If Pittsburgh Steeler safety Troy Polamalu gets to tackle the Bronco’s QB in the first round of the playoffs, he won’t “Tebow,” but he might cross himself.
If he does so, he’ll go right to left like other Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Next to Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest official Christian Church in the world, but for many people in North America it is shrouded in mystery.
How interesting, then, that an icon for Head and Shoulders, who believes in honoring pictures of Jesus and the religious saints his tradition calls icons, will face off against a QB who is an icon for jockey underwear, sports drinks and an evangelical faith that normally rejects veneration of religious icons, such as statues or images.
If this sounds confusing and convoluted but you still want to read on, then you have joined others in an encouraging display of thoughtfulness: I have received plenty of reader feedback that would indicate there are a number of people who like a splash of nuance in their drinks by the religion-and-sports water cooler.
Sadly, though, there are others who just want to spit their uninformed thoughts all over the place.
Tim Tebow has provoked plenty of discussion about religion and sports this year, but some of it, to be frank, is facile drivel.
Some writers just use the discussion as a springboard for an anti-religious screed.
On the opposite end, other people seem to think criticism of Tebow's throwing arm is an attack on the faith.
Even if they dress their tantrums up with rhetorical flare, the underlying sentiment of such polarized arguments sounds like baby babble: “Wahhhh, religion sucks!”
Or, conversely, “Wahhhh, why are you always persecuting me?!”
To these simple cries, I would say the interplay between religion and sports is complicated.
I certainly don't have it figured out, but perhaps there are times when we can shut the hell up for heaven's sake, and look for opportunities to grow in knowledge so that we can increase in understanding and love of our neighbors.
So in classical Trinitarian fashion (both Eastern Orthodox Christians and Evangelicals believe in a divine Trinity of three persons in one substance, Father, Son and Holy Spirit), here are three considerations of Troy Polamalu’s mix of religion and sports that could elevate the discussion beyond the "I-say" "God-says" impasse.