Tim Tebow and PDF
PDF? What the frack is PDF you ask?
It does not stand for "portable document formula" you may have initially surmised.
PDF is a complicated condition akin to PDA or the public display of affection. Here it is the public display of faith...PDF for short.
Now I must say at the outset that I am not a Broncos, Gators, or even a Tim Tebow fan really but I have been paying attention to the caustic comments that emerge around his name. It seems to me that folks cannot help themselves when it comes to critiquing Tebow. But it goes well beyond his football skill (or lack of skills depending upon who you ask). It is simply shocking to me how vitriolic people become over this man who has actually played very little professional football. He has done nothing to embarrass the organization, his teammates, fans, family. He is humble. He by all accounts seems to live up to what he says. He has played fairly well. But why the constant harsh critiques that go beyond the level of other players?
I am not alone in noticing this phenomena either? I've run into a couple posts over on Fox Sports from Jenn Floyd Engel (Article 1) (Article 2).
Here is another interesting video calling for an end to Tebowing (Video)
Jon Malesic however, provides a provocative take on why Tebow is such a target. http://www.atthispoint.net/articles/touchdown-jesus-on-the-wages-of-discipleship-in-america/210/
Another great article along these lines is UND alum, Chuck Klosterman wrestling with the issue of faith says, "But the real reason this "Tebow Thing" feels new is because it's a God issue that transcends God, assuming it's possible for any issue to transcend what's already transcendent. I'm starting to think it has something to do with the natural human discomfort with faith — and not just faith in Christ, but faith in anything that might (eventually) make us look ridiculous."
This collection of articles tells me or reminds of several things I already knew. Tim Tebow loves God. Faith and/or religion in public is still controversial.
The Klosterman article is interesting. He notes how another former NFL quarterback, who is also a Christian said Tim might tone down his public displays of faith. While Tebow's response is initially a nice retort that you wouldn't tell your spouse you love them only on your anniversary. This seems to justify the frequency of Tebows acknowledgements of his faith and God's goodness.
But Klosterman fails to note the means by which Tebow does so and its appropriateness. While it is a great practice to tell your spouse that you love them daily, there are ways in which that sentiment should be carried out and ways that should not be done. A message in the sky pulled from a plane is not necessary or appropriate. A dozen roses delivered to their place of work every day is not necessary or appropriate. Nor song dedications on the local radio stations, billboards, television commercials and the like. I questions Tebow's sense of judgment about such appropriateness. His actions, while well intentioned and most likely rooted in a deep faith, have drawn criticism and mockery upon himself (which I am sure he takes in stride as part of the perception of being a persecuted minority) but also upon an ancient and holy faith. There is a big difference of telling your spouse or God how much you love them at home in the morning, afternoon, or evening than in front of other people...particularly thousands of football fans in the stadium and around the globe through television and the internet.
Here is where aspects of Jon Malesic's work can enter. Should Tebow share pieces of his faith so publicly to a public that in many ways despises those sacred symbols? To borrow a biblical allusion, is he threatening the sacredness of the faith by throwing "pearls before the swine"? Klosterman is right to note this sense of the persecuted minority Evangelicals often feel, but he also fails to note how ideas of evangelism are so tightly wound into the Evangelical imagination and public practice of the their faith. I suspect that relatively few Christians would encourage evangelism methods of street corner preaching, sandwich boards, roadside signs etc. Perhaps these methods had their place at one point in time, but I suspect that many would say that they are ineffective, and can actually bring negative associations and harm upon the faith.
I think Tebow is a genuine guy, a great athlete, a faithful Christian who has, because of his athletic prowess and celebrity, a particular prominent position for evangelism. I would encourage him, to consider the times and means by which he expresses his love of and faith in God.
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