Coming up on Super Bowl Sunday, as you are filling your mouth with meat, cheese, chips and adult beverages, one ad might stick out as a lot different than the usual funny ads showing monkeys trading stocks (which is more realistic than you might think), half naked girls all over the nerd using Axe body spray or the baby talking about beating shankopotamus in golf. Tim Tebow, along with his mom, will be in a commercial promoting pro life with the backing of Focus on the Family. Not much is being said about the content of the ad, and so we'll have to watch it to see what it entails. But, much speculation is that Tebow's mom will basically giving the message that, "I was told to abort Tim because of an illness while on a mission's trip in the Philippines, but I didn't, and now look at him...he is good at throwing a ball made of cow."
I want to just go through some thoughts on this overall process of having this ad run. These are my thoughts, you can either agree, disagree, cringe or laugh...you decide.
Tebow, whether you like football, or sports in general, is a huge name in today's sports world. He gets pub like no other. He is portrayed as the player that any collegiate program would drool over. He is very talented in sports, a very good leader and very well behaved inside and outside the classroom. I will be honest. I hate him for beating my Sooners a couple of BCS Championships ago and would probably take a bat to his knee if I ever saw him, but other than that...he is a great guy.
Throughout his time in the spotlight, he has used it to promote Jesus. Whether it was after game interviews, verses on his eye black or just being seen helping kids in the Philippines on mission's trips. The fact is, it looks like Tebow actually does love Jesus, and doesn't mind speaking up about his convictions. I do admire his love for Jesus and showing that winning doesn't affect his love for Christ, as seen in his interviews after a loss. All this to say, after he smacked my Sooners, I have had to practice loving my enemy.
The good for this ad is that it is speaking on a subject that needs to be out there. We need to remind people that the decisions that they make in regards to human life has real affects. People who watch Tebow run around the field with a ball made of cow and paint their chest and freak out when the 22 year old crosses a 6 inch white line after 100 yards, need to understand that this real life was at a crossroads 22 years ago, when Tebow's parents decided that it was God's will to keep the child, instead of discard him like an unwanted wart on the end of your thumb. We need to remember, when speaking of abortion, we aren't speaking of a piece of a woman's body that is merely a wart, or a deformation, but we are speaking of another life. The woman can do whatever she wants with her body, but when that affects another, someone needs to speak up and tell her what she is doing. That is the good with this ad.
Here are some of the issues I have with this ad. I hope the ad isn't what I think it will be. Which is, "Look I didn't abort my boy and he plays football real good. If you keep your kid, maybe he will make a lot of money for you too someday." This message is empty and very transparent. Already, sports radio was speaking of it this morning and could see right through the message. I would find it far more reaching if Tebow and his mom used this stage, even if it is only 30 seconds, to show off those who are like the rest of us, who are like normal Americans, or worse off. What about all those kids who are saved from abortions and grow up on welfare, with a drug addicted mom and never make out of the ghetto? Are they worth saving? Do they possess the Imago Dei? Or, is it only worth it now that Tebow can put eye black on his face and put John 3:16 on them? This message will be empty if the message isn't one of the equality we have in the eyes of God. That every child is worth saving, because God has given them a soul and made in His image.
A lot of moms that are struggling at home to keep food on the table, will scoff at a rich woman showing off her decision on TV, as they will see her life really had no struggles (which probably isn't true either). In the end, those who should be affected for good, could be affected for contempt towards the ad. The people who should be ultimately affected by an ad like this is the mothers who are making these tough decisions everyday. But, I fear that this ad, will be more of an ad to give the conservative Christian something to hang their hat on and shove in other's faces as a proof of why abortion is wrong. Because, the Christian will buy into this ad and say, "See how Tebow turned out! You should hate abortion too because we might be killing the good kids that will make a difference on Saturdays for 3 hours. Don't you want to paint your chest and scream real loud?" I cringe when I think about this.
The other problems I find with this ad, is the fact that the organization putting it out, Focus on the Family, is saying this about the ad:
There’s nothing political and controversial about it (click here for full story in the NY Times)
This is dumb. This is very political and Focus on the Family knows it. They have been more about politics than Jesus for a long time and are now lying to make sure the ad doesn't get cut from the Super Bowl. It's sad that they desire to make these kind of stupid comments to try and validate it.
Not only this, but I pray that Tebow himself doesn't allow himself to be put on such a stage that his own sanctification becomes a fraud. I am not saying this is what is happening, but I just hope he has those in his life that he can confess his sin to and still grow and press himself into Christ. We have to make sure that we, as followers of Jesus, don't make Tebow a Messiah for the Christian movement. We need to know he is merely a man and will fail. He needs to be allowed to fail. But, the problem is that we aren't a very forgiving community when our leaders fail. Just look at what happens when people like Amy Grant, Kirk Franklin or Ted Haggard fail. What happens is that they get so big, they know they can't fail, they can't have sin, they can't have temptations, and so they eventually fail very publically and very severely and are then ostracized by the Christian community instead of being embraced and shown grace in the cross of Christ. I pray this doesn't happen to Tebow, but I fear we are allowing that to happen.
I am interested to see the ad. I hope it isn't what I think it will be about. I pray it is more about the everyday struggles of the everyday woman making a very difficult decision on a life in the womb. I pray that it will not promote hierarchy, but will promote equality of life found in the grace of God through the Imago Dei and the cross of Christ.
Note: The woman's group that is trying to protest this ad sounds really stupid for their reasons for desiring this ad to not run. I wonder if they speak up this loudly when half naked girls sell beer and body sprays. Plus, this quote from the woman's group is humorous:
By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers
As if that statement doesn't divide? Pretty ironic statement...thanks for not dividing and being above reproach...funny.