Friday, August 23, 2013

Threat Fatigue

church supper invitation:

The Hell-fire, Ball of Fire, Vindictive Church of Reverend Smurch
Come to Dinner, Sinner!
Parents of young children will please see that their young ones repent before eating.

* * * * *

A fast food restaurant manager was heard complaining to an older waitress that young people would not respond to his threats. "I warn them, threaten to fire them, and they shrug it off." She tried to explain that kids today are different.

I agree, but I wonder why? Could it be that they have heard it so many times that they can no longer respond?

To those who like to catalog things, I would ask that someone total up the things that are often used to frighten us. Is there an end to warnings? I have recently tried to make such a listing.

There is the polluted planet we live on--air, earth, and water--three of the classic elements. May I add the fourth--fire--nuclear fire.

Does anyone believe the economy will recover? You have a choice between: "If you don't go to college, you will never get a good job." to the increasingly, "I went to college and now I can't pay off the student loan."

Then there is the real biggie, ever-present terrorism. Soon the world may be entirely composed of terrorists and the recording of a voice warning us of them. Since world war three, we have been threatened by the scare tactics of communism, weapons of mass destruction, and so on. It works.

The comedian Milt Caymin would pluck at his clothes and say, "See this suit, it covers fear. I'm afraid to go for a walk in the woods because I'm afraid a tree might drop a limb on me, and later claim in court that it was just an accident." Leave it to a man of comedy to see through this ridiculousity.

See what I mean? A point has been reached where threats are so commonplace that they have lost their shock value.

"But surely there is solace in religion?" you may say. It is true that threat-based religion is on the decline and "feel good" is taking its place.

But I propose another course--one that has worked for thousands of years. Tell young people, and others, of just how horrible sin is. Then tell them the terrible price involved that has been paid for by a God that loves them.

I add--and this is dear to my heart--shut up and listen to people. Don't preach all the time, but listen to them. Young and old need this so much.

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