Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Challenge - Let Tebow be Tebow, and men be men

Before we get to this week's Sunday Challenge, we'd like you to consider the following two lists first. Which of these two lists do you think best represents the values and characteristics that Christians are to embody as followers of Jesus?

Proving Oneself
Goal Oriented
Loving cooperation
Personal expression

Did you choose A or B? We're guessing B, but we'll get back to this in a minute.

This week in Gatordom started off with so many wondering why oh, why did Tim Tebow skip his first post game press conference (excepting Kentucky earlier this year)? And Tebow took quite a few hits in the press for not doing so. Whether he deserved it or not, is a discussion for another day.

The leader in this cavalcade of dissenting voices was ESPN's Chris Low who called into question Tebow's manhood for what he thought was dodging the presser after having the worst game of his college career (and completely overlooking that Tebow tied Herschel Walker's record).

Tebow is human: First of all, Tim Tebow is the epitome of a man. Anybody who’s watched him play football knows that. But for him not to man up and face the media Saturday after throwing not one, but two pick six’s in Florida’s 29-19 win over Mississippi State makes you wonder if the pressure is starting to get to Tebow.

Then you had Urban Meyer defending Tebow in the wake of frustrating close finishes, who said “The good thing about Tim is he’s a very mature grown man."

Finally, we posted a Georgia fan's musing on Tebow, which we read some weeks ago, and coincidentally it turned out to be from The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog.

So if Tebow is the "epitome of manhood" and he's a Christian, is Tebow the epitome of Christian manhood? And are Christians comfortable with his masculinity? Somehow, we don't think so.

Let's go back to the chart above. Be honest, did you pick A or B?

Pastor David Murrow, in his book Why Men Hate Going to Church, uses the above chart to illustrate a very important point. He writes,

Over the years I have shown this chart to hundreds of people: men and women, Christians and non-Christians. More than 95 percent of the time, people choose [set B] as the best representative of true Christian values. You probably did too.

I culled these lists from Chapter 1 of the best seller Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus ... What's clear from this exercise is that when most people think of Christ and His followers, they think of feminine values. People think of Jesus as having the values that come naturally to a woman. Thus true disciples of Jesus should adopt values that are commonly found in women while rejecting those most often found in men.

The reason we write this is that it has become abundantly clear through our email inbox that you ladies don't like the more "masculine" stories on the site. Because the only complaints we have received from the site are from you ladies complaining about the "smack talk" and "bizarro" stories/links basically claiming that they do not "represent" Tim Tebow and his Christian message well.

Conversely, nearly all of the emails from men are how much they like those very same two, along with a brief statement that they are thankful for Tim Tebow's Christian witness. (And Bizzaro even got a nod on the ChristianSportsOnline blog - click on "funny")

Why is that? It's seems you ladies like the B column version of Christian ideals, while the guys like the A column. And in our opinion there are two men that represent those two columns, Ned Flanders and Tim Tebow. And in case you don't know who Ned Flanders is, he's the face of contemporary Christianity to non-Christians today (This isn't a new story, but we don't think much has changed since 2001 on the Christian male in pop culture scene.) This is what Christianity Today reported:

Today on American college and high school campuses, the name most associated with the word Christian—other than Jesus—is not the Pope or Mother Teresa or even Billy Graham. Instead, it's a goofy-looking guy named Ned Flanders on the animated sitcom known as The Simpsons. The mustache, thick glasses, green sweater, and irrepressibly cheerful demeanor of Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's next-door neighbor, have made him an indelible figure, the evangelical known most intimately to nonevangelicals.

Really? Sadly, yes.

Ladies, make your choice and please choose wisely, which would you rather have as the face of contemporary Christianity?

A or B

Did you choose B again? We hope not, because Ned Flanders is the personification of what you'll get choosing the B column kind of guy.

We understand that Tebow's broad appeal is because he seems to embody a great amount of the ideals in both lists. Is there another player out there that you could do a photo array that illustrates so many of the points covered on both the A and B lists?

But this was on the Gator message board if you still don't believe us.
  • I'm actually kind of surprised how aggressive Tim is after a tough play. I've seen him do his share of jawing and pushing/shoving.

Or just go to Christian Girls ♥ Tim Tebow and have a look for yourself.

Tim Tebow is an aggressive guy. Just watch him play. In fact, he's more than aggressive, he's a beast. Brandon Spikes calls Tebow a "warrior," and that's high praise from a middle linebacker. He's become one of the best because he is goal oriented, endures an incredible off season workout regime to be one of the strongest on the team, and is one of the most decorated college players to take the field in history. So don't overlook that ladies while fondly gazing on the pics of Tebow holding babies and doing charity work and hugging Coach Meyer. And don't overlook it or try and squelch it in Christian men as well.

Men need to be men. And if you want your husbands, dads, brothers, boyfriends, friends, and sons to go church, and be Christian men, then make a little room for them on Sunday. Want to know why alot of men rather stay home and watch football on Sunday? Because football demonstrates many of the ideals of what it is to be a man. They'd rather not get up early, get dressed, and sing love songs to Jesus. Sorry, but that's the truth. (And what is a love song to Jesus? If you can replace Jesus with baby, and it still sounds like a love song, you've got a love song to Jesus.)

If the church wants men to be interested in church, then the church is going to have to compete with that. Yes, compete. Men want to be challenged, and they want a chance to succeed, not necessarily hug their neighbors and hear a message on expressing their feelings. And by the looks of it, the church is willing to settle for a "moral victory" on this issue. And as Gators, we count "moral victories" as losses not wins. Just ask Tennessee.

Because this has turned out to be such a long post, we'd like to wrap up with verses that we think show Jesus' more "masculine" side. And we know they probably won't be popular with you ladies, but the God we serve became a man to save mankind. And that in our view included being a man's man.

  • Physically Aggressive Jesus: So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. (John 2:15)
  • Smack Talking Jesus: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. (Matt 23:27)
  • Confronting Jesus: Then Jesus said to them, "How foolish you are! You're so slow to believe everything the prophets said! (Luke 24:25)
  • Disappointed Jesus: "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me." (Mark 9:19)
  • Calling it like he saw it Jesus: You snakes, offspring of snakes, how will you be kept from the punishment of hell? (Matt 23:33)
  • Sarcastic Jesus: How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Luke 6:42)
  • Was not a Momma's boy Jesus: Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
    Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)
  • Had read his Bible Jesus: Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
  • Had his priorities straight Jesus: Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5: 15, 16)

And one last thing, please, really please, we're begging you here, no more drawings of Jesus in the white dress with lambs and little kids. We serve the King of Kings, not some strange looking guy in a dress. If you don't like Tebow in the white dress, now you know how we feel about seeing Jesus in the white dress too.