What Is Tim Tebow Asking of God?

So much is interesting about Tim Tebow, or more precisely, what he exposes about our wildly conflicted culture.

For those who do not follow professional football, and do not manage to stumble into it via culture wars, I’m talking about the young Denver Broncos quarterback who prays on his knee before every game, and wears his Christianity on his sleeve.

Now there’s an image that sets fire to secular comfort. As Andrew Sullivan put it, “prayer is not supposed to be a public event, designed to display your holiness in front of the maximum number of people.” And Sullivan, to his maximum credit, followed up by posting several defenders of Mr. Tebow.

Tim Tebow, apart from being a now-winning quarterback with many now-quieter converts (irony note), is an evangelical Christian. That is, he ardently wants souls saved for Jesus. That’s his schtick. In the 2009 BCS Championship Game, he wore John 3:16 on his eye paint, and 92 million people searched “John 3:16″ on Google during or shortly after the game. The NFL doesn’t allow eye paint.

Before he became a winning quarterback (and still, in some quarters), the ugliness directed at his public prayer was astounding. You’d have thought the man flashed his penis. And this is truly a marvel.

Public displays of one’s religion, orientation and sensibility are common. Muslims are defended for engaging in their requisite prayer in public, gays are defended for being themselves in public, and Occupy Wall Street has been a massive, and massively defended, public display of in-your-face politics.

So what if Tim Tebow kneels to pray? Why the hate? Is it just that easy to hate Christians — while we defend pretty much everything else people wish to express in public? At this bizarre juncture in human history, with routine public splattering of social networking strangeness, is it really fair to criticize Tim Tebow? I’ve seen Christians and Atheists do vastly more disturbing things on Facebook.

And what is it, after all, that Tim is saying to God? Too many people imagine he’s seeking to put God on his side in a football game. I don’t think so. I think he’s saying, thank you God for this blessing and this opportunity, thank you for being you and being with me, whatever happens.

I don’t share Tim’s faith. But I respect his sincerity, his humility, and not least, his goodness. The man contributed his signing bonus to his charity, works with the W15S Foundation for children with life-threatening diseases, partners with Cure International to build a hospital in the Philippines, and works with “Drive for Education” to give back in the Denver community.

It’s easy these days to get worked up about people who make a lot of money. I’d like a lot of them to be more like Tim Tebow. And I’ve got no problem with the fact that he prays in public.

43 Responses to What Is Tim Tebow Asking of God?

  1. Arindam says:

    Great post. Nice thought behind the whole post. If we can love our parents or seek their blessings in public than what’s the problem if someone prays in public. It’s a individual’s choice and no one has any rights to question that person or what he is doing, unless that no one will be god. Because only he can decide if a person can pray to him in public or not, we are human and we have no rights to do that!

    • Indeed. I’m not saying “anything goes” in public, because I also believe in concepts like civility and manners that cut against absolute freedom. But I don’t think praying in public should trigger any outcry, much less condescending scorn.

      • Keith Brown says:

        All he does is win, that’s all that matters….

        • So it would seem, so it would seem…

  2. bigdtootall says:

    Amen brother! We should have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

    • And that has been a problem with our concept of the public square. Religion gets less respect than some of the crankiest adolescent misbehavior.

  3. lbwoodgate says:

    “”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” – Matt 6:5

    I too have no problem with how xians like Tebow display their religion through public displays of prayer but the true measure of anyone is in their actions. Not the one’s that symbolize prayer but the ones that show gentle strength, brave humility and unselfish kindness. Something is taken away when public displays of our faith seem to override the deeper aspects of what our faith actually calls us to do in all things, not just paying homage to an unseen father figure. How much nobler is the anonymous donation or actions that help many but never receive public attention.

    Evidently the Muslims don’t have something like Matthew 6:5 and then again their culture and religion are one and the same, unlike ours where we have a separation of church, and state for good reason. Also, the gay parades? Your comparing this with public displays of prayer by many who condemn homosexuality? That seems inappropriate to me Kendrick

    • charles roberts says:

      You have taken the quote out of context. Clearly, Tim Tebow, though all his words, actions, and deeds is a true believer. The quote above, in context, would be referring to the practice of MAINLY AND ONLY public display. Tim Tebow, by all accounts of the people who have known him longest, has always been a believer.

      It is obvious through his fruit that Tim Tebow has sewn many seeds, privately.

      • lbwoodgate says:

        It may seem like it is out of context until you go to verse 6, which I should have added.

        But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

        Let’s see – football stadium full of people and being viewed by millions on TV = closed door closet.

        Uh, that just doesn’t compute, unless you use some fuzzy math.

        And how is it “obvious” that Tebow “has sewn many seeds”? Can you validate the existence of some of these “seeds”?

        • charles roberts says:

          I don’t feel any need to validate anything.

          The questions are for all the ones who don’t have faith and who don’t believe.

          • lbwoodgate says:

            I certainly don’t have faith or believe in your brand of christianity, so humor me.

        • charles roberts says:

          So who’s “brand” of Christianity do you have faith in? If none, then why did you specifically call it my “brand.” How many “brands” are there in your opinion?

    • james says:

      Matthew 10:32&33

      King James Version (KJV)

      32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven

    • Larry, it seems to me you’re making anonymity a virtual fetish — almost as though you so ardently wish them invisible so that you’re never troubled by these objectionable Christians. And if we’re doing dueling Bible verses, James, above, appropriately quotes Matthew 10:32. You don’t effectively make your anti-Christian point with a Bible verse — but I think your larger point is a sound one (and consistent with Matthew 6:5): you’ll finally be measured by what you actually do, and if you do a lot of praying in public, and not much else, then you’re not worth much. And that’s kind of the point about Tebow. He prays in public because he’s sincerely grateful to God. And he does enormous good where he can. He walks the walk. He doesn’t just pray in public, like the hypocrites in Matthew 6:5.

      I don’t get your point about Muslims and separation of church and state. My reference to Muslims was to Muslim-Americans, who plainly do have a concept of separation of church and state, and some of whom pray in public as part of their religious obligation to pray five times a day, and which we should all not merely “tolerate,” but respect (as Jeff aptly puts it below).

      And finally, on the gay “parades” point, I wan’t even thinking about gay parades. I was thinking about the very public face of homosexuality in popular culture — which tolerance-advocates (such as, usually, yourself) urge as appropriate and part of the process of acceptance. Well, I think Tim Tebow’s public prayers should be urged as appropriate and part of the same process of acceptance.

      • lbwoodgate says:

        “Larry, it seems to me you’re making anonymity a virtual fetish — almost as though you so ardently wish them invisible so that you’re never troubled by these objectionable Christians.”

        I couldn’t if I really did want to Kendrick. They are so predominant and deeply embedded in this culture that the mere thought that they could be wished away invisible is inconceivable. To be honest, your comment is not unlike Bill O’Reilly’s trumped up annual charge that Xmas is under attack, to which Jon Stewart recently retorted was a “ginned-up outrage that many Christmas celebrants feel when they are unable to celebrate Christmas at all times, in all places.” It’s the knee jerk response of someone who lamely claims they’re being persecuted in a country where nearly 80% claim to be christians.

        “Tebow … prays in public because he’s sincerely grateful to God. And he does enormous good where he can. He walks the walk.”

        Many non-christians do enormous good too and do so without public displays. Kind of like Jesus says we’re supposed to do in Matthew 6:6 – “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who [is] in the secret [place]; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

        It’s more rewarding though to be seen praying than to do enormous good in secret and silence. And if you are so certain that Tebow does enormous good, you must only know this because he has not concealed such actions in a religious culture like ours that rewards such displays. I’m not belittling public acts of enormous good. I would rather they be done and be known openly than not done at all or worse, do evil acts.

        “Muslims are defended for engaging in their requisite prayer in public, gays are defended for being themselves in public, and Occupy Wall Street has been a massive, and massively defended, public display of in-your-face politics.

        Oh please Kendrick. All of these people were and still are condemned vigorously, some for many years, before there was any acknowledgement by a few in this country that it was their right, unlike christians who I have mentioned predominate in this culture, as they always have. It was the persecution these groups suffered that made it almost mandatory when they finally did make public displays of their beliefs and lifestyles that the media circus exposed it, not always sympathetically I might add and partially I’m sure for reasons they seem to do more than ever – for the audience ratings. The mere fact that you see such public displays and presume that it gets more positive attention than xians may have more to do with the sentiment that Stewart made about wanting things your way, “at all times, in all places.”

        “I think Tim Tebow’s public prayers should be urged as appropriate and part of the same process of acceptance.”

        Again, I’m not sure this is really necessary in a country where there are already churches on every corner and where christian radio and TV abound. Being exposed to the christian faith is no where near lacking in America nor has it really ever been. You would however find me defending those who do make such public displays where they were denied their right to do so by the courts or any vigilante-style, anti-christian groups, despite my lack of empathy for them.

        • Larry, you’re certainly correct about the predominance of Christianity in American culture — which is why atheists/agnostics understandably get a little prickly and defensive at times. But I think you miss the distinction between numbers and visibility/popularity. Your reference to pop hero Jon Stewart ironically underscores the point. Christians — a majority — nevertheless feel culturally besieged because it’s so “cool” to mock Christians. At our age, it’s not like we have our wrinkled fingers intimately to the pulse of pop culture — but ask yourself: when was the last time you saw a television show, a movie, a pop music tune, or any other product of popular culture actually celebrating Christians or Christianity? Now, can you name examples of the foregoing that mock Christians or Christianity? I certainly can. Many. You think the fact that most Americans are Christians equates to some sort of “power” position — and even “power-tripping” — so much so that you chafe at any insinuation of Christianity into popular culture (like Tim Tebow), even, ironically, when it is greeted with widespread scorn!

          You keep wanting to compare what you conceive as ostentatious Christians and modest non-Christians — as though there weren’t modest Christians and ostentatious non-Christians. Why? My post simply said, give Tim Tebow a break. I didn’t challenge the enormous good that non-Christians do “without public displays.” The fact that you cannot find the peace within yourself to appreciate the good that both Christians and non-Christians do, with and without public displays, strikes me as a special shoulder chip about Christianity.

          And wow, I respectfully suggest that you completely misunderstand my point about Muslims, gays, and OWS. You say all of these groups have been “condemned vigorously,” and then you condemn the condemning. Yes, exactly. That’s hardly an argument that justifies condemning Tim Tebow. But these “public-displayers” have also been defended vigorously — in most cases far more vigorously and successfully than their opponents.

          And that’s finally my point. I’ve defended Muslims and gays, with respect to their public displays, because I consider the displays benign. I’ve expressed concern about OWS — but on the merits (whatever they may be), not because they are engaging in a public display. So if you don’t like Tim Tebow’s Christianity, have the honesty to challenge his Christianity on the merits — e.g., challenge the notion that prayer constitutes any real communication with a deity — but don’t chafe and sniff simply because he does it “in public.” That’s why I did this post.

          And finally, thank you for this: “You would however find me defending those who do make such public displays where they were denied their right to do so by the courts or any vigilante-style, anti-christian groups, despite my lack of empathy for them.” Well said.

          • lbwoodgate says:

            “but ask yourself: when was the last time you saw a television show, a movie, a pop music tune, or any other product of popular culture actually celebrating Christians or Christianity?”

            I see it quite often down here in Texas Kendrick. In fact I have been seeing it a lot more lately. Last week the Country Music Association (I think that’s who hosted this show) had its Christmas show and there was much “celebrating Christianity” there, as you would expect. The local news channels down here seem to have a religious story in their line up at least once a week. Perhaps it seems that much more mocking of christianity is going on to you than actually is because even the Jon Stewart bit I referred to was not mocking christianity but simply mocking Bill O’Reilly’s perception that the Christmas holiday is always under attack. Yet your instinct was to perceive it defensively.

            “Now, can you name examples of the foregoing that mock Christians or Christianity? I certainly can. Many.”

            Many? Really? Such as? You were wrong about Jon Stewart’s bit. Is it possible you may be over reacting to many other things that were simply poking fun at an institution that often puts its foot in its dogmatic mouth?

            “You think the fact that most Americans are Christians equates to some sort of “power” position”

            What a silly question. Of course it does. Numbers always equate into some sort of power position. Why would you think otherwise? Please describe how this large number does not equate into a position of power. These numbers give some people in conservative communities the courage to attack Muslims and protest their existence in their communities much like they did in Orange County and Tennessee. I dare say you would see this kind of behavior from Muslims or Jews in any other place where they weren’t the predominant religion.

            “You keep wanting to compare what you conceive as ostentatious Christians and modest non-Christians — as though there weren’t modest Christians and ostentatious non-Christians. Why? My post simply said, give Tim Tebow a break.

            I didn’t do this Kendrick. You’re misrepresenting what I said. I was merely trying to create balance to your claim that “grateful” christians who pray in public are not the only ones who do “enormous good”.

            “The fact that you cannot find the peace within yourself to appreciate the good that both Christians and non-Christians do, with and without public displays, strikes me as a special shoulder chip about Christianity.”

            Now you’re confusing me with someone else. This seems more as an overall defensive statement than something based on what I’ve said here. I would never question someone’s good behavior in relationship to their religious views and I would be supportive of such acts of kindness whether they were religious or not. It has less value to me however when people do such acts of kindness then make a point of letting people know what they did and what motivated them to do so. Acts of kindness should come from the heart and should not rely on a need to associate it with any beliefs they hold, christian or non-christien. I’m an equal opportunity critic of any ostentatious acts of kindness.

            “Yes, exactly. That’s hardly an argument that justifies condemning Tim Tebow.”

            Again Kendrick, go back and re-read what I have written. I did not condemn Tim Tebow. I don’t see how you drew this conclusion from my comment “I too have no problem with how xians like Tebow display their religion through public displays of prayer but the true measure of anyone is in their actions”, or any other comment I have made here. I may have crossed you in some fashion but I cannot be accused of condemning Tim Tebow. I think it is you who is chaffing and sniffing about a bigger issue that you have unfairly associated with my comments.

  4. Sometimes I ponder what makes people fear displays of religion so much. Or, they find it distasteful. Is it discomfort bred from our own failings as Christians? Do atheists resist their counterparts awareness of a higher being that much? Are we so cynical that we can’t believe the individual – Tebow – is just simply praying for all good reasons? One of the athletes my program sponsors – a professional bull rider – kneels and prays before he rides. He kneels in the arena, takes off his hat, and I know that he prays for not a successful 8 seconds, but the privilege of being there, of being alive, of being thankful and grateful.

    We accept a lot of truly inappropriate public behavior in our society. We need to learn which behavior deserves condemnation and which deserves tolerance.

    Frankly, it’s the dancing displays after touchdowns that disgust me. That’s just uncouth.

    • I’ve got no problem with end-zone dances because these guys train so hard all week, and then it’s all about 60 football minutes on a Sunday and some of that emotion has to gush. But I take your point. We need a vocabulary of civility and maturity in the public square. We need to be welcoming and appropriately critical at the same time. That’s what makes the free marketplace of ideas so exciting.

  5. Jeff says:

    All good comments here, inspired by a great post. I have heard and had a number of discussions about this over the years. When Tebow was in college at Florida he was the same young man, very out front with his faith. It seemed so naive. He seemed a bit young to be so darned cock-sure of himself. But then, young people irritate me generally with their sureness about love, music and all things media. For me the praying, while not something I would do, is as Snoring says, deserving of tolerance.

    I would add, even, respect. We all need to humble ourselves before something, Buddha, nature, space, the Ipad2, etc. I personally, however, could do with a little less of “First of all, I ‘d like to thank Jesus Christ my lord and savior…” during the postgame interview.

    Note to athletes: We all presume that whatever great athletic feat you have just performed for us is inspired by Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior. No need to tell us every time someone sticks a microphone in front of your face. However, I don’t mind when Colt McCoy, who played for Texas does this. Colt is a wonderful and sincere human being and plays for the right team. (…With God on our side…Bob Dylan)

    Anyway, the Tebow kid is interesting. Every time I see a feel good piece on Tebow walking the walk, I have to admit to my son, who said it first, no matter how hard you want to, it is impossible to dislike the kid. Bless his heart.

    • You’ve parsed it well Jeff — especially the privileging of “respect” over “tolerance” (the latter always having for me the whiff of condescension). And I get your distinction between public prayer and attributing success to Jesus. Big distinction. John Barron very nicely treats that distinction at his blog. But I think when Tebow says “first of all I’d like to thank Jesus…” he truly and sincerely means, he’s grateful to God, his savior, for even being where he is. I don’t think he’s saying Jesus won it for the boys.

      And oh my yes, go with God Horns! (Next year.)

  6. Terrance H. says:

    Kendrick,

    I really like this post.

    Like you, I don’t share Tebow’s faith – and when I did, it wasn’t that strong – but I like Tim Tebow very much. It’s refreshing to see someone so talented display that kind of humility. I know what some say about his public display of piety, but it is not my place to cast stones and critique his faith.

    • Hey pal, you’re the one who honorably called out Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch for mocking Tebow after sacking him. I respected your doing that. And by the way, here’s what Tebow had to say when inevitably pelted with questions about it: “He was just celebrating, having fun with his teammates and I don’t take offense to that.”

      • Terrance H. says:

        Tebow has a lot of class.

  7. charles roberts says:

    I just don’t think enough people have put the thought necessary into the word, eternity. If people would think more about this word and its meaning there wouldn’t be so many silly questions about why some Christians are so willing to celebrate and share their faith.

    If I have to here one more time, from an Athiest that God, Jesus, Allah, etc… doesn’t care about who wins a football game I will puke. You don’t even have enough ability to expand your mind past your own reality and yet you want to tell believers what their God DOESN’T, WON’T, OR CAN’T do something.

    We Christians believe in the promise of eternity and if you are going to argue or take a stance against us we would appreciate a bit of education on your part.

    Do you really think that anyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (the same Jesus Christ that promises life everlasting) doesn’t believe he could be in every single facet of every single living being?

    You would either have to be ignorant or just plain dumb to make that argument to a true believer.

    What do you think Christians believe will happen for eternity? Do you think they think they will just be watching football games and playing checkers and pretty much doing what they have been on Earth?

    So in a million years, you think someone who believes in God, thinks it’s going to be the same ole, same ole for eternity. Please, just let me die and the worms have at me, if that’s the case.

    God has a plan and you don’t go about giving life everlasting so that people can be bored in a few thousand years.

    Think about eternity? In a million years you will have a billion more. Then a trillion more years. When that is done, that entire time will be like a blink of an eye, compared to how much longer eternity lasts. When you finally wrap your mind around all that, you still aren’t even one trillionth of the way through. That’s eternity.

    So you think people who believe in that don’t think God can be involved in a football game? I think he’ll manage o.k.

    Also, try not to hate God because there are kids starving in India and their are crippled and helpless all over Earth. He knows what is happening you don’t.

    For people to be so arrogant as to think they should be able to think on God’s level is deplorable.

    Maybe those starving kids in India, in about 4 billion years, won’t be worrying about what happened to them back then. Maybe they will have been rewarded so much that it doesn’t matter to them. Maybe on their 500 trillionth birthday they will be able to put it behind them.

    People who don’t have faith are typically close minded.

    Science says humans use less than 10 or 12 percent of their brains capacity. Yet, some that are not even the smartest of humans (at less than 88% capacity of their own brains), want to believe they can out think a God that offers eternity.

    No wonder you are athiests.

    So much more so little time.

    • Welcome Charles. Your points are well-taken and self-validating. That is, if you begin with the premise of eternity, divine Jesus, omnipotence, God’s plan, and so forth, then everything follows neatly for you, and you are able to say things like “People who don’t have faith are typically close minded.” You’re ironically using unprovable premises to slam sincerely questioning people for being “close minded.” That’s a convenient loop — but not ultimately helpful in a conversation with diverse sensibilities, some of whom haven’t accepted, as a matter of faith, your starting premises.

      Just so you know, I don’t have faith. I wish I did. My lack of faith has been, at times, excruciating for me — and I invite you to pray for me on this point. But for all of my painful lack of faith, I know as well as I can know anything that I am not close minded.

      • Terrance H. says:

        Damn, Kendrick, you must be a fantastic lawyer. Geesh. Just reading your responses puts me in awe sometimes. LOL. How you play it is amusing and incredibly effective.

      • charles roberts says:

        I do understand your point. I am not sure that you understood mine.

        The point that I most wanted to make is that if you want to have a sincere argument as to why you think there is no God, with a Christian, you must first understand what he/she believes. You must think deeper than “why are there crippled people if there is a God.”

        I wasn’t going for self-validation. I have no need or want to prove anything, my questions have all been answered. That is part of my problem with those who keep asking questions that are so shallow as to be insulting. It is as if they think WE Chritians are rubes who just heard the name Jesus and fell in love. I have done my research and I have asked my questions and I have found my answer.

        Truthfully, I feel like my whole point was missed by you. Probably, because of the skill of my writing (or lack thereof). You focused on the absolutes of my argument that I have told you I believe and called them an unprovable premise. The point wasn’t to convert you or anyone else to my unprovable premise. The point is to understand the premise before taking it on. I just didn’t do a very good job of getting that point across, apparently.

        I want people to understand there is deep meaning to the word eternity and that if you are a believer you won’t be compelled much by an argument that seems to have not taken that meaning very seriously. Another words, “God doesn’t care about a football game” or “God has more important things to worry about than football, or “why are there starving kids in India.”

        I am not saying everything about a person is rediculous when they say something like the above, just the comment itself. It shows a complete lack of understanding about who and what they are arguing against.

        If we someone wants sincere discussion with a Christian then the Christian faith needs to be understood.

        I stand by my assertion that it is more TYPICAL (not absolute) than not, in my experience, that people who lack faith also lack open mindedness.

        • Terrance H. says:

          You must think deeper than “why are there crippled people if there is a God.”

          LOL. I’m sort of spectating here and I know you two are trying to have a serious conversation, but that comment cracked me up. I don’t know why. It was just pithy and right on the mark, I think. Good one.

          More importantly, though, is that it’s very true. If you’re going to reject faith openly, you should probably delve a bit deeper into it and fathom some sensible reasons. I think Kendrick has, but perhaps didn’t include them here because he was trying to remain on topic (i.e., Tebowing).

          • charles roberts says:

            Thank you for the kind words. What originally got me thinking about what I wrote above was Tim Tebow, Tebowing, God and football. I wasn’t trying to go off subject and felt what I wrote pertained to the subject.

        • I think I did understand your point, and I don’t believe you lacked any writing skill in making it. But I was most interested in noting the irony of your criticism of people who lack faith. I’ve had these kinds of discussions many times, and sometimes I’m coming to the defense of people of faith, sometimes to the defense of atheists/agnostics/anxious seekers. Usually depends on who’s dissing whom. You’re preaching to the choir about the condescension that routinely gets heaped on people of faith by secularists. I usually react to it strongly. But I don’t believe it warrants condescension going the other direction — e.g., “people who lack faith lack open-mindedness.” I know many people “who lack faith” who most certainly don’t “lack open-mindedness.” In fact, most people (admittedly, not all) I know who lack faith don’t lack open-mindedness. Your concern to have an intelligent and mutually respectful conversation works both ways. Yes, you’re justifiably frustrated that some secularists treat your religious beliefs superficially, and don’t even bother to gain a rudimentary understanding of those beliefs, or their intellectual framework — which is to say, your preferred starting point is R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Then step up yourself. A lot of people who lack faith are not at all like the stereotype you indulge. They are sincere, respectful and intelligent people, and you can have exactly the kind of conversation you desire — if you lose the negative generalization about people who lack faith.

          By the way, I was raised a non-denominational evangelical Christian, did Bill Gothard institutes, devoured both volumes of Josh McDowell’s (no relation) Evidence That Demands a Verdict, immersed myself in Christian theology (with a special interest in five-point Calvinism), and took “eternity” very very seriously as a young person — so much so that I could not understand why all Christians weren’t doing everything they possibly could to save souls for Jesus, because the stakes were precisely eternity. Eventually, I lost my faith (long story) — but never my respect for the religious impulse and the great minds devoted to its defense. So I think we can talk.

  8. charles roberts says:

    Sorry for so many grammatical errors. Also it should have been “less than 12% capacity.” A few more, but, oh well.

  9. charles roberts says:

    Ibwoodgate, you are obviously an educated man, so why do you feel it necessary to only post the quotes from Matthew, talking about publicly acknowleging faith. The Bible and especially the NT have many scriptures that talk about the subject of prayer, although many of those would show you the narrowness of the ones you have chosen to show. The one’s you chose are specifically calling out those that pray publicly, yet, not so much privately. That is the theme of the text so naturally you show that as the only passages dedicated to the subject. I suspect you know that (since you were able to find the ones that fit your needs) and are intentionally being deceptive.

    Why the head games and tricks?

  10. Religion and football; is there a difference?

  11. charles roberts says:

    Kendrick, please do me a favor and remove the above post and allow this to stand in its place. I have had a bit more time today to clarify and update the post, as I wrote the original rather quickly.

    I don’t see an editing tool offered (?) or I would just do that.

    I just don’t believe enough people have put the thought necessary into the word, eternity, for it to make the impact that it so obviously should. If people would think more about this word and its meaning there wouldn’t be so many silly questions about why some Christians are so willing to celebrate and share their faith, in my opinion.

    With Tim Tebow, comes football and when you mix the two in conversation you inevitably have religion, Christianity and God himself, to deal with.

    If I hear one more time, from an atheist, that God, Jesus, Allah, etc… Doesn’t care about who wins a football game, I think I will puke. Those that say that don’t even try (very hard, anyway) to expand their minds past their own reality to try to educate themselves on what Christians believe and yet you want to tell believers what their God DOESN’T, WON’T, OR CAN’T do. It isn’t bad enough to constantly hear what Tim Tebow can’t do, now we have to hear the limitations of OUR God by non-believers.

    We Christians believe in the promise of eternity and if you are going to argue, debate, or take a stance against us, that is your choice. All some of us ask and would appreciate from those that question Christianity is some education on your part in understanding, what it is we believe as Christians.

    What I am about to get into and say is in no way an attempt to CONVERT those who are not believers. The sole purpose will be to show you a portion of what I and many believe in, so that when you have questions and doubts and want them to be addressed by Christians, you will at least know what you are debating against.
    Please excuse me for any offense I cause. I am not Jesus and I am most certainly a sinner who isn’t always correct in the things that I say or do.

    Do you really think that anyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (the same Jesus Christ that promises life everlasting) doesn’t believe he could be in every single facet of every single living being?

    You would either have to be ignorant or just plain dumb to make that argument to a true believer. I apologize for the harshness of the comment, but, I see no other alternative.

    What do you think Christians believe will happen for eternity? Do you think they think they will just be watching football games and playing checkers and pretty much doing what they have been on Earth?

    So in a million years after your death on Earth, you think someone who believes in God, thinks it’s going to be the same ole, same ole for eternity? Please, just let me die and the worms have at me, if that’s the case.

    God has a plan and you don’t go about OFFERING/GIVING life everlasting so that people can be bored in a few thousand years after they accept.

    Think about eternity. In a million years you will have a billion, then a trillion more years. When that is done, that entire time will feel like the time it took to blink your eyes, compared to how much longer eternity lasts. When you finally wrap your mind around all that, you still aren’t even one trillionth of the way through. That’s eternity. Christians believe this, so imagine the possibilities that exist in a Christians’ mind, of what all those trillions of years could be used for to keep us interested.

    So you think people who believe in that don’t think God can be involved in a football game? I think he’ll manage o.k.

    Also, try not to hate God because there are kids starving in India and there are crippled and helpless all over Earth. He knows what is happening you don’t.

    For people to be so arrogant as to think they should be able to think on God’s level is deplorable.

    Maybe those starving kids in India, in about 4 billion years of heavenly existence, won’t be worrying about what happened to them back on Earth. Maybe they will have been rewarded so much that it doesn’t matter to them. Maybe on their 500 trillionth birthdays they will be able to put it behind them. Or maybe God just wiped away their pain the instant hey entered His kingdom.
    For those of us that are true Christians, eternity and its meaning, helps to make it is easy to understand why we (humans) can’t possibly understand what God has in store, beyond what he has already revealed.

    I pray that more in the clergy will use eternity and its meaning (and all that the meaning potentially offers), as way to get past all the time wasting questions that seem to be used as buffers and smoke screens by savvy non-Christians, looking to dissuade honest seekers of God.

    Science says humans use less than 10 or 12 percent of their brains capacity. Yet, some that are not even the smartest of humans (at less than 12% capacity of their own brains), want to believe they can out think a God that offers eternity.

    Just think about that. If you can’t get your mind around a God that would be ALL KNOWING and a God that could be involved in EVERY facet of our lives, how could you ever let God take your heart?

    When all that is held up by non-believers are a weak and limited God, the arguments against are easy to understand.

    No wonder you are atheists.

    • Thank you Charles. Well explicated. But I will tell you — and this may send you into orbit — my own problem has never been with a “weak and limited God.” To the contrary, it is with an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God — in short, the “everything God” that sounds exactly like a notion that would have to be invented, once monotheism began to take hold in the Middle East and then spread via Christianity and Islam. I don’t see how it’s possible to reconcile an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God with a personal God. The O-O-O God is a supercomputer. There is no possible “relationship” with such a being (putting aside the logical contradictions that attend O-O-O). Your fixation with “eternity” (omnitemporality?) is another manifestation of the fascination with the ultimate. One of the most sobering things I’ve experienced recently is my own amateurish encounter with the fact that our universe is finite — that our sun will die, that our galaxy will die, and that the universe itself will finally grow cold and feature nothing but rocks and embers that once were stars, and finally not even embers. All of this is billions of years away, and qualified by the cheery possibility of multiple universes and black holes that give birth to new universes — but by definition, none of these cheery prospects could possibly include “us.” So I get the comfort of heaven as an eternal space that preserves us against the horror of oblivion. You have no idea how much I wish I could believe it.

  12. lbwoodgate says:

    Kendrick,

    I just spent about forty minutes putting together and posting a response to your last comments to me that began Larry, you’re certainly correct about the predominance of Christianity in American culture… but I didn’t see it here. Have we taken up all the space we can in the comments section of this post?

    • No. For some reason — and this is inexplicable — your comment went into Spam, which I just checked and rescued. That should never happen to people who’ve already commented (although it did happen to one other commenter in an earlier post). The only thing I can think of is that either length or providing multiple links may trigger some kind of auto-spam filter thing. Usually the spam filter is quite good. Anyway, problem solved. Your comment now appears. Thanks Larry.

      • lbwoodgate says:

        Thank you sir.

  13. lobotero says:

    To me…do not care who he prays to…..he is a sloppy QB, like Favre, who also found ways to win…..but will he be another Favre or is he just having a very lucky year?

    Would we be having this conversation if he was an atheist or agnostic? His religion is just that…his….and should have NOTHING to do with football…if he wants to push it then it opens up the conversation and criticism….

    Great article, Kendrick….

  14. bronxboy55 says:

    This well-written and thoughtful post is about, I think, simple tolerance. However, most of the comments that have followed have shifted that focus to the validity of Christian teachings. Kendrick seems to be a non-believer who defends the rights of believers to express their faith. I assume he would also defend a person’s lack of faith as being equally legitimate. The truth is, we’re all fumbling around in the dark. The atheist who claims to know there is no God is making the same mistake as the devout believer who claims to know that there is. We need to start listening more and condemning less. We certainly need to stop punishing everyone else for their fumbling, even as we fumble ourselves.

    Great work, Kendrick. Your open-mindedness is refreshing.

    • Thanks so much Charles. Your assessment of my original intention is spot-on. But I also welcome the tangents and the discussions that follow, even if they stray a bit from my original intention. As for this succinct summary: “we certainly need to stop punishing everyone else for their fumbling, even as we fumble ourselves” — splendid observation.

      Sometimes I think we tend to play the following game (and that’s at our civil best!):
      “I know.”
      “No you don’t, I do.”
      “No you don’t, and okay, maybe I don’t either, but at least I know I don’t know.”
      “No, you just think you know you don’t know but still act like you know.”
      “Maybe, but that’s because my lack of knowing is superior to your lack of knowing.”
      “How do you know?’
      “I just know.”

      Thanks, as always, for the visit Charles, and very best wishes on your new book.

  15. bigdtootall says:

    This Tebow thing has caused a little push on the Vegas lines for the Broncos games. The oddsmakers have to give a little extra to the opponent to draw some action against “God’s team” (Cowboys can go to hell). Oddsmakers will tell you that the Cowboys opponents almost always were awarded 1/2 to 1 point to attract action against “America’s Team” back in their heyday. Now it is so with the Broncs who have apparently inherited God’s favor.

    Militant atheists and reactive agnostics may be inclined to go against Tebow, The Broncs and The Almighty but they are not enough in number and dollars to offset the enthusiastic betting of the inspired evangelicals. Guess the Christians are not heeding His advice not gamble. This is my Christmas tip to the unbelievers and the unwashed. Bet smart; not with the heart as the crazy Christians do. Take Tebow’s opponent. If you feel really strongly God plays no favorites on any given Sunday; bet the ranch!

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