I love football. I started playing organized football when I was 8 years-old, played both high school and college football and later coached at the college level. Yeah, I truly love football. I also love America and the many freedoms we enjoy; freedom of speech, freedom to choose our vocation, and yes, freedom of religion, to worship as we so please.
Recently, America’s ‘media machine’ has become consumed with what is a simple act of faith for one football player and as only they can do, have turned it into a media frenzy. Tim Tebow’s personal choice to pray whenever he so chooses (which just may be when he is wearing his Denver Bronco uniform) is now no longer ‘praying’, it is ‘Tebowing’. Are you kidding me? They actually have invented their own term for whenever Tim Tebow takes a knee….Tebowing?
As a man of faith, a Christian, I do not believe that praying is something someone does or should do for publicity (and I don’t think Tim Tebow is doing that). Praying is a very personal act. When and where one chooses to do it is of their choosing. It literally can be done any time, any place, and it can be done quietly or even silently. Some people even define certain activities they do such as running or practicing Yoga as being spiritual, prayerful activities. In fact there is a wonderful quote about practicing one’s faith that says, “Preach the gospel every day, and if necessary, use words.” Yes, prayer can actually be someone finding their peace in total silence, waiting for God to speak to their heart. Bottom line, it is a reverent act, something someone does as part of their faith walk.
Of course, we’re America and the new Almighty God is the media. Instead of reporting the news as they did back in the days of Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley and other true journalists, today they are obsessed with making the news and all in the name of ratings. Here we have a young, unproven NFL quarterback who acknowledges his Christian faith more publicly than most athletes. Are you kidding me, this is ‘BOFFO’ in the news business! What a hot story to report on! Now, every time he takes a knee, get the camera on him because he must be praying (or Tebowing), right? Praying for what, though? A turnover so he can get back out on the field? A bigger contract? More attention from the media? Aw, let’s keep it simple, why not just pray to win? Oh, and that’s even better, think how much better the storyline will be once he loses as the starting QB and we can hound him to find out why God let him down!
The media in America today is pretty pathetic. They have this uncanny ability, this propensity and obsession to take anything that they can find that might be the least bit controversial and twist it, spin it, but do whatever it takes to make it the news of the day. And so they have done this with Tim Tebow and the fact that he is a devout Christian trying to live a positive and productive life as a professional football player. That in and of itself makes him an easy target for today’s media. So now they have created their own story and in doing so have come up with their own term for whenever he takes a knee – ‘Tebowing.’
Maybe Mother Teresa best put the act of prayer in perspective for all of us when she was once being interviewed by Dan Rather of CBS for a segment that would air on 60 Minutes. Rather asked Mother Teresa the question, “When you pray, what do you say to God?”
Mother Teresa said, “I don’t say anything, I listen.”
Dan Rather, not to be deterred, quickly snapped back, “Well then, what does God say to you?”
Mother Teresa simply responded, “He says nothing, He listens.”
Tebowing? No, it’s called praying.
In this holiest of seasons, may each and every one of you, regardless of your faith, enjoy the love and true spirit of caring that comes with the celebration of Christmas. May God Bless You and your family wherever you may be.