Skip to comments.Tebow in Babylon
Posted on 03/29/2012 4:12:11 AM PDT by rhema
The Prophet Jonah was sent to Nineveh. St. Paul was sent to Athens, Macedonia, Rome. And now Tim Tebow has been sent to New York City.
There was a moment last week when it looked as if the trade shipping Tebow from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets might somehow fall through - that Tebow might end up a Jacksonville Jaguar instead, with a guaranteed starting job, a heavily evangelical fan base, and none of the insanity involved in eclipsing Jeremy Lin as the most famous Christian athlete in Babylon-upon-the-Hudson.
O ye of little faith. Did you think that the Lord God of Hosts, having raised Tebow up as a Gideon of the gridiron, would pass up the opportunity to put his faithful servant to the test? Did you think that the angelic screenwriters responsible for scripting last year's succession of Tebow-related improbabilities had nodded off after the Broncos were dispatched in the AFC playoffs? Did you think that the archons and demiurges who preside over America's culture war would be content to let Tebow fade into obscurity - some red-state-friendly endorsement deals, a few 6-10 finishes, and then early retirement and a lifetime of under-the-radar charity work?
Above all, did you think that Tebow himself, with his distinctive mix of missionary zeal and "give me the ball" confidence, would duck the Gotham opportunity? That he would pull a LeBron James and take his talents down to Florida instead?
No, this was where the Tebow story was always destined to end up. Denver was his Galilee; New York will be the Roman Colosseum. Or to be pop cultural rather than scriptural: Denver was District 12 in Suzanne Collins' Panem, and the Meadowlands will be the Hunger Games arena.
New Yorkers are a sophisticated lot, and the Tebow hype will afford them plenty of opportunities for eye-rolling. The sophisticated football fan will tell you that Tebow is a bad-to-mediocre quarterback with a few unusual skills who rode a lucky streak to undeserved fame; the rest is just the standard media fantasy about "intangibles" and "grit" dressed up with spirituality.
The sophisticated atheist will inform you that in a vast and complicated cosmos, there will inevitably be temporary patterns that give the appearance of some divine design. But it would be even more ridiculous for a secular-minded football fan to root against Tebow than for a religious fan to root for him: in a godless, random universe, failure is no more metaphysically significant than success. (Or as Grantland's Brian Phillips put it: "If you're against Tebow, you can't read too much into Tebow's failures, or else Tebow has already won.")
The sophisticated Christian, meanwhile, may be a little embarrassed by the whole Tebow business. A sophisticate's God doesn't care about trivia like who wins football games. A sophisticate's theology doesn't depend on what some musclehead does with the pigskin.
But let's be unsophisticated for a moment. Why is Tim Tebow such a fascinating and polarizing figure? Not just because he claims to be religious; that claim is commonplace among football stars and ordinary Americans alike. Rather, it's because his conduct - kind, charitable, chaste, guileless - seems to actually vindicate his claim to be in possession of a life-altering truth.
Nothing discredits religion quite like the gap that often yawns between what believers profess and how they live. With Tebow, that gap seems so narrow as to be invisible. ("There's not an ounce of artifice or phoniness or Hollywood in this kid Tebow," ESPN's Rick Reilly wrote last year of the quarterback's charitable works, "and I've looked everywhere for it.") He fascinates, in part, because he behaves - at least in public, and at least for now - the way one would expect more Christians to behave if their faith were really true.
But the fascination doesn't end there. Tebow's religion doesn't just promise a path to personal transformation. It claims that every human life is actually a story with an Author, and that a genuinely Christian life should make that divine Authorship manifest.
So in Tebow's case, the link between faith and football can't actually be broken. The more that his professional career seems like, well, a storybook - with exciting up and downs, new opportunities and unexpected twists - the more credible his faith in providence becomes.
Note that "a storybook" is not the same as "an inevitable success." In Christian theology as in young-adult fiction, even the author's most beloved characters can suffer pain, temptation, failure, exile. The lives of the saints often end in martyrdom. The gentle, brutalized Peeta Mellark is as much the hero of "The Hunger Games" as the indomitable Katniss Everdeen.
So even the most pious of Jets fans shouldn't expect a Super Bowl title. But if their new quarterback's story really has an Author, they're in for a pretty interesting ride.
Right before God takes out NYC, he will have family to save.
Almost stopped reading right there, but I persisted!
BTW, like your FR name!
The Media will try to crucify his belief.
Paul and Peter were killed in Rome. Hopefully Tim's witness will bring about a totally different result and will result in many coming into the Kingdom.
Hasn't the New York Times told them so? Ergo, it's gotta be true.
Rick Reilly's candid assessment of Tebow("There's not an ounce of artifice or phoniness or Hollywood in this kid Tebow," ESPN's Rick Reilly wrote last year of the quarterback's charitable works, "and I've looked everywhere for it.") reminds me of Jesus' description of Nathaniel, a man ". . .in whom is no guile."
I just hope Tebow stays true to his faith, and realize that might mean he stops playing NFL football.
Actually, there are more hard-core conservatives (and conservative Christians for that matter) living in NYC than there are in the entire STATE where this article originated. Last time I compared NY and Minnesota, one of us had elected an annoying talentless former SNL cast member to the US Senate, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t here.
For that matter, there are more deeply religious hard-core conservative J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets fans than there are Vikings fans total. And this is coming from a Giants fan btw. I am ambivalant about the Jets, but I think NY is a great place for Tebow to spread his (and His) message. You are right, that many here will hate what he has to say. But some youngsters will listen to him, want to be like him, and wonder where he gets it from.
The most widely read newspapers in NYC are 1: "The Wall Street Journal"(conservative), 2: "The New York Post" (conservative), 3: "The New York Times" (liberal), 4: "The New York Daily News" (liberal). The total population of the NYC metropolitan area is 22,000,000.