Do American Christians have an inferiority complex?
The above photo would give that impression. Some person decided that he should create this picture and shoot it around the internet. Of course, he uses Islam as the juxtaposition. He might have used a group of Hindus praying or Buddhists in contemplation. Why not Wiccans? Satanists? Daoists?
It’s the obvious emotional ploy. Aside from the fact that no one really has a problem with Tebow praying in public except, perhaps, Jesus himself. The complaint that I’ve most often heard is from players on opposing teams. That complaint being that God is on their side, too. Why does Tebow think that he’s so special that God would intervene on his behalf and not theirs. Players pray in the NFL and NBA all the time. So much so that I get sick of them publicly thanking God for the big win.
To the photo!
What’s occurring in the two pictures?
#1 Muslims in an area designated for their daily prayers acting out one of their five daily devotionals to Allah in a Mosque. They’re repeating a set prayer in a place of worship. This same prayer which is memorized by all devout Muslims is offered by millions of Muslims daily. Five times daily. Muslims go to their Mosque or other designated area. If they’re not near a mosque a designated prayer area, they usually find some private place to pray. They lay down their prayer rug. They bow. They pray. Same prayer. Five times a day. Every day. The truly devout Muslims do this. Other Muslims pray when they feel like it or not at all.
Note that this prayer is occurring in a designated area in what I believe is New York City.
#2 Tim Tebow is on the sideline of a Football Stadium on National TV. He’s kneeling. He’s offering up a prayer to God. What is his prayer? For what are we to assume that he’s praying? World Peace? Universal Harmony? Not to embarrass himself and the Denver Broncos in a football game? Victory in a Football Game?
What’s he praying for?
I have no problem with the guy praying. I can understand why members of the other team would think that he’s grand standing when he prays in the middle of a game on the sidelines as if he’s David about to do battle with Goliath or Constantine about to meet the savages of Briton.
I can understand why so many people are making fun of him. It’s completely understandable. He’s made himself into a caricature of Christian arrogance and hypocrisy. He’s praying on the sidelines of a football game and his stance usually looks strikingly similar to a famous portrait of George Washington praying at Valley Forge.
He’s asking God to take time out of his busy schedule to help Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos prevail in a Football Game. A Football Game. Yeap. Never mind all those wars, the famine, the hurricanes, floods and tornadoes ripping through the world. God, please stop everything else and help me win this football game. It’s a bit ridiculous.
The players on the opposing team are probably sending up their own prayers. However, they’re not doing it in such a manner that the whole world can see them. They’re silently offering their prayers in the manner that Jesus himself said that Christians should offer their prayers. Prayers are personal and private. A prayer is a conversation between God and an individual. Does Tebow think that God is more likely to answer his prayers if he’s seen praying on National TV? Maybe he thinks God is watching the game on a satellite dish in Heaven.
I understand that he’s attempting to set an example. Be a good role model. I don’t know if that’s the way to do it. Maybe it is. If you take something personal and put it in the public realm, don’t be surprised and certainly don’t be thin skinned if other public people ridicule the act or, at the very least, call into question your motives. Perhaps ignoring the actual instructions of Christ is a good and Christian way of setting a proper Christian example for other Christians.
Let’s see what the Bible says about Prayer. This is what Jesus had to say concerning how and where to pray;
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.
That’s Mathew 6:6.
It’s instructive to note that Jesus didn’t say to walk onto the sidelines of an NFL Game on National TV and pray in front of three or four million people. His basic instruction was to NOT showboat and to not make it a public spectacle. Jesus wasn’t a big fan of public spectacle. Perhaps, there has been a papal bull wherein the Acts of Tebow supercede the Life of Christ and the Bible.
Muslims are actually instructed to pray publicly. Mohammad had no problem with public acts of piety.
Jesus, however, instructed Christians to pray in their rooms.
Christians should ask themselves the question in the photo. What is wrong with that picture? The Bible has the answers. It’s called the Word of God by Christians. The answer is in the very words of Jesus when he instructed the Disciples on how to pray. The same time that he gave Christians the Lord’s Prayer.
But you good Christians knew that…didn’t you.
Sometimes, I have to wonder if Christians actually read the Bible. Perhaps, they’re too busy thinking of new and improved ways to be offended by Muslims to pay attention to the Life of Christ or his words. I must have missed that passage in the Bible that states “Thou shalt be offended.”
Christians have gone so far away from Christ that I’m surprised any of them own a Bible. Sometimes, it seems that too many Christians learned how to be “good” Christians while watching the Kingdom of Heaven.
Or Strategic Posturing?