Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tim Tebow Not Offended

I am a Detroit Lion fan so I was pleased to see my Lions kill the Denver Broncos. I do like Tim Tebow though. Not so much as a football player but as a Christian. His is happy to let his faith be central to his public persona as well as his private one. He is real. He is not playing PR games when he prays or when he shares his walk with Jesus. This is why I found it very amusing that people were outraged when Lion players poked fun at Tebow's much-publicized prayer pose. The picture shows Lion LB Tulloch striking the pose after sacking Tebow. I cannot imagine a Christian getting offended by that. He is not poking fun at God but rather the media frenzy around one moment of prayer. It's OK for the media to go crazy. They do that. It is also OK for people to joke about it.

What is interesting to me is society's inability to figure out what is offensive. There is an assumption that non-Christian people interacting with the faith are going to offend. It is quite the opposite. The most offensive thing one can do is ignore a Christian's faith. If you tell him he seems like a regular guy and his faith does not make any difference. That is offensive. It may be true and if it is you should still say it but a Christian should take feedback like that to mean he has completely missed the boat.

When you tell a Christian you find his faith strange and even crazy that is to be expected. We are claiming to be transformed by the supernatural love of God. So if you analyze us using purely natural thinking we should not make sense. So people should laugh. They should get confused. They should see something that is condemning in the sense that it makes their sin seem really bad. Yet that same thing is still attractive. Like they are meant to be like that. In short, they should see God.

We love it when people want to interact with that in any way. If they have fun with it. If they argue against it. If they ask questions about it. Somehow we have this idea that if you don't affirm someone's faith you should just ignore their faith. That means the affirmations are going to be pretty shallow. So most people just avoid the whole topic. But this is often just imagined offense. What it flows from is the idea that religion should not be rational. That is not a Christian idea but our society has gone there in the face of many differing theologies. So it is considered unfair to hold up someone else's faith to logical scrutiny. So to ask if you give God the credit when you score a game winning TD what happens when you get sacked? Is that God's fault? It is a fair question even if it is asked in a mocking sort of way. Lots of mocking goes on on the football field. How else are you going to express yourself in an atmosphere of such intense aggression?

So what is offensive? Really just deliberate attempts to desecrate what is holy. If somebody tries to find something offensive to do to the Eucharist precisely because they know Catholics believe it is sacred. That is offensive. It can hardly be done in ignorance. We might not be able to explain why something is sacred but if we know it is then we can treat it in a blasphemous way. Sex is a prime example. People know sex is sacred. They might hold to a materialist world and life view that cannot make sense of the sacredness of sex. But they still know. So crude talk or behavior is uncharitable. Again society always gets this wrong. The offended party is labeled intolerant and the offender is given a free pass.

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