The Tebow Effect

My favorite deacon has been a huge Denver Broncos fan for 38 years in the good times and  bad times.  Last night he had to leave the game before the end to preside at a funeral vigil. It was late in the game, and they were losing.

As he went out the door he said it was over. The Broncos would lose.

He didn’t believe me when I said “Don’t worry. It is not Tebow time just yet. For once he was delighted that I proved him wrong.

While I don’t usually pay attention to sports of any kind, the Tebow controversy has been hard to miss.

Tim Tebow, by all accounts, is polite, rather humble and a team player. He gives new meaning to the phrase, “generous to a fault”. Tebow is not a party animal and he isn’t a womanizer.

Oh and he wins football games. He makes his team mates feel as if they can win. Tim never takes credit when the Broncos win. It is a team effort. So far he has been un-impeachable both in his words and deeds.

Considering the many athletes who lose their character to wine, woman, and outright criminal behavior one would think that Tim would be a most welcome breath of rocky mountain air.

But he is considered a polarizing figure. He has a noodle arm. He takes risks. And horrors of horrors he answers to a higher power, and he is not afraid to kneel down on the gridiron to offer thanks and praise to his creator.

Tebow’s critics just plain hate him. Surprisingly, some of them are self described Christians.  They want him to do something scandalous.

Deacon and I have discussed this often during the past few weeks. The vitriol directed towards this young man is at first astonishing.

But it shouldn’t be. Goodness and holiness of life is, for many, intimidating.  This is not new; Christopher Hitchens hated Mother Teresa with a passion.  Jesus told us, in John 17, that the world would hate those who follow his word, because his followers, “do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”

Patton Dodd, writing, in the Wall Street Journal, points out:

“At the national level, however, big-time sports is big business, with billions of dollars at stake, and Americans tend to be cynical about the whole show. In this world, Mr. Tebow’s frequent professions of faith can come across as a discordant note, equal parts over-earnestness and naïveté. It’s hard to resist the thought that, eventually, a darker reality will show through.

Mr. Tebow may indeed turn out to be a hypocrite, like other high-profile Christians in recent memory. Some of us might even want that to happen, because moral failure is something we understand. We know how to deal with disappointed expectations, to turn our songs of praise into condemnation.

What we are far less sure how to do is to take seriously a public figure’s seemingly admirable character and professions of higher purpose. We don’t know how to trust goodness.”  Read the article, Tim Tebow: God’s Quarterback 

Catholic Christians should know better.  The Church does not lack for martyrs of the red or white variety.  We have the example of Mary and the Saints—ordinary human beings who led lives of heroic virtue.  We are called to be holy. We are all called to be Saints.

But we live in a fallen world. We live in a culture that seems to descend further and further into depravity and a false understanding of authentic human freedom.

Consequently, the good, the true, the beautiful are despised.  But this is nothing new. The prophet Isaiah (5:20) spoke of

“Those who call evil good, and good evil,

who change darkness to light, and light into darkness,

who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter!”

Tim Tebow, may let the world drag him down into the pit.  Sin is attractive. We are all in need or reconciliation and God’s great mercy.

But Christians should pray that he keeps his eye on the heavenly crown of glory. To wish his downfall is just plain evil.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry and I have been married 39 years. But the deacon’s wife gig is a new twist. Larry was ordained in August of 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren. The oldest grandchild is ten and the youngest is three. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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One Response to The Tebow Effect

  1. Heather says:

    Please email me! I have a question about your blog :)
    HeatherVonsj@gmail.com

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