At church this morning, the Pastor Emeritus conducted the service, since our Pastor is on vacation. In the children’s part of the service, the Pastor Emeritus was criticizing those who mock Tim Tebow for praying in public, when there are so many real problems in the world. The Pastor Emeritus then referred to the story in II Kings 2 of the kids mocking the prophet Elisha, with the consequence that she-bears came out and mauled them (see my post on II Kings 2 here). The Pastor Emeritus said that God does not like for his children (Christians) to be mocked. He also said that we should not judge whether or not Tebow was sincere in his prayers, for that is between him and God.
I think that people have made legitimate criticisms of Tebow-ing: that we shouldn’t pray for something trivial like a football game, when there are real problems in the world, plus we should not assume that God supports one sports team and not another; that Jesus tells us to pray in our closets rather than flashing our religiosity in public (Matthew 6:5); and that Tebow should pray with his team-mates before a game rather than going out by himself and praying before an audience.
(UPDATE: See Yvette’s comment under my post here and the documentation she provides that Tebow does not pray for his team to win the game, but rather that he might handle the game in a godly manner and that God might protect the players.)
I also think that it’s all right to criticize Christians. Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day. And sometimes people need to talk about their negative religious experiences in order to heal.
But I am trying to get something edifying out of what the Pastor Emeritus said this morning, because I did feel that he was on to something, even if I did not agree with him completely. First of all, like the Pastor Emeritus, I don’t think that it’s my place to judge whether someone else is sincere or not. I’m not being absolute here, for there is corruption that should be exposed, but I cannot judge whether or not Tim Tebow is sincere when he prays. Second, I don’t want to mock people for having religious beliefs, for I respect that religion is how many get through life. Third, I agree that there are more serious problems than Tim Tebow praying before a football game.