Tim Tebow And Christianism, Ctd

Dec 9 2011 @ 2:12pm

Tebow

Emails continue to flood in over the Broncos QB. A reader writes:

I've been following the recent series of posts on Tim Tebow, but I find it curious that the subject of his eye black hasn't yet been raised yet. While in college at Florida, Tebow drew a lot of attention for using it to display Bible verses. Tebow was drafted into the NFL in 2010, but just one week before he joined the Broncos, the NCAA approved a new rule banning the use of eye black that contained symbols or messages. (In my opinion, that may have been one of the few things the NCAA's done right during the past few years…)

Another is more direct:

There is absolutely zero reason to display Scripture on your face if you are only interested in connecting to God.  There is a good reason for doing it if you want the cameras to take a picture of your religiosity.

But another asks:

What do any of Tebow's actions have to do with Christianism? 

Your definition, from my understanding, is that Christianism is the fusion of Christianity with politics.  I'm not aware of any advocacy Tebow has done for any political position.  Even his controversial pro-life Super Bowl ad was really just encouraging people to choose not to have an abortion, not any sort of endorsement of legal restrictions on abortion.  You get much undeserved criticism for using the term "Christianism", but by your own definition, I don't think it applies in the case of Tebow.

A good point. Evangelism is not Christianism. And Tebow has only evangelized. What I was thinking of was the reclamation of the public square with Christianity – a core Christianist objective. But my reader is right about that too, on reflection. Again: I have no objection politically to Tebow's  very public religiosity. The Dish covered the Super Bowl ad controversy here, here and here, and my take at the time was: "I have to say I see nothing wrong with it." So, yes, I was sloppy in using the word "Christianist" in this context, and, on reflection, withdraw it.  Another reader points out:

Proving that you can connect almost any Dish thread with some other long-standing Dish obsession: Tim Tebow's missionary service in the Philippines included giving circumcisions to children. According to one of his colleagues, "You could see he was really into it.  He thought it was cool. I'd make a stitch, he'd cut a stitch. He got his hands a little wet in surgery."

Another keeps the heat on:

I think you're being unfair and disingenuous with your proof-texting of Matthew 6 and writing that "there's a gratuitous display here that seems very counter to Jesus' directive to humility, privacy and simplicity in prayer." Do you similarly believe that Christians should eliminate all forms of public prayer? Should the Pope stay in his room on Christmas and celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation in private? Ought we dispense with the Mass and instruct bishops not to lead inter-faith prayer services on the anniversary of 9/11?

Of course not. But those are public celebrations: masses and other rituals. And this Pope and the last were known for their private, solitary devotion and prayer. And they were and are Popes, not quarterbacks, introducing public individual prayer in front of millions at a sports event. One more:

There's a striking similarity between the way that some people feel about homosexuals and the way some people feel about Tim Tebow. In one case, people who find homosexuality a sin or otherwise objectionable often say that public display of gay love is shoving something in the face of the public. Similarly, those who don't believe in Christ (and apparently some who do) feel that Tebow's expression of his faith is too "in your face." As somebody who is neither gay, Christian, nor bothered by the expression of either, the similarity is obvious.

Again, I agree. I just think it is not in the spirit or verse of the Gospels. More reader commentary at our Facebook page.

(Photo: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow wears the Bible verse Isaiah 40:31 on his eye black for their game against Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky, Saturday, September 26, 2009. By Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)