Skip to comments.Tim Tebow keeps smiling
Posted on 12/07/2011 8:14:19 AM PST by rhema
When Pam Tebow was counseled to abort her baby to save her own life, the doctor referred to him as a "mass of fetal tissue."
"(M)aybe she just called me that to toughen us up for the names I would be called the first time I played at LSU," Tim Tebow, who became the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the University of Florida, writes in his 2011 book "Through My Eyes."
Now that Tebow is a Denver Bronco and under intense scrutiny in the role of starting quarterback, his congenital instinct to push through adversity and ignore the naysayers is again at work.
"Polarizing" is the sports commentariat's typical term to describe national reaction to Tebow since he went pro. The negativity flows in part from his initially rocky performance. But much more seems to be reaction to Tebow's Christian faith. Critics want him to keep it to himself, a pattern that is increasingly common in American public life.
Of course, there's already plenty of God-talk in professional football. (Type "Green Bay Packers" into Twitter and see how many players give God a shout out in their profiles.)
Talking is one thing. Walking the talk is another. That's where Tim Tebow stands out. Born in the Philippines to missionary parents, he not only is outspoken about his faith, referencing it frequently in word and symbol - such as biblical citations in his eye black. He's also as intense about living out his faith as he is about playing football - and winning.
And he's done a good bit of winning. For a 24-year-old who's been, in his words, "the center of so much spilled ink" since his high school days (before graduating he was the subject of a documentary), it's amazing he's full of anything other than himself. Instead, he brims over about his faith, family, football and teammates.
While the attention hasn't gone to his head, it does seem to have gone to his heart.
Tebow takes seriously the burden of his "platform" - a word he uses frequently in his book to refer to his opportunity to influence others for good. Such disciplined, purposeful stewardship of a leadership role is rare in anyone, but particularly someone so young in a field rampant with narcissism and bad behavior.
Even for observers who consider the eye-black evangelism corny or juvenile, it's simply no comparison to the "youthful indiscretions" that haunt so many public figures for years. And even through jaded eyes, the trademark Tebow kneel to give gratitude to God after a great play hardly can be as obnoxious as others' on-field (not to mention off-field) antics and outbursts.
"Tebow is just a guy with the good sense to say thanks. Instead of taking his cue, we mock his faith. And that says more about us, none of it good," writes Jennifer Floyd Engel at Fox Sports.
What the mockery of Tebow's faith "has revealed about religious discourse in America is ugly," she says. "And this defense that Tebow invites such scrutiny with his willingness to publicly live as he privately believes calls into question what exactly it is we value."
Public expression of religious belief is an essential aspect of what has been called America's first freedom. This nation is founded on the principle that religious individuals and institutions would have the freedom to live out their faith. But in recent decades, policy and social pressures have suggested that faith should be pushed into a private sphere.
Tim Tebow runs right through that line, surprising its defenders - just like he did to the New York Jets on his game-winning, fourth-quarter touchdown.
Did Tebow "ever sit back, smile and admire" the events of November, a reporter asked on the last day of the month? With Tebow starting, the Broncos jumped to 7-5 from a losing record.
"Well, I sit back and smile a lot just 'cuz ... I smile," Tebow responded, with his reflexive grin. "I continually try to smile a lot."
It's true. He's kept smiling while showing remarkable magnanimity toward critics. One, former Broncos QB Jake Plummer, suggested toning down the religious rhetoric. Tebow responded that if it's a good idea for a husband to tell his wife he loves her as often as he can, then wouldn't it be appropriate to do the same when it comes to the most important relationship in his own life?
"If people want to bash me for that, that's OK. It really won't bother me. At least they know what I believe."
Americans express appropriate indignation when a public figure is discovered to lack integrity. How ironic that one who shows consistent virtue should meet with consternation.
Jennifer Marshall is director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation and author of the book "Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century."
“Well, I sit back and smile a lot just ‘cuz ... I smile,” Tebow responded, with his reflexive grin. “I continually try to smile a lot.”
...boy, do secular, America hating Marxists hate people who are happy!
I’ll share that prayer. What an inspiration that young man is, may God Bless him always, and his parents who did a wonderful job in raising this young man. BRAVO well done.
The scum went after Reggie White the same way!
All the best in your NFL career, but please consider running for public office later. We need more politicians with souls and integrity.
He’s on my family’s prayer list. (And we do confess to somewhat enjoying the teeth-gnashing consternation of the “experts” who say he can’t play QB in the NFL.)
It will be interesting to see if the Jaguars, who just got a new owner (who is a Muzzie from Pakistan originally), will go after Tebow. He certainly is probably the only player who will sell a lot of season tickets in Jax. Will Denver try to deal Tebow, at a time they figure his trade value will never be higher?
Thank you for posting that. I have been saying the same to my circle of friends both here and from Denver. I also pray for him for the inevitable mis-step, loss, or honest mistake.
(Born in the Philippines)
I am not sure he is eligible to be a Pro Football QB. JK
This godly young man is an example to young Christians. With humility and good humor he is living his faith in an ungodly world. And the ungodly hate a happy Christian, who loves Jesus more than the opinion of the ungodly. By watching him, they see their own failings, and they are determined to make him fall to their level.
Yes, he should have our prayers, as all young Christians should have our prayers for steadfastness in the faith in this evil age.
Speaking as a Denver Bronco season ticket holder since 1977 I can assure you, as things stand now, that Timmy Tebow isn't going anywhere soon. He has regenerated Bronco fan enthusiasm that hasn't been seen in these parts for over a decade. The suits upstairs at Dove Valley (Bronco headquarters & training facility) wouldn't dare release Tebow ... it would be a PR debacle.
Football is Tebow’s life but Jesus Christ is his passion. I, for one, cannot see how that makes this amazing young man a lightning rod for criticism.
He's already involved in getting a hospital built in the Philippines where his folks were missionaries.
Excellent to hear that. Always wondered about the Denver fans. Thanks for posting.
I can't believe the dumbasses at Jacksonville didn't see this. Or if they did they are even bigger dumbasses and passed on it.
Prayer pings to this outstanding young man! No one works harder on the field or off for his fellow man. We gladly would take him from the Broncos and have him lead the Redskins.