By 9PM EST the Pittsburgh Steelers will either be another roadkill on the quixotic journey of Tim Tebow or the crushing reality-check that finally brings him crashing down.
Las Vegas is betting against him (by a 9 point spread).
Denver is clearly rooting for him.
The rest of the nation seems to be more deeply divided on Tim Tebow that any other public figure than the Republican presidential candidates. (Maybe more!)
Personally, I have watched with a mixture of horror and admiration as the faith of America’s most public Christian has taken the sports media world by storm. The total number of hours ESPN, NFL Today, sports radio, etc. have devoted to faith issues is absolutely unprecedented.
I am only a casual ESPN viewer yet I have personally witnessed some of the most thoughtful, nuanced and lengthy conversations on public faith I have ever heard in any national media outlet… and it has occurred on SPORTS CENTER!
The issues are substantive and the questions important for the future of faith and culture in America?
- What is the role of private faith in the public square?
- Is praying in public a sign of hypocrisy or devotion?
- Would a Muslim player get more public support than a Christian or less?
- Does God influence or even care about the outcomes of football games… or quarterly business reports for that matter?
So… whether you are pulling for Tebow or against him this is a nearly unimaginable cultural moment.
If the Steelers win today? The legend of Tebow is likely over… at least until next season.
If the underdog Broncos and their ‘under-talented’ praying quarterback win? Well, then the legend of Tim Tebow will EXPLODE!
Here is a collection of some of the more thought-provoking articles I’ve been able to cull from this national debate on public faith.
Watch the game and comment… and maybe even pray for Tim to have the wisdom and maturity to handle this moment of public influence! I’m sure not betting against him.
Why does Tim Tebow publicly repudiate the God he worships?
by Andrew Sullivan
That a really good quarterback (or so I’m told) is also a devout evangelical Christian should concern no one, it seems to me. That he often displays his faith by kneeling in the middle of games strikes me as banal given the end-zone shenanigans that also go on. But it’s worth noting that for Christians, it should be a problem. Prayer is not supposed to be a public event, designed to display your holiness in front of the maximum number of people. That’s actually my problem with school prayer. I don’t have much of a problem with it as a Constitutional matter, as long as there is an opt-out. But it does violate a core teaching of Jesus: ‘Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men…”
Is Tim Tebow a Hypocrite?
by Skye Jethani
Tim Tebow represents America’s two great religions: Christianity and Football. But the way the young Denver Broncos’ quarterback intertwines the two has made some followers of each faith uncomfortable. His post-game interviews always begin with “I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” and he frequently drops to one knee on the field and bows his head in prayer–a posture now called Tebowing. (Check out the website featuring photos of others Tebowing in public places.)
But Tim Tebow’s behavior on the field does raise important questions about prayer and how Christians ought to practice it. Andrew Sullivan criticized Tim Tebow saying his public prayers violate Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) where he taught his followers to pray in private…
NFL Betting Public has Lost Faith in Broncos’ Tebow
by Matt Youmans
With a left ankle sprain, Ben Roethlisberger is limping on something resembling a wooden leg, and he has the battle scars and bad reputation of a Pittsburgh pirate. All that’s missing is an eye patch.
The Steelers are banged up, and not just their quarterback. While Roethlisberger hobbled onto the practice field Thursday, three key defensive stars — safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison and end Brett Keisel — did not. But all four are expected to play in Sunday’s AFC wild-card game at Denver.
Even with Roethlisberger on one leg, the Steelers are 8½-point favorites over the Broncos. The line is moving toward 9. The majority of betting tickets on Pittsburgh show the lack of faith in Tim Tebow, who always talks about his faith.
The NFL’s soap opera storylines help boost its popularity, and the battle between the pirate and the preacher shapes up as the top playoff matchup of the weekend for bettors and bookmakers…
Why Tim Tebow is so Important for Twenty-Something Christianity
by Mike Friesen
At the present moment, Tim Tebow is the poster child for American football. No matter where he goes, he wins. He wasn’t supposed to make it into college football. He wins Heisman Awards, National Championships. He wasn’t supposed to make it very far in the NFL. He was drafted 25th overall. In all of the games he has started at quarterback, he has lost only once. Tim isn’t a great quarterback—but he wins…