.” Many have made similar comments in recent weeks. Costas switched to a more controversial track, however, when he went on to suggest that the God Tebow worships has no interest in influencing the outcome of games. I quote at length from the full transcript:
Again today, Tebow did next to nothing until the waning moments, and then, down 10-0 with two minutes left, he throws a touchdown pass, and the Broncos tie it at the gun on a 59-yard field goal. And then win it in overtime on a 51-yarder. The combination of Denver’s continuing late heroics, and today, the Bears’ otherwise unexplainable errors, is enough to have some at least suspect divine intervention. Except that Tebow, whose sincere faith cannot be questioned, and should be respected, also has the good sense, and good grace, to make it clear he does not believe God takes a hand in the outcome of games.
Most of us are good with that. Otherwise, how to explain what happens when there are equal numbers of believers on either side? Or why so many of those same believers came up empty facing Sandy Koufax? Or hit the deck against Muhammad Ali? Or why the Almighty wouldn’t have better things to do?
Is Bob Costas right? Does God “take a hand in the outcome of games,” or does he “have better things to do,” as Costas, a moral but not notably religious man, seemed to suggest?
Go here to read the whole thing. This was a fun opportunity to do some theological work in the context of the culture. John Calvin + Tim Tebow = an unusual combination, to say the least.