Thursday, January 12, 2012

Patterns

Interesting responses to my last few posts. Guess I should give you guys a heads-up - some of the things I'd like to write about in the near future might make me radioactive to those who don't already find me radioactive. Even in those, there'll be recurring issues and themes touched on, as they always have been, and probably ever will be, at least as long as I'm publishing this blog.


With that in mind, I'm a little baffled by the response to some of the recent stuff, particularly the Tebow-mania stuff. Yes, I've written a good bit about Tebow-mania in the last couple of months, but no more than I've written about other issues repeatedly since beginning this blog. For instance, look at how often I reference Jim Jones, the People's Temple, and Jonestown. There's a reason for that. I've even referenced Jones/PT/Jonestown within the Tebow-mania posts. There's a reason for that. I think and operate in "patterns". Connections. "If A=B here, it likely, on a level playing field, is the same over here, too". I look for patterns in everything, and for outliers which might influence them. It's entirely the way I approached music, for instance. Common threads. Perhaps I'm guilty of projecting my own tendencies. We all do to some degree. I see a common thread between the Jim Jones/PT/Jonestown scenario and Tebow-mania. I see it clearly. Maybe I'm off-base. If I'm not off-base, perhaps I owe people an apology for not making it clearer, because I don't know if people are understanding what I've been getting at - or if they just don't want to consider it at all. 


People think I'm trying to be mean to Tebow. I'm not. While I'd like to make a few suggestions to him about a few things, have some suspicions about his belief system that I'm not entirely comfortable with, et cetera, I don't wish the guy any ill will. I hope he lives a long, productive, happy life. I see him as little more than an indoctrinated mouthpiece for the movements influencing him (which include most of the movements in my blog description). He's just a kid doing what he's been indoctrinated to do. I'm not trying to be any more "mean" toward Tebow than I am toward Jim Jones. Wouldn't make any difference where Jones is concerned. He's dead. I doubt he'd be offended. Tebow, himself, has been a sidenote in the things I've written about Tebow-mania. Some attention has to be paid to his background and behaviors for context if for no other reason, but the meat of the posts have been about fundamentalist fear and propaganda, the evangelical response, thought reform, emotionalism, and the complete lack of discernment in the Christian community. It's a shame that's being missed by so many - and if I'm at fault for as much, then I apologize. Frankly, I don't think I'm at fault. I think what's happening in this instance is symptomatic of what's happening throughout Tebow-mania.


As long as I'm talking about someone that those who read here don't like, I'm being discerning. But when it's someone we want to believe plays for our team, I'm being judgmental. The word "judgmental" has lost it's meaning in the Christian community. Once upon a time it was only applied to people who made rash and hasty, unfounded, harsh, usually ill-informed, conclusive judgments about people or issues (and realistically, no matter what mask we want to wear, we ALL do this at times). These days, if you examine the evidence, attempt to use discernment, and you come to conclusions others don't agree with - you're judgmental. This has dumbed down Christianity to the point that Lloyd Christmas might even mock us.


In our own bibles, the writer of Hebrews expressed his frustration at the lack of discernment in the people he was writing to, at how he constantly had to take them through elemental principles of the faith, at how they seemed to refuse to grow to any ability to discern good from bad, right from wrong, on their own. To do those things requires judgment. Paul instructed the Thessalonians to "Test all things, and hold fast to what is good". In other words, "discern". That requires judgment. To live the faith requires love. To grow in the faith requires discernment.


I don't consider myself important. I'm just a guy writing a blog. My voice is no more important than any other voice that speaks for justice and discernment within the Christian community. If there's any piece I've ever written here that I considered important toward the overall message of this blog, it's this one. I wanted people to know what thought reform and brainwashing looked like, and I wanted the term "the Kool-aid" placed in proper perspective. It's become something that's said almost flippantly.


Jim Jones conditioned, desensitized and brainwashed his people so thoroughly that up became down, wrong became right, black became white, they stood for things they should've stood against. Their bizarre inability to reason, to see things which were clear to everyone else, their emotionalism when challenged, well, those things are the evidence of brainwashing. Once they were conditioned to turn things completely inside-out from the way they should be, it was nothing for Jones to get them to drink grape Flavor-aid laced with poison. Nothing at all. 5 people got out, and according to eyewitnesses, only ONE person truly resisted. Over 900 men, women, and children died - willingly, even if not happily.


Do I think something like that is gonna happen in the evangelical community, or because of Tebow-mania? No. Not at all. But if you'll examine the evidence, educate yourself on thought reform, its tactics, and its symptoms, it isn't because it couldn't happen.


Remember, Jones had his people accepting quite obviously wrong things as right and good and just. In a post about P/QF I wrote probably in 2010 (don't have time to look it up), I ended it by asking this question (paraphrased)...


"If a movement has already convinced fathers to replace Jesus Christ as the mediator and high priest between their families and God...is it really all that far to the Kool-aid?"


A quite obviously wrong thing accepted as right and good and just. Few of you would argue with me that P/QF brainwashes its people, would you? So, with that in mind, let me just very overtly pose the question I've been trying to pose through my other writings on Tebow-mania...


"If the Christian community is enthusiastically supporting and celebrating Tim Tebow in doing something Jesus very explicitly said to NOT do...is it really all that far to the Kool-aid?"


Something very obviously wrong being accepted, even celebrated, as right and good and just. If we'll accept and celebrate this, what else will we accept and celebrate?


For Christians, it's no longer about Christ. It's the Christian culture that's important. It's winning the cultural war that's important. Just like Jonestown, where Jesus left the Jim Jones-crafted culture, and the people never even noticed, because the culture had become their Jesus.


It's like I told someone recently, "You know who are the easiest people to brainwash? People who don't think they can be brainwashed."


We're ripe.

33 comments:

  1. Ah, yes. The Fundamentalist Rule Book, Rule #70.

    "When you pick on our guy for something stupid he did, it’s judgement. When we pick on your guy for something stupid he did, it’s discernment."

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  2. Yeah. Well, with regards to Tebow, I don't really have a horse in the race. I don't care about football, I don't idolize stars. I dislike the showmanship, the look-at-me aspect of the way he does his faith. I can well believe he's doing it because he's been taught that this is what you're supposed to do to "witness" for Christ. However, to the extent that he's doing what he says in his book he's doing-- giving much of the money he earns to the poor, for instance-- I applaud him for actually doing what Christ said to do. I expect like most people, Tebow's life is a mixture of good and bad.

    I don't think you're actually trying to make a comparison between him and Jim Jones, right, Lewis? Because there's a reason why we "discern" that Jim Jones was evil. To "discern" that Tebow is evil, however, would be judgment, because Tebow has not tried to create his own religious compound or told anyone to feed poisoned Koolaid to kids. He's just a young man showing off. Most young men do it-- most young men outgrow it.

    I agree that to the extent people go nuts over Tebow as a "hero" of the faith, they're vulnerable to charlatanism and spiritually abusive religion. I wish Tebow's fellow Christians would tell him to stop showing off and just follow Jesus. I wish he'd figure it out for himself. But he's just a young man doing what he thinks is right, and he'll probably drop this foolishness over time if he's allowed to grow up. That's the real worry-- that those around him won't let him grow up and learn to practice a more mature walk with Christ.

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  3. "I don't think you're actually trying to make a comparison between him and Jim Jones, right, Lewis?"

    Between Tebow and Jones, no. Between the response of their audience to them, yes. Tebow, himself, I don't think he's evil, and I don't think he's necessarily bright enough to create a culture and brainwash people. Like I said in the piece - he's just an indoctrinated mouthpiece for the agendas of others. Some of those "others" might qualify as evil, and are definitely brainwashers.

    This post isn't really about Tebow, or about Jones, but about using Jones and Tebow-mania to show us about us. Jones brainwashed people, then capitalized on the brainwashing. The people influencing and advising Tebow are capitalizing on people already brainwashed - dumbed-down modern evangelical, cultural-based Christianity. If we (generally speaking) weren't culturally brainwashed, and were mature in our faith, we wouldn't be lauding and celebrating "Tebowing", but we'd see it as what it is in light of what Jesus taught.

    If we'll accept, support, and celebrate him doing things directly opposed to what Christ taught now - which we are (speaking generally), it'll be nothing for him to introduce other unsavories into the arena when the people behind him feel the time is right. For instance, look at how easily he could make the purity movement mainstream - and with it, all the hell that would be wrought on young women (and men) in the mainstream because of it. That's pretty serious.

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    1. Yes, good point about stuff he could endorse. Non-Christians would just decide he was really weird. But Christian fans could go off the deep end. I've seen it, because Maranatha Campus Ministries was all about Christian "stars" (usually preachers, but also athletes like A.C. Green) and the hype that surrounded their every move.

      Blech. Bad memories.

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    2. Yes, yes, yes Lewis! What you are doing is alerting folk to watch the pot...to notice that the simmer is on its way to a full boil. Thank you for your ongoing gift of helping us and encouraging us to think-really think-about everything!

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  4. Lewis:
    "As long as I'm talking about someone that those who read here don't like, I'm being discerning. But when it's someone we want to believe plays for our team, I'm being judgmental."

    This is oversimplification. I don't know Tebow therefore I can't say I like Tebow. Yet I have disagreed with you. This is the either/or -- polarization that I'm talking about.

    If you have a readership that is thinking and represents all the diversity of thought and people and culture and tradition and background -- then if you have 20 comments on a post -- they should be 20 comments with thoughts/ideas/viewpoints that in one way or another will differ from yours (or mine for that matter).

    Heck, if you are human your own opinion will change over time.

    I think the point of your posts are to provoke thought. (I emphasize the word "provoke"). Provoking will get you some reverb. Turn of the commenting machine if you think it ruins your piece. But you need disagreement and dialogue as much as anyone else to keep you from becoming closed.

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    1. The issue isn't whether or not people disagree with me. The issue is taking something from the posts that the posts aren't about.

      With all of these Tebow-mania posts, Tebow's been a sidenote to the larger points - thought reform, propaganda, evangelical culture, et cetera...but most of the responses I get, here and elsewhere, are about Tebow.

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    2. ". .[I]have some suspicions about his [Tebow's]belief system . . ."

      I think if you re-read your posts (especially your comments about Tebow himself) that maybe the quote above doesn't sufficiently summarize the statements you've made about Tebow.

      "I see him as little more than an indoctrinated mouthpiece for movements influencing him (which include most of the movements in my blog description). He's just a kid doing what he's been indoctrinated to do."

      This statement is a reason why I am not making your connection between Jim Jones and Tebow. If this is your description of Tebow -- it simply can't be the same for Jim Jones.

      "These days, if you examine the evidence, attempt to use discernment, and you come to conclusions others don't agree with - you're judgmental."

      But to turn this around, that means that when I examine the evidence, attempt to use discernment and come to conclusions that you don't agree with -- then I'm a Sheeple of the Highest Order of the Christian Culture.

      The posts ARE about Tebow, he is not on the sidelines or a sidenote. (His name appears in the titles.) Your posts are absolutely founded on the premise that he was/is a product of the Christian Homeschool Movement, etc. If the cornerstone of your argument is Tebow and then you build your case on top of it-- it is simply reasonable that someone's gonna kick the cornerstone.

      If your mission is to make people think -- then you are highly successful.

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    3. "If your mission is to make people think -- then you are highly successful."

      Apparently not. If it were causing you to really think, you wouldn't say this...

      "This statement is a reason why I am not making your connection between Jim Jones and Tebow."

      If you think the point of the post was to make a direct connection between Jim Jones and Tim Tebow, you either started entirely from the wrong premise, or missed the whole point altogether - or both.

      Jones, Tebow, and P/QF were just vehicles to make a MUCH larger point, as Tebow's been all along. All you want to focus on is Tebow in some little personal game of "gotcha!" you're trying to play with me.

      I'm starting to think I should type in sign language.

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    4. I don't think I've warranted what you wrote above. (If you intended it to be hurtful -- you succeeded). I'm terribly sorry that you've taken it personally. To convince you that I'm not a total dimwit, you needn't do the whole "Don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split ya" thing because I truly got the message this time.

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    5. "I don't think I've warranted what you wrote above."

      I do.

      You've done nothing but look for something wrong with most of my writing, as if I'm subject to some journalistic code, even bringing up standards of evidence required in "ex parte" legal proceedings or something or other.

      This is a blog.

      If you disagree with the substance of my posts, discuss your disagreement with the substance of my posts. If you don't understand my posts, you can always contact me privately for clarification.

      If you think, for instance, that THIS post was trying to compare Jones and Tebow - you've missed the substance entirely, maybe even intentionally, depending on your predisposition toward me, and focused on the vehicles and sensationalism.

      This post was about US. Most of the other Tebow posts have either been about US or about fundamentalist Christianity, brainwashing, though reform, propaganda, et cetera.

      I can't even begin to put into words how frustrating it is to keep being misread on a subject, write something with the specific intent to bring people to the substance, and then have someone deduce that the post was about making a connection between "Jim Jones and Tim Tebow".

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    6. Petticoat PhilosopherJanuary 14, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      I have been following this whole thing on here with much interest. And while I certainly don't want to put words in Lewis' mouth, it does kind of seem like you're missing the point. Especially here:

      "This statement is a reason why I am not making your connection between Jim Jones and Tebow. If this is your description of Tebow -- it simply can't be the same for Jim Jones."

      From what I can tell, he's not comparing the two men, he's comparing the responses to them. The stimulus of those responses is not really the object, it's the responses themselves he's analyzing. In the process of doing so, he may say some things you disagree with about Tebow, but that does not mean that the posts are about Tebow, or that he's trying to imply that Tebow=Jim Jones. My two cents.

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  5. I said in my comment, that *I* would have to make a personal interview with Tebow and gather the facts before I made a "judgement". I never said you were judging him.

    I said *I*, because of my own experiences with people judging me, based on who I was "affiliated" with, and not liking that feeling.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about Christian's lacking discernment. I KNOW I can get brainwashed again. Which is why *I* am not going to jump on the bandwagon that everyone who is *in* the patriarchy movement is evil and has some sinister motive. Although, I do think that Vision Forum's motive is sinister.

    Sometimes *I* get that feeling (that everyone in it is evil and bad) from some people who write out against it. And I am not going to judge those that write against it and say that's what they are really saying either. I know they need to sort things out in their minds and speak up about it. I respect that.

    But *I* do sometimes get that feeling though. I also understand people have different styles in how they write. I understand that people have different perspectives.

    Again, that is why I said, *I* would have to sit and have a personal interview with Tebow to see what was fueling his "passion" for Jesus, before I can say for sure he has bought into a false Christianity.

    It's obvious you have done more research about this area on Tebow, and you might be making factual statements. But for *me*, I haven't done enough research to make a final choice on the matter *for myself*.

    You said,
    "For Christians, it's no longer about Christ. It's the Christian culture that's important...."

    I SO AGREE with this statement, and that's what I was trying to convey in my comment on the post below, about Christian's childish immaturity over "bible heroes".

    And sometimes *I* feel that when I read writing about the evils of patriarchy, Jesus' healing power is diminished, because we get so worked up over the evil patriarchy.

    Patriarchy *IS* evil. And it' wrong. And it's wicked, and it's horrible what it does to people. But Jesus! Oh, He is so lovey, and so loving, and He can and will help people out of this mess. And give real healing. It takes time, but healing can happen, once the lies are countered with the TRUTH of the Real Jesus.

    (continued)

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    1. Petticoat PhilosopherJanuary 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      I am not a Christian myself, but I understand and respect that, for Christian victims of patriarchal culture, faith in Jesus Christ can be a powerful source of healing. And I think that's great.

      But here's the thing: Patriarchy is not a phenomenon unique to Christianity or Christian culture. It is a social evil that manifests itself in many ways around the world, and most of its victims are not professing Christians and never will be. So faith and Jesus is not a fix for everybody who is hurt by patriarchy. Nor does it need to be. Different people have different sources of healing.

      So, that said, I'm all for people getting "worked up" over the evils of patriarchy wherever it manifests. Because Christian faith might be a source of healing for certain INDIVIDUAL victims who happen to be Christian, but it is not the solution to the evil of patriarchy as a worldwide, transnational, trans-cultural, human institution. People engaging in strong speech and strong action against it is. In my opinion, we need MORE people getting worked up, not fewer.

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  6. It can even get to those who bought the lies with their free will. Like me.

    I will be frank. When I came across all of this on the net, it was Vykie Garrison's blog I found first, and I wanted to run from hearing the truth of the evil, *because* of all the crap that was spewing forth towards me, towards my sincere questioning, from a lot of the people writing on the blog and forum. I was confused already, looking for answers, and I couldn't sort it out.

    I was *just coming out* of the mess of legalism. Thankfully, Hillary, saw my *sincere* questions and answered it gracefully. She opened up a world of healing with me. I found her blog, and through her's Karen Campbell's and Cindy Kunsmen. Which had been a HUGE source of healing to me. They plainly showed the truth, but also offered hope.

    So I am with you in your central message Lewis. I really am. But I am just throwing my perspective out there as well. And my perspective is that Jesus is bigger than all this mess, and if we lift him up more plainly, more healing can take place.

    Kind of like the Israelite bitten by the serpents. They knew they had been bitten, and knew they were sick and knew they needed to be healed. But until they looked up at the brazen serpent on the pole, they weren't healed.

    People bitten by false doctrine, will continue to be in pain, until they see the truth of the real Jesus. And I am not saying you are not doing this. I just think the fascination for Tebow, is a symptom, at large, of how poorly Christians are lifting up the realJesus.

    I by all means, think the lies should be exposed. There is plenty in the Bible that gives details on how certain doctrines are wrong. BUT they are always counteracted MUCH more strongly with the truth. Galatians is coming to mind. I love that book!



    Anyway, keep writing! I enjoy it. :)

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    1. Well said, Jumpers. I'm glad you're finding healing.

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  7. I understand your points and I'm actually baffled as to why many do not. I do think Tebow could end up being dangerous, it just depends.

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    1. As an Australian, I don't know anything about Tebow. However, us Aussies are quite good at idolizing sports people and turning a blind eye to their indiscretions regardless of their standing as a Christian/Muslim/etc.. I have seen this kind of mania over big names in the Hillsong Church, people really do believe if you write a song about Jesus you are as pure as the driven snow. *sigh*

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    2. Oh I know. :) I'm an Australian who lives in the US now. :)

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  8. lewis, i saw an awesome you tube video where Dr. Solomon Asch conducted his famous experiments his study of social conformity (Asch 1956). The results of these experiments are to help us to understand how healthy and intelligent people often become involved with cult groups. In a particular experiment, he instructed confident, assertive people in his class to give wrong answers, which then led other students to doubt their own judgments. I've experienced this myself. Cults use these same tactics. When a cult speaker is teaching the doctrine of the group--some newcomers may doubt the ideas of the group. However, when the vast majority of cultists surrounding someone enthusiastically agree with the speaker--eventually many people will feel overwhelmed and submit to the group's way of thinking. Asch awesomely demonstrated this through his practical experiments. --how anyone can be vulnerable to the power of conformity within certain social situations despite their level of previous confidence and self-esteem. is this along the lines of what you are trying to communicate?

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  9. Hi Lewis I thought i would post this http://approachingdamascus.com/2012/01/12/if-i-wer-tim-tebows-pastor/ It's rather well written you are not alone

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  10. I thought I'd throw out a link since that seems to be the trend... just came across this article on Salon:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/12/what_if_tim_tebow_were_muslim/

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  11. OK, I think I have figured out where I am not totally comfortable with the Tebow critique, Lewis. Feel free to dismantle my thoughts, because I am far from an expert in Biblical interpretation (obviously!).

    I am uncomfortable with the way the directive from Jesus to pray "in secret" is being used here. I try to run screaming from people who want to take literally what is meant symbolically-you know, I spent years flirting with the ATI- Old Testament Law stuff, God forbid. They always pick and choose the things that they want to enforce, and ignore the context and/or the intent. I always thought that this was an example like the one where Jesus basically says we have to "hate" our own family to follow him. Clearly His followers still loved their families and maintained relationships with them. I think Jesus was using dramatic comparison here to make an important point. Since there are many examples of public ministry, both by Jesus and his followers, could we not understand this passage as more condemning of hypocrisy than of public expression of religion ? Maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but I think the idea is that public prayer DONE ONLY TO PROMOTE YOURSELF (hypocrisy), with no belief, is despicable.

    I don't think Tebow is a hypocrite in that I think he really is a believer. Is he going about expressing that belief in an immature or show-offish way? That's a valid argument.

    Oh well, I know many of you will disagree, but I don't want to feel like a hypocrite myself, by picking one Bible verse that seems to be more to make a point than to be taken word for word, and being 100 %literal with it. And, I am a mom of kids in their 20s, and I guess I would hate for them to be misjudged in their integrity...

    Please know that I find the commercialization of Christianity to be repulsive. Who was it that said " We are so immunized with little doses of Christianity, that when we are adults we seldom catch the real thing"? That's what I think of when I walk in to a big Christian bookstore. But we are talking about a person here, not a book or a t-shirt or a bracelet.

    Dismantle away!

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    1. "Since there are many examples of public ministry, both by Jesus and his followers, could we not understand this passage as more condemning of hypocrisy than of public expression of religion?"

      I think the passage is pretty direct (there really isn't much between the lines of it) - public expressions of the rituals of religion, in and of themselves, ARE hypocrisy, that we shouldn't be people of faith with the intent of being SEEN as people of faith. We're to be known by our love for one another rather than by our prayer life or by any public religious ritual. I DO think Tebow's a hypocrite - but not an intentional hypocrite. He isn't mature enough to know the difference. He's just doing what he's been indoctrinated to believe is "witnessing" and his duty. But he isn't really witnessing for Christ. He's witnessing for Christianity and Christian culture. The reaction of the evangelical community, summed up, is "Look at him praying publically! What a warrior for the faith!" Impossible to reconcile that with Matthew 6:5-6 pretty much any way one would spin it.

      Paul, for instance, had a much broader ministry than praying to be seen praying, wearing verses on his face or clothing, and saying "I'd like to thank my personal Savior, Jesus Christ" and leaving it at that. People who do those things are doing them to be seen because they confuse those things with "witnessing", and it's extremely shallow. A ministry is something deeper. A ministry could tell you WHY Jesus is being thanked...without cliche.

      And Tebow IS absolutely, beyond ANY argument, doing these things to be seen. He's been clear about his intent. He believes these things are "witnessing", and he feels its his duty to be VERY public about his religion.

      I also find it troubling that a reporter can ask him about the game, and he makes SURE that we know that the time he was able to spend with some little sick child before or after the game is/was far more important to him, or that he'd write a book that tells us about his giving to those in need, et cetera. Those things seem to be in direct contrast to the things Jesus taught - and practiced. My concern is that the evangelical community can't readily see where these things are "off" - which is what I'm getting at in this piece, and tried to demonstrate in the "Dumbing Down" post - because it says a great deal about us and where our true allegiance is, whether with Christ, Christianity, or conservative Christian culture. If we were on board with Christ, we'd place more value on the way he said to go about things than on whether or not Tebow is championing Christianity and its culture.

      Tebow himself says that God has no bearing on the outcome of football games - so why's he constantly kneeling to "thank" God for something he says God isn't involved in? If he were eating lunch at Red Lobster, and he got up from his chair and "Tebowed" in the aisle to ask the blessing on his food, we'd consider it rude and over the top. Why aren't we (generally speaking) applying the same ettiquette elsewhere? (continued...)

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    2. I don't think Tebow's a bad kid. I think he's just an immature kid, spiritually and emotionally, anyway. I do think he's hypocritical (again, not intentionally). But, he's just doing what he's been taught is right, even if it's wrong.

      Do you believe he'd wear Matthew 6:5-6 on his eyeblack? The answer to that should answer most of the other questions raised by Tebow-mania.

      And the larger point still stands - Tebow isn't the problem, he's just a vehicle. If we'll support and celebrate him doing things under the Christian banner which are opposed to the things Christ taught, what OTHER things will we support and celebrate under the Christian banner?

      This is where the Christian community is showing itself no different than the folk at Jonestown. We'd like to think we're discerning and incapable of being duped, yet Tebow shows us we aren't.

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    3. I'd also like to add...

      Even though he isn't a very good QB, the kid is a phenomenal competitor and works hard at his craft. I wish people could just appreciate THAT, and that the religion could be left out of it. Tebow's intent on that not happening, though.

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  12. Well, I understand the point...but I still partially disagree with the emphasis.I don't think he is a hypocrite- but I think we agree that if he is, it's unintentional?

    I checked out the Salon article referenced above, "What if Tebow was Muslim.."

    This is certainly a valid thing to explore. What if Tebow was ---(fill in the blank). But I think the article was rather disingenuous because the examples of Muslim athletes that were targeted as being unpopular and disliked were two individuals who took VERY public positions that clearly put them outside the mainstream of middle America. I am not saying their ideas were right or wrong- only that if you take extreme political positions, you may find the public turns against you!

    Mohammed Ali refused to go to Vietnam and the other guy, I believe, refused to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Now, I think the Viet Nam War was a horrific thing. If I had been a bit older then, I would have probably been marching against it. Whether or not someone sings the National Anthem, burns the flag or whatever- I think that is their right.But we are talking public opinion here- much of mainstream America is VERY offended when people are not supportive of the military and might be hacked off by some overpaid athlete refusing to sing a patriotic song. My point is, I think it was the anti- mainstream American patriotism that made these guys unpopular. I think that no matter what their religion, lots of people get defensive when some person speaks out against a war we are involved in or America in general.

    I remember when I was a kid, the construction workers in NYC having verbal battles with war protesters...and I remember those bumper stickers "America- Love it or Leave it".

    If the reporter wants to write a serious story, he will find Muslim athletes or other celebrities who are more traditional, all American patriotic types- and I am sure there are plenty of them-and write about their experiences. This article almost plays into the false belief that Muslim Americans are somehow less patriotic than Americans of other religions.

    I wonder what would happen if there were a Christian pro athlete who was a pacifist and vehemently anti-war?? that would be interesting...I am not sure how that would be received either.

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    1. "I don't think he is a hypocrite- but I think we agree that if he is, it's unintentional?"

      Absolutely.

      "I wonder what would happen if there were a Christian pro athlete who was a pacifist and vehemently anti-war?? that would be interesting...I am not sure how that would be received either."

      Now THAT would cause some fireworks. The evangelical community would reject him or her outright. No question. The fundamentalist sector would be foaming at the mouth. As I've learned from writing this blog, the only thing fundamentalists hate more than the devil are Christians who disagree with them. Gays, Muslims, "sinners" in general? The hatred fundamentalists have for them is nothing compared to the hatred they have for Christians who disagree with them.

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  13. And by the way- I digress, but I would still love to hear any background info an "Civil War Homeschool Balls"...now HERE is an example in my mind of "doing things under the Christian banner" that would not be very Jesus-like? Especially if a minority of these people actually think that the South was right?

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  14. Folks...If you have an adversarial message to communicate to me, use the email address listed under "Contact Me" at the top of the page. Putting your message in a comment, which you ask me to not publish, leaves me at a considerable disadvantage - I can't respond without doing so publically.

    Any more adversarial "do not publish" comments may very well get published.

    If you want it private, EMAIL ME.

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  15. I completely understand where you are coming from regarding the Tebow criticism. My biggest issue is that I think we do need to make a distinction between some of the things he's doing.

    Did Jesus instruct his followers to pray in secret - essentially that prayer is to be about God and the person praying and nothing else? Yes. and I think that Tebow is clearly in the wrong here. I think you are right in that he doesn't have bad motives...but he is still wrong.

    I differ with you in that I don't have an issue with him thanking Jesus Christ in PCs and media interviews. Him talking about the fact that his faith is important to him is not an issue. I see this as being the "salt and light" that Jesus commanded in the same passage.

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