Men, did you know that a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly listed Tim Tebow as on the the “15 Most Divisive Athletes in Recent History.” He was listed along with Michael Vick, Barry Bonds, Dennis Rodman, Pete Rose and O.J. Simpson. The actions of these athletes include conviction for animal cruelty, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and being banned from baseball for betting on games, someone who probably killed his ex-wife, and book signing wearing a dress. So what is it about Tim Tebow that makes his so divisive? Charles Colson in his comments on this article says, “what makes Tebow ‘divisive’ and ‘controversial’ has little, if anything, to do with what he does on the field. It’s all about our increasing intolerance of faith in public life. Tebow isn’t trying to ‘impose’ anything on anyone besides himself.” I agree.
Jen Engel, a sports writer for Fox made an interesting point about “Tebowing.” If Tebow were an Islamic quarterback, who was making religious gesture and got ridiculed all hell would break loose. So why is the faith gestures of Tim Tebow open game to all the ridicule from fans, players and especially the media. It seems sports writers and commentators don’t quite know what to do about a young man who seems to so moral upright with a faith that determines how he will live not only privately but also publicly. So for you men who read this blog, I have to make the confession that I am an out and out fan of Tim Tebow. I deeply admire him for his “spiritual guts.” He is a blessing to the male sports subculture, which I am a part of. Why? Because he gets men to think about not just religious ideas and habits, but about faith in Jesus. There is a “spiritual jab” that men are receiving through “Tebowing.” It opens the door to the possibility of some good conversation.
So here is what I am going to do. I challenge you men to do the same thing. I am going to bring up the name of Tim Tebow with men both inside and outside of a church setting. I want to hear what they have to say about this young man. I want to know what they really feel in their souls – a kind of gut reaction. I don’t want them repeating the opinions of the critics and synics. I want to know how they feel about a young man who has a deep faith in Jesus. I personally believe that it is convicting to a lot of “church” guys. I know Tim Tebow convicts me about my public posture as a follower of Jesus. I am going to challenge them to think about their own relationship to Jesus. As a humble and loving follower of Jesus, I am going to use “Tebowing” as a God ordained opportunity to gently challenge men about their relationship with Jesus.
Remember Jesus did not call us to follow him when life is a “beach” and all is going well. Men, we live in a day when all religious options are on the table. This is not bad. This can be good, if we know how to appeal to men. Men need to be challenged to get off of “dead center” and truly decide if they want to follow Jesus. But I must warn you it is not going to be a “Sunday School picnic.” Listen to Jesus words from The Message. “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.” (John 15:16-19) Those are strong words from Jesus. This is what Tim Tebow faces every day. How about you? Are you willing to take some opposition as a humble, loving follower of Jesus? It could be that if you are, you too will be called “divisive.”