Sports Saturday: Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin, and the World
Between this fall’s “Tebowmania” and the “Linsanity” that has come upon us this spring, Christians have
been more interested in sports than normal. As a bunch, we Christians love sports about as much as the next guy. I imagine the ratio of sports nuts in the general population is about the same as ratio of sports nuts in pews on Sunday mornings.
But in the last 6 months, this has changed. Every Christian has become a sports fans. I have had more conversations about the Denver Broncos and the New York Nicks in those months than I ever have before. Combined. People who would be confused on the difference between a point guard and a nose guard suddenly want to have a conversation about the merits of a fullbackesque quarterback and what kind of person is needed to Mike D’antoni’s offense. Why?
Because both Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin are professing Christians? That would be the obvious answer, but it would be only half true. Tons of professional atheletes in every sport have been professing Christians. Tebow and Lin also seem to be Godly men, walking with Christ. Again, this is nothing new. Sports a littered with Godly men and have been for years. So what is it that causes all of the frenzy, all of the uproar over these men?
Sin. Not theirs, but ours. What is really happening is that we are falling victim to the media’s projection of these men. Our culture is obsessed; obsessed with celebrity. We want to know who is dating who. What she was wearing at this event. Where he buys his italian sausage. It has spawned entire networks (E!) and countless tv shows and blogs. We want to know about famous people because unconsciously we think that they are better than us, more important. The term that scripture would use for this obsession that mirrors everyone else in our culture is worldliness.
Unfortunately for them, Tebow and Lin have become caught up in this machine by no fault of their own. If you want evidence for this, look who has been talking about Tebow this past month. Two of the biggest media mavens, two women who know how to work our obsession with celebrity to their advantage have both said they have crushes on Tim Tebow. Kim Kardashian publicly said she liked Tim Tebow and wishes he would date her. Katy Perry dedicated a song to him at the Superbowl pregame and then there were rumors that they were an item. But those things were perpetrated by the world, not us, right?
A few weeks ago I went to a parachurch ministry’s banquet. It was great. There was steak, a fascinating testimony, and a good message. And then there was something else. At the end of the program, a man got up and pointed to framed pictures on each table of a man in football gear kneeling in prayer. We were then sternly admonished (mind you 2 weeks after Tim was eliminated from the playoffs) to pray for this young man.
We weren’t encouraged to pray for Pastor Youcef, the (soon to be) Martyr in Iran. We weren’t encouraged to pray for our families, our pastors, or even their parachurch ministry. We were exhorted to pray for Tim Tebow. I have to wonder if our obsession with the success of one Christian quarterback or point guard isn’t the result of worldliness.
Should we pray for and enjoy these men. Yes. Should we be obsessed…