A blog about everything about teaching the Bible. "And still I will show you a more excellent way..." (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tebow Superbowl Commercial & Sports Obsession


I’ve always loved to play sports. I never really excelled at organized league, or school sports, but I have several good excuses for that. My dad was captain of his H.S. football team, and a state wrestler, but he suffered serious injuries on the football field, and so never allowed me to play football growing up. I’ve had some legendary backyard football moments, though. (I wish you could see that my tongue is pressed firmly in my cheek.) I played soccer as a kid, and did pretty good, but my mind was often on other things. In H.S. I hung around with the long-haired crowd, and when I went out for the wrestling team, one of the first things Coach Parrish said was about getting a haircut and I just walked away. I was a stupid kid, and have often wished I could go back and do things differently, but who hasn’t wished that? Even if I could, and got back to this moment a different man, I’ve no doubt I’d still want to go back and try a third time to get it right, so there’s no sense in fussing over what we did or didn’t do, yesterday. On my own I became a jogger in H.S., and got in good shape (wish I’d never quit that habit, it’s hard to get back to it), and I’ve loved weightlifting until this very day (plan to do supersets this afternoon, chest & back, does that make me manly?).

It just wasn’t part of my home culture, growing up, to follow sports with much enthusiasm, so, as a man I’ve held only a distant interest in any of it until recently. I’ve always had better things to do. Even now, as I’ve begun to have a bit more interest in pro & college sports, I’ll admit, it concerns me how obsessed most Christian men are with it, and even Christian women, for that matter, but I digress.

Like 300 million others, I tuned in to the Superbowl last night. It was a great game, and I enjoyed it a lot. Of particular interest as I write this morning are the commercials from yesterday, one in particular.

There’s a lot of buzz about Tim Tebow’s Focus on the Family commercial. It wasn’t as bold as many expected, but one blogger commented it was what it implied that makes it profound. That same blogger wrote,

Over the past 43 Super Bowls, commercials have grown from simple product pitches into pop-art touchstones as companies spend millions for 30 seconds of the nation's undivided attention. They've run the gamut from provocative to subversive, ridiculous to sentimental. They've employed celebrities and ordinary people; they've praised and mocked their subjects. But until Sunday, they all had one thing in common: They stayed away from the charged worlds of politics, religion and morality.
With one gently pitched 30-second ad, however, all that has changed. A door previously closed has now been cracked open. The ad isn't simply an advocacy of a particular moral position; it has the potential to be a watershed moment in our national discourse if we allow real-world concerns to impact our entertainment (Shutdown Corner Blog).

The last line really struck me as I read it this morning. “If we allow real-world concerns to impact our entertainment?” Phew, that says so much about where America is these days! However, I’ve never been too troubled about the moral condition of the world, the world is in sin by definition. My great concern is with the moral condition of the church, because if Christians are worldly, we lose our ability to reach out and save the sinful world (Matthew 5:13). Do Christians see entertainment as something separate from their spiritual lives? I hope not!

I did what the ad asked and checked out the Focus on the Family website. It features Tim’s parents telling their story, in which doctors suggested Tim was merely a tumor and needed to be aborted. Of course, they chose to respect God’s sovereignty over human life and allowed the pregnancy to continue. A healthy human being who’s trying to live a pure life and follow Jesus is the result, and I know they made the right decision. The video ended with a profound quote from Tim’s father: “The first thing I would say to you if you have a surprise pregnancy is, God loves you, God loves you, and he loves your baby. There are lots of people that will help, don’t kill your baby.” Then the interviewer quoted a well-placed passage, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV). I hope many people who watched did, or will go check out the rest of the Tebow story.

I’ll just say this: if Tebow’s ad has opened the door for some gospel truth to influence a previously closed sector of the collective human mind, praise God! If the door is open, though, we’ve got to walk through it, because, keep watching over the next few years and I predict we’re going to see counter-ads from groups that don’t have or appreciate a Biblical worldview.
---JLP