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Tebow or Not Tebow
Mom with a View

Tebow or Not Tebow

Why Tim Tebow makes us feel uncomfortable.


I have become a Tim Tebow fan. Although I only watch the highlights on my computer, he has certainly added a new level of excitement to the game. But it’s not really his (questionable?) football skills I’m a fan of. It’s the person underneath, the poised young man who seems to be kind, generous and thoughtful.

I was especially moved by the fact that, after meeting a young fan who was suffering from a brain tumor and its associated ailments, he invited her to be his guest the next evening at an awards ceremony and walk down the red carpet with him. That’s not the kind of story you usually hear about football players and women! He seems to combine leadership with humility (which is certainly a Jewish tradition), yet he also makes people completely crazy! “Too much genuflecting.” “Too much talk of God.” “Too much religion.”

Which begs the question – how much is too much? Who decides and what are the criteria?

When former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer said he wished Tebow would “just shut up after a game” and not praise the Almighty every time he makes a good play, Tebow responded brilliantly: “…if you’re married and you’re a (husband), is it good enough to only say you love her on the day you get married or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have an opportunity?” Come on girls; we know it’s every day and every possible moment! His point is obvious.

We, as Jews, don’t limit our thanks to the Almighty to once a day. We say thank you for every morsel of food we eat. We say thank you every time we use the rest room (yes, it’s true! And it’s very powerful; think about it). We say “Thank God” when asked how we feel, what’s new, what’s happenin’ bro. It’s a good habit. It’s appropriate. It’s the right thing. We can learn from Tim Tebow.

So why does he continue to drive so many people nuts? Usually we react most strongly when someone pushes our buttons or makes us aware of our own deficiencies. I think Tim Tebow makes us feel inadequate and a little humiliated.

We are often embarrassed to proclaim our faith in public, to shout it out loud. Of course we should behave with dignity and modesty but, contrary to popular belief (and the prevailing opinions in the blogosphere) Judaism is NOT a religion meant to be practiced at home – and then left there.

Tebow makes us uncomfortable because he’s proud of his faith and unafraid to proclaim it.

Our relationship with God and the values He wants us to embody should permeate every aspect of our lives. It should inform every action, every thought, every word.

And the most basic starting point is gratitude. We need to constantly thank the Almighty for all the gifts He is constantly giving us.

Tim Tebow makes us uncomfortable because he’s not embarrassed to thank God out loud. He makes us uncomfortable because he’s proud of his faith and unafraid to proclaim it. He makes uncomfortable because he wears his religion on his sleeve.

There are many debates about whether you can learn anything from his style of football – or whether he even has a style! – but we can certainly learn from his life.

There’s a great line in the popular musical “Wicked.” The wizard tells Elpheba that “the most celebrated are the rehabilitated.” So there’s great excitement this season in the NFL over the return of Michael Vick and Plaxico Buress from their stints in jail. There’s tremendous tolerance of Ben Roethlisberger whose crimes don’t fit a family publication. But someone who talks about God? Too much.

We need to change our priorities – all of us. And if Tim Tebow can accomplish that, whether or not he takes the Broncos to the Super Bowl, he deserves our cheers.

December 17, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 42

(32) jersey girl, January 4, 2012 10:07 PM


Last year during the Super Bowl, there was controversey over a proposed commercial in which Tebow's mother was going to talk about her problem preganancy and how doctors advised her to abort. She refused and voila! God rewarded her with a son in the NFL. Everything these people do is to spread a message. Jews don't look for converts. Why do they?

(31) Kent, December 26, 2011 5:23 PM

Again, this is not about FAITH

If you like to watch football as a program, stop reading here. If you are a fan of the pro game and ever played, read on. In the NFL (1) the defenses are so well-designed that an offense needs to be able to go long and wide or the defense will stuff it and (2) the pass defenders are SOOOO quick that in order to throw the quick out (the one pass that makes a defense aware of covering wide) a QB MUST be able to zip the ball. Watch an old film of Joe Namath or Dan Marino or recent video of Payton or Eli Manning and you see a different throwing motion than with Tim Tebow. The former guys almost hit their ears and really ZIP the ball on the quick "out" pass. When I see Tebow throw, I think that a DB is ready to cut it off and run it in - THAT is what makes me feel uncomfortable.

(30) Etaoin Shrdlu, December 26, 2011 6:33 AM

How to trivialize a faith.

The only thing I find “uncomfortable” about Mr. Tebow is the way he is trivializing his religion. That’s right, I said trivializing it. While it is not my faith, as I recall, a famous passage does NOT say: “For G-d so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, so that those who believe in him will score the winning touch down!” It is right and proper to be thankful for our lives, and for the world we live in. But the open demonstration of “piety” he engages in is NOT what either the Rabbis, or his own “teacher” wished. Did not Micah urge us to “do justly, love mercy, and walk HUMBLY with G-d”? P.S. - To David Cohen (writing on December 23, 2011 @ 3:51 AM): the “left wing” (by which I presume you mean those who believe in the Constitution and the principle of separation of church and state) is NOT trying “to drive G-d out of the public square, out of our schools, and out of our very lives”. We simply don’t want the GOVERNMENT telling us whether or not to pray, or who to pray to. Tell you what, though, let’s repeal the First Amendment, and replace it with a clause giving the government the power to establish school prayer. Then, through the “magic” of majority rule, you can enjoy having your children start every school day with “the Lord’s prayer”, or perhaps a “Hail Mary”!

(29) Sanford D. Horn, December 23, 2011 9:16 PM

Tebow a Role Model for Jews and Christians Alike

Tebow should not make us feel uncomfortable. Suh of the Lions should make us feel uncomfortable when he purposefully stomps on an opponent's head. Hurd of the Bears should make us feel uncomfortable for selling drugs. Jewish or Christian, Tebow is a fine role model - he is not trying to convert people. Tebow is simply being thankful to G-d for the gifts He bestowed upon him, as Emuna clearly demonstrated we as Jews do for every movement we make (and take). It is the left who have become apoplectic that such an overt Christian should enjoy such popularity. The left feels they need to mock or tear Tebow down to make up for their own inadequacies or lack of their own faith. I am secure enough in my Jewish faith to be able to point to a Tim Tebow as a good example for people of any faith. Happy Chanukah and Shabbat Shalom.

(28) Lauryn, December 23, 2011 3:57 PM

Husbands don't need to do it in public

His husband analogy is silly because you don't need to tell your wife you love her in public or in front of others, and it doesn't mean any more if you do that. No one's saying that he shouldn't offer prayers of thanks as often as he likes, but he doesn't need to do it as publicly - and btw dropping down on one knee or any other visible prayer-poses are not required - ON the field, for football no less. It's football. Not the health of his family or the ability to feed starving children. So yes, I do feel that he can pray for that in a less showy way, and on the sidelines.

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