In the midst of this Christmas season, there's been somewhat of a football phenomenon called the Tebow effect. Much ado has been made about a young, talented quarterback named Tim Tebow who has recently led the Denver Broncos to six consecutive late-game victories.
He has been the subject of much ridicule for his touchdown gesture of bowing the knee and pointing upward. His strong personal faith in Christ has motivated him to excel as a person, leader and player. He has been quick to give God thanks for his very life and athletic prowess. Unlike most other committed Christians in the sport, Tim insists on making it public. Thus, a barrage of criticism has been fired his way by those who are offended by his demeanor.
Kurt Warner, formerly of the St. Louis Rams, had some similar reactions to his personal Christian testimony. I understand he began to "tone it down," and has encouraged Tebow to do the same. Yet, I remember back in the 1960s, when Muhammad Ali, champion boxer and social activist, insisted on openly praising "Allah" every time he was interviewed after a fight. He was unashamed of his faith, and no one seemed unduly upset or disrespectful.
What's the big deal, anyway? How many of us have witnessed the end zone antics and showboating among those scoring touchdowns? Talk about craziness, super-egoism, and immaturity. Yet, that goes on without any obvious outrage, being considered "free expressions of emotion;" but one player briefly bends his knee in prayerful reflection, giving thanks to His God, and he's considered an ignorant religious "nut."
Evidently, most in the Broncos organization have a different take on Tebow. Prior to last month's game against San Diego, Coach John Fox asked Tim to give the team's weekly address. He shared Proverbs 27:17 - "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another," applying it to how the offense, defense, and special teams feed off one another. "I like his passion," Fox said. "I think in today's world with all that's going on in sports and our society, I think it's wonderful."
Teammate Brian Dawkins says he can't fathom why there's so much to-do about Tim. Brian says that Tebow is "not the first one, Reggie White, Irving Fryar, there are name guys who have lived their lives with outside faith. But for whatever reason, Tim gets so much grief now . Football is what we do, not who we are."
We're talking about an upright, clean-cut, industrious, dedicated, humble young man, who's become a role-modal to many American young people. Is Tebow not a refreshing alternative to the Lady Gagas, Charlie Sheens, Snoop Doggs and Howard Sterns who dominate the media and threaten the moral and social well-being of our kids?
I think so.
What was the NFL thinking when engaging Madonna for this year's half-time show at the Super Bowl? This is the gal that mocks the Virgin Mary and Jesus while posing strapped to a cross. I wouldn't expect that Tim Tebow will be invited to that event to "say a few words."
To top it off, the unthinkable occurred on the recent Saturday Night Live (SNL) show, where not only was Tebow belittled, but Jesus Christ was openly blasphemed. All the past attempts to mischaracterize the Christ on TV and movies, were outdone by this despicable and offensive portrayal of the Son of God. Had SNL done a similar parody on the prophet Muhammad, a Muslim, there's no telling how much bloodshed and killing would occur. These are serious days.
After all, could it be that we are not really judging Tebow, but maybe Tebow is judging us?