Yesterday I was quoted in a column appearing on Yahoo.com regarding the hullabaloo over Tim Tebow fans putting “Jesus” on the back of jerseys with Tebow’s number. Before the comments section of aforementioned article was removed, it became filled with some of the most vitriolic attacks on Christians and Christianity that I had seen recently. This was on a sports blog, mind you. Not one of the hot-button blogs that one would expect such things to pop up on. A sports blog. One attempted slur that popped up frequently was “fanatic”.
So it got me to thinking. Sports fans complaining about fanatics? Really? That’s not the pot calling the kettle black at all.
I suppose sports fans are more qualified to recognize fanaticism than most. Between closets filled with t-shirts and sweatshirts covered in team logos, flags flying from the windows of their vehicles, dog leashes in team colors, starting drunken fights at tailgating events, and stealing other teams mascots I suppose they understand fanaticism pretty well.
In fact, most of the complaints people level against Christianity can be likewise directed at sports fanatics. Closed-minded? Ask a Clemson fan how they feel about Carolina, or a Georgia fan how they feel about Florida. Narrow-mided bigotry will be the response. Unloving, uncaring, not respecting the opinions and rights of others to cheer for whomever they choose. Violence? Have you watched soccer games around the globe? Not to mention our own country, where riots have taken place after a city’s team has won. How about all of the fights and injuries we never hear about after the game or in bars where the fans have had one too many? Hate speech? Don’t get me started.
All of the commenters who exploded all over Tebow and any sort of defense of Christian living simply proved this point: everyone is a fanatic about something. You may be the world’s biggest New Orleans Saints fan, or have your man cave painted UNC blue. Bully for you. You have that right. But I have the right to be a Jesus freak. And I think that makes more sense.
Why? As big a fan as I am of the Alabama Crimson Tide, it doesn’t matter to them one bit how much Tide apparel or paraphernalia I have. They don’t even send me a Christmas card. As much fun as I have pulling for them, they have done absolutely nothing for me. They do not make my life better in any substantive way. They do not give me the strength to endure hardship. They do not answer me when I call for help. And most importantly of all, they can’t do a single thing for me when I die.
But Jesus can do all of that, and so much more.
Am I a fanatic? Well, yeah, I guess I am. I’m a fanatic about a lot of things. I love video games, cars, Star Wars, Batman, and ‘Bama. I’m a fanatic about my wife, who I think is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’m a fanatic about my kids, who make my life better every day. But there’s one thing I’m more of a fanatic about than anything else, by a large margin. That’s the One who paid for my sin and purchased my place in heaven. The One who took my place at the cross. The One who is always there for me, my Rock, my Strong Tower, my Fortress, my Deliverer. The One who is worthy of all my praise and all that I am. I am officially a fanatic for Jesus. A Jesus Freak. Call me what you want, but I’ll gladly fly that flag and wear His colors in every season.