Excerpts from Christianity Today
Last month, three Long Island students were suspended for “Tebowing” — mimicking Tebow’s signature one-knee kneel — in the school hallways. According to the school, the sheer number of students who would mimic the move created “a safety hazard.” This says a lot about Tebow’s status in pop culture, as does the fact that name-checking Tebow has become a common practice in contexts as diverse as GOP presidential debates to progressive talk radio.
But Tebow’s name is synonymous with more than just football (and stunning fourth-quarter wins). His signature move started as a bow to God. Tebow himself defines “Tebowing” as “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.”
As Tebowing and Tebow himself have exploded into a nearly ubiquitous pop culture reference, he has attracted plenty of criticism, ranging from the ignorant to the outrageous, with conclusions about the larger meaning of the phenomenon ranging from bullying to unwise to maddening to sacrilegious.
Christians who aren’t in the public spotlight might be tempted to dismiss Tebow as an exaggerated witness: maybe he is among the few in the kingdom “called” to start an Internet meme or command the attention of a football stadium.
Tebow is brave. Although he’s not the only Christian in the NFL, it is not a workplace known for incorporating Jesus. Tebow created that space, and made it a place of praise. And he started long before he played for the NFL or the Broncos reached the playoffs.
Often, it takes courage and conviction to demonstrate Christ in the workplace. I can’t imagine “Tebowing” every time I score a professional achievement in my office, but I can imagine blessing my food in public, refusing to make a decision without praying first, and talking to coworkers about my faith when the timing is appropriate.
True, just because everybody’s talking about something (or someone like Tebow) doesn’t mean it’s having an impact. But I believe the very presence of God, in pop culture and elsewhere, brings unplanned benefits. For example, John 3:16 became the top Google search following Sunday night’s surprise overtime win. As Tebow said of the Tebowing phenomenon, “It’s not my job to see people’s reasons behind it. . . . At least it’s being talked about, and that’s a cool thing.”
There’s a lot to respect about a Christian unafraid to make everything about him represent Christ, so that whether there is one eye on him or a thousand, not one can fail to notice, whether they react with hatred or adulation or interest.
Can I get an Amen?