The Taiwanese Tebow?

 A certain ritual of public witness--thanking Jesus in the postgame interview, praising God for victory, pointing heavenward after a score--has become routine behavior for devout Christian athletes. Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is the most prominent current example.

Another, perhaps different approach--or perhaps not so different--may be emerging with basketball player Jeremy Lin, who in recent weeks burst out of nowhere to become a fan favorite on the New York Knicks.

Lin's rise offers at least three intriguing story lines. He's a graduate of Harvard--a school hardly known for sending players to the NBA. He's an Asian-American--one of the few to play in the NBA. And he's a Christian, one who makes no secret of his faith. For that he's already been dubbed the "Taiwanese Tebow."

But Michael Luo, writing in the New York Times, thinks Lin won't be Tebowesque--and that his way of expressing his faith will reflect the more modest culture of Chinese-American Christianity.

Luo comments, "I have the sense that [Lin's] is a quieter, potentially less polarizing but no less devout style of faith." Luo adds that Asian-Americans tend to avoid taking sides in the culture wars.

It's far too early to judge whether that's true, or to make any estimate of Lin's career.  But his other impact could be in making more Americans recognize the presence of Asian-American evangelicals, who--as Rebecca Kim reports in her book God's New Whiz Kids?--have come to dominate Christian groups at top schools like Harvard, Yale and UCLA.

 

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