Tim Tebow: Epic man of God
In one of the most surprising upsets of the college football season, this weekend the undefeated Florida Gators were beaten by #2 Alabama. The star of the Gators team is their quarterback, Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow. In addition to being hailed as possibly the best college football player of the decade, he is also a man of great character.
He was born in 1987 in the Philippines where his parents were Christian missionaries. He was their fifth child and is considered a miracle baby. His mother suffered from a pathological amoeba infection while pregnant with him and although almost every doctor recommended an abortion, his parents chose life. Throughout his life, he was aware of the fact that his birth was a miracle, and treated each day, each opportunity as a gift from God.
Throughout their lives, their mother home schooled Tim and his siblings. While Tim was in high school, a law was passed allowing home schooler’s to participate in local school sports. He began playing football at a local high school and was very talented. Soon he was being recruited by all the best schools, but eventually chose the University of Florida (his parents’ Alma Mater) where he has had great success. He has made history in many ways, but perhaps most famously by being the first underclassmen ever to win the Heisman trophy.
The thing that makes him unique and not just another successful football player is his outspoken love for God. He has stated that he lists football as his fourth priority in life- the first being his relationship with Jesus Christ, the second his family, and the third his education.
He is an outspoken proponent of missionary work and spent his spring break in the Philippines on a mission trip. He stated, “I could be spending my spring break hanging out, having fun, or I could spend my spring break ministering to orphans…and I think, ‘what really matters?’”. When he’s not in school or playing football, you can probably find him speaking at jails across the U.S. where he provides motivational speeches and brings the Word of Christ to the inmates.
Recently he was asked in a press conference after a game if he is “saving himself for marriage”. He laughed a little and quickly answered “yes”. This caused some stir among the reporters on hand, but Tim seemed perfectly at ease. After winning the Heisman trophy in 2007 he started his acceptance speech with “I’d like to first start off by thanking my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who gave me the ability to play football and gave me a great family and support group.” You can see that Tim is not afraid to openly discuss his faith.
It is encouraging to hear about young people who are committed to their faith above all else and who are humble and thankful for their blessings. Tim was raised by loving Christian parents who constantly reminded him that he was a miracle from God, and that although God gave him the ability to play football really well, it could just as easily be taken away. Because of his experience with those less fortunate than him I think he fully appreciates all the blessings he has been given and this keeps him grounded and thankful. He always speaks about how he has been blessed and how he hopes to use his success at football to bring glory to God. I hope that others, not just football players, but all young people, all athletes will take inspiration from Tim Tebow. And the next time someone asks you what is important to you, or what you believe, you will have the courage that he does to come right out and say it.
Spotlight on: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
By Elisabeth Lourie
Stephenie Meyer’s “New Moon” picks up where “Twilight” left off with the story of Bella and Edward. The story begins when, at her 18th birthday party, Bella gets a cut, and the Cullen family whom she’s come to know and love, are suddenly reduced to bloodthirsty vampires again. Although Edward saves her, it’s a sobering reminder to him of the danger she is in while a part of the vampire world. Feeling that he must sacrifice his own feelings for the sake of Bella’s safety, Edward leaves with a promise that she will never see him again. Bella collapses into a ball in the forest where they had once frolicked and for months following she sits alone in her room, finally seeking solace in the arms of her bff Jacob who also happens to be a werewolf. She discovers that when she places herself in dangerous situations, Edward appears to her like an apparition. Throwing caution to the wind, driven by the desire to be even a teensy bit closer to Edward, she places herself in dangerous situations, culminating with a cliff dive that would have killed her had Jacob not pulled her out of the frosty water. Through his sister Alice’s gift of foresight, Edward “sees” that Bella died due to the cliff jump. Deciding that he no longer wants to live in a world without Bella in it, he resolves to travel to Italy and have himself killed by the Volturi. Bella figures this out and hops on a plane to Italy, hoping to save Edward from his vampire suicide. Judging by the fact that there are two other books after New Moon, I think you know how it ends up.
Here are some issues that I had with the movie and the story.
1. Suicide is cool if you’re in love? There is a reoccurring theme throughout the movie that seems to glorify suicide in the name of love. From prolific references to Romeo and Juliet, to Bella’s cliff dive, to Edward’s actual attempt at suicide, the idea of dying if you can’t have love is inescapable. Edward states at one point, “I love you. You're my only reason to stay alive... if that's what I am. “ This idea of love being all consuming and the idea of life not being worth living without romantic love is an unhealthy one for teens. We are called as Christians to be consumed with the love of Christ and to treasure life, living it for God’s glory. Suicide is never a good option!
2. Bella as heroine? I think that the idea is that Bella is some sort of heroine, because she saves Edward from killing himself. I get it, but I don’t think she’s very worthy of the status of role model. She mostly mopes around, toys with her friend Jacob’s emotions, and tries to get rid of her immortal soul. She doesn’t seem to have any hobbies of her own besides obsessing about Edward. She ditches her friends and ignores her dad. I’d love to see a heroine who takes charge and has a life of her own outside of her boyfriend.
3. Damnation and giving up ones soul. The issue of Bella sacrificing her soul is still there. We find out in this movie that both Edward and Carlisle believe their souls to be damned. Edward does not want Bella’s soul to face the same fate, and therefore insists that she remain human. Bella does not believe that just because they are vampires, they are automatically damned. The movie does not explain what “damned” means or what happens after vampires die. It becomes problematic for Christians when Bella says things like “You can have my soul. I don’t want it without you!” Does she have any idea what giving up her immortal soul means in the long run?
Questions to Ponder for Teens
- Bella is upset on her 18th birthday to realize that she is now older than Edward. She knows that if she does not become immortal, someday she will grow old and die, while Edward remains forever 17. Edward claims that age and looks have nothing to do with his love for her. Do you think her reasons for wanting to “change” are justified? Are her own insecurities clouding her judgment? Or is she right to be concerned?
- Are you on Team Jacob or Team Edward and why?
- Was Edward justified in his decision to leave Bella? Did his leaving and his return make sense to you? We are led to believe that he leaves her because he’s afraid for her soul and her physical well being. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Perhaps their love is less than perfect after all?
- Were Bella’s actions when she got herself into reckless situations selfish? Was she considering how her actions would affect the people that love her?
- If Edward had succeeded in getting himself killed, what do you think would have happened to his soul?
- If Edward weren’t a vampire, how different would the story be? Would you feel differently about their love?
- We’re told in Deuteronomy to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Has Bella replaced the word ‘God’ with the name Edward? If so, do you think that’s a good idea?