Do You Love Tim Tebow Because He’s Your Type of Christian and Reject Mitt Romney Because He Isn’t?

Uh oh.  I just took three sacred things, college football, politics in a coming election year and our faith and mashed them together.  Well, it’s probably a good thing.

A few “cut to the chase” thoughts here.It doesn’t matter to me if you like Tim Tebow or not.I am not trying to persuade you of who to vote for (or not vote for).  And in all honesty, I am quite a while from making up my mind.This post is concerned with the inconsistencies I see within the evangelical culture in whom we choose to pour our love over, whom we reject and our motivations.

I happen to like Tim Tebow, though I couldn’t care less about the Gators and have a hard time keeping up with college football (but I love the highlights).  Even more importantly, my father-in-law is a huge Gators fan, so Tebow gives us something to talk about.  What I do find surprising is that so many people have been talking about Tebow for years – he’s quite the figure.

Now, I’ll admit, initially I was a bit suspicious of Tebow’s outspoken Christian faith.  My suspicion was further fueled by the media’s love for him – “He must be their type of Christian.”  As time went on, I was quite amazed by Tebow’s public persona.  He seems to me very genuine and I find myself not only respecting him, but concerned for him and every so often, I include him in my prayers.  It’s clear that many cannot wait for him to fail and by fail I mean morally and that’s regrettable.

I often wonder if Tebow wasn’t an outspoken Christian, would he be as popular?  Would he be as popular to Christians?  It’s safe to say that he wouldn’t be, right?  Would he more appealing to those that currently disdain him if he had a few DUI’s and was as womanizing as others in professional sports?  Popularity brings many things, fans, endorsements, cameos, beautiful girlfriends/boyfriends, book contracts and many critics/detractors/enemies  Celebrity is a strange thing you know.

The interesting thing to me is that Tebow is becoming part of the culture war and this is not a fair thing to him.  Christians are upset that people hate him because of his faith and they’re responding by being even more zealously in love with him and propping him higher on the cultural stage.  With that will come a world of expectation on him and these things usually don’t turn out well for the person in Tebow’s position. Undoubtedly, there will be a Tim Tebow controversy playing all over Sportscenter and cable news and it will have nothing to do with his on the field performance.

Enter Mitt Romney.  He’s the GOP frontrunner.  If he was smart, he’d let Tim Tebow baptize him in the Mississippi and make him his running mate. (John McCain is thinking, “Now you tell me.”)  The funny thing is that some Christians don’t like Romney because he’s Mormon.  There was a pastor in a big church inTexas who said that was quite outspoken against Romney’s convictions.  Now from one pastor responding to another, I’d say that there are better ways of promoting your candidate of choice and it came across as an attack. It’s generally not good rhetoric that we dismiss candidates based soley on their religious beliefs.  And for the sake of this post, most of us find it unfair that many do so with people like, in this case, Tim Tebow.

Back to Romney, while all of us of have every right to prefer another candidate that better represents him/her, I’d like to encourage fellow believers to be responsible in their thinking and dialoguing.  I am personally not sure who the best candidate is for our country and currently unsure of who best represents me.  I do think it’s irresponsible to reject the Romney-types based solely on their faith.  It implies that one who would have voted for him had he checked the right box, had he been “their type of Christian”.  One issue voting is a dangerous thing.

Make no mistake, I believe faith plays a central role in someone’s life and if they claim to be “nominal” of a particular type of faith, I tend to see that as a humanistic type of faith (like faith in us humans which is a terrible “religion” in my opinion).  But I’m not sure I can reject Romney based on his faith until I see how if affects him.  This reminds me of Bill Clinton’s Bible and his knowledge of Scripture. He could probably walk into a pulpit with his Christian vocabulary and speaking talent and impress many congregations. And while I’d like to think he has grown for the better over the years, the point remains, checking the “Christian box” is a tricky thing.

As the Tim Tebows and the Mitt Romneys pass through our cultural landscape, let us be careful that we not objectify them on the basis of their faith and be careful to not assign their worth to us by because they are not our type of believer.

You are more than welcome to push back, offer clarity and insight – thanks for reading!


  1. Mark Allen says:

    I do love Tebow for every reason stated above. Seriously, love the guy and proud of it.

    As for Romney, I could find myself voting for a Mormon as I don’t let religion be the only factor I look at in candidates.

    But let’s be very straightforward, Romney is not a Christian, he is a Mormon, this is not a sect of Christianty, it is a different faith system. You somewhat imply if Romney is your type of Christian, he isn’t anyone’s type of Christian, he is a Mormon. I’d rather phrase it if he isn’t your type of Mormon. In which case I’d say the majority of Mormon people I have met have been much more moral and generous than the majority of Christians I know.(including me, I’m a bit of an ahole sometimes). And in that case, he might be my type of Mormon, the jury is still ou and im not sure it matters that much. I know he isn’t my kind of libertarian, that I’m sure of, and so in that regard, I’d like to nominate Ron Swanson for president.

  2. As Tim Tebow always gives the glory to God when he scores a touchdown, I wonder if theodicy has ever crossed his mind… God intervenes to stifle defenders in order that Tebow win football games, but seems to choose not to intervene in other situations… My stomach turns over when I see someone give God credit for something so trivial. It’s nothing but veiled egoism, i.e. God helps Tim Tebow out specifically, in a meaningless game, so God is praised. I can think of nothing more selfish of Tebow to do.

  3. Of course, if I had the time, I’d love to attack all ontotheology…

  4. @Mark, While I do not recognize Mormonism as part of orthodox Christianity, I see how the title of the post can be misleading. But from what you’re saying in your second paragraph, it seems we’re on the same page. Funny line that he might be your type of Mormon – I like that.

  5. @Bo, every time I see your name I think about the craziness of timing.

    Anyway, indeed, I don’t believe that God cares at all about trivial matters but I do think he cares about how we handle the trivial matters. (Take us bloggers for instance :) You and I would have a fun time discussing what is trivial.

  6. Bo Eberle says:

    Hey, I get it, God cares about the small stuff, I’m overjoyed (really). But God’s “caring” and “Providence” are two separate issues. In Tim Tebow’s world, God is omnipotent, prime mover, sovereign, etc, and so he is just a case study in what I see to be the fatal flaw of such a “God is omni-everything” theological world view – that God would actually help you win a football game, find a parking spot, create a sale at your favorite store, etc. and yet all the terribleness going on elsewhere is either “part of God’s plan” or God simply doesn’t do anything.

    How would God want Tebow to handle the petty matter of football? I think he would prefer Tim to attribute his success to Tim’s own hard work and a good deal of luck. Why? Because if I was a dying African infected with Aids and no access to clean water, I sure as heck don’t want to hear that God is over in America playing offense for the Broncos instead of saving lives. I can imagine God cringing every time his name is mixed up with touchdowns and championships.

  7. Bo Eberle says:

    But hey, you’re at Cornwall, Horton would certainly disagree with by disparaging remarks about God’s sovereignty!

  8. Bo Eberle says:

    Also, has anyone Tebowed today?

  9. We have a lot of agreement here, not sure about Tebow (there is a part of me that hopes his theology is deeper than his post-game press conferences let on).

    Did we know each other when I had my “everything has a reason” posts (Dec. 2010). It started with Bills WR, Steve Johnson dropping a game-winning TD pass and questioning God on Twitter.

    Yes, I think Horton would disagree with you and a good bit of me.

  10. Bo Eberle says:

    Yeah, I remember that. Given your sympathies, how do you feel about Process thought?

  11. Bo Eberle says:

    Laying my cards on the table, the Process conceptions of panentheism and God’s “weak” force in the aim of all events is is the only way to ethically resolve theodicy. Gotta give up omnipotence.

  12. Know that your brief summary is respected, but I cannot imagine myself arriving there. I’m not sure my understanding of Process Theology would allow me to articulate my concerns to you intelligently. There are parts that I am drawn to (a God that doesn’t micro-manage) and parts that I cannot see myself conceding (omnipotence).

  13. Bo Eberle says:

    Well actually I think God, in Process, does micro manage! The panentheistic view holds that God is IN all things, working toward his purposes, yet God’s will is subject to prior events and circumstances to determine possibility, and also human freedom. So it seems like you take an inverse position haha

  14. Interesting, not sure I see that as micro-managing though. But this thread does remind that I need to do some better reading on PT. One of these days, I’ll hit you up for a reading list.

  15. I sort of understand why you note Romney as a
    Christian, but not entirely.

    “Most Mormons self-identify as Christian, though some of their beliefs differ substantially from mainstream Christianity. Mormons believe in the Bible, as well as other books of scripture, such as the Book of Mormon.” (Wikipedia)

    But as you did deeper into Mormon beliefs, you would not find yourself preaching them in an evangelical church.

    So I am guessing that you are posing him as a quasi-Christian public figure with an emphasis on his mannerisms / public behaviour and comparing w/ the Tebow dude.

    I understand why one would give God the glory when something good happens (in a game)…but (have a laugh here)…you never see a QB give thanks to God when he throws an interception, right? *After all*, we are supposed to praise God in ALL THINGS…right…?!? LOL

  16. Another thought-provoking post Tim! Glad to see you’re settling in at your new digs. :)

    Also very interested in the back and forth between you and Bo. Fascinating scenario I never really thought about before.

  17. I think it’s naive of politicians to think that Christians vote based on issues and not on the quality of the candidate. I actually find this concept both laughable and degrading.

    As for the Tebow-ization of everything. I get why he is so popular. I hope he matures in his faith to the point that he believes his actions speak louder than the words he puts on his hands. I wish he were the kind of believer that Drew Brees is… get stuff done for the community, than talk to me about your faith. :)

  18. Adam! Hope things are well at the Cartel! Thanks for reading. Yeah, I’m in agreement, though there’s a part in me that hopes behind all the “positivity” and perfectly predictable sound-bytes that there is a growing maturity in his faith.

    Catch you soon my friend.


  1. […] Tebow and make him another piece in the culture war. I made this argument previously in the Tebow-Romney comparison. Are people attacking Tebow because he is a professing Christian – yes, undoubtedly. Is this […]

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