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Denver Christians mourn Tebow’s departure, say they’ll root from afar
Tim Tebow will now be "Tebowing" for the New York Jets.
March 21st, 2012
02:28 PM ET

Denver Christians mourn Tebow’s departure, say they’ll root from afar

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – When star quarterback Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos this week, Denver pastor Jim Mackey signed at the thought that Tim Tebow probably wouldn’t be wearing Broncos blue and orange next season. The Broncos don’t need two star quarterbacks and the New York Jets announced Wednesday that Tebow is now theirs.

“It was a topic of conversation last night,” Mackey said in a phone interview Wednesday, describing Tuesday night services at his Next Level Church.

“It is an emotional thing and a bit more emotional for people who have connected with Tebow’s expression of faith,” Mackey said. “Rather than just a QB controversy, which is not unique in the NFL, this does seem to have hit more of a personal nerve for those in the Christian community.”

Mackey’s church meets Tuesday nights, not Sunday mornings, because Mackey believes Sunday is a day for people to do Colorado things – skiing, hiking and Broncos games.

Tebow, who helped turn the bottom-dwelling Broncos into a playoff team last year, transcended sports with his overt professions of faith and his late game heroics, which led some to believe that God was on the young quarterback’s side.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Throughout the season, Tebow’s jersey was flying off the racks and “Tebowing” – the act of getting down on one knee and praying while everyone around you does something else – became to be an internet meme and widely recognized symbol. Tebow quickly became the public face of FRS Company and Jockey; for months, it was hard to click on ESPN without hearing his name.

“Tim Tebow seems to have won the hearts of not only football fans in Denver but the people here at large,” said Rob Brendle, pastor at the evangelical Denver United Church. “One of the most exciting aspects of last season was that casual sports fans and those who aren’t even interested in football, like my wife, became captivated by the influence of Tim Tebow.”

“Around the water cooler and in church, there is sadness at the likelihood of his departure,” Brendle said, a few hours before the Jets announcement.

Though Tebow cashed in with endorsements, he also lent his face and celebrity to causes he believed in, many in the Denver area. Like many players, Tebow invited individual fans to his games. In his last game with the Broncos, a playoff face-off with quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Tebow hugged Kelly Faughnan, a 22-yard old female who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and whom the Tebow Foundation had invited to the game.

Brendle said that Tebow showed that you can be both good at sports and good at giving back.

“It is hard not to cheer for the Christian kid,” Brendle said.

Jim Daly, president of the Colorado Springs-based evangelical group Focus on the Family, teamed up with Tebow for antiabortion Super Bowl ad last year. The spot illustrated how comfortable Tebow is trumpeting his Christian beliefs, even on a polarizing issue.

“I think there is going to be this period of mourning for Tim Tebow’s departure,” Daly said. “I think that that affection that people have for Tebow goes well beyond Denver and his ability to play football.”

Daly says Focus still hopes to work with Tebow in the future.

“Regardless of where he is, he is a national celebrity and it would be great to work with him again – even if he is in New York,” Daly said.

Matthew Ware, Executive and Worship Pastor at Victory Church in Denver, said Tebow fans were hoping for the quarterback to stay local even after the Manning announcement.

“I think most people were hoping for a "both/and" instead of an "either/or" situation,” Ware said. “We love the idea that perhaps Manning could ‘disciple’ Tebow into greatness in the next few years.”

Many believers in Denver will now have to balance being a Broncos fan with rooting for a New York-based Tebow.

“Tebowmania has a magnetism and loyalty that's undeniable,” Ware said. “While most people will ultimately support their home team, once in a while a player comes along that wins your heart. Tebow is that kind of player. He'll have Denver fans no matter where he plays.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Colorado • Faith Now • New York • Sports • United States

soundoff (1,423 Responses)
  1. Kener

    Denver Broncos. Fantasy Football, Week 8: Tim Tebow, Willis McGahee Go Opposite WaysSB NationBroncos\' McGahee Could Potentially Play Against LionsPredominantly OrangeWillis McGahee to miss 1-2 weeks after hand surgeryNBCSports.comMile High Report

    September 9, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  2. VacanteUngaria.ro

    I will right away clutch your rss feed as I can't find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you've any? Please let me understand in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

    June 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  3. Geology Blog

    I used to be recommended this blog via my cousin. I'm not positive whether or not this put up is written through him as nobody else understand such certain about my problem. You are amazing! Thank you!

    April 26, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  4. Kandi

    People that believe in their "lard"...woops...I mean their "luard"...woops...jeezoos...are the longest winded hypocrites walking.

    They can't stop trying to convince everyone. That is a sign of arrogance, ignorance and selfishness.

    Stay out of my neighborhood.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  5. Charlie from the North

    I don't like the idea of Tebow playing for the devil, or as sportscasters call him,"Rex Ryan". But maybe that is the point. if he is to spread a good example the only team that needs him more than the Jets is New Orleans. But New York needs the holy spirit and a good quarterback whereas New Orleans is set in the quarterback department.

    March 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Otto

      So the holy spirit lost to New England, what a chump....

      March 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  6. Brett

    Jesus changes lives for the better, heals diseases, sets people free from despair, fear, emotional trauma, etc. I've seen it with my own eyes, experienced it. Religion is man made, can't save you, destroys you. I've been there, done it. Only Jesus is the answer to all the worlds’ problems but unfortunately most people reject Jesus and that is why we have the problems in the world as we have.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Chad

      So, if jesus can don all those things why doesn't he do them? That stuff happens ALL the time. You know "acts of god". So, is he lazy, apathetic or powerless?

      March 25, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • JC in the hot tub!

      If Jesus ever existed, he died 2 thousand years ago.

      If God exists he either isn't all powerful or he isn't all good.

      Otherwise why would he allow all the suffering we see in the world?

      March 26, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • sam stone

      And if everyone would just acknowledge Jesus as their savior, all would be hunky dory, eh?

      March 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  7. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things .

    March 24, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Chad

      Ya, it's probably better to lie to them to evoke desired behavior. What could go wrong?

      March 25, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • just sayin

      Let us wait for Chad to respond.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post is simply a lie.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Otto

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Jesus

      -.You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!...-

      March 26, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Roberto La Monica

      I've been praying that you go away...see it doesn't work!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  8. M Houston

    Denver got a real quarterback (Manning). The Jets got an ex quarterback. If the Jets are lucky they'll have a middling
    running back. God, Tebow, football and worshipful fans are a Pollyanna-ish mix at best...

    March 24, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  9. joe

    This post is for any Atheist.

    Atheist think they know it all by saying there is no God that prayers don't work. There are still many things science can not explain and when it comes to prayers, law of attraction, karma, synchronicity, or the power of belief. Just because there is one instance that may not be duplicated in a scientific setting such as an answer to a prayer or an amazing physical feat of someone lifting a car to save their trapped relative – just so that your measly authoritative perception of the world can be satisfied because you must have control of everything does not rule out that it exists just like GOD.

    All atheists, conveniently close themselves off by telling themselves that they are smarter than everyone else and effectively shut off an avenue of knowledge and spiritual enlightenment they could gain by studying religion. That's why Atheism is an EPIC fail....

    And by being this way, I think its safe to say that atheist are in fact close minded, very lazy, and bigoted by definition which ironically are things that they don't associate with themselves.

    You smug people think that Christians or muslims and other "theist" are the ones who are closed minded but it is you who is unable to remove or deal with associations you may not like or agree with to seek knowledge and truth like a spoiled child who doesnt get their way....how inconvenient....

    Me, I wont rule anything out. Why should I? Do I need absolute proof? Do I need god to come down to earth and slap me to prove that he or she or it is real??? I'm happy I pray and ask the universe to provide and i may not get always get what i want, but i can't complain because i get what i need.

    But I do have absolute proof that atheists are close minded and think they know it all and they are highly dependent on their perception of the world, unable to think or accept anything outside of that. Until they are on their death bed facing the unknown....

    March 24, 2012 at 4:58 am |
    • Robert Ray

      Religious people are the one with blinders on and are severly closed minded.They are stuck in a 2000 year old fairy tale.They believe in unprovable prepostereous unbelievable creation theories.. Thier beliefs do not hold up yo scrutnity.It is sad that these people will go through life out of touch with what is real and reality.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Bill Cosby

      Go back to school ,baby. When you can write a coherent sentence and manage to use punctuation correctly, I'll read your posts and be happy to discuss the content. Until then, go back and get a GED. If you can't write beyond the level of an 8th grade dolt, I have no time for your ideas as to how I should live MY life, being that I'm actually an educated, intelligent person. In other words, I don't respect YOUR opinion unless you have sufficient education and smarts to show me I'm wrong.

      Get bent, you doofus.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by 'joe' contains a variety of common fallacies, including ad hominem and circu-mstantial ad hominem fallacies, as well as a series of slippery slope fallacies and straw man arguments.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 25, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      joe: that's right, just paint all atheists with a broad brush. good debate technique.

      March 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  10. Michael1

    I hope all the "evangelical" Christians in Denver and elsewhere believe that Christ died only for the elect of God, as the Scriptures declare plainly. Otherwise it is doubtful that they are Christians at all. In fact, if I were a betting man, I would bet my eternal soul that they are not Christians. When God works a miracle of grace in the heart of His people, they know they are ill-deserving of the least of His mercies, and deserve hell rather. Salvation is God's work. Salvation is not of human will, in any part whatsoever. Sure, God makes us willing in the day of His power, but I have no power to believe on Christ savingly apart from the irresistible grace of God, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, without any cooperation from me at all.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • JLONEY1

      I dont understand your point at all. I am a christian and do tend to lean more towards God's Sovereignty over Free Will but that has nothing to do with Tebow. God saves both people who believe in predestination and people who don't. To be saved by God according to Christianity you must accept Jesus Christ as your savior. I know you will say that it is only by God's grace that you can do this and I would tend to agree with you but my point in this is that you can be saved without understanding the entire process of how it works. Instead of trying to create division within the body why not create unity. Oh and again....this had nothing to do with Tebow or this article so I still dont understand why you made this point. Not trying to be mean.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • christy

      "God is not willing that any perish"-shove that up your Calvinist rear end.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  11. MAX

    He has HOT muscles, but his poor head is filled with ideas from the Middle Ages. It will be great when society evolves to a point in where people like him are not rewarded with great financial wealth for playing a game.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  12. Shelly

    So the ruler of all things – the heavens and earth and all living beings on the planet – actually cares about football?

    March 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  13. wrong side of the bed

    This guy will be eaten alive in NY.this is gonna get ugly.

    March 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  14. airforce1990

    People only hate him because he ACTUALLY lives his faith. Maybe people would like him more if he was a womanizer, drunk, dog fighter, rapist or some other kind of felon that the NFL is full of.

    March 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jesus

      -~`You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!~`

      March 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • target tee

      Atheism not healthy for children? So you mean every child is born unhealthy and full of original sin, I find this mentally to be unhealthy. We are all born atheist, when I look at my 2 and 5 year old sons, they are beautiful they way they are, they don't go to church, they don't yet have an idea of the concept of the god of Abraham, yet they are full of love for everyone around them. Atheism to me is about deep honesty, we live in an infinitely mysterious universe, and I don't know what happens when we die, but neither does the local priest/preachers, why does religion pretend to know things it can't. Stating the bible says it is not proof, if so pi would be equal to 3, as calculated in the bible twice.
      Best,

      March 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  16. MKC

    Since when is Tim Tebow a 'star' quarterback? I must have been watching some other A** Clown play for the Broncos

    March 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  17. Dennis

    I wish he would of stayed in CO with the other religious evangelicals.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  18. ChuckB

    He will be on a mission from God. There are many more in New York than Denver that need his pious example. Preaching to the choir is not much of a callling. A real test is to go into the lions den.

    March 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bwahhhhhhhhaaaahaahhahha.

      Oh, wait You were serious, weren't you?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.