by Jordyn Redwood
Okay, I confess. I am a Tim Tebow fan. As of this writing, the Denver Broncos just stunned the Chicago Bears in a 13-10 overtime defeat. There is something magical happening and several in the media are beyond speaking about what that something might be. What I know is that I love to watch Tebow play because he has heart and faith and that is rare in sports today.
What I find more interesting has been the backlash against Tebow for the exhibition of his faith. Tebowing, as it’s called, where Tim is seen down on one knee in prayer has drawn the ire of several—including other Christians. From my perspective, I don’t think his expression has been over the top at all. He prays on the sidelines. At the beginning of interviews, he thanks God but talks more about faith and the work of his fellow team-mates during the remainder of the Q+A. Is this really so offensive?
I began to draw parallels about what was happening to Tim and what I’ve seen happening to Christian authors as well. Are you prepared to take heat just for putting a Christian worldview to paper… even if it is “just fiction”.
We as writers can learn a lot from Tim Tebow and how he’s been handling the juxtaposition of his faith and football.
Consider the following:
1. You will be persecuted just for being a Christian regardless of how great you write. This may come in the form of a one-star review from someone who downloaded the book for free and then didn’t like the Christian content and has panned it for that reason alone. This criticism may even come from other Christians as happened with Tebow and Kurt Warner. Your writing is too preachy. There’s not enough Christian content. They question whether or not you are a Christian. Even though Tim has been performing well, he has seven wins as a starter, some cannot see beyond his faith and his winning streak is just luck and not talent.
2. Tim Tebow understands that football is just a game. This is a great position to work from. Keep your priorities straight. Faith is paramount. The platform you’ve been given, whether it’s a local church newsletter or a spot on the New York Times bestseller list, is just that. A way to get the message out but it shouldn’t be the end all of your existence. If Tebow never played another game, he’d still have a lot going for him. Would you as a writer if you were never published?
3. Stay humble. Above all else, recognize that the talent and platform you’ve been given have been a gift. Use them wisely. Give God credit for your success. Allen Arnold, Senior Vice-President and Fiction Publisher at Thomas Nelson, blogged about two attacks of the enemy on your writing life. Highlighting one type of attack, he writes: “The opposite attack is when the enemy fans the flame of ego. You start to believe your own press. You live for the praise of others and the bestseller list. Success tastes good and is due to your immense talent. You made it happen. You’re a rock star.”
4. Encourage others. Tim Tebow is becoming known for his leadership style as a compassionate encourager even during the lowest moments of the game when all seems lost. Perhaps your publishing contract fell through. Your agent dropped you. How can you use the knowledge you’ve gained to still help other people along? This is what people will remember and be drawn to.
What parallels can you draw between sports and writing Christian fiction?
Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day and suspense novelist by night. Her blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, is devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. Her debut novel, Proof, will be released June 1, 2012.