Clearly, Tim Tebow is America’s most famous Christian athlete at the moment. And, according to a front-page story in the New York Times this weekend, he already has achieved something that only a handful of saints—like Francis, Patrick and Benedict—have achieved: a new approach to prayer.
TEBOWING: NEW WORD
AND PRAYER STYLE
LESS THAN 3 MONTHS OLD
As documented by The Denver Post and the Global Language Monitor, the prayer style and new word “Tebowing” originated after the overtime victory of the Denver Broncos over the Miami Dolphins on October 23, 2011. During the victory celebration, Tim Tebow “took a knee” and was photographed in a moment of prayerful reflection with his fist against his forehead.
Right after the victory, inside a New York City bar near Union Station, Jared Kleinstein and a group of his friends were euphoric about the Broncos victory. They stepped outside, so ecstatically thankful for the big win that they mirrored Tebow’s pose on the sidewalk, and photographed themselves in prayer.
As The Denver Post reports: “When Kleinstein got home, he uploaded the picture to his Facebook page. The ‘likes’ started coming in like crazy. And thus, the Tebowing phenomenon was born. Kleinstein created the ‘Tebowing’ tumblr blog on Monday, and on Tuesday purchased the Tebowing domain name from GoDaddy.com. Hundreds of people have since submitted their photos to be included on the site.” (Here’s a link to Kleinstein’s Tebowing website, where you’ll find a lot more photos like the examples shown at right.)
YOU CAN MEET
THE REAL TIM TEBOW
IN THESE PAGES
Tebow tells his own story with the help of a ghost writer in TIM TEBOW: Through My Eyes and the book is well worth reading for anyone curious about Tebow as a religious inspiration. In the opening pages, for example, you’ll discover that he is a deeply evangelical Christian. For example, God is “He” to Tebow. Abortion is a horrific evil. And abortion actually is a huge part of Tebow’s life story. At the time his mother became pregnant with Tim, they were living in the Philippines where Tim’s father was a church-planting evangelist. Tim’s mother was advised that her life was in danger if she did not terminate this pregnancy, but she defied the medical findings. She managed to carry Tim to term and he was born despite clear evidence in the delivery that it had, indeed, been a risky pregnancy. Pro-choice readers will grit their teeth in Tebow’s sweeping evangelical language about these issues. According to the New York Times, the politically conservative Focus on the Family has been funding TV messages by Tebow and his family since 2010.
In his new biography (which is published by the mainstream HarperCollins) Tebow makes it clear that he’s not likely to move off the topic of what he clearly considers his miraculous birth. He puts it this way:
“We are all grateful Mom survived the pregnancy and childbirth. We have met families whose mothers gave their lives in childbirth for the lives of their children. We also know of children who went through normal pregnancies as well as difficult ones and did not end up thriving or even surviving the birth process at all. My parents knew that Mom might not survive, but they trusted God with her pregnancy. Trusting God is how they started their marriage, and how they have continued to this day. My dad always tells us that faith is like a muscle. You trust God for the small things and when He comes through, your muscle grows. This enables you to trust God for the bigger things, in fact, all things.
“And while they waited for me to be born, my mom and brothers and sisters would sing Bible verses together. Mom always believed that putting verses to tunes helped us to learn and retain them. Later, they taught me these verses as well:
“‘Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord, wait for the Lord. I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait. And in his Word do I hope.’ (Psalm 27:14; 130:5)
“My unusual birth story has been important to our family for many reasons. Of course, we are so grateful that God’s plan included Mom’s and my survival. It also provided a deeper connection to one another, since all my family prayed specifically for me. The story has also given us a platform to share with others a variety of spiritual applications, including the faithfulness of God. And the fact that it all occurred in the Philippines made the land and its people all the more meaningful to us.”
Remember: If you want to know more about this athlete who is changing our language and our style of spiritual expression, you can order TIM TEBOW: Through My Eyes from Amazon now.
Please help us to reach a wider audience
We welcome your Emails at [email protected]
We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Huffington Post, YouTube and other social-networking sites. You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed.
Plus, there’s a free Monday morning Planner newsletter you may enjoy.
Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.