At the present moment, Tim Tebow is the poster child for American football. No matter where he goes, he wins. He wasn’t supposed to make it into college football. He wins Heisman Awards, National Championships. He wasn’t supposed to make it very far in the NFL. He was drafted 25th overall. In all of the games he has started at quarterback, he has lost only once. Tim isn’t a great quarterback— but he wins.
Tim was a missionary kid, he was home schooled, and everywhere he goes, he takes the message of his faith with him. When I read what others have to say about Tim, some of it is negative (speaks too much about it, gives Christians a bad name, makes outsiders to Christianity uncomfortable) and some of it is positive (the message he is bringing, his humility, his spirit). A friend and I were talking about Tim a few days ago, and he told me that he believed that Tim is good for Christianity because he is a stage three faith poster child. Stage three faith is institutionalized, constructive; they love God for God’s sake and look to accomplish his will.
Having spent (and still spending time) in stage four faith (deconstructive, individualized, loving myself for God’s sake), I know that we can’t do stage five faith (integrative, holistic, inclusive) until we do our work in stage four. Just as we can’t do stage four faith until we do our work for stage three. As Christians, we need to forgive, accept, and embrace the previous stages as part of our faith.
Just as Tim spent time with level three people to do enter into level three, he’ll need level four people to enter level four. We need to accept the simplicity, the sacrifice, the mission of Tim Tebow and what he is doing. It’s a part of our journey as a public faith. It’s a part of his journey in his private faith. We as Christians need to learn to accept, transcend, and include all people in their journeys. Just as God invites us to himself as we are, so we should do for others. He’ll affirm in us the good, the truth in where we are, and guide us through the work that only he can complete. Tim is one of the most popular athletes alive and his faith seems to indicate a general love and care for others on God’s behalf. His stage three faith, even though filled with all of the Christianese that drives stage four people crazy (and people who aren’t Christians), is a very positive one for Christianity to be identified with. His good spirit, his care for the world and his teammates, is why he is so important for Christianity.