Talking to Tebow’s God

I have held off as long as I could but I think we better talk about this now before it goes any further.

Tim Tebow is a phenomenon is the media these days. His Denver Broncos football team is on a 6 game winning streak and he is 7-1 as their starting Quaterback. Despite his apparent limitations (skills) he has orchestrated a series of amazing comebacks during the winning streak.  That is a big deal! Any fan would love to have their team on this kind of a roller coaster – come from behind – frenzy.

That, however, is not what makes this news.

This past week the Broncos beat my beloved Chicago Bears in overtime after a miraculous set of circumstances turned the game around in the 4th quarter. The Tebow’s teammate picks up the story there: 

“Tebow came to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about a thing,’ because God has spoken to him,” Woodyard told The Denver Post this week.

It was Woodyard who then stripped Bears running back Marion Barber to hand the football — and the game — back to Denver.

For Tebow, just another day at the office.

“I believe in a big God and special things can happen,” he said, after he erased a 10-0 deficit against Chicago in the final 2:08 of regulation. “It’s not necessarily prophesying, but sometimes you can feel God has a big plan.”

Woodyard, for one, has no lingering doubts: “For all the Tebow haters: You better start believing.”

I want to be clear this before I say anything else: I am not hating Tebow. In fact, I like him. I like how he uses his summers to serve needy people in other countries. I like that he works so hard. I like that he is unorthodox in his throwing motion and scrabbling technique. I like that he is so sincere and transparent about his faith.

Some people get upset that he is always cramming his faith in their face. That is not what concerns me. It is his brand of faith that concerns me.

I have been very forthright that A) this is the camp of evangelical-charismatic zeal that I was raised in and emerged from B) that the epistemology behind ‘hearing from God’ … and the interventionist assumptions behind a ‘super’ natural worldview are antiquated relics of a pre-modern understanding and are untenable in the 21st century. If you want a more nuanced explanation, listen to “Pentecost for Progressives” [here] - starting in  minute 55 OR read the summary [here].  

This is the season of Advent and we do tell the story of God speaking to Mary. That is not what I am contesting. 

I try to never-ever play this next card… but the cards that I have been dealt has forced my hand:

Are you under the impression that God cares who wins a football game and intervenes to bring it about but doesn’t care enough about the thousands of children who are starving to do something about it?

Are you telling me that god knows but doesn’t care, or that God cares but doesn’t know, or that god could do something but won’t or that god would do something but can’t?

Look, I am not an either-or guy. I hate binaries, dualisms, and us vs. them mentalities. But when someone says that this is how God is… sometimes it forces you to say that I believe this God to be a false creation of human imagination – nothing more than an athropomophic projection.  

______

Three things for clarification:

  1. I could be wrong. He keeps winning and people say ‘If Joel Osteen wasn’t doing something right, he wouldn’t have 37,000 people who go to his church.”  In America, success = correct.
  2. The Calvinists could be right. God chooses whom ‘He’ wants to. I don’t want to be one of those people who say “If God is not the way I believe they-she-he  is, the I am not going to worship them-her-him.” I will worship God no matter what way God turns out to be… but I happen to really like the Jesus of the 4 canonical gospels… just sayin’.
  3. Tim Tebow himself has hinted in the past that he does not believe in an interventionist god. Bob Costas alluded to this to in his amazing speech.  It’s not Tebow that concern me – its Tebow’s fans.

 

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41 comments
John Krueger
John Krueger

Bo........Let's be clear on a few of your points that you don't take into consideration and jump at assumptions “Tebow came to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about a thing,’ because God has spoken to him ----- Matthew 6:34 - Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tebow did not say don't worry God said we would win the game, he said don't worry. By letting his teammate know that God doesn't want him to worry that worrying about something doesn't change anything (win or lose). “I believe in a big God and special things can happen,” he said, sometimes you can feel God has a big plan.” ----- Remember, your life is a part of God’s grand design. God had a plan for your life since before time began. Your life, therefore, has a destiny. You can't be a Christian and not believe God can do special things. God didn't say he would only to special things only for people in dire situations, he an do remarkable things for all people. ‘If Joel Osteen wasn’t doing something right, he wouldn’t have 37,000 people who go to his church.” ------Joel Osteen just tells people what they want to hear and doesn't challenge them with Gospel truths. he just tells them the feel good stuff they want to here. "if you just live a good life, God will give you what you want." That ain't how it works. I think you are being somewhat of a "hater" because you equate what he believe with God caring about football. What God cares about is that He has Tim where he wants him to be to further His kingdom and get his word out.

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

John - I have said all along that Tebow is great (even if I could do without the dramatic kneeling sideline prayers) AND that Tim doesn't think God intervenes in football games. I have been super clear that what makes me nervous is what his fans DO with his wins. ... and then you come in calling me a "hater" and saying that as long as it furthers the Kingdom and gets the word out ? WOW. o.k. I am willing to hear what you have to say on this - just do me a favor and check out today's post about Tebow and let's have the conversation over there :) http://homebrewedchristianity.com/2012/01/06/the-99-and-tim-tebow-canada-success-billy-graham-and-god/

Tripp Fuller
Tripp Fuller

Ohhh Noo....Pugh comes to the defense of DMB fans!!! I don't think we need to discuss theodicy - the question DMB fans make me ask!

Jeffrey Pugh
Jeffrey Pugh

What RIck Quinn said. And, Tripp, don't be hating on Dave Matthew fans. Just don't.

The Ordained Barista
The Ordained Barista

Very well said! And I LOVE the Bib Costas quote! I blogged yesterday that one of the (perceived) downsides to all the talk about God and Tebow is that God, in some manner, becomes smaller when He cares about W/L column, right? But what if it's not about the score? What if Tim finds himself in favor with God, as so many Biblical characters have, and we are watching the results? What if it's all about God honoring him in his job, the way He, at times, honors you and I? The only difference being the whole millions of fans thing... ha. Great Discussion!

Christian Reyes
Christian Reyes

Good point Bo. Old school religious categories have a hard time finding a place in the 21'st century ideological constellation. Tebow's approach to the divine is pretty antiquated and looks kind of weird to the uninitiated or 'the man of the times'. Nevertheless, I have some pre-modern blood flowing in my spiritual veins, which I think everyone person and spiritual institution does for that matter. All sacred books and founders are pre-modern, so I think 21century peoples who identify themselves as Muslims, Christians, Taoists and so on will necessarily be seminally infused with pre-modernism. I don't see any way around it. As-Salamu Alaykum

Christian Reyes
Christian Reyes

Cindy, it's obvious that god hates Marion Barber because of his hair. Too long and funky. The Nazarite clique is the only place for crazy long hair,.i.e Sammy,, Johnny Baptist. For the record I bet god really hates Fabio and Michael Bolton pax christi

Luke
Luke

This is an excellent post and excellent discussion. There has always been things that have not sat well with me with Tebow's fans (like many others here, I do actually like Tebow for the most part), and any other Christian in the public celebrity sphere. Because even if they are as humble as they can be about it, as Tebow is for the most part, there is always this lingering idea that God has blessed them in a unique way, and for someone who plays pro football, it would mean that God blessed his skill to play a game, when there are plenty of people out or work, and even dying around the world, that would like to be blessed with a skill to empower their lives and lift them out of poverty and death. I am not saying this is the fault of any one person like Tebow, but a byproduct of a Christian culture that lifts up someone like Tebow and points to him as a great example of faith. Much of this has been said here already, but my point is that even if Tebow is as humble as he can be, he will still present the idea that success=blessing to a culture that still see Christianity as adhering to that kind of principal. As well, I am really annoyed when people bring up the argument that, no matter how Tebow or his fans act in public and what they say, if one person gets saved, then it was all worth it. This is dangerous on so many levels. For one, it presents a very individualistic understand of salvation, where salvation at its core means getting something into the circle of faith by whatever means necessary. Second, it fails to recognize the complexity of the word 'saved.' Sure it might get someone saved, but saved into what kind of faith? Often how we come into following Jesus is very telling how how we will continue to follow Jesus, and what kind of faith we have. Many have probably been 'saved' through Pat Robertson, but into what kind of faith? Pat's very nationalistic and Republican faith that he presents to the world? Or for the Tebow fans we are discussing, into a faith that says God cares about football and blesses those who play, but not as much about someone who can't find a job to feed their families even though he has followed Jesus his whole life. And thirdly, even if one person does get saved, there are probably dozens more turned off to anything to do with Christianity because of it. They see a public face of a Christian who seems to reenforce the idea that Success=Christian Blessing, and wants even less to do when the Christian faith. It is like carpet bombing evangelism. Yes, we may have accomplished something, but the collateral damage was severe. Anyway, this discussion has got me thinking and I appreciate all of you for giving me much to chew on.

Ike
Ike

Hi Bo, I am always challenged and also confused when I read the comments. Is it possible that God is involved in both the big issues and the small ones and we just don't see it? Just yesterday I posted an article about how some men in PA started an alternative to the usury-laden paycheck loan businesses that crop up and prey upon low-income people. They believe the idea came to them from God. So there, God is at work in issues of poverty too! Just because Tebow is getting more attention doesn't mean that God is not working in other areas, or calling us to work in them. I understand people's angst and frustration over huge systemic issues in the world. But the answer is not to judge or to blame God. The answer is to trust God. When we see injustice we should appeal to God like the unjustly treated, powerless widow in Jesus' parable. But Jesus' lesson from that parable is important here, "And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:7-8 ESV) Instead of faith God will find that God has been judged, ironically by the very branch of God's church that lives in the most comfort. BTW, I think you are making WAY too big of a deal about the word "supernatural" but I'm interested in your posts on that too.

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

"Ike", I get what you are trying to say - I just want to clarify a couple of things that I am not sure you are hearing (or understanding) [the 1st one is the most important] 1) God IS involved in the big and the small. THat IS my point. Which is why I object to folks saying that God intervened to help someone score a touchdown but goes unaccounted for in systemic issues of poverty, injustice, and hunger. I'm not judging God (this is what you always get wrong) I am contending for people's interpretation of God's activity. I'm in no position to evaluate God (you confuse this) I am critiquing how people experience that, interpret that, and frame that (explain that). You don't need to stick up for God all the time - God is fine. I think if you could hear me on this one thing you could let your defenses down. 2) Maybe your god is weak and only has the ability to help already strong people win games in short bursts of interference but not enough to help truly vulnerable people out of their life circumstance which requires sustained energy. (I am 100% having fun with you on this one) 3) On a serious note, it would be impossible for you to evaluate if I have made too big a deal out of the 'super' natural. Without your knowing what I know, or offering what you know, or in any way have access with what I plan to do with it, you could not possible make an evaluation of whether I was making too big a deal ... or, as I suspect, that I have not yet make a big enough deal about it. By what criteria would you be judging this? (I am 50% having fun with you on this one) Christian - I am not contending our uterun origins (like seminal only...) But we do not stay in our infancy. Part of growing up and maturing is moving out. But when we leave mommy & daddy's home to launch out on our own, we are not criticizing, critiquing or complaining about the uterus that housed us or the arms that held us. It's ok to grow up and move on. It actually honors mom and dad. In fact... one might even say that a failure to do so would in some way implicate the parents in some level of un-health?

Joseph Ratledge
Joseph Ratledge

I'm terrified and appalled at the "If things go well its because God is Good – if they go bad I either don’t have enough faith or it is the devil." As a chaplain in Richmond, VA, I've dealt with multiple multiple folks in crisis, and this seems to be the fallback...especially when whatever life throws at us makes no sense whatsoever.

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

I am absolutely astounded by the quality of this conversation! I am always hesitant to comment on issues in the news, but this is making me rethink that ;) 3 Responses: - Kevin & Joseph, I am terrified by what you have outlined. If things go well its because God is Good - if they go bad I either don't have enough faith or it is the devil . That is quite a formula that many operate under. - Marc, thanks for the note! I am working on post for next week called 'Making Sense of Miracles" but just let me say this for now: Praying that a little girl has a good night sleep is awesome! but if we believe in the presence of Holy Spirit ... that it not 'super'natural that is the natural outflow of believing in an immanent presence of God ... it is not intervention - God is not outside of this realm and just tinkering with certain elements on seemingly random occasions. Saying a prayer creates an attitude and atmosphere that is comforting. Praying with her is far more effective than just praying for her ... but it is ALL good ! ... its just not 'intervention' or "super" natural. - Rick, you are right on here. In fact, it goes deep fast. Its like people who have never cast out a demon getting really mad at me when I suggest that the biblical account might need some interpretive update ... they snap at me "it still happens in Africa - missionaries say so" and that is the end of that in their minds. I don't want to get off on a sidetrack but ... maybe I should just plan on writing a follow up post called "Deconstructing Demons" ;p thank you all for the thoughts! -Bo

Rick Quinn
Rick Quinn

Bo- Thanks for this post and for raising concerns about the implicit theological assumptions that are often carelessly made about the way in which God does or doesn't act in the world. I, too, have to say that I like Tim Tebow. As a life long Tennessee Vol fan, it took me a long time to get to the previous statement. I find his determination inspiring. Yet, Tebow mania puzzles me and disturbs me for other reasons. I think that certain segments of the Christian church have a fetish with power and recognition. They desperately want to be recognized and have their faith and commitment validated publicly by an external source. This, it seems to me, is the motivation behind much of the strong arm techniques to insist on public displays of religiosity like the posting of the Ten Commandments or having Congress re-affirm "In God We Trust". The so-called "War on Christmas" is a manifestation of the same insecurity and demand for recognition. This fetish for power constructs a victim narrative (our faith is under attack) and clamors for our "faith" to be decisively affirmed as right, certain, and true. It is the reason many clamor to politicians whose policies might call for sharp questioning by the gospel but are nonetheless embraced because they embrace the name of Christian faith and seek to publicly sanction it and validate it. For many in this camp, Tim Tebow is their champion. Any criticism of him is a manifestation of the "victim" narrative nestled in the "attack" on Christianity, even if that criticism is valid (He is unorthodox, he may not have the skills needed for long term survival in the NFL, etc.). He is for many an idol. His success is a testament to the rightness of Christianity, evangelical Christianity to be more specific. Tebow's heroics are transformed into God's validation of the faith (bringing with it, of course, all the problematic theological assumptions you pointed to). Tebow is not their David. He is their Goliath, the champion who will smite those who "attack" faith and leave no question who the god of the battlefield is. I don't ascribe any of these motivations to him. I think he is a genuinely competitive and motivated athlete whose faith is important to him. But, I think he is co-opted by those who substitute the risk of faith and the cross for the American "theology of glory" and power where we aren't questioned but call into question all others. Culturally, Christianity has come to mean form, image and power where being faithful means asserting our privilege and position while shielding us from the issues of the poor and the least.

Cindy
Cindy

I think it has been well established that god hates Marion Barber. No one knows why but it is pretty obvious.

marc
marc

Hi Bo, I'm a friend of Jimmy's and I found your article through his facebook feed. Interesting stuff (Tim Tebow is a fascinating guy--though I must say I'm not a huge fan of his--I'm not sure how to square his public displays of affection with Jesus' teaching on prayer in Matthew 6). Anywho, two things: one, I guess I'm still a little unsure how you can say that a premodern view of God's action in the world is untenable or indefensible. If we are to completely write off the entire interventionist mindset, what motivation would we have to pray for little things like how well my daughter sleeps, or I guess, even our daily bread? Those things are fairly trivial in the large scheme of things, like millions of people who do not have daily bread. I always go back to Jesus' first miracle and wonder, why on earth did Jesus deem it necessary to give those people more wine? It makes almost no sense to me (yes, I've heard the whole dishonor in that culture argument before, but, come on--why not bring somebody back to life or fly or something). At some point, interventionist or not, it is must be left up to God to decide how he works in the world. Saying that he doesn't care about football though, I would argue, isn't necessarily true (maybe he does). It's like saying that God has an limited amount of attention to show to the world. So, since God is focusing on helping Tebow win some football game, he is not able to focus on helping the hungry of the world. Saying that he cares more about something than another thing is an anthropomorphic fallacy, which is so easy to make with a divine being. Your questions: "Are you telling me that god knows but doesn’t care, or that God cares but doesn’t know, or that god could do something but won’t or that god would do something but can’t?" I think I would answer that by saying that God does know but for some reason isn't acting and I have no idea why not and we should continue to pray to him and ask him how to stop it. Because God hasn't acted on that, I don't think we can make the leap to say that he shouldn't intervene in other daily activities or the petty affairs of his creation until he does something about the hungry children. Does all this make sense? Thanks for the article. Enjoyed reading it. -Marc

Joseph Ratledge
Joseph Ratledge

So, the masses, the Tebow fans are what frightens us. My question is: "now what?" This self-blame untenable to the 21st century theology is what, I feel, I run into more often than not. Folks are locked into their traditions. (Before I moved from McMinn County, TN, I went to the church my parents still go to, the one my grandparents went to, the one my great-grandparents....) This is what we're up against. I agree, it's untenable. Yet I feel that those of us who took the risk of challenging our faith, strike that, critically challenging our faith and worldviews, are still part of a smaller isolated community. Unfortunately, the praise God for good things, blame God for forsaking you or blame the devil is the prevalent thought in the populace. So back to the question, now what? How do we break out of the campfire/coffee pot/pipe smoking community into the wideworld of American spirituality? I know there's not an easy quick answer.

Kevin Matthews
Kevin Matthews

Here, in a nutshell, is what worries me most about the Tebow phenomenon. It is only one step away from producing this kind of thinking: "My life is a mess. I lost my job, my spouse left me, and I am about to lose my home. Why is this happening? it must be because I do not have a strong enough faith." It is just too easy for this sort of theology to produce self blame in those who are apparently less blessed that Mr. Tebow. While I might say that he has never suggested this conclusion, twenty six years of pastoring assure me that other people out there are reaching that kind of conclusion. And that's dangerous.

Christian Reyes
Christian Reyes

I think god is, was and will continue to be accessible by pre-modern, modern or postmodern worldviews. These categories are' horizontal' in effect however 'vertically' calibrated they may intend or hailed to be.However we perceive and relate to the world out there doesn't' actually make it what is or isn't. All we have is perception, ever malleable ,never fixed. The phenomenal & noumenal is in play. I do think god is before , within,above, and after nature. The alpha and omega. So my view of nature or the world is immaterial, pardon the pun, I think belief in this 'ground of being', primal cause or the 'man upstairs' brings with it a metaphysical nexus which works in any pre-modern modern and postmodern worldview. Enough already, I 'Te-bow" as well!!! Go Broncos!

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

You bring up what is actually a really important point. and something that I may need to clarify about my position God is at work in the world. We all believe that. It is how we talk about and interpret it that is different. I am not saying that a person with a pre-modern worldview can not access God. by NO means! I am saying that their interpretation is untenable in the 21st century. -Bo

Tripp Fuller
Tripp Fuller

Bo I have a 100% accurate piece of evidence that God is not concerned. Just think....in the past two weeks if God was involved the LA Dodgers would have Albert Pujols and the LA Lakers would have Chris Paul. I would like Tebow but his fans are as bad as Dave Matthews fans so I will pass. Cam Newton. Go Panthers!

Dan Hauge
Dan Hauge

Bo--Sounds great. I live in Seattle, and there are plenty of fantastic camping spots withing an hours' drive or so, we can figure out the details later. :) I'm completely with you on your "decoupling" project. And I agree, mostly, with the gist of what you are saying about how we don't need to embrace a 'whole package deal' of a supernatural worldview. I guess for me it really comes down to the details, a case by case basis on how we decide which out-of-the-ordinary stuff is acceptable, and which stuff counts as inherently dysfunctional and irrational. Seems to me there is some subjectivity there (not that anything's wrong with that).

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

Dan, I lived in and loved Olympia WA. One of my best friends on the planet lives in Kirkland. and there is a possibility that Tripp & I are coming to Seattle this year to do a 3-D live event. what I am saying is - don't start drying the firewood yet... but call PEMCO and see what is covered in your policy Next week I will put up the 'Making Sense of Miracles" post and will look forward to our interaction. THANK YOU for following up on this idea. -Bo

Melinda
Melinda

I look at things much more simply. Obviously God is Tebow's passion but so is football. God cares about the big and little things in our lives, because he is a relational God. So long as Tebow doesn't put football before God, I think he's ok with it. That's the cool thing about God. He lets us have our hobby's, sports, music, etc. (remember we are created in His image) and often blesses us while we do it. Just as a parent loves their child and likes to give them things, God love us, only so much more. So for some people, it might be a beautiful hike when God makes the weather perfect and you see a cool animal out in the woods. For Tebow it's football. Why can't God bless him this way? As far as his glorifying God in public, now even Christians will criticize that? When did it come to that? It doesn't mean God doesn't care about the hungry or sick. It's not one or the other. He cares about it all!

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

Melinda - I really like your note. couple of points of clarification: 1) Agreed: God cares about it all! This is a wonderful thing to proclaim from the pulpits to the steeples to the mountaintops. 2) I was not criticizing him. I was really careful not to do that. I even said I liked him... a Florida Gator (!) ;) that was big deal for a Buckeye native 3) We just need to be careful that when we say God intervenes to help with a football game that we are not saying that God is not intevening in things that are not going so well (like poverty, hunger, and sickness). It is that intervention that gets tricky 4) When we say that God made the weather good for a hike, are we saying that God made the weather bad for those who suffer in a Monsoon, Hurricane, Flood or Tornado? That's the problem with dualisms... to say a positive in one is to connote a negative in the other. That is what I am trying to steer clear from. -Bo

Rod Olson
Rod Olson

Travis, You NAILED it. God yawns at American football. However, when it comes to Canadian hockey, God sits on the edge of his throne. His favorite player is Sidney Crosby. Hopefully, God will work a miracle and permanently heal him of post-concussion symptoms so that he can resume playing and I can move up in my hockey pool (and then, of course, tithe off my winnings...;) I, too, like Tebow. I appreciate his work ethic and his outward attitude. Regarding an outspokeness about his faith, I don't (so far) see it as his "ramming God down peoples' throats" (would the same people accuse Tiger Woods of the same thing if he attributed his success to Buddha by winning the next 20 majors?) Hopefully, he stays real and doesn't slip into the realm of "wingnut." In some people's minds it's already too late. I hope Tebow continues to downplay all the hype (and gets his teammates to do the same). Of course, the media has and always will blow things out of proportion (http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_19546896). This will NOT last forever. They WILL lose eventually (I just hope they BLOW AWAY them stinkin' Patriots this weekend) The real test of his "success" will be his reaction to the 1548th fan who wants his autograph when all he wants to do is go home after the game, his unspoken mental words when his receiver drops an easy pass in the endzone, and his heart when the sportswriters "puff" him up.

Dan Hauge
Dan Hauge

I'm glad that we're calling back to the 'Pentecost and Progressives' podcast you guys did--cause I was loving it and kind of frustrated by it at the same time. In some ways, Bo, my confusion by your position on this is crystallized by your blog summary when you said "I believe in the miraculous but not the supernatural". I'd still like to see more unpacking on exactly how you differentiate the two. I appreciated a great deal your stories about healing and exorcisms, and how you understand them now. But I still wonder how, on the one hand, you can affirm God acting powerfully in the world in ways that many secular people would be skeptical of, and on the other hand come down so strongly on certain beliefs (like the demonic), insisting that they are complete untenable relics. Wouldn't good Dawkins-type atheists also insist that healings, or the ascribing of any action at all to God, are just as much bound to ancient worldviews? Not that we have to agree with them, of course. But it seems to me that the possibility of God acting in specific, out of the ordinary ways is not necessarily ruled out just because we don't believe in a 'three-tiered universe'. By the way, I agree 100% on your point about the necessity of engaging institutional and political darkness, and not bracketing that out in favor of a very individualistic 'spiritual warfare' paradigm. I think the more serious question behind the Tebow question is, how can we affirm God acting in specific out-of-the-ordinary ways to heal or speak, when so many other more deserving people don't receive such treatment? Why would God bother caring about a football game when so many suffer disease and starvation? But, to make the question a little more difficult, how could Jesus heal some people around him and not others just one town over who may have deserved it even more? And how exactly does this fit into the idea that God is equally at work at all times in all places? So is the issue really metaphysics, or morality? Is the idea of God acting specifically a greater affront to a 21st century western scientific worldview, or to our sense of fairness and justice? We seem to be going both ways in the conversation--God doesn't give game plans to Tebow because '21st century sciences proves That Doesn't Happen', or God doesn't give game plans to Tebow because 'God's got More Important Things to Worry About'. And this comment now seems to be going all over the place, but I can't figure out how to tighten it up so I'll let it stand.

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

First of all Dan Hauge - those comment did cover a vast array of material ;) To really do this right would require 4 things: a) a campfire b) a pot of coffee c) a couple of pipes d) 2-3 hours. [so where do you live and when are you free?] Until then, let me say 2 things - 1) I will work on a post for next week that clarifies this excellent distinction between the miraculous and the 'super' natural. 2) suffice to say - things have gotten mashed together that need to be uncoupled.. things that never belonged together in reality. - Mall rent-a-Santa & the celebration of the Incarnation - Jesus' birthday & December 25 - The Easter bunny and the resurrection - St. Valentine and sexy chocolate lingerie (or sex, chocolate, and lingerie ... your choice) - St. Patrick and puking your guts out. - God's work in the world (which is both natural and miraculous) and the 'super' natural worldview. That was my fun way of saying that you can have miracles, miraculous healing and divine activity and NOT have to subscribe to the whole ball of wax (with its inherent disfunction, irrationality, inconsistency, and baggage) that comes with the 'super' natural conception. watcha think? -Bo

Scott
Scott

@Bo - Good question. I have difficulty answering the 'why' quite often (even in scripture) for reasons that some were chosen over others, or why God ordered men to murder women and children, etc. I have accepted that the Lord will have mercy on who he has mercy... that many things are beyond our understanding here, hence the need for faith. Remember that "blessed be the poor for they will inherit the kingdom of God." While it's hard to swallow this from someone like myself who has food in my mouth everyday regardless of faith, in some ways I envy the poor (the truly poor, I'm not a wealthy man myself but in comparison to other countries I live well above the average.)... we're closest to God when we recognize that we really need him and those moments happen in our lives when worldy things aren't fulfilled such as hunger, someone in our family / circle of friends being ill or sick (or ourselves), etc. It's keeping the faith and remembering / thanking / praising God through the highs that I feel is the most difficult... the times where it becomes all too easy to pat ourselves on the back or to be proud in our own eyes... something Tebow seems to reject with ease. We also have to remember that those of faith have often gone hungry or were persecuted. Those who have absolute faith do not have issue with being deprived of wordly things... so to answer your question someone who had absolute faith would not necessarily be in or out of poverty. They would be thankful for what they did have, and in the end the Lord will reward them most of all. Hope that helps explain my position.

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

Scott, I will be straight with you - your kinda making me nervous with this line of reasoning. SO god chooses some over others, tells some people to murder other people, and lets others go hungry... regardless of of their individual piety? Some people are good (obedient) and are blessed while other good folks go hungry.. but god wants 'ultimate faith' from us all and will reward them - but not in ways like protection, food, success or anything else tangible? and we can not question why god picks and chooses but must have faith despite if any of this makes sense? -Bo help me out here. That sounds irrational, erratic, and pernicious.

Scott
Scott

Asking if God cares about the outcome of a football game is the wrong way to approach this... if indeed the Lord is at work here it's not because he's interested in seeing the Broncos win football games, rather it's the attention that Tebow brings to the Lord with these victories... a testament to the power of absolute faith, which the Lord demands of us yet very few of us keep (even though many of us think we do, we don't). Remember that we can move mountains with the right level of faith... Whether or not this is dumb luck or the Lord at work, I'd say it's getting harder and harder to credit this to luck.

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

Scott, I kinda get that... but ... and here is the thing... what does that kind of thinking mean for people in poverty and hunger? See, here is my problem (and I said this about not having a systemic framework) we are good at talking about the personal (individual) and the 'super'natural (angelic/demonic) but not the systems, structural, and institutional stuff. It is a HUGE gap in our thinking. are you under the impression that if they had absolute faith... they would not be in the circumstances they find themselves?

Travis Mamone
Travis Mamone

Even though I think Tebow is a great football player, I think the God of the universe really isn't all that concerned with American football.

Curtis (or Marcus)
Curtis (or Marcus)

Per your first item of clarification: Yes, in America, success = correct. But that is hogwash and we all know it (including you, of course, Bo!). Interestingly, another idol of American religiosity is correct = success, but that's another issue, isn't it? One of my favourite proof texts is John 6.66 (that decimal point is very important, in this case). After offering a 'difficult teaching' about being the manna from Heaven, the gospel writer tells us, "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed [Jesus]." Preach on that, Joel Osteen.

Jeff Armstrong
Jeff Armstrong

Only because of the statement you made about "antiquated relics of a pre-modern understanding" did I lump those in there. I DON'T believe God helped Tebow score a touchdown....THERE IS JUST NO WAY. BUT, is God using the Tebow thing for his own purpose....possibly.....I mean look at the news!!! I too don't believe God cares about football, but does he uses venues like football for his purposes? I believe he does. I will definitely listen to your podcast on exorcisms!! One more thing Bo...thanks for being YOU :) I love you man!

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

Thanks buddy! and thanks for the clarification - that REALLY helped. Oh,by the way, I do believe that God is at work in all things and in every moment - so God is not absent from this.

Jeff Armstrong
Jeff Armstrong

Bo, From your statement below, I am curious about something....I have been to several "Holy Roller Revival's", is everything I see going on there really not happening? I have a good pastor friend who has traveled to Africa many times (because they keep asking him to come back) and performed 100's of exorcism's, are those not really happening? "I have been very forthright that A) this is the camp of evangelical-charismatic zeal that I was raised in and emerged from B) that the epistemology behind ‘hearing from God’ … and the interventionist assumptions behind a ‘super’ natural worldview are antiquated relics of a pre-modern understanding and are untenable in the 21st century." I believe Tebow has brought God back to a "front and center" awareness. It doesn't matter what side of the 50 yard line you happen to be on, just having Bob Costas and national TV having conversations with "God" in them is a good thing. I have thought, well maybe God is using Tebow as a communication tool" to get back into our consciousness. I mean it's on everyone's lips right now!!

Bo Sanders
Bo Sanders

See, here is the concern: look at how many things you just lumped together under one umbrella. So I don't think that God helped Tebow score a touchdown and that is linked to Revival meeting and exorcisms in Africa. That is what I am talking about: the package deal. It concerns me. I would say two things really strongly: 1) just because ecstatic experiences in worship meeting ... doens't mean that the explanation provided IN those meetings is validated. 2) just because demons come out of people in dramatic ways in Africa, doesn't mean that God helped Tebow throw a pass. this line of reasoning makes me nervous. Why are those things a package deal? Here is the big rub: Yes people are talking about Tebow and God... but it THAT what God cares about and wants to be talking about? not poverty or hunger or... but Football? p.s. I have done more than 100 exorcisms and I explain my understanding of them in the podcast.

Nate Gilmour
Nate Gilmour

Why are you hatin'? ;) I'll admit that I've not watched any football this season (Colts fan--whaddya gonna do?), but Tebow has been lighting up the Facebook wall whether one watches the NFL or not. I do think that, at the least, Tebow is giving me a chance to talk to the teens with whom I interact (both in the college classroom and in my congregation) about sticky questions of Providence and divine act and other such things. You know I'm not a process person, but I do think that opportunities to get in the way of too-easy theological assertions are to be welcomed if one teaches, as we do. And when these questions have come up, while I'm committed to a different set of philosophical traditions than yours, I do end up coming down in similar places, especially when it comes to questions of what sorts of things God does in the world to make a semiotic statement, when indeed the signs show up. I think we can agree that a fourth-quarter touchdown just isn't the same sort of thing as a parting Red Sea, a return from exile, or a resurrected Jesus.

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