No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

The phenomenon of “Tebowing”…

Tebowing...Mocking prayer?

Well I came across something on the internet today called Tebowing.  So you may ask yourself…What is Tebowing?  According to tebowing is “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.”  I always found these Internet sensations a little amusing, but on this one I am a little conflicted.  Let me tell you why.  Tim Tebow is a Christian.  He has made his faith known early on, and has taken up public causes like right to life.  So it should be no surprise that Tim Tebow prays….in public…for all to see.  Thus the term “Tebow”ing.  This movement is…well….mocking Tebow for praying in public.  Some of the shots of people “Tebowing” are pretty humorous.  I can’t help but wonder though…are they mocking prayer in general or…or they mocking Tebow specifically?

The really interesting thing is that the Bible does specifically address situations such as this.
Matthew 6:5 – 6
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Now this is not to call Tim Tebow a hypocrite, because I do not know the man at all.  I certainly do not want to come down on Tebow for praying before big games or a big series or whatever.  Biblically, we should always be praying.  Personally speaking, I have some days where I feel like I am in constant prayer, and constantly speaking with God.  What I call into question is the need to publicly display it, in the manner in which Tebow is doing it.
It would appear that, at face value, what Tebow is doing is a contradiction to scripture. When you look at the context of the verse it also appears that there is a very close resemblance to that.
So then the question…am I being to harsh on Tebow?  Am I being to big of  a square for thinking that “tebowing” is mocking prayer?
By the way…the website is available HERE

4 responses to “The phenomenon of “Tebowing”…

  1. chrissy November 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    this upsets me on so many levels…but i automatically go to Romans 14:11 ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’….so clearly everyone mocking prayer by tebowing will be doing this eventually 🙂

  2. Emily November 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    This is a very late comment, and I’m going to preface it by saying that I’m not a Christian. However, I did get a master’s degree from a Christian divinity school and that gave me a lot of insight into Christianity, and a lot of appreciation for the nuances of Christian theology and how Christianity is practiced in the US (I concentrated in church history). My take on the mockery of Tebow and “tewbowing” is that it is not mocking prayer as such, but rather mocking exactly the kind of ostentatious public prayer Jesus spoke out against. It also doesn’t help that Tebow gives the appearance of praying over a sporting event, which seems like pretty small potatoes. Of course, for all we know, Tebow isn’t praying to win but rather for a good game which the fans enjoy and in which no one gets hurt, and is quite possibly throwing in some non-sports related stuff as well (especially given that a lot of his job involves playing on Sundays!). As an atheist (some other atheists agree with me, while others do not), I would never denigrate another person’s prayers, and the only reason certain elaborate public prayers (or criticism against public figures for not making elaborate public prayers) bother me is that they seem contrary to my understanding of the teachings of Christ. Similarly, I applaud anyone who undertakes philanthropic work, but when it is done loudly in the public square, a small part of me wonders why the left hand knows what the right hand does. There are valid counterarguments in both these instances: the need for public witness (Tebow) or leading by example (heavily publicized charity), for example. Those are thorny issues better left to actual Christians; I’m just giving you my view from outside.

    Overall, though, I think people mocking “tewbowing” are probably more against the in-your-face-look-at-how-Godly-I-am attitude that they perceive (rightly or wrongly) Tebow to be displaying than they are mocking the general concept of praying.

  3. Patrick December 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Re: Matthew 6:5-6

    Here is the danger in only taking a snippet from the Bible without the proper context. The entire chapter was focusing on hypocrisy, not “ostentatious public prayer”. Jesus was speaking out against those that solely act one way in public for personal gain as opposed to a personal desire to worship God. Many people have erroneously taken this quoted passage to assume that Jesus wanted his followers to be secretive/private – which is totally inconsistent with his key messages of being “light”, “salt”, etc.

    In regards to Tebow specifically, I haven’t seen or read anything to indicate that he leads a hypocritical life (i.e. one life in public and an opposite one in private). He seems to have unselfish motives for praying in public from what I can tell. However, I understand he is fallible like anyone else and this discussion is bigger than any one man.

    In regards to Tebowing, I find it funny and mostly light-hearted.

    I think a lot of folks find Tebow uncomfortable because modern decorum says we’re not supposed to talk about personal faith in polite company.

  4. Radiant Robin March 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I think you have a good point of logic but it makes me think of a couple more scriptures that may give great understanding to the questions you pose. It says in the scriptures that God is the searcher of hearts….Jesus Christ spoke and taught that it’s whats on the inside of man that’s most important not necessarily the works (or outside). Prayer is something personal between an individual and God. The scripture you references is really teaching about the motive we have when it comes to prayer.

    I also think of a section of scriptures in Philippians chapter 1, where Paul says “in pretense or in truth”, the gospel is spoken and therein we rejoice!

    Man is always trying to “play” God and judgement is a hugh catagory where these activities takes place.

    Bottom line is are you seeing results to your prayers? I believe this is the true test.


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