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Tim Tebow and the Christian Writing Life

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.

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5 Responses to Tim Tebow and the Christian Writing Life

  1. Paula says:

    Amen and Amen! Jesus didn’t say if your are persecuted for your faith; He said when you are persecuted for your faith. We should take it as a compliment when others put us down for our faith stance. When else are we more like Jesus?

  2. As a Denver Bronco fan and Coloradan, I am very proud of Tim Tebow. But he is not the first or only professional athlete to take a knee or point heavenward. Pro Athletes Outreach and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes have been around for decades, encouraging players to be true to their Lord, whether they kneel publicly or not.

    As a rodeo writer, I’ve seen countless cowboys do the same as Tebow – acknowledge their Savior right there in front of God, the bulls, and everybody. So why are sports world aficionados and others not so official riding the Tebow-bashing train? I believe it is because of the young man’s obvious priority set. Up to this point, he seems to be unmoved by criticism and fame of any kind. He has his head on straight and I believe the world sees that as suspicious. Tebow, and others in the spotlight, needs our prayerful support. He/they wear a target, and we all know from where the fiery darts fly.

    Thanks for your great blog post, pointing out the truths of walking in this world as a believer, whether onto the playing field or into a book signing.

  3. Sue Harrison says:

    Okay, Jordyn, I have to begin by admitting that I have long been a Detroit Lion fan, but Tim Tebow’s faith and courage are truly inspiring – as is your post!! Thank you for your wise words.

  4. Thanks Sue and Paula for your comments.

    Davalynn: Absolutely we should support them in prayer. Excellent point.

  5. Great post. I love watching my sons response to this young man’s stand for his faith. That alone would make me a huge fan! Plus, their love for Tebow now means the whole team cheers for the Broncos! (We had a rebel in the family before Tebow came. lol)

    And you’re right. I’ve seen it so many times in reviews for books. Funny how something so full of love and grace, like the gospel, can be so divisive to the world. Reminds me of the Scripture that talks about how we are God’s fragrance . . . but smell different to people depending on where their heart is . . .