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Living Our Faith for All to See
By Susan Hines-Brigger

Q U I C K S C A N

Walking the Walk
For Teens: Who Are Your Heroes?
For Kids: A Basketful of Love



I love football. Anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes with me can tell you that. And that's how I came to know of Tim Tebow. Tebow was the quarterback for the University of Florida Gators for the past four years and won the Heisman trophy when he was only a sophomore.

But, as with most anything sports-related, mention of Tebow's name brings widely divergent opinions both about his football skills and about him as a person. In spite of the fact that he led his team to an impressive victory over my hometown University of Cincinnati Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl this past January, I like the guy. Here's why.

What you see is what you get. Tebow has certainly taken his lumps for professing his faith so publicly. It makes me reflect on whether or not I am so willing to wear my faith on my sleeve—or, in Tebow's case, on his eye black patches, which players often wear to divert the glare of the lights.

For each game, Tebow would write a Scripture reference on the patches. More than once, I found myself grabbing our family's Bible, finding the passage and then taking a few moments to reflect on its meaning. Why did he choose this passage? What does it mean in my own life?

In fact, during the Sugar Bowl, a group of us watching the game scrambled to find the passage Tebow was wearing—Ephesians 2:8-10: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them."

As a society, we've become immune to stories of sports stars and celebrities who have fallen from grace. Yet we fail to lift up those who haven't taken that fall. Why is that?

In February, Tebow starred in a pro-life ad that ran during the Super Bowl for Focus on the Family. The ad focused on the 1987 decision of Tebow's mom to continue her pregnancy with him despite her doctor's recommendation that she have an abortion when she contracted an infection. At the time, Pam Tebow and her husband were volunteering as Christian missionaries in the Philippines. Currently being pregnant myself, I resonated with his and his mom's story. (Planned Parenthood also ran an ad during the game in response to the Tebows' ad.)

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Walking the Walk

I guess what intrigues me the most about Tebow is his willingness to put his faith out there for all to see—and, unfortunately, judge. He backs up his beliefs with hours of volunteer work, either with his father's ministry in the Philippines or by speaking in correctional facilities. According to a story ESPN did on him, he receives about 400 speaking requests each month.

I guess I'm even more aware of the idea of living out our faith during this time of Easter—especially when we hear in Mark's Gospel of how Peter, one of Jesus' most trusted companions, so quickly denies knowing him not once, but three times.

By the way we live our faith, do we stand by Jesus' side or quickly fall in line with Peter because it's easier and safer? It's a good question to ponder during this Easter season. And it's an even better time to decide if we're O.K. with where we stand.

Here are some ideas for ways you and your family can take stock of and live out your faith this Easter season:

• Take part in your parish's Holy Week services. Or seek out alternate opportunities in your area, such as a Good Friday tradition similar to the ones that are highlighted in this issue.

• Talk with family members about individuals whom you admire and explain why. Ask questions such as: What is it about this person that I admire? What do I think makes someone heroic?

• Take some time to reflect on ways in which you serve as a living example of your faith. Are there areas where you could do better? If so, seek out volunteer opportunities to do just that.

 

For better or worse, sports figures, movie stars and singers are idolized in our society. I can remember when I was younger covering my bedroom walls with pictures of notable figures that I admired. But I really didn't know much about them as people.

As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that a person's character makes him or her worth emulating way more than that person's profession or looks. Take some time to stop and think about who you look up to and why. Talk to your friends about who inspires them. Discuss what you look for in a role model. If it's someone close to you, let the person know why you look up to him or her.

Gather together your family, friends, classmates or youth group and put together care packages for soldiers serving overseas. Or simply write them a letter saying thanks. If you don't know someone in the military, you can send a letter, text or e-mail through www.amillionthanks.org. Or check the USO's Web site (www.uso.org) for other ideas.

Jesus dying on the cross for us was the ultimate act of love and sacrifice. Take time this Easter to let someone you love know exactly how much you care. Find an empty Easter basket and, instead of filling it with plastic grass, cut up strips of colored paper to fill the basket. On each of the strips, write something you love about that person. Try to fill the basket as much as possible. Reading those messages will probably be sweeter than any candy you could possibly put in the basket.

 

Do you have ideas or suggestions for topics you'd like to see addressed in this column? If so, send them to me at "Faith-filled Family," 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or e-mail them to Family@franciscanmedia.org.


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