Saturday, December 10, 2011
Along with this whole Christmas thingy there is the other American religion, NFL football. Even if you avoid watching football for the most part, the devotion and reverence of fans is something to behold. The television production values for the NFL are arguably the most sophisticated of any program. It's only a matter of time before we see a football in a manger.
Now, football is permitted as a quasi-religion, but football players may be criticized for being too religious. Take Tim Tebow, the rookie quarterback for the resurgent Denver Broncos. Tebow is the best worst QB this year, a guy who just doesn't throw like a big-leaguer, and just has an ugly style. But he has scrambled and scratched and inspired his team to the top of the division after assuming the pivot role.
Tebow is also an evangelical Christian -- well, a fundamentalist Christian. He has publicly spoken for Focus on the Family, an organization I have no time for, and is generally extremely conservative in his religious expression. He has probably undergone more analysis for his religious convictions than for his style of play, although he has been scorned for both. Why, there is Tim charicatured as Jesus in the image above.
Tebow has also received some unlikely support. Comedian Bill Cosby, of all people, has spoken in his defense. I do wonder why some feel Tebow should keep his trap shut. I don't agree with his perspective on Christianity, but does that mean he should be silenced or mocked? And I see that many mainline churches, such as ours, are disappearing like the Cheshire Cat. We decided a few decades ago that we would eliminate dirty words such as evangelism from our vocabulary and now we are reaping what we sowed. We aren't exactly shining examples of "keeping the faith."
Are celebrities free to share their ideas and convictions, or should they "shut up and play?" What is reasonable witness on the part of any individual in a pluralistic society? Do you wonder how a guy who passes for about a hundred yards per game manages to keep on winning?