13 Comments

  1. Jon

    Hi Marcia,

    Chuck Klosterman of ESPN’s Grantland wrote and excellent piece a few weeks ago about Tebow, religion, and why so many people seem to love or hate him. It’s thoughtful and balanced, with the author refusing to take a side. I’d really recommend reading it and telling us what you think. Here’s the link:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7319858/the-people-hate-tim-tebow

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thanks, Jon. I am happy to take a look and let you know what I think. Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  2. Adam

    If you think there’s too little tolerance for people of different faiths, imagine what it’s like for somebody of no faith.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      You are right, Adam. We know players who have felt very alienated because of just the dynamic you describe. Thank you for reading and commenting.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  3. Linda Carter

    This is a great piece, Marcia. Son, Sam, is a freshman at Rhodes now and he and his friends have been all over this “Tebowing” thing. I am going to share this with him because I think he will appreciate your perspective. I know I do!
    Best,
    Linda

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Linda, for reading and commenting. I hope Sam will let me know what he thinks, too!

      Reply

  4. Hi Marcia,

    It’s your old friend Julie from WI. I’ve been enjoying your series very much, but haven’t commented yet. I believe V. Lombardi said it best: “God, family, and the Green Bay Packers”!

    What I love most about this essay is the image of Jesus in the world responding with immediacy to what is in front of him. That’s the Jesus I recognize. (Not so much the one who has a favorite team, in sports or in faith experience.)

    But I do think the Lambeau Leap would delight him.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Great to hear from you, Julie. I am thankful you find a spark of recognition there–and the Lambeau Leap could well be a source of delight!

      Reply
  5. Mike D in Mpls

    People of faith don’t deserve special respect or reverence or tolerance because they are pretending to know things they do not know.

    Praising god for bringing good things like football wins or even simple good health into your life is wildly narcissistic. Because at the same time, some 12-year-old child who has never even heard of Jesus, is being raped, getting infected with AIDS and/or Malaria, and/or starving to death in Africa.

    Either god doesn’t have the power to stop things like young children getting cancer, or he simply doesn’t care. If a god exists, it’s one or the other.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Dear Mike,
      You raise age-old questions about the nature of Divine power in a world where suffering and evil is so prevalent. These same questions help to inform the work of theologians, including myself, about alternative ways to understand Divine power. I hope you saw traces of that discussion in my post.
      I would argue that our choices aren’t as stark as you suggest–that either God doesn’t care or God is powerless in the face of suffering and evil. I think generations of mystics of all kinds (Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Indigenous faiths, etc.) have asserted that God’s goodness and presence is experiential and palpable, and not mechanistic. I wouldn’t call those character traits of belief and spiritual experience narcissistic. Sadly all good things in human life can become distorted by the human tendency to think in very narrow and selfish ways about the world, so belief can fall prey to those impulses. But belief in God can also be a perspective and stance of radical humility.
      As a person of faith myself, I don’t pretend to know anything. In fact, my faith gives me the courage and the fearlessness to say that there is a lot I don’t know.
      I thank you for reading and for commenting, Mike. I appreciate your good questions.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  6. Norm H in Ottawa

    Jesus’ ability to polarize us continues to amaze me. The establishment of a clear and obviously meaningful standard does that. Unfortunately, the standard itself rather than its meaning, often becomes that to which we cleave.

    I have not followed the Tebowing phenomenon closely, but it seems to me that he has followed the message and hasn’t shown a preference for a particular standard or brand of Christianity. Perhaps that is something worth considering.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Norm, for reading and for commenting. I think you are right, Jesus pushes our buttons! Hards truths have a way of doing that. They elicit strong reactions. I always pray that we can let down our defenses and have the courage to deal with the life-giving road he offers to us. There is a lot along the way that is very difficult, but there is a freedom and open space that I give thanks for every day.

      I don’t know that Tebow has espoused a certain brand of Christianity, although I know he’s endorsed a few stances along the way that have had their own polarizing effect. There is a great book out about the way that certain para-church groups have had such a powerful impact in big time sports by journalist Tom Krattenmaker called “Onward Christian Athletes.” You might find it interesting.

      Thank you again, Norm, for reading and commenting. Hope you will keep reading.
      Peace
      Marcia

      Reply

  7. Marcia, so many good points, but let me home in on this one:

    “…I would rather see a player who acknowledges that there is a higher power at work in his life than one who makes it all about him. That awareness about our own power and the limits therein can be life-giving.”

    Amen! If we all stopped taking credit for our achievements and the clamoring for “Look at me, look at me,” what a difference might there be in the way we interact! Sports is full of highlight reels nowadays–the fancy dunks and end zone celebrations. Those players who point at the sky seem to have a different spirit about them, and I truly admire that.

    I also have to note that I heard a radio ad the other day for some company with this web site, no joke: whataboutme.org.

    Oh my.

    Lyn

    Reply

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