Daily Devotionals

Devotional: September 17th

Urban legends. Most areas have their own. However, some have spread over the years to receive a popular mention in a lot of different areas and media. They range from rumor to seemingly well supported fact. Some have even become so famous that, even though they have been debunked, they get dusted off and dressed up and paraded around anew. And people get sucked in again. I'll share one with you here as a sample of what can happen and how official it can look.

Bea Maggio is an actual person who got caught in one of the more believable urban legends of recent years. Bea Maggio worked for Allstate Insurance and received the famous "spunkball" email of a few years ago. If you've never heard of spunkball, it comes from the supposed practice of a gang initiation wherein teens drive around looking for a car sitting at a traffic light with a window rolled down. They yell, "Spunkball!" and toss a gasoline soaked rag with a lit firecracker attached to it through the open window in an attempt to start a fire inside the car. Sounds dangerous for unsuspecting motorists, right?

That's what Bea Maggio thought. When she received her email from a friend describing how it was done and how the practice was growing all over the United States, she decided to let a few of her friends know. Her email, with the very official looking tag of Bea Maggio, FCLS, Allstate Insurance Co., was the one that got passed around the most. Though she was not doing it in an official capacity, the email as it was circulated gave the impression of validity with her name attached. Allstate officially denied any part in the email.

Like any urban legend the truth came out concerning spunkball. It was debunked and has not been seen in quite some time. What made spunkball work was not Bea Maggio's name associated to it, but the shear believability of it. Many people have commented, related to the spunkball email, that they could actually envision teenagers doing such a thing. So let me ask you something. How believable is it to claim that your religion is based on a man resurrecting from his grave?

Hope that didn't rattle you too much. But we must be steadfast that what we believe is not the stuff of urban legend but the report of eyewitnesses. The apostle Paul, in reporting concerning the Christ, wrote "that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me." 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 Paul basically was saying, "If you don't believe me, check it out. The witnesses are still alive." It may be unbelievable, but it is fact substantiated by eyewitnesses.

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