Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tim Tebow, Sanctity of Life Sunday, and the Value of Human Life

I rarely sit down and watch football with my husband, who watches it constantly.  But last week I did sit down at the end of the Broncos/Steelers game for a few minutes.  I saw the Steelers not get a score at the end of regular time and the game go into overtime; I saw the world’s shortest overtime period.  The play was so amazing that it seemed staged.  But it was beautiful and a lot of fun to see Tim Tebow throw a pass when all I’ve heard about him is that he can’t throw the ball (which means of course, not that he can’t literally throw the ball but that he doesn’t get touchdowns that way.)

I have been home a lot for the last four weeks and have had to listen to Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith scream at each other because of Tebow.  Of course, the Broncos lost decisively last night to the Patriots, as was expected, so maybe some of those tirades will calm down.

Also of course, Tebow is not just controversial because he may or may not be one of football’s greatest players.  He probably isn’t, although it is clear few have his drive or determination or physical strength (he’s a monster, a beast, a machine).  Tebow is controversial because he uses football to honor Christ, or believes he does, and because his parents are outspoken about their decision not to abort Tim after his mother became sick during pregnancy.

It’s a wonderful story, and I am thankful that they have the hutzpah and boldness to tell it when whiny pro-choice advocates want to silence them.  If there are over 3,000 abortions a day, over 1.3 million a year, are these people afraid there aren’t enough abortions?  Geesh!  What’s enough for them?  And I am thankful Tebow bows and thanks God from his heart for his ability to play football.

Media have called him one of the most divisive players in the game.  Oh, please.  These writers/talkers obviously just need something to say and keep the controversy brewing.  The Christian community is not without its debate over Tebow, either, but we all get to have our opinions.  I just fear that we let our concern that a potentially wrong message could be sent (or simply perceived) that we don’t enjoy what is.

Sure, I have some concerns about Tebow’s exuberance.  For one, I don’t think God cares who wins a football game.  i don't know why believers who are supposed to be followers of Christ are more concerned about a football game than the needy world.  But I believe Tebow, as Fran Tarkenton said on NPR the other day, is simply thanking God for the opportunity to play what he loves.  Why can’t we just take pleasure in something beautiful instead of finding pragmatism in it?  He plays well, leave it at that.  It’s just a game, for goodness sake.   (Tarkenton said he was raised by a Pentecostal preacher dad and was charismatic back before it was cool.  I like that.)  Tebow is young, he’s energetic, he’s in love with Jesus and life and his family.  Would that we all bowed and thanked God for what he allows us to do well and to enjoy in the doing of it.  I should bow to God after every class period that I was allowed to teach.

Second, I have a concern about the message of Tim Tebow’s not being aborted.  Being about as pro-life as anyone on the planet,  I see this as such a vindication that this huge physical specimen came from parents who were told he wouldn’t make it or would be disabled.  HA!  But you know, not every non-aborted child is  going to be Tim Tebow.  He or she may just be average Joe or Joann; he or she may actually be disabled.  The average Joe or Joann or the disabled child who didn’t get aborted because of the parents’ decision to value the image of God in every human being—those humans beings are as valuable as Tim Tebow.  Praise God Bob and Pam Tebow chose life; praise God for all parents who do.  Praise God for every baby, because every baby is a promise, whether he or she is an athlete, a scholar, a musician, or just himself or herself.

Finally, I have concern that this is just one more example of our celebrity cult culture.    There is so much  of it in the church I despair.  In another post I am going to write about what makes us a servant leader for God, and it isn’t fame or celebrity or talent or a blog or a radio program or a megachurch, and we are too given to such farces.

I am hoping that the Tebow mania dies down a little, for his own sake.  I hope he gets married soon.  He will have too much temptation otherwise (and I don’t think it will be Katy Perry!) 

But this is sanctity of human life week, and any message that promotes the dignity of being human is needed.


drgregb said...

Great insights, Barbara. I have written seveal times about the "tebow" effect. In a time when the "Tiger Woods" have the potential to turn the millennial generation into complete skeptics, it is good to see someone who is raising the bar. And yes, we need to pray for him that his humility will keep him from being humiliated.

Barbara G. Tucker said...

Thanks for the input. You are absolutely right--we Christians can talk about him as if he is a phenomenon but overlook that he is a 23 (or so) year old young man.

This might just change your life!