Today’s entry is a guest post by my son, Kenny. You are in for a treat…
Tim Tebow. Yes, I’m going to go there. I have been reading about, hearing about and thinking about Tim for quite a while now. I’ve finally decided to write about him for several reasons. For one, my mom keeps asking me to do a “guest entry” on her blog. Also, I welcome an excuse to avoid working on oft infuriating med school secondary applications. Hopefully most importantly, I finally feel like I may have something useful to add to the discussion.
Last year I got a master’s degree in bioethics from Trinity. It was a Christian program. As a Christian in the largely secular bioethics community one must answer the following question: what is the best way to engage a community that does not share your foundational beliefs? Additionally, I hope to become a physician. As a Christian physician, it will be important for me to understand what role my faith ought to play in my profession. I mention these two facts about myself because I think there are some parallel thought processes that can be applied to the Tebow situation (controversy? fiasco?).
For the sake of discussion, let’s consider NFL football players “professionals” in the same way physicians are “professionals.” With that being the case, there are certain behaviors that are the mark of a professional. As a Christian physician (when I finally become one, God-willing), I think most of us can agree that it would be unprofessional for me to actively evangelize to every patient that came to my office. At the same time, I think most of us can once again agree that it is my obligation to act in a Christ-like manner in every aspect of my life. My time seeing patients should be no exception.
In the same way, for a Christian NFL player, there is certainly an obligation that he show his teammates and fans what it means to live a Christian life. Additionally, might one call it unprofessional to answer every single question asked at a press conference with a reference to God, Jesus or praying? Might one consider that active evangelizing?
I found it interesting to hear what Kurt Warner had to say about Tim Tebow. For those who do not know, Warner is a strong Christian. He is also a retired NFL quarterback who has a Superbowl ring. In an article by Arizona Republic columnist Dan Bickley, Warner is quoted as saying, “You can’t help but cheer for a guy like that… But I’d tell him, ‘Put down the boldness in regards to the words, and keep living the way you’re living. Let your teammates do the talking for you. Let them cheer on your testimony.’”
My sentiments exactly, Kurt. All the evidence I can see tells me that Tebow really is the guy he seems to be. And yes, one could respond to Kurt by quoting Paul in Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God and the salvation for everyone who believes. But Christ also tells us this in Matthew 10:16: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Anyone who has heard Tebow talk knows that he certainly appears to have the “innocent as doves” portion of that down, but it might be shrewd of him to heed the wisdom of someone who has been in his position.
Warner also had this to say: “The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say, but how you live. When you speak and represent the person of Jesus Christ in all actions of your life, people are drawn to that. You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.” When I read this quote, I couldn’t help but think of 1 Peter 3:15 which reads, Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. So my advice to Tebow is simple. Keep living the way you are living and people will recognize and admire that. Eventually, people will begin to ask you to “give the reason for the hope that you have.” In the meantime, when you are asked about the events of a football game, it may be wise to restrict your answer to things directly pertaining to the game of football.
I can’t help but notice that there are a lot of people talking about Tim Tebow right now, while God only peripherally enters the conversation.