Jul 21, 2007
One of the favorite techniques of bullies is intimidation. Really effective inimidation begins with a small kernel of truth, but it stretches into something beyond reasonable reality. Like the child who tells a playmate that her daddy is a policeman and she'll have him come and shoot....
A form of intimidation that some of us remember from our childhood is The Boogeyman. If mommy and daddy run out of other ways to influence behavior, there's The Boogeyman. The Boogeyman comes after children who don't eat their broccoli, children who don't get to sleep by a certain time, and children who wet their beds. Of course, if The Boogeyman were real, real mommies and daddies ought to do something to protect their children from The Boogeyman.
In mundane life, do I really believe that allowing the government to read my emails or (as was once proposed) track what books I read is going to keep Osama Bin Laden at bay?
In your spiritual life, many of you have been told about another boogeyman - the Chrisitans' "Devil". But what can we see about this theological boogeyman if we do a serious examination, including comparing their version of The Boogeyman to other deities - especially the ones who are known for getting nasty. Some truths might have been stretched a bit.
As a child, most of us eventually figured out that there was a positive reason for getting to bed and sleep at a reasonable time, and that The Boogeyman had nothing to do with it. In our spiritual lives, there is so much more that can be offered besides avoiding punishment.