I can't claim to be a football fan, but this season is the closest I've come to being one. This Saturday I'll be glued to the playoff game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, rooting for Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Last month, three Long Island students were suspended for "Tebowing"—mimicking Tebow's signature one-knee kneel—in the school hallways. According to the school, the sheer number of students who would mimic the move created "a safety hazard." This says a lot about Tebow's status in pop culture, as does the fact that name-checking Tebow has become a common practice in contexts as diverse as GOP presidential debates to progressive talk radio.
But Tebow's name is synonymous with more than just football (and stunning fourth-quarter wins). His signature move started as a bow to God. Tebow himself defines "Tebowing" as "to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different."
As Tebowing and Tebow himself have exploded into a nearly ubiquitous pop culture reference, he has attracted plenty of criticism, ranging from the ignorant to the outrageous, with conclusions about the larger meaning of the phenomenon ranging from bullying to unwise to maddening to sacrilegious.
I had a totally different reaction to the Tebow phenomenon: conviction.
Christians who aren't in the public spotlight might be tempted to dismiss Tebow as an exaggerated witness: maybe he is among the few in the kingdom "called" to start an Internet meme or command the attention of a football stadium.
But it's not true. In fact, it's every Christian's job to witness ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more