Monday, January 9, 2012

Tebowing

I thoroughly enjoyed Denver's victory yesterday largely — and not to my credit — because I knew it would annoy those who object to his very public expressions of faith. Elizabeth Scalia, a Catholic who blogs at Patheos, writes today about how to interprete "Tebowing":
.... Father James Martin, asked the question by the WaPo, goes full-Jesuit on the story:
All this raises the inevitable question, and one that I’ve been asked numerous times over the last few months: Is God answering Tim Tebow’s prayers?

Well, in good Jesuitical fashion the answer is: Yes, no, and I don’t know.
He’s right on all counts: yes, God is hearing and answering Tebow’s prayers, because he hears and answers all of our prayers. No, we cannot possibly understand what the answer really is, and being a public Christian is not a free pass to success, and who can know the mind of God, anyway?

Lost in all of this is the simple truth that a person’s relationship with God, no matter how publicly lived, is still profoundly personal and deeply, mysteriously unknowable.

I suspect Tebow, when he prays during a game, is praying “thy will be done” and “praise be to you”, and any contemplative will tell you that these simple prayers, when prayed regularly and heartfully before the start and end of every activity, become profound and intimate interactions.

But to many–perhaps to most—Tebow’s actions are interpreted to be little more than “God, help me complete this pass” and “Hey, thanks for the completed pass!” and, as Fr. Martin suggests, that view can easily mislead and distort the reality of Tebow’s faith and the whole point of the life of faith, in general. This is why I rather dislike the intense interest in Tebow and God and Answered Prayers: I think it is helping to put a very shallow spin on a practice of true depth.

Our answered prayers often confuse us; sometimes we wonder if we really wanted what we ended up with. In truth, the answer to our prayers is always—in the long run—an affirmative, but often it can seem like “no,” and either way, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told to “give thanks in all circumstances,” — a tall order that, with obedience, can bring great peace and a deepening of joy, at least in my experience, and I’ll bet in yours, too.

Giving thanks for what we perceive to be a “no” is the perspective-changer that helps us understand the hidden “yes.” .... [more]
Tim Tebow: Luke 12:8 or 1 Thess 5:18? « The Anchoress