Kindle Quick Hits: The Gospel According to Tim

One of the  challenges I find when I get busy is that I usually find time to read but my reading comprehension is less than ideal and the distance between when I read a book and when I review it means I have to recreate my fading reactions and fleeting thoughts.  This is particularly true of short Kindle essays/books. So some of these Kindle quick hits will be particularly short.

One such example is The Gospel According to Tim by Joseph Bottum – a Kindle Single that I read a week or so back.

Here is blurb:

What’s there left to say about Tim Tebow? He’s brilliant and appalling, inspiring and annoying–a straightforward young man who somehow played and prayed his way into being the most enigmatic figure in American sports.

In the essay-length Kindle Single “The Gospel According to Tim,” Joseph Bottum argues that Tebow strikes a nerve because he has slipped beyond all the usual categories of our wink-and-nudge culture of irony. And he’s done that mostly by being simply who he is: not a football-playing theologian but, in essence, a mystic:

“Isn’t that what everyone who has met Tebow does? Believe in him, I mean: believe that he’s for real. The young man is drunk on charity, in the same way he’s drunk on the endorphins that race through his body during his strenuous daily workouts. In the same way he’s drunk on the excitement of winning and losing football games before roaring crowds. In the same way he’s drunk on what the medieval mystics used to call “the gift of tears,” weeping easily and often. In the same way he’s drunk on his constant conversation with the Lord, referring all his victories and all his losses up to heaven.

“Tim Tebow isn’t a Christian theologian. He’s a Christian mystic — intoxicated, as all mystics are, with God. He’s King David, dancing in the joy of his youth before the Ark of the Covenant.”

This is one of those blurbs that really captures the entire book in a few paragraphs. Bottum basically argues that Tebow did not force his faith on the country but rather the country created its own obsession.  And Tebow is a polarizing figure because he is a true believer who is sincere and lacking in guile and hipster irony you expect from a celebrity not matter their faith.

Bottum is a great writer and it is a fascinating subject.  Plus, for a dollar the risk is so low as to be non-existent.  If you have an interest in the intersection of popular culture and faith this is an essay worth reading; a balanced and useful corrective to much of the hyperventilating about Tim Tebow.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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