There is a professional athlete who is in the middle of a ton of controversy. You either hate him or like him. He offends many people in his interviews. He appalls people every time he touches a microphone. And everyone on the Internet and TV are talking about him because his method and way of winning bothers many other athletes. He rebels against the textbook way to play his position. His touchdown celebrations are another point of controversy in his career. And to top it off, his jersey sells are ridiculous.
Who is this you may ask?
No, it’s not a wide receiver who plans each touchdown celebration each game. It’s not a Running back who is consumed with earning a spot on Dancing With The Stars.
It’s a quarterback.
It’s Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos recently starting quarterback.
Tebow has drawn a lot of attention with his way of winning in the last couple months. He was drafted 25th in the 2010 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. Many people said he would never be a NFL starting quarterback based on his throwing motion and what style of play he used during college.
After a rookie year of controversy where many people wanted him either off the team or starting, he entered his 2nd year prepared to compete for the starting position regardless of the doubts from many knowledgeable football analysts.
Tebow has been described as humble and quiet by many that have played with him. The son of missionaries in the Philippines, Tebow grew up in a Christian home. Tebow was home schooled and his NFL career has been marked by the disciplined approach he has to every game.
So why all the controversy?
Jesus of Nazareth was known to affect people in a way that after meeting him, they had to either change their lives or continue in their lifestyles of rebellion. When they met him, he called them to immediate change. They couldn’t have a “Politically Correct” relationship with him because he would make things very personal.
That same Jesus is the one Tim Tebow thanks in every interview he gets. When people see a guy like him they are put at a fork in the road because he lays his cards out on the table right away. There is no doubt about his beliefs. And when people look at a guy who is not afraid to tell about his stance on issues and how he lives his private life, it bothers them. They feel the need to explain themselves and why they live the way that they do.
I saw a recent episode of ESPN first take. Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and Chris Carter were arguing about Tebow. What is interesting though is how of the three analysts, two of them felt the need to lay out their religious alliances during their discussion. The other one though made the statement that it wasn’t necessary to explain what he believes and that is the position that many want to take.
As I watched these analysts go at each other in every manner, I was perplexed by how all of this was happening over a guy who mildly thanks Jesus in his interviews. A legitimate quarterback. Not a Tom Brady but also a deserving starter. Yet you have people all over arguing and I think I know why.
Like I just said, Tebow is a follower of Jesus. He is outspoken about his faith and when criticized shows how genuine his love for Christ is. When people see Tebow though, its hard to admit they are Christians because he represents where very few people are at. How can you be a Christian also and not talk about it? How can you be in the same belief system as him yet he lives an openly moral lifestyle while you are living a lifestyle that is practically in opposition?
This is what makes many American’s mad. There is a large number of American’s that are Christian by either religion or culture but there are few who are Christian by relational choice.
Many people see Tebow and see a product of the bible-thumping fundamentalist’s and they shake their heads thinking, “I am no less a Christian than he.” They wanna be good enough to get to heaven. Their Christian lives are religious in the extent of focusing on the works in their lives.
Others see him excitedly telling of Jesus and they hate that because they feel guilty about the fear of man that they have in their own lives. Many of these people go to church and fit in Christian moral culture pretty well. If you were to ask these people if they are saved they would reply, “I vote Republican. Of course I am saved.”
I have yet to see Tebow going off about people not standing for their faith. He simply won’t let the rocks cry out(*). Is it a crime? No. Does it challenge the standard? Yes. Is that a good thing? Yes. Because sad enough, it is no surprise when random athletes say their Christians yet are completely silent about anything within their faith for years. And this happens a lot in sports. My hope is that when more athletes that are Christians come across a guy like Tebow, it challenges them to bring their focus back on Gods glory and off of their own.
As well though, to you, reader, I hope that you will be challenged with how you live your faith. Not that you have to be screaming at your co-workers that “I am a Christian”. But when living out the Christian faith, you don’t need a microphone for people to see where your allegiance lies.