Friday, January 13, 2012
The following are two comments KD has received regarding the previous columns: Why America Hates Tim Tebow, Can't Get Enough/Rid of Tim Tebow, and today's (1/13/12) new post The "Christian" Attack on Tim Tebow. To fully understand the comments below we suggest reading the above prior to reading, uh...what's below.
What Did Jesus Do?
Jesus Designed the Winning Play
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 John 5:4
It is NFL playoff time, and that means this Sunday there will be more people attending the games, listening to them on radio, and watching on television (live or streaming) than there will be in worship. Actually, for most NFL fans I guess the games are worship. Except, perhaps when they are busier hating someone than cheering for someone. When New England hosts Denver in a Divisional match-up, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have a much simpler game-plan than his opponent. All Brady has to do is beat the Broncos. Denver quarterback Tim Tebow has to overcome the world, because the world, and lots and lots of people, are bitterly opposed to him. Fortunately for Tebow, and for all God’s children, Jesus designed the winning play.
Actually, while some NFL snob-types like to tear down Tebow because he is far from the classic drop-back quarterback, many more boil with murderous rage against him because of his faith. Well, while I regularly root for just about anybody who faces the Patriots, and have a long-standing affection for the Giants, I have a confession to make—I don’t really care all that much about the NFL. Or the NBA, or MLB, or the NHL, or college football, or even college hoops (Last year I even went cold turkey and did not watch a second of March Madness, only learning that UConn won a couple of days after the fact on the internet). So it won’t really matter much to me who wins this weekend. But I do care about Tim Tebow, love him even. That’s why, even before the game’s played, I know that Tebow will come out on top. In fact, I guarantee that Tebow will be a winner this weekend. How can I make such a guarantee? Like I said, Jesus designed the winning play, and Tim Tebow has already shown that he knows how to execute it perfectly.
What’s the play? It’s no secret, at least in Tebow’s case, though there are way too many Christians who like to keep it under wraps. No, Bill Belichick won’t have to deploy any spies or try and intercept any signals from the sidelines this time. Tebow has a simple game-plan that he follows, and when he comes at you, well, he’s pretty much a straight ahead runner. Not a lot of deception, faking, or feinting for Tebow, he’s just aimed toward the goal line. So, here’s the play that ensures victory for Tim Tebow, and for every believer—faith. Jesus designed, he pioneered and perfected, faith (Hebrews 12:2). Yes, I admit, faith might not overcome the Pats, but I know, as Tim Tebow does, that faith has overcome our biggest opponents—the world and its ruler. Faith has even defeated sin and death!
So, while there may be some closely fought games this weekend, the outcome for Tim Tebow is already settled because he believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:5). And he has let the whole world know it, which isn’t an easy thing to do when you are in his position because it means that every time Tim Tebow takes the field he faces more opposition than any other quarterback in the league.
I don’t know who or what you might be facing this week. You might have been tackled by a job loss. Maybe the clock is running out and foreclosure looms. You may feel defeated because of a divorce. It’s very possible that you, or someone you love, has heard a doctor say, in effect, “game over.” But all these can and have been overcome by Jesus, and we are victorious through faith in him.
None of us, not even Tim Tebow, may ever hold the Lombardi Trophy, or be enshrined in a Hall of Fame. But every one of us can wear a crown, and have a room in the Father’s house. Just run the play that Jesus designed, and we’ll all be eternal winners.
Religion in the News
I love it when religion hits the news. It gets even juicier when religion blends with our national idols. I’m referring, of course, to the Tebow controversy. Now, I must confess, when I first heard the word ‘Tebow’ I thought it meant either a piece of plumbing or a western movie title from the 1950’s.
Those who know me probably know that I’m not much of a football guy. The last football game I viewed was back in fall at the High School stadium. You football fans can keep your NFL playoffs.
Our North American football is (forgive my blasphemy) bloody tedious. Unlike soccer, of course. If you want religious fervor, there’s the sport for you. When Europe hosts a particular tournament, every match begins with their holy anthem. You expect all of Valhalla to descend.
I take teasing pleasure in reminding everyone that the Danville High School stadium is the sports stadium, not the football stadium. We take evil delight that the very first sporting match to christen the field was girl’s High School soccer, where, it just so happened, that a certain daughter of a certain pastor received the very first red card ever awarded on that field. She was not giving thanks to Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.
Unlike this Tebow fellow.
If you didn’t catch it, please check out Fran Tarkenton’s column in the Wall Street Journal about Tebow and this fuss over him taking a knee in prayer during games. Hey critics, chill out.
Tarkenton applauded Tebow as a man of character, suggesting he’s the best story of this football season. I paraphrase Tarkenton's conclusion, for isn’t it refreshing we’re having a conversation about a praying Tebow rather than some idiot football star who gets arrested for carrying a pistol, raping a date, or who’s being sued again for patrimony.
Prayer at sports always has intrigued me. During my Princeton Seminary days, my softball coach gave us team caps with PTS imprinted across the front. Curious was how the middle letter was shaped as a cross. It seemed a tad too precious for me so I clipped off the top part of the cross. Coach also insisted on team prayers before we batted. No harm in that. Could even do some good, so long as what we prayed for wasn’t to win. God does have bigger things to deal with than boosting batting averages. Besides, Abraham Lincoln solved this question for me in his second inaugural address when he confessed how one day he realized his Presidential foe in Richmond was, like him, praying for victory. Whom would God choose? How often we screw prayer up, treating prayer as persuasion, bribing God’s favor to get what we want.
Which brings us to our second religious controversy. Should decent, Bible-believing Christians vote for a Mormon? Some refuse, alleging Mormonism as a cult. They vow they only will vote for a godly man or woman (i.e., Christians). Which tells me they really aren’t Bible-believing. Look in the Bible at those whom God used to achieve God’s purposes. We’ve got David, great King of Israel, whose personal life was terribly ungodly. He also raised some lousy kids. And if it weren’t for the heathen Persian King Cyrus, there’d be no Israel today. Oddly enough, the prophet Isaiah quotes God as anointing Cyrus his messiah. In fact, throughout the Bible the pious ones usually are the problem. They tend to think God works for them rather than the other way around.
And now, another fine mess. Religion and war. A mess is exactly what happens when we go to war confident God is on our side. Real soldiers despise war and name it ungodly. Sure, war can bring out the best in us: honor, sacrifice, loyalty, courage. But that’s only because the alternative is war bringing out the worst in us. Which is exactly what war prefers to do. Guys from my High School mailed home to younger brothers ears they collected from Viet Cong they killed. Oh, what a lovely war. Now we have a video circulating around the world of Marines urinating on corpses of Taliban soldiers. Not all veterans are honorable nor come home as heroes. This was crude, disrespectful, not nice. Disgraceful, yes; yet hardly an atrocity. The Taliban, voicing their moral outrage, regard this act a desecrating sacrilege. As stupid as was our Marines’ behavior, I wonder which is the greater sacrilege: urinating on corpses or blowing up children?
Robert John Andrews