Second confession: I have heard - ad nauseam - about Tim Tebow.
Final confession: I really don't care much about either football or Tim Tebow.
Here's what I care about: All the hoopla surrounding the "miracles of math" about this Denver Bronco's quarterback cum Christian Evangelist and how it makes all Christians look like morons.
It begins to border on a Christian cult.
It began before he was born.
Doctors had expected a stillbirth and recommended an abortion to protect her life, although abortions are illegal in the Philippines where she and her husband were Baptist missionaries, but she decided not to have one.
Her choice. At least she had one.
|Tebow in the days when he was allowed to carry messages in his eye-black.|
He and his mother, Pam, made news about spreading their opinion that abortion is wrong.
Indeed, there was that whole controversy about the Anti-Abortion Commercials, financed by the conservative Christian Evangelical group, Focus on the Family, he and his mother made which were to air during the Superbowl in 2010.
I remember listening to the interviews and watching the ad and thinking, "This boy and his story are NOT going away."
That's not the first time controversy has surrounded this young man. The youngest of five children, he and his siblings were homeschooled by their mother which normally would have excluded him from being able to play on local high school teams. However, the law changed and he and his mother moved to an apartment near the high school so he could play quarterback.
Some folks made a fuss about that, but it only served to prepare him for the controversy that was to surround this young man.
Besides, for an Evangelical, nothing is more 'faith-convicting' than the feeling of being persecuted. Make 'em feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
That, and numbers. I'll get to that in a minute.
Here's another story about the Tebow the Miracle Man from his high school days:
Tebow was soon known not only for his running and throwing, but for his intense competitiveness and uncommon physical courage. Later that same year he suffered an injury to his right leg late in the first half of a game. Originally thought by the Nease (High School) coaching staff to be a bad cramp, he played the entire second half with a broken fibula, at one point rushing for a 29-yard touchdown. After the game the extent of the injury was discovered and he was held out for the remainder of his junior season. Nevertheless he was named Florida's Player of the Year and became a major college football quarterback prospect. During his senior season he led the Nease Panthers to a state title, earned All-State honors, was named Florida's Mr. Football and a Parade magazine high school All-American, and repeated as Florida's Player of the Year.Clearly, this young man is an incredible, devoted athlete, but it's the numbers - combined with his Evangelical faith - that have catapulted him into the national limelight.
During this past Sunday's game against the Steelers, the three-number sequence popped up more than a few times. CBS reports:
As our brilliant commenters point out below, Tebow completed 10 passes. That means he averaged 31.6 yards per pass. His final pass was to Thomas who just happens to have been born on Christmas Day. (!)Apparently, this was enough to send football fans over the edge - not that it takes much. Google reported that three of the top sixteen (There's that 3:16 again) searches that weekend were (1) John 3:16 (2) Tim Tebow and (5) broncos, beating out ((3) ford fusion and (4) beyonce baby.
Oh and this: the Steelers-Broncos game was the most-watched wild-card game since 1988. In the final quarter-hour, the overnight rating was 31.6. Weird stuff man, weird stuff.
As it turns out, the lone interception thrown in the game on Sunday night came from Ben Roethlisberger. What down and distance were involved when he threw it? Third and 16. Of course.
Can you believe it? Tim Tebow beat out Blue Ivy - the newborn daughter of Bey and Jay? I mean, how much more of a miracle do you need to see?
One commentator gushed that this made Tebow the best evangelist "in the world".
Looking up and reading John 3:16 isn't going to make you a Christian any more than going into the garage every day is going to make you a car.
Oooooh: Four corners of the earth. Four directions of the wind. Four evangelists who wrote four books of the Gospels.
And, I - even I - was born in April. the fourth month of the year.
Far out, man! What does it mean? Must mean....something....right?
Wait! If it's so important, why are there three persons in one God and not four?
I asked "Father" that question, once, and saw the back of his hand for "questioning the gift of faith". I never asked it again. Indeed, I just decided that religion was for morons and left my heart right there on the church steps.
I took my soul with me, which suited me well when I finally found a religious denomination that didn't require me to leave my brains at the door as a requirement for membership.
I suppose you've really made it when the media begins to make jokes about you. I especially loved this skit from Saturday Night Live. I love it when Jesus asks Tebow to "take it down a notch" and reveals that He actually prays to Broncos kicker Matt Prater - who has reportedly been saving this team in a more terrestrial sense.
Here are some "Tebowisms" that have recently sprung up:
The square root of Tim Tebow is a stiff arm to the face.I've actually done some math of my own. Watch this and be amazed:
The active ingredient in Red Bull is Tim Tebow's sweat.
The NFL renamed the 2 minute warning, "Tebow Time".
Tim Tebow's number is 15 because that's how many players it takes to tackle him.
SuperMan wears Tim Tebow Pajamas.
One time Tim Tebow threw a football up into the air as hard as he possibly could, that football today is known as the Halley's Comet.
Tim Tebow doesn't run down the field, the field moves under Tim Tebow.
When Tim Tebow's sister lost her virginity, he got it back.
David didn't beat Goliath, Tim Tebow did!
By the time it takes you to read this Tim Tebow has already read the bible...twice.
Timothy Richard Tebow was born August 14, 1987. If you add the eighth month with the fourteenth day, you get 22. Reduce that to its lowest number by adding them together and you get 4.
See that? Four corners of the earth. Four directions of the wind. Four gospels.
It must be a sign, don't you think?
But wait! There's more.
If you add 8 + 14 + 1987, you get 2009 - which was the year he ran for two touchdowns to put him in 2nd place on the all-time SEC touchdown list. (see also 22 = 4 above).
That was also the year his team lost - once again to Alabama - leaving Tebow weeping on the sidelines, but hey, people, let's stay focused on what's important.
Tebow graduated from the University of Florida in December 2009 with a bachelor's degree in family, youth and community sciences. See what I mean?
Besides, if you add 2 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 11, which, added together equals 2 which is the sum of the month and day of his birth.
And, and, AND.... If you add up all the numbers of his full name, you get 19. 1 + 9 = 20. And, there's that number 2 again. Weird stuff, man. Weird stuff.
Coincidence? I think not.
And, the message? Beats he heck out of me. I'm a theologian, not a mathematician.
Well, Tebow may have made it big, his ability to "strike a pose" and be in prayer on the football field are now called "Tebowing" and his various biblical messages on his eye-black may have raised him to mythic status among football fan(atic)s but I think this has given Christianity a real black eye.
And, in truth, some of us are.
But, some of us take our faith - but not ourselves - seriously.
Yes, there are mysteries about God and the universe that are beyond human comprehension. But, sometimes, stuff happens. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Some of it makes sense. Most of it doesn't.
I believe there are some things in life that are coincidence, and other things that are not. I believe in paradox and serendipity and I believe what Jung said about synchronicity.
And, as fascinating as mathematics is (which is way above my pay and grade), I believe you can't explain everything with math.
Or, the Bible.
So, lighten up, everybody.
Just try to enjoy the game.
You know. The way Jesus does.
Otherwise, we all just look like morons.
Which I think, as Anne Lamott once said, is enough to make Jesus drink gin straight out of the cat dish.