Friday, December 23, 2011

The Tebow Wars

I'm guessing a lot of you have seen the Tebow skit on Saturday Night Live last weekend. If not, here ya go...

A pretty accurate portrayal of Tebow's overkill, and probably of the feelings of most of us concerning it. Funny stuff. I was rolling, especially at 1:40 and 2:10. Some Christians may be uncomfortable with the folksy, sarcastic portrayal of Jesus, but I don't think Jesus is losing any sleep over it. It's strange, but more people seem upset with the "attack" on Tebow than the portrayal of Jesus, which pretty much strengthens my belief that the "Christianity" of a lot of people is no deeper than the emotion of being a sports fan. Tebow has been defended the same way a Patriots fan would defend Tom Brady, a Lakers fan would defend Kobe Bryant, or a racing fan would defend Dale Earnhardt, Jr. In other words, no thought process, no logic, all emotion. Probably even more emotionally and irrationally than those people are defended.

Here's our old friend Pat Robertson...

Terrible analogy. Terrible. I hate to break it to you, Pat, but in a radical, Islamic country (Iran, for instance), Tebow himself would likely be dead. In trying to point out the moral decay which is so clearly evident in the SNL spoof of Tebow {SA}, all Robertson did was point out all the things that make America a great nation. Pat goes on to say (regarding Tebow)...

"I think that he's a wonderful human being, and the fact that he prays and seeks God, I think we ought to applaud it. We need more religious faith in our society. We're losing our, our moral compass in our nation, and this man, uh, has been placed in a unique position and I applaud him. God bless him."

Jesus said (Matthew 6:5-6)...

"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace."

Drastically different approaches, it appears.

Again, I'm not against Tim Tebow. I'm against people celebrating the practice of the Christian faith directly opposed to the way Christ told us to go about our faith.

We need to stop being sheople.


  1. First. HILARIOUS video. I almost fell out of my chair at the end when Jesus says "Yeah, it's not a command, just a request, okay?" Oh that more people would view it this way.

    Second. Did it strike anyone else that this SNL skit had more insight into how Jesus works in our lives than a lot of Christians seem to? Seems the church nowadays chants "Let Jesus take control" like a mantra and doesn't recognize that God gave us physical bodies and minds for a REASON, namely, because we are to use those things to do stuff. This is particularly applicable to the whole courtship approach to relationships. God is going to steer your little feet like a car so don't put any effort into making decisions, using discernment, etc. No matter what you do, God will bless you because you shut your brain off. I could go on and on about this because it's my pet peeve, but I'm starting to digress.

    Third. I don't agree with the way Tebow presents his faith like an advertisement, however, I do have to agree with a tiny sliver of Pat Robertson's point (much as I am chagrined to admit it). He's silly to make an analogy to a radical Islamic country, but you don't even have to go that far; if SNL had aired a satire about a Muslim expressing faith, don't you think a lot of people would have jumped all over it as being religiously insensitive?

    I'm not trying to defend Tebow or tear down what I think was a pretty accurate argument against him. I'm just pointing out, though, that there is a little bit of media bias which allows Christianity to be poked fun at (and, in certain contexts, outright ridiculed) while other religions are respected. I don't think it's too fundie to admit that this dynamic exists. It's good to be aware of it, but don't let it drive you to distraction. The media is what it is, and usually it's pretty inaccurate about many things.

  2. I thought Pat's comment about Islam was misguided at best, and Islamaphobic at worst. He just found another opportunity to stoke America's fear and hate on a popular scapegoat. It was completely irrelevant to the topic at hand- his little rant about how he felt it was an outrage to spook Tebow.

    Was his argument that IF he were Muslim, and the spoof was about Muhammed and a religious Muslim athlete, then he would actually want to kill the SNL crew?

    Or was he trying to say that because a Muslim might (surely would, in his mind) be even more reactionary- to the point of violence, even- about a spoof that included his holy man of god, Pat is a great guy because he's merely ranting?

    I don't get it.

    As far as satire of Islamic clerics, I am sure it happens all the time in the Islamic world. Muslims have a sense of humor too. It probably doesn't look like an SNL skit, and I am not privy to any foreign papers/websites and couldn't understand them anyway, as I don't speak any of the dozens of languages spoken by the millions of Muslim people around the world. does a great job of pointing this out:

  3. One of the things one needs to remember about making fun of religions is that it rather depends on how that religion is placed in the society where the fun in question is made. In a country where Christiaity is a majority religion it is fine to make fun of it: it's kicking upwards, which is an appropriate direction. Making fun of a minority religion, like Islam (in the western world, obviously), whose adherents are already struggling with discrimination and misrepresentation, is the act of a bully, kicking downwards.

  4. Yes. If you carry out Pat Robertson's rant a bit further you get this:

    "If this were a Muslim country and that were Muhammed, then there would be bombs in the streets....America needs more faith. We're losing our moral compass."


    "Dammit! Where the hell are the bombs?!!!"

  5. Hilarious. I showed the Tebow vid to my brother in law who is an ultra-conservative and he threw a fit at how horrible it was that they did that to Tebow. According to him, Tebow is "a good guy."


  6. Incongruous, bating your brother-in-law, REALLY? Is that CHRISTIAN behavior?

  7. I have several friends who are going through some terrible stuff, and I called one yesterday to make sure that she laughed at least once. Not to be irreverent about God's holiness, but it reminds me of something that I think about from time to time: I cannot wait to hear Jesus laughing. I think He danced with joy at that wedding at Cana. I think He surely had a hearty laugh and that, too, would be good like a medicine. As Mel Brooks once pointed out so well, we usually laugh at those things which point out our imperfection, and I think that this ability is God's gift to us to help us transcend the junk in life. It is a powerful thing that allows us to have joy in the face of tragic things -- when we are reminded that we are not God and that only He is.

    I don't know if God laughs or weeps over the distortion of Christianity. We are to behave in a way that is not obvious -- what I think most of those "modesty" passages in the New Testament discuss and where I think people like Tim Tebow fall apart. He should sit back and take some lessons from Kurt Warner. He was well known for his character and his faith.

    I think Pat Roberstson lost his edge a long time ago. Though I agree with him that the post-Christian culture we live in is a sad thing to see, the SNL skit was not about freely expressing one's Christian faith. It was the way that Tebow has either chosen or has been taught to behave in a way that I think violates those Scriptures about modesty.

    I am glad that God looks to the intent of the heart and merely how well we express ourselves. I don't know what is in Tim Tebow's heart, and to some extent, Tim Tebow doesn't even know (if you believe what Jeremiah wrote about our deceitfulness). I know that God has mercy on us, but I wonder how much mercy he will have with us when we give an account of what we did to share the Gospel. How will Charles Finney fare against a local minister who gently pastors his church? It's not a competition, but I'd much rather be around a Kurt Warner than a Tim Tebow. Tebow is the example of the postmodern message being more important than the substance of a thing.

  8. I got the "Tebow is a good guy" and "Tebow is a good role model when a lot of people in the NFL are jerks" lecture from my thoroughly non-religious father this week.

    Here's my issue...I've known the Tebows of the world. He's not nice to kids in the stands because he is being nice. He's nice to kids in the stands because he might be "planting a seed" so someone else can convert them to his brand of Christianity.

    When I taught in "Christian" school, I heard those kinds of calculations made all the time. I have no faith that anyone in Tebows religious world acts genuinely.

  9. Rebecca:

    "...bating your brother-in-law, REALLY? Is that CHRISTIAN behavior?"

    Not too concerned about that for several reasons. Just because you use caps to spell "CHRISTIAN" doesn't mean much. It's still your interpretation over mine. Secondly, I'm not a Christian, so it doesn't really matter to me whether or not it is "correct christian" behavior or not.

  10. Follow-up: While I am not a Christian, that does not mean that I do not believe in a god. And also, the fact that I say I do not NOT believe in a god does not make it a fact that I do.

  11. And besides, I wasn't baiting. I was only showing it to him because I thought it was hilarious. If anyone considers it baiting, then they are coming at the showing of the video with preconceived notions of a message being put forth. I have no notions. I saw it as EXCELLENT comedy.

  12. I may be speaking out of turn for Rebecca, but I think what she said was more or less tongue in cheek.

    (Rebecca...Please correct me if I'm wrong)

  13. You are quite right, Lewis - sorry, Incongruous Circumspection, I should have made that more clear - it actually occured to me after I posted that I might not have been completly so. Actually, IC, I always look forward to reading your comments because they're so hysterical...

  14. Oh, and also I am completely guilty of baiting, myself. I am pathetically clueless when it comes to football - even though I really do try to learn - but my siblings were all here today -all of them far more conservative than I, and my brothers brought up Tebow and talked about how amazing he is. And then my sister, who has just started dating a football fan and was anxious to display her new knowledge, started exlaiming what a good Christian he is - as if she and old Tim were on speaking terms. Of course, I started playing devil's advocate, much to my mother's displeasure, telling them about the SNL skit and other stuff I've read about him, and I think they were all a bit scandalized.

  15. "We need to stop being sheople" AGREED! Jesus says, "take it down a notch buddy?" Tim Tebow says, "w/e you command" & Jesus says, "it's not a command it's a suggestion." L.O.V.E this!

  16. If that is correct, I'm a blooming idiot. I apologize.

  17. Why does everyone judge Tebow for sharing his faith? You don't know his heart or intentions. I thought Jesus made it pretty clear that the only person you need to judge is yourself. Read Matthew Chapter 5.

    1. No one, to my knowledge, in or out of Christianity has any problem with Tebow sharing his faith. HOW he shares his faith is another matter.

      Matthew 5 doesn't instruct us to be naive.