Years ago when I was still trying to figure this faith thing out, I remember observing a plethora of preachers and teachers. Never will I forget the man effusing fire and brimstone. You know the kind. Such are the ones who seemingly attempt to motivate you to follow God because if not, you will rot to death. You will burn in the blazing fires of hell; and thus, you will be eternally doomed. “Doomed, I say!” The stereotypical fire/brimstone address is therefore oft accompanied by unparalleled levels of enthusiasm… albeit also accompanied by rampant rage and rather angry, scary facial expressions (… did I happen to mention the doom?).
Now it would be both fascinating and enlightening to have a conversation about the purported realities of hell. But the primary motivation for following God — investing in an actual personal relationship with him — is a love response for all he has done and continues to do. The heart of the Christian, in other words, is not one motivated by fear.
So why do they do it? Why do some persons still employ the ugly, angry tactics? Why? Because sometimes it works. It makes people move. Granted, it’s an emotional response; but it’s a response, nonetheless.
As I observe current events, I can’t help but wonder if some ‘preachers and teachers’ are also employing the tactic in non-religious sanctuaries. Watch what’s happening with the so-called sequestration, scheduled to go into effect on Friday. Let us first objectively identify what the sequestration actually is. It is not actual cuts. The amount the federal government spends will still increase with sequestration in place; the sequester process only decreases the amount of the planned increase. Hence, there is little validity to too much disappearing. Yet note the many before the mics…
On Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” Education Sec. Arne Duncan said “as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs.” Such assumes the entire $2.8 billion in impending department cuts would come from teacher salaries, even though Duncan previously testified there would be cuts elsewhere. Also, according to FactCheck.org, “the bulk of teacher layoffs, if they occur, will be decided by the school districts (not the federal government) and happen in the 2013-14 school year (not the current one).” [emphasis mine]
Last week Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood warned that we “should expect delays of up to 90 minutes at peak airports during sequester.” When then asked Friday why the airline lobby predicted no major impact on air travel from the sequester, he suggested the industry didn’t have up-to-date information.
And yesterday, Stephanie Cutter, the spokesman for Pres. Obama’s new political action committee, sent me the following: “Prepare yourself for job layoffs, reduced access to early education, slower emergency response, slashed health care, and more people living on the street… If Congress fails to act, we’d see budget cuts pretty much across the board to critical services that teachers, first responders, seniors, children, and our men and women in uniform rely on every day. It sounds bad because it is. And with all these cuts on the line, why are congressional Republicans refusing to budge? Because to do so, they’d have to close tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, vacation homes, and private jet owners. I’m not kidding.”
While the objectivity within that statement is certainly questionable, Ms. Cutter has a job to do; she is attempting to elicit a response. Granted, it may be an emotional response; but it’s a response, nonetheless.
Note that by most accounts of objective observers — meaning those who stand to gain nothing from the enactment or withholding of the “cuts” — the specifics and severity of the results are at best ambiguous. We don’t know what will happen. They don’t know what will happen. No one knows exactly what will happen. Pres. Obama does possess some leeway in how the “cuts” are actually administered. But since the “cuts” are only gradual decreases to planned increases — as opposed to the actual cutting of spending — the predictions of eternal doom seem misleading.
So why do some persons still employ these tactics? On all sides of the aisle?
Because sometimes it works. Wise or not, it makes people move.