Yesterday I was reading my Facebook news feed, and it caught my eye that Tim Tebow was a trending topic. I wondered why he was in the news now, since that name has mostly disappeared from my consciousness, and I was intrigued by what the rest of the blurb said.
Let’s get a few things straight here. First of all, “trending” is not a word. “Trend” is a noun. I’m using the term here because that’s what Facebook calls it. Also, some of you probably never had the name Tim Tebow in your consciousness in the first place. For those of you who don’t follow American football–and especially for you hypocrites who make a big deal of calling football “handegg” or “sportsball” and then get all butt-hurt when someone makes fun of one of your passions–Tim Tebow is a football broadcaster and former player. A few years ago, he won two national college championships with the University of Florida Gators football team. He was drafted by the NFL’s Denver Broncos shortly after that, and he became another in a long string of overly-hyped college football stars who fail to deliver at the professional level. He had a brief run of successful games during his two seasons in Denver, then after being traded he never again really got his career on track. But he gets a lot more attention than most college athletes who haven’t made it in the pros five years later, mostly because of his outspoken Christian beliefs.
The reason why Tim Tebow showed up in my news feed yesterday is because Olivia Culpo, his beauty queen girlfriend, broke up with him because he refused to have sex with her. His Bible-based desire to honor God through abstinence and chastity are more important to him than dating a model. After noticing something about the headlines, I read a few of the linked articles and blogs, and, like the headlines, they were all written in a pretty universally mocking tone, essentially making fun of Tebow’s beliefs with childish insults. Some of these appeared to be from credible news sources, not just random blowhards and ignorami with blogs.
I’m not particularly a fan of Tim Tebow. For one thing, he never played for my team. And as much as I admire his outspoken faith and his philanthropy, I have to admit that at times he has been so outspoken as to make Christians look bad. Saturday Night Live did a hilarious bit where Jesus appears to Tebow in the locker room and tells him to tone it down a little. And it’s kind of annoying the way a bunch of teen and young adult Christian girls who never knew crap about football suddenly turned into Gators and Broncos fans because of him. But I have to say I’m on his side on this one.
Some Christians tend to complain too much about persecution whenever they come across situations that involve the fact that some people don’t share their beliefs. The fact that public schools do not lead students in Christian prayers is not persecution, for example. I also wouldn’t call the media’s reaction to Tim Tebow persecution, but it certainly does expose the double standard and the anti-Christian bias in the mainstream media. If these same journalists aimed the same kind of childish insults at a Muslim celebrity who made a big deal to stop what he was doing to pray five times a day, or a Jewish celebrity who made a big deal of not eating bacon, the journalists’ careers would immediately end in disgrace. But it’s perfectly acceptable to make fun of a Christian, especially when it involves one who chooses to go against the secular humanist gods of sexual liberation.
Good for you, Tim Tebow, for sticking to God’s word and your values. I salute you. But you might want to stop dating celebrities and supermodels. That’s just my advice.
I don’t mean to criticize Mr. Tebow’s life choices, though. Let’s look at this from his perspective. I’m speculating a bit here, I haven’t done a lot of in-depth research into his personal life, but, especially considering that his parents were missionaries, I’m guessing he probably grew up in a bit of a Christian bubble where most of what he was taught about dating and sex was simply “don’t.” From the time he was in college, he was in the national spotlight for his athletic prowess, and now, at 28, he probably still doesn’t have everything figured out when it comes to dating and relationships. I’m 11 years older than Mr. Tebow, and I’m still figuring it out. I wrote recently about how I’m learning that the Christian bubble doesn’t work for me anymore, so I need to explore life outside of the Christian bubble, and figure out how to reconcile non-bubble socializing and dating with my Christian values. Maybe Tim Tebow is doing the same thing right now, except in his world, socializing outside of the Christian bubble involves celebrities and supermodels. At this point in my life, if I were in his place, if I were schmoozing with a celebrity woman and she acted like she liked me, I’d probably go on a few dates with her, and I’d eventually find some important issue on which our values were absolutely incompatible, and we’d have to go our separate ways. I’d learn something from the experience, and I’d be glad that I tried and didn’t chicken out.
That could be what Tebow is doing right now, and it’s unfortunate that the drama has to be played out in front of journalists and paparazzi. So give him a break, and let him stick to his beliefs and live out his faith, even if you don’t agree. Tim can do better than Olivia.