“Linsanity” and Christian faith

February 17, 2012

If you receive our church’s weekly E-News mailing, you may have noticed that my cover letter was about new basketball sensation Jeremy Lin. I based some of what I wrote there on this New York Times piece, written by Michael Luo, an Asian-American and Harvard graduate who, like Lin, is also a Christian.

Like Lin, I’m a Harvard graduate, albeit more than a decade ahead of him, and a second-generation Chinese-American. I’m also a fellow believer, one of those every-Sunday-worshiping, try-to-read-the-Bible-and-pray types, who agreed with Lin when he said to reporters after the Jazz game, “God works in mysterious and miraculous ways.”

Being a believer can mean different things in different circles. In a lot of the ones Lin and I have traveled, it can mean, essentially, you are a bit of a weirdo, or can make you an object of scorn.

Not that any of you are necessarily Asian-American or Harvard graduates or residents of New York City, but is this true for you? I feel at times that my faith makes me “a bit of a weirdo,” although I doubt I put myself out there enough to be an “object of scorn.” I wonder how willingly I would let myself be an object of scorn.

But I’m glad Luo said it. Because it can happen. After all, we’ve all witnessed Tim Tebow become an object of scorn in the eyes of some (by no means most) Americans. As I’ve written before, I find nothing objectionable or hypocritical about Tebow’s public religiosity.

When this writer makes the inevitable Tebow comparison, he offers this insight:

Some have predicted that Lin, because of his faith, will become the Taiwanese Tebow, a reference to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, whose outspokenness about his evangelical Christian beliefs has made him extraordinarily popular in some circles and venomously disliked in others. But my gut tells me that Lin will not wind up like Tebow, mainly because Lin’s persona is so strikingly different. From talking to people who knew him through the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship, and watching his interviews, I have the sense that his is a quieter, potentially less polarizing but no less devout style of faith.

Interesting article. Well worth a read.

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