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
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.
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
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.
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.