Either Way!?

Super Bowl XLVI (Giants vs Patriots) is on Sunday, February 5, 2012, at 6:30pm ET. Madonna will be performing at the half-time show.  There is great anticipation about which company will have the most outrageous commercial. Tim Tebow will not be playing because the Broncos were eliminated last week.

I know all this, not because I follow sports of any kind, but because it is in the headlines, right up there with war, disaster, and political gossip.  And I am curious about it because of religion!  Tebow’s “witnessing” has drawn more attention than his skill as an athhete.  “Tebowing” has, apparently, become a new “meme”.

I found this passage from an article called  Tim Tebow and the Atheist’s Dilemma  truly perplexing.

Silverman argues that “it’s hubris to think that the Creator of all  wants the Broncos to win a football game.” But it is far more probable that the only effective remedy for the all-too-human temptation to hubris among the spectacularly gifted and exceptionally talented, especially when they happen to be amazingly lucky as well, is the kind of humility that is invoked by faith in a God to whom we can give gratitude and praise for those accomplishments that we are most inclined to boast of as our own.

Help me with this… it would be hubris for Tebow to take personal credit for his accomplishments… but it is not hubris for him to give thanks for being chosen to succeed and assisted in his efforts!?  What is wrong with this thinking!?

The same article about the atheist’s dilemma does, however, provide a useful checklist for atheists who allow themselves to be drawn into that specious argument about defining the god they don’t believe in.  No useful outcome can result from such debate. Christopher Hitchens’ statement will do just fine for me, thank you… “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”

This is my blog, and I don’t have to air the other side; there is no rule about equal time.  But what if  pious argument in favour of tebowing is also curiously informative!? A professor of theology wrote in Does God Care Whether Tim Tebow Wins on Saturday?… “in the 16th century, guys like Martin Luther, the Tim Tebow of his day (the Pope said he was “like a bull in the church’s vineyard,  an apt description for Tebow’s running style)”.

Excuse me!? Martin Luther was the Tebow of his day… does that make Tebow the Martin Luther of our day!? But to go on…

The doctrine of providence is a 50-cent phrase from Christian theology. It’s basically the idea that God directs all things that happen in this world according to his wise counsel and for the ends, the purposes, that will bring him the most glory.

The article ends with assertions that even when prayers are not answered and the worthy face terrible suffering, god is still working.

 It may be that Tebow will succeed in spectacular fashion; it may be that he will have the worst game of his life. Either way, the Bible assures us that God loves his chosen, God is orchestrating every detail of their lives, and God will lead them through success or failure to the end of all things. Sometimes God grants believers great victories, and sometimes he asks them to walk through the fire. This is true whether it is experienced on the football field, in the office, or in a country that rewards outspoken Christianity with a sword to the throat.

…Jesus Christ was the Son of God in human form.  He did not come to earth to be lauded, though, but to serve and to suffer (Mark 10:45). It was the will of God to bruise him, and through his vicarious death and life-giving resurrection to make a way to heaven for fallen mankind.

There is no greater reminder than this that God uses suffering in the lives of believers to accomplish his will. Whether, as with Joseph, he grants Christians incredible accomplishment and wealth, or whether, as with Job, he leads them steadily through the valley of the shadow of death, he loves them all the same. Sometimes, we remember, it is through tremendous hardship, suffering even to the point of death, that his people gain the greatest victories.

Yes, you read correctly…”either way…!?”  I have quite strong ideas, based on personal experience and a lifetime of observation, about the alleged power of prayer. Tebow’s “witnessing”  is a form of self-aggrandisement, a showing off, a public display, not of pious humility and gratitude, but of “holier-than-thou” grand-standing and attention-seeking.

What will we be doing during the game?  My husband will be playing the piano and/or reading.  My son is working on a research project.  I think I will watch a VHS tape of the modern version of Great Expectations with Gwyneth Paltrow and do some quilting on my guild challenge. Not much of a boycott, but it will do.

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