Tim Tebow, devout QB, picked by the right team in the right state

Nobody brought this up on ESPN last night, but…

It’s fitting that college superstar quarterback Tim Tebow was drafted last night by the Denver Broncos.

Tebow is a devout evangelical Christian (you remember his pro-life commercial with mom during the Super Bowl) and Colorado is a national center of evangelical megachurches and evangelical organizations.

The millions of football analysts who are “breaking down” the Broncos’ selection of Tebow this morning are probably unaware of this unusual fit. But you can bet that Tebow, his family and all those evangelicals in Colorado are smiling.

Many are thanking God for bringing a Christian QB to Colorado.

Tebow’s father, Bob, is a leading missionary/evangelist in the Philippines, where the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association has been aiming to preach the Gospel in every village since 1985. And it’s a family Affair. Bob’s wife, Pam, and their five children are all deeply involved in the work.

That includes the youngest, known as Timmy.

The family’s website includes this:

*****

Although football is important to Tim, his priorities that precede football are faith, family, and academics. A verse from the Bible that he often quotes is Philippians 4:13, which credits the true source of his strength, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Tim loves football but knows that his career will end someday. His relationship with Jesus Christ, however, will never end.

*****

Timmy doesn’t have a contract yet but he does have his own foundation. Its mission is this: “The Foundation will utilize the public platform that God has given to Tim Tebow–through media, publishing, speaking engagements, special events, and mission trips—to inspire friends and supporters to work with the Foundation as a team in helping to make a difference.”

He should be right at home in Colorado, which is home to some of the nation’s most influential megachurches, including New Life Church in Colorado Springs (yes, that’s where Ted Haggard used to be pastor).

Dozens of evangelical groups have also put down roots in Colorado Springs, including Focus on the Family.

How will all those crazy Bronco fans feel about Tebow’s regular professions of faith? Sports fandom being what it is, they’ll be fine with it if Tebow plays like John Elway and the Broncos win. They’ll run out of patience fast if Tebow can’t adapt to the pro game (as many analysts expect) and the Broncos lose.

It will also be mighty interesting to see how Tebow — praised in college for tremendous leadership skills — will be received in an NFL lockerroom.

Being a big football fan myself who has read many books by former players, I have no doubt that Tebow will be a fine leader for the many Christians who now populate NFL teams. But the question is how he will relate to the many more worldly players who we read about quite often these days.

Having seen Tebow run over linebackers in college, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything he does.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I am a rabid Oakland Raiders fan. The Raiders stink, but have a long, heated rivalry with the Denver Broncos.

Tim Tebow is easy to like. But I won’t be rooting for him.

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Was the Saints’ win God’s plan?

Well, that was quite a game.

You have to feel good for the city of New Orleans, no matter which team you root for.

Coming five years after Katrina, the Saints’ big win seems perfectly scripted.

By whom?

A bunch of Saints players are saying that it was “God’s plan” that they beat the Colts.

Super Bowl FootballI saw an interview with QB Drew Brees last night on ESPN, maybe an hour after the game. He was calm and collected, like he just came home from the beach with his kids.

Brees is well known to be a devout Christian. He said that it was God’s plan that he came to New Orleans as a free agent a few years back and that it was God’s plan that the Saints won the title.

I’ve been looking for some video on the Web, but can’t find any so far.

Saints running Back Reggie Bush also made God his MVP: “God had a bigger plan than all of us, a plan that we couldn’t see three or four years ago.”

Bush also credits God for bringing tight end Jeremy Shockey to the Saints: “I told him, ‘God had a different plan for you.’ He’s got to appreciate it. I know he does. Shockey’s brought so much to this team, an attitude that we definitely needed. … We needed a guy like Shockey to bring that aggressiveness to our offense, and he’s been nothing but special from Day 1.”

And New Orleans’ defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, who was in an alcohol treatment center before this season began, credited God with his dramatic turn-around: “It’s just totally divine, this is God’s plan.”

I don’t mean to be flip, but I’m waiting for one of the Colts to say that they lost because it was God’s plan — or at least to say that it was God’s plan for the Saints to win, and the Colts happened to be the opponent.

Haven’t heard anything to that effect so far.

But, I did see the Colts’ kicker, old-timer Matt Stover, point to the heavens after he MISSED a kick. I remember thinking “Huh?”

One of the announcers actually noted Stover’s “spirituality” and that the kicker points skyward whether he hits or misses.

I think that makes Stover somewhat unique in the world of sports, where athletes generally acknowledge God only after they score or win.

Finally, there was Tim Tebow’s commercial (really his mom’s commercial), which came early, went by fast and only acknowledged the abortion issue with the broadest of strokes.

I can’t imagine there will be much fuss about it today.

The Focus on the Family website has a longer and much more expansive interview with Tebow’s parents.

Well, you know they’ll be celebrating the Saints’ win — the SAINTS won the Super Bowl! — in the churches of New Orleans and at Mardi Gras in a few weeks.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

College star Tebow already making Super Bowl news

Another football item (hey, the Super Bowl is almost upon us):

Tim Tebow, perhaps the biggest college football star ever, is preparing for the NFL draft in April. There are questions about his readiness to play quarterback in the NFL, and the whole affair will become one of the most covered sports stories of the next few months.

But that’s a subject for a different blog.

Tebow Super Bowl Ad  FootballTebow is making news now, though, because he and his mother plan to star in a pro-life commercial to air during the Super Bowl. The Tebows are devout Christians and young Tim — smart, earnest, charismatic — is not shy about sharing his faith.

When playing games at Florida, he wrote Bible verses on the “eye black” under his eyes. He even talked at a pre-season press conference about saving himself for marriage.

The Super Bowl ad is being paid for by Focus on the Family, the evangelical group.

Now a coalition of pro-choice groups is asking CBS not to show the commercial, arguing that it would be divisive. The Women’s Media Center has an online petition aimed at CBS.

Jehmu Greene, president of the WMC, says: “An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year – an event designed to bring Americans together.”

No one’s a bigger football fan than me, but the Super Bowl an event designed to bring us together? I don’t think so. It’s an event designed to make money (and bringing us together around the TV helps the $$$ cause).

The focus of the commercial is that when Tebow’s mom, Pam, was pregnant with him in 1987, she became ill during a mission trip to the Philippines and was advised by doctors to have an abortion.

For his part, Tim Tebow says: “I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe. I’ve always been very convicted of it (his views on abortion) because that’s the reason I’m here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it.”

Thirty second ads during the SB, by the way, cost $2.5 to $2.8 million.

If CBS stays with the ad, it will give new reason to pay attention to the Super Bowl commercials — other than the usual talking babies, stupid animal tricks and lots of pitches for beer and cars.

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Dobson retiring from Focus on the Family

One of the most powerful figures in evangelical Christianity, James Dobson, is retiring as chairman of Focus on the Family, the ministry he started 32 years ago.

Dobson may not be as well known in New York as he is in much of the rest of the country.

But when people talk about the leaders of the “religious right,” they’re talking about Dobson and a few others. He has been a tremendously influential figure, promoting conservative values in society and government.

In a statement, Dobson says:

One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority. I have wanted not to make that mistake with Focus on the Family, which is why I stepped back, first from the presidential duties six years ago, and now, from board chairmanship. Though letting go is difficult after three decades of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do.

James Dobson and Sarah Palin talk faith

James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family and one of the leaders of the “religious right,” did an interview the other day with Sarah Palin that you can hear here.

They speak very directly about Palin’s faith and about her commitment as a (in her words) “hard-core pro-lifer.”

Dobson says that it is “risky” to politicize Palin’s prayer life. But he tells her that many Christians are praying for her and that “God’s perfect will will be done on Nov. 4.”

Palin says she feels the intercession.

2208d92f33114f81b653205cfe977375.jpg“I can feel it, too, Dr. Dobson,” she says. “I can feel the power of prayer.”

Asked if her faith is a big part of who she is, she answers: “It is my foundation, yes, my Christian faith is.”

They talk a bit about Palin’s infant, Trig, who has Down syndrome.

Palin: “To be honest with you, it scared me, though…I had to really be on my knees for the entire rest of the pregnancy asking that God would prepare my heart.”

Palin praises Dobson several times for the work that he does: “Your reward is going to be in heaven. I know that you take a lot of shots, also.”

Much of the interview focuses on the mainstream media and what Palin and Dobson agree has been unfair coverage of her campaign.

“I have never seen such hatred,” Dobson says.

“Even Joe the plumber is being carpet-bombed by the press,” he says.

Palin says: “This is when my faith becomes even more important to me. I have to have faith that my words will get out there to the American people despite the filter of the mainstream media.”

Dobson concludes that: “We’re on the same team. I’m just trying to serve the Lord, like you are…”

Today is the National Day of Prayer (but for whom?)

Today is the National Day of Prayer, when Americans are encouraged to pray for the nation.

The whole thing was started in 1952 as a result of a joint resolution of Congress. It was signed into law by President Truman.

ndptfbiographies181.jpgA private task force was set up to promote the National Day of Prayer. In recent years, it’s been run primarily by conservative evangelical Christians (Shirley Dobson (that’s her), wife of Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, heads the task force). The task force’s website describes its mission like this:

The National Day of Prayer Task Force’s mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

A Q&A on the website asks if the National Day of Prayer is exclusively a Christian event. The answer:

No. This government-proclaimed day is offered to all Americans, regardless of religion, to celebrate their faith through prayer. However, the efforts of the NDP Task Force are executed specifically in accordance with its Judeo-Christian beliefs.

In recent weeks, a Jewish group called Jews on First, which claims to “defend the First Amendment against the Religious Right,” has argued that the National Day of Prayer has been “hijacked” by the Religious Right. The group has been organizing alternative National Day of Prayer observances (and has the support of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of LA).

Jews on First says:

Almost all of the governors whom we have been lobbying have issued National Day of Prayer proclamations to the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a group linked to Focus on the Family. The proclamations were issued even though we informed the governors that the Task Force practices religious discrimination.

Now the Council on American-Islamic Relations has joined in, calling for a more inclusive National Day of Prayer.

According to a CAIR release:

Even though prayer day events are sponsored by a private organization, observances receive unofficial government approval through a proclamation by President Bush and ceremonies held at the White House and in Congress.

So…have a happy National Day of Prayer.