Goodbye Tim Tebow

My Twitter feed was full of rejoicing over Denver’s loss to the Patriots yesterday. That’s how much people despise Tim Tebow and his sanctimonious “uber-Christian” public prayers. That strikes me as pretty sad: if your display of religious faith is so over the top that it actually turns people off, you’re doing it wrong. But hey, Tebow won’t be tebowing anymore, at least not on our TeeVees, not until next season. Maybe we can all get over our damn selves in the meantime.

I saw this in yesterday’s New York Times and struck me as just wrong:

Decent people who are proud of their faith, do good things and succeed in life tend to irritate some of us; they remind us of our private failures, so, naturally, we hope they stumble. Spectacularly. Face-first into the mud.

Er, no. That’s tantamount to Mitt Romney’s “they’re just jealous” argument. Tim Tebow’s public faith displays don’t annoy me because they remind me he’s perfect and I’m not. They annoy me because they strike me as overwrought and self-important. I’m sure Tim Tebow loves his god and is being sincere, but publicly taking a knee every time something good happens at a game doesn’t put the spotlight on god, it puts the spotlight on Tim Tebow. Again: you’re doing it wrong.

This is the thing I really don’t get about evangelical Christianity: it’s so “me” centered. You see it in the modern worship songs that fill every mega church on Sundays:

Over the Mountains and the Seas,
Your river runs with Love for me,
And I will open up my heart
And let the healer set me free.

I’m happy to be in the truth
And I will daily lift my hands,
For I will always sing of when your love came down.

This isn’t a song about God, it’s a song about the singer. The words “I,” “me” and “my” appear more often than references to the Divine. (By the way for those who don’t know, these are the lyrics to “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever,” probably the most performed modern worship song ever.) This is evangelical Christianity in a nutshell: But enough about God! Here’s what I think of God!

Also, I’m just curious but does Tebow tebow after losing a game or a missed pass, too? Shouldn’t he? Wouldn’t that be a true sign of humility and faith? A demonstration of “not my will but thine”? (Maybe he does do this, I honestly don’t know.)

C’mon, evangelicals. It’s really not supposed to be all about you. It’s supposed to be about God. And yet, you make it about you all the time. Everything is always about you. Your view of morality, your interpretation of the Bible, your faith. Or lack of faith: because if you folks had a shred of faith at all you wouldn’t be so damn worried about everything all the time, trying to control everything everyone else does and passing laws to make sure we all live the way you think we should. If you had faith you’d let God be in control. You’d trust in God — you know, like the money says we do? But no. Instead you try to control everyone and everything else, like you’re so special.

Like you’re God.

I really don’t care whether Tim Tebow or any athlete is religious or not. I do think there’s a big helping of hypocrisy in the public attention he’s received. If he were a Muslim and bowed to Mecca after every touchdown, would everyone think that’s so great? I’m thinking we’d hear people shrieking about Sharia football.

Anyway, this clip from Jimmy Fallon struck me as rather on point.

15 Comments

Filed under Christianity, pop culture, religion

15 responses to “Goodbye Tim Tebow

  1. Bingo!
    I’m a Bama fan so I’ve had years to dislike Tebow. It has nothing to do with his faith.
    But I said exactly this, with one addition, to a coworker the other day who was exalting his performance:
    “If he were a BLACK Muslim and bowed to Mecca after every touchdown, would everyone think that’s so great? ”
    (Of course I think there would be an outrage if he were a purple Muslim but especially if he were black.)

  2. So much of the Gospel and really so much of our whole faith tradition (both in the Jewish & the Christian scriptures) is about losing. Is about failure and darkness. So it’s always struck me as off to see Christianity about success. Our church softball team was so abysmal at times that I suggested with call ourselves The Anawim, we were so woeful. And you and the other poster are right – if this was a non-Christian (particularly a Muslim) player, there would be an uproar. God bless, Tim Tebow, but Jimmy Fallon has it right – God has more important things to worry about than who wins a football game.

    Then again, on the flip side, I always say that if there isn’t baseball in heaven, I’m going to be sorely disappointed. But you have to love a game were it’s a mark of great success to fail 70% of the time. Not to mention extra innings that can go on for an eternity!

  3. Min

    “I’m sure Tim Tebow loves his god and is being sincere, but publicly taking a knee every time something good happens at a game doesn’t put the spotlight on god, it puts the spotlight on Tim Tebow.”

    Although I’m currently Episcopalian, I consider myself an evangelical Christian (28 years in the Southern Baptist Church cannot be denied), and my problem with these kinds of display is just like you said. It has very little to do with God, and everything to do with the look-at-me piety of the person involved. There’s something just a little Pharasaical about it, to be perfectly honest.

  4. I’m not in the least biblical, but didn’t Jesus admonish the faithful to pray in private, behind closed doors, and shuttered windows?

    Tebow did something I didn’t think was possible. He made me root for the Patriots, whom I loath, and especially Tom Brady, whom I loath most of all. I try not to bear Tebow personal animus, but I am human and therefore imperfect. What I really resent is the Tebowmania, and the thoughts of the other commentors are spot on.

    The Pat’s have the number 31 ranked defense, in a 32 team league. They suck. And they embarrassed the Bronco’s offense. There were no less than an astounding 14 plays for negative yardage. Tebow was a horrific 9 for 26 passing. If only he had thrown one more unsuccessful pass at the end of the game, his incompletion percentage would have been . 666 . . .

    Why doesn’t the world recognize the real hero of the Denver football team – that guy who kicks game-winning 59 yard field goals? Unfortunately, I can’t remember his name.

    Cheers!
    JzB

  5. Don’t know if “Tithin’ Timmy” took a knee to thank JESUS for making him look like the NSFGQb* that he is but I won’t be a bit surprised to see him turn into a cash positive experience for himself (JESUS doesn’t need the Benjamins). He’s a hypocrite if he doesn’t spend the next six months examining his life–PUBLICALLY–to see where he fucked up and made JESUS angry enough to pass up a chance to lay waste to the Pats. It couldabeen Sodom&Gillette!

    *Not So Fucking Great Quarterback

  6. John Weiss

    Tebow is a football player. He may be great some day.

    Public display of one’s religious preference, in my book, will ever remain tacky in the extreme if not downright rude. I don’t like it a bit. I consider such displays low class.

    Doesn’t mean I won’t watch him play. I’m not going to return the rudeness.

  7. Someone said it best, imo, over at Ed Brayton’s “Dispatches from the Culture Wars”.

    “”Apparently God cares more about who wins a football game than about starving children, flesh-eating viruses and other calamities that happen to people.””

    Phillip IV(in a reply) says:

    Sure, because the outcome of football games does affect the well-being of American Evangelicals a lot more than children starving to death somewhere in Africa. Remember, those people want a personal savior – a higher being focused on the well-being of them, their families and friends, and all of their trivial first-world problems. A deity concentrating on the large issues and major challenges would be a completely unattractive deal to them, not really worth the worship.”

    As has been pointed out innumerable times over the years, when the KKKristian GOD doesn’t give you what you’ve aimed for, move the target.

  8. Jim

    How many other players make similar gestures of kneeling or pointing to the sky when they score a touchdown? It seems like almost every athlete thanks God after a big game when they are being interviewed as well. I don’t understand why Tebow is such a polarizing figure.

    • deep

      Jim, I think it started when Tebow was in that pro-life ad last year with his Mom. Every since then, his overthetop worship has been scrutinized much more closely than any other player.

      • Actually, I think it started earlier, when he wouldwrite “John 3:16” in his face grease playing college ball. I think it’s a violation of NFL rules or some such because he doesn’t do it anymore. Anyway, he’s always been way more over the top and upfront about his faith than any other player. I think if he were to simply point at the sky no one would really make a big deal out of it.

  9. Tithin’ Timmy is completely aware of his granstanding pharisytical praying. If he chooses to profess his faith in his invisible friend in private I have no objection; when he does it in public, fully aware of its polarizing nature, well, fuck him.

    It IS his constitutional right to pray publically as long as he’s not doing so in a way that is contra the 1st Amendment. It is also the constitutional right of anyone to point and laugh and call him a fucktard.

    There is a simple fix for this conondrum of Timmy’s and his BFF (Best Faithy Friends), Matthew 6:6:

    “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”.

    • Jim

      I have the feeling that Tebow is not nearly as bothered by the people that “point and laugh and call him a fucktard” as those people are bothered by Tebow and what he stands for.