I have a belly button so I guess I should have an opinion on Tim Tebow, right? Actually, I think the varying opinions of Tebow are revealing about how our culture views faith. Opinions on Tebow range from hypocrite to saint. (I wonder if "Tebowing" will get word of the year honors?) Some people obviously find Tebow's public display of religious faith on the football field and in interviews as offensive. While not new in America, it is revealing that our culture is fine with faith so long as it is practiced privately and has little to no bearing on the public sphere. This is why we struggle as a country with Ten Commandment displays, nativity scenes, and the whole war on Christmas.
Others of us, myself included may not find Tebow controversial because we don't see the problem of faith and the public sphere mixing. Personally, I believe who we are fundamentally (actually ontologically speaking if you need one of those big words) is derived from our religious faith. As a Christian, I believe who we are comes from the fact we are made in God's image. As a Christian, I believe who we are is shaped by the God who sent Jesus Christ who lived, ministered, and died (all very publically) and so seek to be a follower of His. We certainly could go one about our identity, but if it is religion that shapes who I am, I am that wherever I go and whatever I do. This is no mere private belief. Perhaps we could expand on this to note that if we keep all religious convictions private we won't have to be critical of our own, but we'll leave that for another blog.
So while our culture likes to make a false separation between public and private spheres added to the fact that we have a tendency to be skeptical, people can confuse displaying authentic religious faith in public as either doing so for personal gain or somehow shoving religion down other's throats. To me, this Tebow phenomenon shows that people are uncomfortable with public displays of religious affection (PDRA). That's what I think makes Tebow "controversial."
So this blog post actually isn't about Tim Tebow. It's about us. While we are not called to be offense or shove religion down anyone's throats, we cannot escape being a child of God wherever we go, even if that is on a football field.
What if Tebow happened to be a Muslim? How might that change the conversation?
Are you comfortable displaying your faith publically? Why or why not?
How would you continue to expand on the idea of who we are because of what we believe?