The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

Tebow, Vick–Which Bandwagon?

tim_tebow_(2).jpgLiving in the Mile High City the Tim Tebow bandwagon has arrived and the line is forming.  There are hopes that he’s the next John Elway who will lead us to the promised land.  Before he even took a snap in the NFL Christians were already celebrating him.  After all, Tebow recognizes that God has given him fame and notoriety for a reason.  As a follower of Christ he deeply desires to be a good witness for Christ.  And then there is Michael Vick.  After serving 21 months in prison for running an illegal dog fighting ring he’s having a MVP contending year.  Vick is a true story of rehabilitation, redemption and rebirth. 

Yet it seems to me that while Christians have been quick to jump on the Tebow bandwagon they/we have hesitated when it comes to Vick.  With the exception of Tony Dungy who has vouched for Vicks transformation I don’t see many Christians running to stand with him.  Why?  Is it because Tim Tebow is a professed Christian while Vick, well, I’m not sure where he stands personally with Jesus? 


The scriptures are full of folk that are far less than pristine when it comes to praxis and profession of faith yet we herald them as heroes of the faith.  It seems to me that it is God that we should celebrate and what he is doing in someone’s life rather than a person’s ability to keep up with what God is doing.  When we don’t then we are all to willing to abandon them when they fail us. And they will.
God’s grace is flowing freely to Tebow & Vick equally.  That’s worth celebrating. Isn’t that reason enough to buy and wear both jerseys with pride?
Join the groove:  Do you think Christians are responding to Vick and Tebow differently? What’s your take?
Comments read comments(16)
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Dale Wetmore

posted January 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

As a Christian I am profoundly touched and moved by Vick’s rehabilitation … it’s as if he wrestled with God in the darkness of night. He didn’t know who he was messing with, until then last moment when God broke him effortlessly. Then he realized the awesome power of God. And as Vick humbled himself, he realized the awesome redemptive power of God.
We must move in different circles, Robert: most of the comments I hear about Tebow are negative. People can’t really articulate why they don’t like him; it’s something to do with a goody-goody attitude. Translation: they don’t like Tebow because he admits to being a Christian.

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Lynda Woodward

posted January 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I agree with Dale. I think that Vick’s transformation is a true work of God in his life, and I rejoice with him.
I do think because Tebow is perceived as someone who has lived a life
as a believer, and one who has practiced his faith his whole life, a lot of people think he is somehow naive and a goody-two shoes who has been shielded from a lot the ugly things in life. I have the feeling if he ever makes a moral misstep the media will be all over it, and none too forgiving in its’ attitude.

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JJ Welch

posted January 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Vick has been on my heart for a long time because he needed a chance to redeem himself, he got that chance and he took it. That is much more inspiring to me and I hope to many others as well. Jesus’ most profound example was loving, accepting, and forgiving those that society had not, therefore Vick’s was the more difficult because of the crowd that swarmed to decry him. As an animal lover it is difficult for me to give mercy to those that are cruel to animals yet God reminded me of how he would treat Michael Vick and then my heart was softened.

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Frank Gallagher

posted January 9, 2011 at 8:33 am

When you look at the two men what is amazing is just how God works. Knowing each of us as He does, He works with what He has to bring each of us to Himself. When you consider the grace and the mercy that our God offers us it just drives you to your knees in thanks and praise. All the glory goes to Him.

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posted January 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm

GOD is good all the time and yes he has taken and used many people who have fallen and turned there lives around just look at the life of David

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Carlos Michael Padilla

posted January 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

If God has his fingerprints on their souls and these men are moving into action because their spirits feel the presence of God, and, if what they are doing benefits others, then praise God. What is important to remember is the glory they give to God through their service. They serve out of love.

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Donn Williams

posted January 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

While I respect Tony Dungy’s work and opinion, I believe the difference here is Tim Tebow has, for as long as he has been in the spotlight, given God all the glory for his accomplishments. To my knowledge, Michael Vick has not mentioned receiving any help from God in his rehabilitation. I qualify that statement by saying I have not heard every interview Michael Vick has done, and I pray for him to continue to do well on the field, except against the Saints, but more importantly, off the field.
As for buying BOTH guys’ jerseys….my last name is not Trump.

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Robert Gelinas

posted January 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I absolutely agree that Tebow offers more conscious glory to God and seeks to give testimony as opportunity presents itself. I love that about him!
Vick has made reference to God’s help:
I think that you are correct as to why Tebow’s bandwagon has more Christians on it. But my point was/is this, let me quote a line from my post: “It seems to me that it is God that we should celebrate and what he is doing in someone’s life rather than a person’s ability to keep up with what God is doing.”
We Christians seem to celebrate Christians being Christians verses God being God.
Thanks for the comment,
P.S.–I’m with ya on the Trump thing!

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Donn Williams

posted January 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Thanks for the link concerning Michael Vicks testimony. I stand corrected. And I agree that we should give credit to God for what He is doing in people’s lives.
And just look what He has done for Michael Vick since that testimony was given.
Thank God for being the God of the second chance.

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posted January 11, 2011 at 12:50 am

There are so many directions to take this conversation, however, God is God and according to His Word, He sees us all the same. It is a shame that Christians forget that God is the God of the sinner and the believer. Unless Christians truly believe in redemption, forgiveness and restoration, then they are truly hypocritical and judgmental each time they compare these men and feel that one is somehow better than the other. Tebow and Vick are on different levels in their relationships with God and only God knows what purpose or plan He has for their lives, past, present and to come. Are Christians any different than the world and its shortcomings? We all have something we aren’t proud of, however, God delivers us all from those flaws just as He has and will for both Tebow and Vick. Get off the bandwagon and do your Father’s work. Enough already.

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Gary Mac

posted January 11, 2011 at 9:22 am

The outward appearance of a man is not necessarily what is inside that man. One can look as holy as Jesus Christ from the outward man and be a serial killer from the inside, that that is hidden from view. One who is of Christ is as Jesus was and has the mind of Christ, walks as he walked, and is one with the Father.
And above all it is a matter of perspective how you see things — even Jesus was accused of blaspheme. So to judge what these are made of will be revealed in time. What is inside a person will make its way to the surface sooner or later. It isn’t what goes in the man that defiles him; it is what comes out from him that the truth is known.

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Kathy Zimmer

posted January 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Sorry I hadn’t read your blog in some time. Heidi actually directed me to this because I was telling her about conversations we’d had with people about Vick and the lack of favor he’s gotten. Love his redemption story, and my seat is already reserved on the Tebow bandwagon. :) Great post, and of course I should check here more often. Thanks, Robert. Now how do we get Dungy to coach the Broncos next season!

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posted January 16, 2011 at 11:18 am

Been reading and thinking about this for awhile…wanna play a little “Devil’s Advocate”…
I, too, am attracted to and moved by the stories of great redemption from great depths of sin. Vick joins the likes of Paul, our first dramatic example of a life redeemed. I hope Vick surrounds himself with men and women who can help him grow in his faith walk.
On the other hand, why is it that we believers are cynical – mocking even – toward our own? Why is a Christian who is trying – and succeeding – in living a godly life called a “goody two shoes,” or a prude or worse? It’s as if we want them to fall to make ourselves feel better – the worst kind of jealousy. Shouldn’t we be cheering them on instead?
“What shall we say then? Should we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Rom. 6:1-2)
For example, I have a friend who is single man in his early forties. He was brought up in a Christian home that taught him godly values, he became a Christian at a young age, and has remained “pure” waiting for his wife. He is still waiting… My goodness, what perseverance! What character! Especially in our culture! We should be throwing a party for this man every year he succeeds – like AA does.
But instead of being proud of him and encouraging him, I have more than once heard him teased – by Christians – for being the “40 year old virgin”. You know, once might be considered a joke…but really? Are we NOT proud of him? Excited for the day when his self control and patience will pay off? Do we try to help him, and others like him, succeed in their godliness?
I agree, as Robert said, Christians shouldn’t celebrate Christians, but rather the God of Christians. It appears that’s exactly what the public life of Tebow does:
After all, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20)
Men like Tebow are God’s appeal. Tebow points to Christ. God is glorified.

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Robert Gelinas

posted January 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I don’t sense that you are playing “Devil’s Advocate,” more than you are raising a separate point that I don’t address in my post. I’m not hearing or seeing Christians speak poorly about Tebow. Quite the opposite, he has a full bandwagon…deservedly so! I think he’s a great role model and follower of Christ.
My point is that I don’t see Christians equally gravitating toward Vick (or Ted Haggard!) nor does it seem that Christians are equally “attracted to and moved by stories of great redemption.” We like them in our Bible but not in real life. Thus my fear: If Tebow proves to be a “sinner” like the rest of us then will we just look for a new golden boy.

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posted January 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

Hmmm…good points.
Perhaps it’s being “famous” that clouds the issue for Christians?
In our personal lives, if we have a friend or relative who meets Christ and makes a significant change in his life – a “turn around” – we believe it. We see God’s mighty hand of “great redemption” because we knew that person up close, flaws and all, and now see his changed life up close. We are astounded at, and grateful for, God’s grace and mercy in their life.
But when someone famous makes a turn around it takes more time for us to “believe” it. We doubt. Perhaps because all we know about that person is what is fed to us by the media? There is no personal, first-hand experience. And, that person now has perhaps millions of people “judging” exactly what that person should “do” for his turn around. And we all think we are using “objective data” – despite the planks in our own eyes. The famous person cannot possibly live up to everyone’s expectations.
That’s why we should default to grace, and praise God that men like Vick – like us – are all loved and pursued by the King!

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Robert Gelinas

posted January 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

I think we are getting closer, though my main point is that this is not about the people in our lives it’s about God. Even if they don’t recognize God and give him credit for their “turn around”–that doesn’t mean that God didn’t do something worth celebrating. I think middle class American Christians are inordinately focused on the vessel that contains the grace (human beings) and its ability to recognize God’s grace vs. the grace that is on the inside of the vessel and the one responsible for it.

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