Tim Tebow, first year QB for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, has managed to draw significant attention to himself, not via his skills with the football–he’s currently ranked 31st in the league among QB’s–but via his garish public displays of devotion and prayer. Tebow prays, beseeches and grovels before Jesus so much that he’s become a verb. To “tebow,” or more precisely “tebowing” is now synonymous with bestowing lavish praise upon Jesus, complete with bowed head and bended knee. Mr. Tebow can be seen in this posture on the sidelines during professional sporting events where he is being paid a great deal of money to put his athletic skills to use.
As absurd as the concept of Jesus Christ taking an interest in Denver Broncos football is–considering neither football nor Denver existed during Christ’s lifetime–it is taking the level of absurdity up several notches to believe, even for an instant, that the Son of God is actually intervening in games and having the Broncos come up winning in dramatic fashion due to Tim’s propitiation to the Lord.
Yet this is precisely the type of nonsense that takes place with wish-thinking of this degree. The pastor from Tebow’s church, Wayne Hanson, said that Denver and Tebow would not be winning games if Timmy weren’t such a strong believer. Hanson told TMZ, “It’s not luck. Luck isn’t winning 6 games in a row. It’s favor. God’s favor.” I would submit to you that Pastor Hanson is partially correct, winning professional football games is not luck.
On Dec 24, 2011 the Broncos took the field against the Buffalo Bills and to say that Tim Tebow didn’t have his best game would be putting it gently, meekly and mildly. He was god-awful, completing only 13 of his 30 attempted passes and throwing 4 Interceptions. Of course Tim wasn’t the only player on the field, but as the team’s leader and the only member of the team with Bible passages on his eye black, he was bound to get the most attention for the loss.
Comedian and host of HBO’s Real Time, Bill Maher, sent this message on his twitter account:
“Wow, Jesus just fucked Tim Tebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.”
He has drawn the wrath of Christian conservatives and Tebow fans across the country with calls for an apology and even a boycott of HBO. The response to the joke is comparable to the response to the Broncos short win streak: ludicrous. It’s not Maher’s most clever satire, but if you believe that Jesus Christ was helping Tebow and the Broncos win, then the opposite could certainly be true regarding his performance against the Bills. It was on Christmas Eve, which adds to the irony of it all, and I’m sure Christians believe Hitler is in hell and that Satan would take perverse joy in Jesus’s favorite QB getting beaten in Buffalo, which some might argue is a level of hell itself.
Someone in a position like Tim Tebow, who makes a public spectacle of himself in the ridiculous manner that he does, should not be surprised if some of the spectators choose to publicly ridicule him for it. Nor should his fans find it surprising. Importantly, had Tebow read his Bible, particularly Jesus’s thoughts on prayer, none of this would have happened. He really should take a few moments and glance at the Bible likely stored in his hotel room night stand because he’s embarrassing himself with his lack of knowledge. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches, “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men….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.” So stop the showboating Timmy, it’s mortifying.
Lastly, to the Christian conservatives lashing out at Bill Maher and calling on boycotts of HBO and other manner of retribution, I suggest that you also brush up on your Jesus. In Matthew 5 Jesus says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” He also states, “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also…” Clearly, Jesus would be sorely disappointed in this whole distasteful affair.