Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All Eyes Are On You

I've been putting off an "official" post on Tim Tebow for a while (and this post from a couple of years ago doesn't count). I'm falling behind the news cycle and was expecting to change the tone of this post after it looked certain that the "Mile High Messiah" was finally going to lose one Sunday. (For the record, I have only seen that nickname used once in an article by the Evil Four Letter and I am sure Tebow wouldn't accept such an anointing) But alas, he pulled out another win. One of my friends noted when I replied to his Tebow blog post that if I wait until the last two minutes, then this blog post will be a "win". Does that mean that the other 3+ quarters of all my other blog posts are terrible? (if you don't get the joke, don't worry)

Anyway, I could go on and on about his throwing motion, his "yards per touch" ranking, his quarterback rating, etc, etc. I could even tell you that he has "it" without ever really identifying what "it" is. I could talk about how hard it is to hate the guy because he's just so darn nice (see his last postgame comments about Brian Urlacher for example). And of course I could write about how divisive this man of faith is to believers and football fans alike. But I'll let the following articles do all that for me.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7319858/the-people-hate-tim-tebow

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/story/2011-11-29/broncos-qb-tebow-stirs-debate-on-religion-and-sports/51663956/1?csp=34news

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/Denver-Broncos-Tim-Tebow-showing-detractors-he-is-learning-to-be-nfl-qb-112811

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/Tim-Tebow-why-the-heck-do-we-hate-him-110211

But this post isn't about Tim Tebow. At least not totally. In the second chapter of Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman calls our attention to Jesus' late night conversation with Nicodemus. Nicodemus, not Nostradamus like I thought as a kid, was part of the religious ruling class- the Sanhedrin- and was a Pharisee with respect to religious conviction. He had a lot to lose even being seen near Jesus, let alone sitting down and having a conversation with this alleged heretic. So Nicodemus goes to Jesus at night.

Idleman is right to point out that fans of Jesus are comfortable wearing their favorite uniform so long as their star is winning. That's because it doesn't cost them anything. But when the star is controversial or doesn't act the way a fan might expect, the jersey comes off. Meeting with Jesus at night didn't cost Nicodemus anything. Idleman writes: "There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life." (pg 30)

Which brings me back to Tim Tebow. No, he's not a great quarterback. And no, I'm not necessarily a fan (but as a Bronco fan, I'm glad he's winning). But does he deserve the mocking and scorn he receives? Here's a sample conversation I heard last week on sports-talk radio: "So Tebow prayed for God to help him with his spiral? Well either God didn't answer his prayer or God can't throw a spiral either." To which the other commentator replied, "Or maybe his God doesn't answer his prayers." It's gotten to the point where not only Tebow is mocked, but so is the sovereignty of God.

Even other Christian players have backed off from him. Kurt Warner, notorious for his faith, admits that maybe Tebow should "put down the boldness" to prevent critics from becoming "calloused".
Jake Plummer, who Tebow essentially replaced in a round and about way said, "I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better ." But both quarterbacks completely miss the point.

Tebow is not a fan of Jesus. If he was, he wouldn't talk about him so much. If he was, he wouldn't open up every postgame press conference by thanking his "Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". (He doesn't even shorten it for simplicity like Warner's famous "Thank you Jesussss!" And he definitely wouldn't take a knee and "Tebow" for the whole world to see and mock.

No, Tim Tebow is not a fan of Jesus. He is not afraid of being seen with him. He is not afraid of talking about him. He is not ashamed. He does not need to come to Jesus in the dark of night. He does not mind that his relationship with Jesus interferes with his life, his popularity, and yes even his play on the field.

So put yourself in Tebow's shoes. Would you continue to praise Jesus with every camera on you? Would you pray to Jesus both through the good and bad, knowing everyone is watching and waiting for you to slip? Would you allow Jesus to interfere with your life that much? Or are you still just a fan?

This post continues my series blogging through the book, Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman. I encourage you to follow along by clicking on the Not A Fan label to the right. And I urge you to pick up a copy of this book for yourself.

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