There’s plenty of blog posts that defend or try to explain homeschooling. Here’s mine.
My wife and I homeschool our three children. Actually, probably much more accurately – my wife homeschools our three children. My daughter doesn’t own a jean skirt that goes to her ankles. We don’t have a curriculum based on negating the “lies” of “evil-lution and global warming,” we haven’t skipped school to attend a Tea Party rally where we make our kids hold signs about the demise of the public school system, and our school room doesn’t have a 1980’s felt board of all the Bible characters – and last time I checked, my 8-year old daughter’s read about half the “banned from a Children’s Library” books in print that were originally meant for her age. Sandy Hook, while devastating, didn’t cause us to dance in the streets gloating about the dangers of taking your kids to public school. That could happen anywhere, and probably will happen again somewhere. That’s the nature of the world we live in.
So Homeschooling has a negative connotation. For example when a conversation inevitably occurs between my daughter (she’s the one most active in Homeschool at 8 – my boys are still Pre-K) and she mentions “My Mommy is my teacher” or a well-meaning coworker or acquaintance asked about “what school my kids attend” the answer of “We Homeschool” is almost always met with either queer looks, uncomfortable shock or a crazy amount of questions (often referring back to the extreme examples in my first paragraph). I cringe every time I have to explain it. Thoughts immediately pop into people’s heads (almost so much you can watch it happening in a cartoon thought bubble above them) with ideas that my children are unsocial, permanently Sunday-school-afied zombies.
The truth is, like most things – what you see on television, what you read about on the Internet, or what you hear from political pundits on both sides, rarely – if ever translates to reality. Are there homeschooling parents who ban books and shove religious ideas down their children’s throats? Sure. Are there public school teachers who push their own agendas and manipulate curriculum? Yep, that too.
The truth is, homeschooling is unique, misunderstood, and grossly misrepresented. Those three things make for a bad reputation – and an often unavoidable stigma about my family. But here’s the truth – most homeschoolers don’t homeschool based on some divine and righteous religious principle. Even more so, most homeschoolers I know and associate with are part of many social organizations, do well in groups, and have everlasting bonds with their families. If I had to choose between my daughter getting bullied, and the ability to choose the social groups she hangs out with by strategically placing her in those groups – I chose the latter. If that makes me a bad parent – guilty as charged. The media be damned – they’ll spend forever tearing apart something unique and unknown – in an attempt to vilify what my family and others are really trying to accomplish.
In fact, I have nothing specific against public school that causes me to homeschool, I wouldn’t necessarily be devastated if my children had to attend for some reason (although it isn’t my personal preference), and I don’t look down on people who do or don’t homeschool. There’s pros and cons to everything, Homeschooling not an exception. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and those that take it on aren’t necessarily the “elite” or the better parent. Besides, it’s time consuming, emotionally and mentally draining – and requires such a heightened level of organization to pull off. Any homeschooling family who tells you they haven’t had their rough spots or hasn’t felt like giving up at least twice is lying.
Bottom line – It isn’t easy.
But it’s oh-so-rewarding:
1) Being able to pick your own curriculum and design your own ala-carte learning system (don’t get my wife and I started about “unschooling” – unschooling isn’t homeschooling, and shouldn’t be grouped as homeschooling.)
2) Your technology limitations aren’t based on the classroom budget. Neither is your art program, your music program, or any other program you want to engage upon.
3) It’s time-flexible and allows for unique learning experiences throughout the year. There’s little administrative overhead as learning and instruction are the majority of your homeschooling time.
4) Whatever effort you put into it, you’ll be rewarded two-fold. My 8 year old daughter reads at a Middle-School level (no, I’m not exaggerating). Ask her anything you want about the Curiosity Rover, current events in the Middle East, or animals. She’ll answer. My four year old performs multiplication tables and can navigate flawlessly around 3 different operating systems and write sentences. I don’t tell you this to gloat – there are plenty excellent programs for gifted children in public schools – but the truth is that homeschooling parents can, and often do, create the same atmosphere.
5) It’s a blast. Some people say you can do it in your pajamas – but the truth is in our house you get ready, get dressed, and show up for school. But you COULD do it in your pajamas. You could also spend the day going “off the deep end of learning” and focus on something unique because it just seems interesting. The world’s your oyster, and if you really wanted to – you could spend the day learning about oysters, creating math about oyster populations, writing a paper on oysters, and finishing it up with cooking an oyster. Why not?
I’m not about to say it’s for everyone. It isn’t. Some days, it doesn’t feel like it’s for anyone. But to be honest, my wife and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s become so much a part of our identity that I’m growing weary about not talking about it out of fear of judgment on my children or my family.
And we love it.
Did you know oyster’s migrate?
Since as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a good connection with the elderly – I even worked one summer and fall of High School for a nursing home doing data entry and helping with various computer tasks. On my breaks, I’d spend my time talking to the members of the home. I truly enjoyed their company, and while I can’t be sure of the same – at least I think they enjoyed having a person to talk to. I’m not confessing to anything, but maybe I’d bring them milk shakes from the next door restaurant – even though it may have gone against their suggested diet plans. Most of them would make the argument that once you reach a certain age and check into your final “Senior Living Resort” destination, you can pretty much screw the diet plans. I concur.
Anyways, as I got to know the members of the nursing home, I also got to hear their stories. One gentleman told me about his experience in World War II with such detail it would rival a History Channel Special. One told me of his experiences with the Civil Rights movement and marching with local celebrities. I remember clearly one man who made it a point to tell me of his escapades chasing women “in his prime” in Chicago. Sometimes, I told them stories – but, most of the time, I just listened. Truth is, I was genuinely interested in what they had to say.
I remember showing up for work one day on Election Day. At the time, I still wasn’t old enough to vote. I walked into the man lobby just in time to see a busload of nursing home patients unloading. Each were in their signature “cardigans and sweaters” with their “I Voted” stickers proudly displayed.
There’s a conversation I had that day that I probably won’t forget – at least, every time I go to the polls I’ll be reminded of it. It’s not exactly something that’s profound enough to recall all the time – but it never escapes me when I walk up to a voting machine.
One gentlemen grabbed my wrist with the strong grip that old men have, even when their bones are brittle – the kind that surprises you, but commands your attention nonetheless.
“Did you vote, Grant?”
“No, I can’t yet. I’m not old enough.”
“When you do vote Grant – make sure you vote for the guy that you’d invite over for dinner – and when dinner was over – he’d stay and help you do the dishes.”
“Because anyone who can clean his own plate as a guest in your house will likely be the guy who is humble enough to appreciate the guy who cooked it.”
I think my elderly friend had it right. If you’re going to be a leader – you have to do the dishes. And if you’re going to agree to do the dishes, then you’d better appreciate those that feed you, or you’re simply going through the motions.
Just some food for thought, from an old friend at a nursing home – full of wisdom, wit, and timeless advice for picking a politician.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a dinner date to book.
I watched you closely today. I followed you on Twitter. I scrolled through on Facebook. I poked around your Blogs. And America?
You’re missing the point.
When I was a small child, we lived overseas, specifically in Saudi Arabia. Over there, as you can readily imagine, there’s not much Western influence. One of the few Western influences I grew to cling to was American Wrestling. Specifically, the WWF. Sure, it’s just as much entertainment as it is sport, but I clung to it just the same – as many other young boys my age. My hero?
I remember my father would wake us up in the middle of the night when it aired to let my brother and I watch Hogan wrestle. We became pretty big fans of the Hulkster. I remember one evening; Hulk Hogan was set to wrestle a gentleman named Earthquake. Without going into much detail, Earthquake was this morbidly obese guy whose signature move was to jump on people and crush the life out of them (but you probably could have inferred that). Anyway, as a child I remember watching the match as closely as a day trader watches the stock ticker after the bell. Earthquake managed to pull off his signature move on Hogan, and much to my dismay (which I am sure was not only planned but faked so Mr. Hogan could take a couple months off), the match ended with Hogan being carried away on a stretcher with apparently every bone in his once muscular body crushed.
I’m pretty sure I was more crushed than Hogan. Well, crushed? I was enraged and devastated. I remember crying and getting really upset. I vowed that I would always hate the man that crushed my childhood hero. I was angry, disillusioned, and just a plain mess. I was 6, at the time I think.
Now, I’m 29. I have a successful career, a wife, and 3 kids. I pay taxes. I go to church. I give. I participate in social events. I follow the speeding limit. I’m a generally nice guy.
Today, I watched my Twitter feed and Facebook feed from a conference I was at on my iPad shortly after the Supreme Court carried down it’s ruling on the healthcare act. What I saw, albeit likely predictable if I stopped to think about it, was an outpouring of hate, anger, rage, quips, separation, and bewilderment from all over the political spectrum.
I’m not even going to tell you my opinion on the law, because frankly it doesn’t matter. Those of you who know me closely know which way I lean. I value people’s opinions. I value debate, and I value our court system and our political system. But somewhere… somewhere along the way we all became 6 year olds again. It felt seemingly like some of us were rooting for our childhood hero and others for the guy with the crushing blow as his celebrated weapon.
And did we celebrate. We did get enraged. We gloated, we cried foul. Apparently, according to a newspaper, 5 politicians twittered either inappropriate messages of dissent or celebration, and thus quickly deleted them after the drunken stupor of their momentary loss of whatever good taste they had came bad to them. Other places, I watch my Facebook feed fill with people claiming that they were convinced America was set to be ruined. Some were elated in such a manor their gloating was incomprehensibly vulgar. But on the other hand, one frustrated individual actually stated she was moving to Canada (ignorance of their foreign policy will catch up with her, I’m sure).
I’d pretty much guarantee that my 6 year old self, if equipped with Facebook and Twitter (and trust me, at 6, if it was there, I would have had it) would have posted some choice things about Earthquake destroying the Hulkster’s ribs.
I’ll get to my point. What happened to us? When did we decidedly become so divided that technology tools that were meant to pull us together have separated us apart? When did venomous hate towards someone who disagrees with you and quipping pictures become the normal posting?
Can I be your friend and think differently than you about Health Care?
The next Presidential election?
What about what and how I teach my kids?
Are you really willing to boycott a beloved cookie because they decided to make a rainbow one?
Look, friends, the bottom line is this: If we can’t respect the very powers God placed before us, whether it is the President of the United States, or our Court system, your neighbor, your Facebook friend, or just a guy in the grocery line, we’ve all failed miserably at the point.
Shame on all of us. We’re better than this.
If Hulk Hogan taught me anything, it’s that.
I had a pretty interesting childhood when it came to geography. I spent my “childhood” years overseas – mostly in Saudi Arabia – my dad worked first for a military contractor and then for an airline in the Middle East. It was a great experience. Then, through my teenage years and now in my present adult years, I’ve grown up in Indiana.
Indiana. This is the state where you strike up a conversation with someone in the grocery line, people will still pull over to help if your car runs out of gas, and you can walk the streets of Indianapolis after 9 PM, and outside a couple of obvious areas – feel free and safe. The winters are ridiculously harsh, the weather’s unpredictable, the summers are humid enough that a simple walk from your car to the store entrance leaves you swimming in sweat, and save the small lakes peppered throughout the land and a Great Lake normally unfit to swim in- we’re landlocked and as flat as Kansas. Compared to the Coast states, states with mountains and beautiful scenery, or states with a huge capital city – we come across as dreadfully boring.
Truth is, most of us that live here, that call ourselves Hoosiers – we’re pretty darn okay about that.
Why? Much what makes our state special, our capital city unique – and Indiana what is Indiana are the hidden gems laced throughout the Midwest Heartland. It’s the people. Sure, we have things we’re proud about – the Indy 500, our Colts, our Basketball – even our rich Historical story – but all those things merely put us on the map - what those things didn’t do – what the people of Indiana so far have never allowed to happen – was it to become who we were or define Indiana.
Having lived here through some Grade School, Middle School, High School, and now my adult life raising my own family – I can say the definition of this state is about it’s people and their heritage. It’s the “Hoosier Hospitality” and the bursting pride of our way of life. You can still find towns in Indiana – within half a days drive of our capital – where you’d swear you just drove into Mayberry and Aunt Bee would have you over for a pie.
With the Superbowl on the Horizon this weekend, and media teams setup to devour “the best of Indiana” and what we have to offer – I hope only one thing. I hope those in charge of this 8-day dinner party followed by a big game do it right.
And by do it right?
I don’t mean hire someone to clean your house top to bottom, to polish the china you’d never normally use, throw the dog out back, replace the curtains, and spend too much on Wine you’d normally never budget for – all to impress.
You see, we don’t need to do anything like that. We shouldn’t do anything like that. The best thing Indiana can to show “the best of Indiana” is to just do what we do. The Superbowl for this state is an honor. A privilege. I get that.
We need to be our best.
But our best should be what makes us who we are, not how we want others to see us… That’s what New York is for. What Miami is for. New Orleans. Let them have it, that’s what they do. Not us.
Perhaps this dinner party should be more along the allegorical lines of the any-given Summer Sunday backyard cook-out; grills fired up, kids running through the sprinkler – and you offer your neighbor to come over for a beer and a Brat.
I’m hoping those visiting us see us for who we really are. Real people. Good people.
And when it’s all over and the last bus leaves to their big cities?
That’ll give them something to talk about.
Background on purpose of this post and future posts on topics of Religion:
One of the great things about life is that not everyone shares your viewpoints. Adding to that, one of the great things about true friendship, is that you can enter in a relationship with someone – a relationship forged on the cornerstone that while they may not necessarily share your viewpoint, they respect it for what it is. My friend, Rob Slaven, maintains a blog entitled “The Tattered Thread” In my opinion, he’s a great writer – with a style in some ways different than my own, but still oozing with talent and value. I encourage you to check it out, and follow.
Back to Rob: Rob’s one of those guys that’s not afraid to throw his opinion out there. Rob’s more charismatic than he appears when you first meet him, he has a good heart beyond his sarcastic witticism that reflects on paper, and generally is one of the more intelligent guys I know. He’s consumes literature at a astounding rate, is well versed, and sometimes drips ounces or gallons of attitude into his prose. He’s not afraid to pen his thoughts. This, in my opinion, makes him an interesting writer. We often disagree, often agree, and often enjoy conversation – something that, with the addition of technology, is becoming less and less of a practiced art.
Anyways, Rob and I got to talking about each of our blog ventures (Rob actually runs 3 blogs, one around general musings (see aforementioned link), one on classic advertising , and one on his love for photography. Rob, like most active creative minds, is one busy guy exploring what he truly loves. Rob’s a self proclaimed agnostic, which means he generally falls under the viewpoint that God may exist, but certainly doesn’t have much to do with his creation. The key difference from Rob and most (not all) agnostics / atheists I meet is that Rob isn’t against Religion. In fact, I’d venture to say he’s actually fascinated with it. Healthy fascination in my book leads often to discovery.
Rob and I decided that in order to garner a more solid topic trail to our general ramblings on the Internet, we’d try in addition to our regularly scheduled programming to enter into conversation with each other assuming various blog posts concerning the main aspects of Christianity, agnosticism, and Religion in general. I, myself, am a self-proclaimed thinking Christian, who considers Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Rob’s an agnostic. We’re friends. We always will be. Part of the main aspects of friendship is respect. Whatever we write to each other, even if it may seem in jest or critical, is just our banter and conversation made available to the world. You may or may not agree with us, and that’s fine. I’m a firm believer that one of the key areas to the Christian faith is our love and respect for others. Jesus called us to love everyone, and not only those that believe what we believe. I also believe that Christ, if here today, would encourage all Christians to challenge themselves, their minds, and their hearts. By entering in respectful dialogue with those who share contrasting opinions, we open up new ways to challenge ourselves, and if done correctly - strengthen our faith.
With that being said, Rob’s already placed a post on his blog seeking a response from yours truly on the Ten Commandments. Go read it here: An agnostic view on the Ten(Twelve) Commandments. Once you’re done, feel free to indulge yourself on my probably overkill response:
Boy. I’m glad I don’t live in the Old Testament times. When Moses came down from that Mountain with the Old Covenant it was full of all sorts of things that would have led to some harsh punishments for yours truly. Disobeying my parents means I could be stoned or put to death? I’d have been dead by 13. Sacrifies? That could get messy.
So let’s step back a minute. Before I get too involved with each individual commandment and look at the much bigger picture of the Christian faith: the abolishment of The Old Covenant (listed in Exodus), in favor the New Covenant (brought upon by God becoming man and coming to Earth). Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, paid for the transgressions of all that were there with him, and all that will come before him. With his coming, he abolished the old Covenant. That’s not to say that the old laws aren’t important. That’s where different denominations of Christianity clash – but it’s safe to say at least this : the Ten Commandments are most certainly a moral guideline that have tested the sands of time.
So let’s break it down.
Rob begins by stating that Christians didn’t invent the Ten Commandments. That’s true. God wrote them with his own finger on a tablet. Is it possible that these laws were implied / studied by ancient religions prior to God putting them on a tablet? Sure. Why not? That doesn’t negate the fact that God listed them for the people. You see, the thing that must be remembered is that God was perfectly aware that in order for his people to reach the Promised Land they must have order, that they would sin and would need a method of sacrifice, and that all groups of people need a rule book. Shoot, most of the laws we’ve inherited in America came from the British.
There’s different numbering schemes / groupings for the Ten Commandments, but I’ll go with Rob’s. You may find your’s differ. In the end, they all get the point across regardless of numerical interpretation.
1 – I am the Lord Your God
Self explanatory. Establishes authority.
2 – You shall have no other God’s before me
Rob calls this commandment unnecessary. Bear in mind, that prior to these commandments being delivered to Moses’s people they were creating false idols with the help of Aaron. The truth of the matter is that God gave man free will. That’s the entire reason this commandment exists. Rob claims that a true king could stand up and say “I AM KING, tough cookies.” But God is unique in that he’s not here to force upon us a relationship with him. He may be the Alpha and Omega, he may be a jealous God, but he’s going to give you the upfront option to acknowledge him. It’s sweeter to be loved by choice than someone to be forced to love you. Later, the establishment of Christ and the Savior begins the pursuit.
3 – You shall not make for yourself an idol
Rob is truly perplexed by this one. He mentions the Cross as possibly being an idol, and the possible unfairness of God not allowing his people to chose something as a physical manifestation such as a statue of Jesus. While I personally, and many Christians – look at the Cross as a reminder – we don’t worship the Cross. We worship who died (and then rose) on that Cross. I personally have a problem with depcitions of Jesus on the Cross you often see in such religions as Catholicism. While I think Passion Plays and the like can bring the story of Jesus front and center historically, ultimately it’s important to develop a Supernatural relationship. Additionally, physical statues of Jesus and “God” ultimately limit the scope of who God and what God really is. God is everywhere. Most Christians will tell you that once you enter a relationship with God, and gain the Holy Spirit – his presence is felt on a level that simply does not require a statue. It’s much. much more powerful than that – a supernatural thing. Another thing you’ll often hear preachers say is that idols can be anything that you put before God. Perhaps you worship your computer? Your car? Your checkbook? What’s keeping you from God?
4 – You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
Probably a bad idea to disrespect the supreme creator and ruler of the Universe. Names and titles have meeting and reverence. Even the staunchest Conservatives would address Obama as Mr. President.
5 – Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
As Rob states, this is definitely one open for interpretation and truly less of a moral law. While I believe God calls us to fellowship and worship, I’m not too caught up on the Calendar day or method for this. There’s some crazy examples throughout history of people taking this way to literal. Again, you have to remember the audience of the time. These were recently freed from slavery, tired – weary, and unruly people.
6 – Honor your father and mother
Ohhhh a tough one for some! The main premise here falls along the perspective that your parents and elders should be respected. Keep in mind, I think God’s fully aware that some parents are horrible, abusive, and don’t deserve being called the name. The important take away here is that God is the celestial example of how a Father should be on Earth. The good news for those of us who parent is that Christ paid the price for our sins and ultimately has brought grace to those of us who will inevitably create emotional wounds on our children. I think this is a good centerpiece to the idea that we should respect previous generations, regardless of faults and transgressions.
7 – You shall not murder
Again, enter in the old covenant vs new covenant debate. In the New Testament it talks of there being a time to kill. However – keep in mind that Christ was without sin. And even in a time where Peter was about to raise his sword in defense of Christ, Christ probably saved the guard’s life and because Christ intervened, the guard just ended up with an ear injury. While most Christians to this day will tell you that taking a life to protect the innocent is noble and just, the truth remains that violence is often not the answer.
8 – You shall not commit adultery
To me this is a moral law. Here’s my take on this – I look at marriage as a gift from God. When we enter in a relationship with someone else, we are pledging all of ourselves to this person – our body, our soul – everything. Sex is something that the prudish Christians don’t want to admit is something God wanted us to enjoy. However, I firmly believe that sex is something best shared with the mate we chose. So here’s the kicker: I don’t believe sex is something just for procreation. I don’t think God intended us to be breeders just to be breeders. Sure, we are supposed to be fruitful and multiply – but I think God also gave us sex so we’d have fun and be able to give our spouse something special. Once you take that away from your pledged mate and give it to someone else, it means less. Here’s a quick analogy – ask your wife if you can borrow her wedding ring so a woman at work can wear it for a while. See how she reacts.
9 – You shall not steal
10 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
God is all knowing. It’s impossible to lie to God. He’d generally like all of us to have the same respect for each other we have for him and his power. Rob hit the nail on the head – it’s harder to tell a lie. This commandement is a moral law, as in it’s just something we all should share.
11 – Here’s where the numbering get’s a little off, but basically We shouldn’t covet
The goal behind this commandment is more than just keeping us from stealing and protecting us from murder. God’s looking to create something that currently our society simply has forgotten how to do – be content with what we have.
A Very Quick Summary and Closing Thoughts:
I’ve written a lot on this subject, sandwiched with a introduction to this series of blog posts. Future posts will most likely be much more brief: But I want to leave Rob and other’s with this thought: The Ten Commandments might be a set of moral laws that help define the history of the Christian faith and the Old Testament, and help pave the way for Church and the coming of Christ – but ultimately, there’s a reason many churches start with handing out the New Testament. It’s a New Covenant – a new beginning, an abolishment of the Old Covenant with Christ who allowed Christians to walk in the freedom away from the old laws, while still following the moral laws and gist of what Rob pretty much refers to as (paraphrasing) “common school children sense.”
I’ll leave you with this: In Matthew, we are told of a religious leader (one of many reasons I can’t stand religion) challenging Christ on the laws (something I just spent a page or two summarizing) – In essence, Jesus starts to unwind the intricacies of the law and summarizing the real purpose of Christianity and our calling after his coming:
One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
New Living Translation (NLT)
A disclaimer: Like anything else I say, the views on this blog are that of my own – and nobody else I am associated with. You may not agree with what I have to say, may agree to some of it, or may think I’m a total idiot. That’s fine. Remember, writers write first for themselves. Also remember that I also believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s what makes this world a great place to live in – we all think differently. Also, nothing of what I am about to say should be taken as a passive agressive attack on your own opinion, whether it has been silent or vocal – I value my friends and their cooresponding relationships, and would hope you’d look beyond my blog for a better understanding of who I am and what I believe.
So that being said;
Last night’s game was awesome. Twitter and Facebook were on fire. Tebow and crew pulled off an upset for the record books. It was a fun game to watch. Then, once all the fanfare died down, the analysts – both armchair and professional came out to play. They talked about his yardage (3:16 yards — go figure), the defense, the decision for the Steelers not to kick the possible (but improbable) game winning field goal. All that was suspected. But a more underlying question was being asked, sometimes out in the open (I saw several professional analysts elude to it), and sometimes in the deep recesses of social media.
Did God help Tebow win?
Before I try and answer that question from my perspective; let’s get one thing quickly out of the way. Before this season, I honestly had not followed Tebow’s career that closely. I vaugley recall his decision to appear in a commercial promoting Pro-Life. I knew he won a Heisman. I know he has a vehement fanclub, and a equal – if not larger, group of people who “don’t care for the guy.” But … I was not exactly a Denver Bronco’s or a Tebow fan. I, for lack of a better term, jumped on the bandwagon.
Why? Maybe it had something to do with my team’s losing record sans a Quarterback. Maybe it had something to do with the consistent 4th quarter heroics. Look, when you’re not emotionally invested in the outcome of a game, watching 4th quarter heroics akin to that of Tim Tebow is if nothing else, widely entertaining. When you love the game of Football like I do, you’ll watch certain players because people are talking. It’s just darn interesting. I started to read more about the guy, his accomplishments, his beliefs – his past – and I was intrigued. So, It’s the hype that brought me to cheer for Tebow last night. Yeah? What of it? There’s nothing wrong with jumping into the hype. Hype surrounds most things in our culture – such as “Hey, these iPod things are neat,” to “that movie is a must see!,” to the release of a catchy song. Hype creates avenues for creativity and acknowledgement. You don’t have to join in, but you can’t deny it’s there.
So snapping back to my original question : Did God help Tebow win?
I’ve read several blog posts today and several social media links that God has nothing to do with football, and while Tebow may be this great guy; God and football are to very seperate things. I want to address the whole Tebow “madness,” with some of my own points, three to be exact.
1) God doesn’t have to prioritize.
One argument people often make that God “doesn’t care about the meaningless stuff like football,” is that God has other, more pressing matters. However, if you buy into the idea that God is omnipresent, and all knowing, then you can then conclude that God has time and resources to devote to anything he deems worthy of devoting his time to. God works in mysterious ways. God’s whole goal – even with the sending of his son, was to bring people closer in a relationship with him – to know of him and know him. He operates the universe’s most succesful marketing department. Tebow could very well be a catalyst. If anything, he’s got the press talking. Perhaps Tebow’s success has opened up the door for others to experience the love of God and friendship, that if Tebow wasn’t successful – wouldn’t be an actual opportunity. That also does not mean God doesn’t have other goals. Throughout history, we’ve all been given this image of God as this righteous judger and accuser – always saying “No.” But the truth is far different. God wants his children to be happy, successful, engaged. As parents, we want the best for our children. If we could offer them tips and strategy to be better at what they love within the barriers of fair play, would we? Of course. Think about it.
2) Free will still exists, and can exist, even within miracles.
Do I think God threw the game Tebow’s direction? No. Do I think God made available for Tebow the opportunities to be successful on the field? Sure, why not? The fact of the matter is God gave all of us free will. Because of that, I believe God isn’t out their manipulating reality to fit that of his followers (in other words, I doubt anytime soon you’ll see Tebow fly through the air with a Halo, landing in the endzone in an angelic last second touchdown) – but I do believe that when we surrender to the will of God, we’re given opportunities and wisdom that we may have otherwise not uncovered ourselves. Look, that’s not to say that other Quarterbacks who follow other religions don’t have talent and direction. I’m also not implying that if you are a Christian, and a football player – that you’re going to be better than your linebacker friend who’s an Atheist. What I AM saying, is that it’s a very dangerous place when we put God in a box and say “God would not intervene there!” Really? Just how would you know?
3) Tebow’s “Tebowing” is just Tebow being Tebow.
A lot of press has been given to Tebow’s victory prayer. Athletes for as long as I can remember have thanked God for wins and victories to the press after games. What of it? The Bible talks about rejoicing in God always, about being able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me, about doing all things without complaining and with Thanksgiving. It talks about a man’s hard work being noble. When I have large accomplishments at work, I always try and go back and thank God for the opportunity and the talent he gave me. Do I think God helped me achieve the compliance I worked on for a whole year? Vicariously, yes. Because If it was not for God, I wouldn’t have the talents I have. I wouldn’t be who I am. Much has been said about the public display that Tebow makes of it – that these things “shouldn’t be on the field.” I honestly would not care if a Muslim thanked Allah for a win on national television, or if a runner after winning a race held up her cat, thanking it for inspiration. Our culture, for whatever reason, is historically terrified of letting someone acknowledge God publicly. Just because Tebow kneels for a quick prayer after a play doesn’t mean that tomorrow the Ten Commandments are going to be posted at every stadium and we’re all going to be forced to recite the Apostles Creed at the bottom of the Ninth. Relax. It’s just his thing. I say let him have it.
Tim Tebow mania will probably die down once he loses a game ,just like the latest news story will become old news when something interesting happens. It’s hype. It’s a good article to read. It’s part of our culture and our pop history. All in all, wether you agree with everything or not, it’s also a little fun. It got people thinking. It’s sparked debate and it’s made for some great moments in football.
And afterall, great moments in football make everyone – except possibly the Steelers fan, happy.