The Problem with the Tebow Easter Extravaganza

I didn’t see Tim Tebow’s Easter Sunday appearance in Texas. For one, it’s in Texas and I’m not. Plus I kind of have a standing gig on Sundays. But more than that, I was irked when I heard about the big event being planned on, of all days, Easter Sunday.

For the most part, I admire Tim Tebow, even though I don’t agree with him theologically very much. He made one statement about getting back to what this country was founded on, “One Nation, Under God,’ which seriously rubbed me the wrong way (HINT: the phrase “Under God” wasn’t added to the Pledge of Allegiance until the 1950s.), but for the most part, he was the upstanding Christian athlete people have come to expect.

I’m not surprised by the Christendom talk, like the “under God” statement, and I’m also not surprised that the banter between Tebow and Joe Champion, pastor of Celebration Church, smacked of the us-and-them dichotomies tossed around in larger talks about religious culture wars. I’m not even surprised that the event drew 15,000 people (though they anticipated 30,000) or that reporters have written about the event having more of a “rock concert feel” rather than a worship service.

I was surprised and, I’ll admit, a little pissed when I heard they were having the event on Easter. Yes, we all know that, despite the quasi-Messianic comparisons, Tim Tebow is not the reincarnation of Jesus. But do we really need to help perpetuate such breathless celebrity worship, particularly on one for the Holiest days of the Christian year?

I’m not one for orthodoxy particularly, and I’m not overly liturgical in my view of worship. But when people are wandering through the crowd during an Easter service dressed as Easter Bunnies and Sesame Street’s Elmo, and when there are more people in football jerseys than anything else (based on photos I’ve seen), it feels too much like we’re worshiping, but not necessarily what we’re called to worship.

I’m glad Tebow kept the focus in his talk on faith in general, rather than on him. I’m glad he called out fellow athletes to be better role models for children. That’s all good stuff. But it has nothing to do with Easter.

In possible defense of Pastor Champion, his church has released statements saying that they invited Tebow to appear on any Sunday that was convenient for him. But when a celebrity becomes the focus of your Easter service – let alone ANY worship service – you and your congregation have officially jumped the theological shark.

If anything, it seems to point to Christianity’s desperation to remain relevant n an increasingly secularized culture. And I wholeheartedly agree that we need to stretch ourselves to blur the lines between the so-called sacred and secular worlds.

But as the scripture in Ecclesiastes says, to everything there is a season. In this case, the potential benefit of bringing people together to learn more about what it means to be a follower of Christ fell short, overshadowed by the spectacle of an event, focused too much on itself to truly worship.

It’s not exactly moneychangers in the temple, but it’s way too close for me.

Christian Piatt (
Author, Musician, Antagonist. God Nerd.

Here's the problem that I have with this wanna-be.

1) Tebow is not the only Christian in the NFL. Should all Christian NFLers expect this kind of treatment? How 'bout Charles Mann? My God, they don't come more clean cut then him!! And Mann, HAS 3 SUPER BOWL RINGS!!

2) Tebow hasn't done anything. He is a backup QB. Why is he getting all of this attention? This makes no sense whatsoever. God forbid if he wins a SB, the far right, will expect him to part the Red Sea.

3) I dunno. Everytime I've interviewed for a job, religion, sex, sexual orientation, all of those types of no-no type questions don't come up. In fact, it's illegal. If you ask a woman in an interview, if she is hired, will she get pregnant right away, that's an HR-firable offense. If you ask a man if he's gay, kiss your job goodbye. Point being, HR and hiring managers, know these things are off limits. Prospective job seekers know when preparing for an interview, that they are safe and protected from being asked these types of questions. It's safe to say, that a fair amount of people seeking employment believe in God. There is no need to bring the subject up. Why would you bring up God in the context of the NFL? He says, God plays an important part of his life. OK, mine too! After being in the military and fighting in 3 wars, and being shot...YOU BETTER BELIEVE I BELIEVE IN GOD. Do I wear it on my sleeve? Hell No. Is it wrong to wear it on your sleeve. Yes. Because you are putting your views in other face's that don't deserve that. Everyone deserves to have their OWN relationship with God..WITHOUT ANY INTERFERENCE FROM ANYONE ELSE. Why? Because we all have had our own experiences in life that has brought us to Him. As the son of a preacher, I am appalled what he is doing. He is putting himself out there, which to MANY people feel like he pushing his religion onto everyone else, regardless of whether he or anyone else thinks not. Why? Because he is a rich footballer. He is going to get ink, and publicity. He's not out there talking about his pathetic NFL know..something that he is paid to do??? Ya' think! No. Instead he pushing his religion and it cannot be spun any other way. What's wrong with that? He is using celebrity to push his religion. If he is SO strong in his Christianity, why didn't he do it before? He's manufactured. At some point, this will all blow over after he starts losing again, and people will start praying to God for Him, to be sent to Hell. Tebow, you are a wanna-be NFL football QB. You should be focusing on your career and your family. Your relationship with God, is your's; not everyone else's. Just like I don't call the press as a US Marine, and use my story of being decorated hero and valor, to push my religion. Where would it stop?

Currently, Prince, has been reading the Bible and has been interested in changing some of his music to focus more on God. This has been going on for a few years now. But no one on knew about it. Prince put out a blurb about this a couple of years ago and that was that. He didn't "make the political rounds". Guaranteed Prince is and always will be bigger than Tebow. Where would this end? Should Brittany Spears or Tina Fey, who are both Christians, suck the air out of the Tebow Christian tour by making the rounds? No. It's stupid..just like Tebow is for this whole thing.

Tebow is Christian. We get it. We all are. We all don't make the rounds and draw public attention to ourselves, but easily could. Tebow hasn't done a goddamned thing in the profession he is paid for. Other Christians in the NFL, have got to be wondering (for the wrong reasons), "Should I come out and make the rounds too"? "Should my cousin Lenny come out and call the press about his Christian views?" "Lois at the local diner is a bible thumper, why isn't she out making the rounds?" Where would this craziness end? This is completely ridiculous. Tebow needs to focus on football. He can have his private relationship with we all do.