On Sweets and False Prophets

Don’t drink your calories.

The readings today admonish us to listen to God’s word, and not accept false prophets. Jesus tells us in the gospel reading that a prophet will be known ‘by their fruit.’ The problem, a good deal of the time, is that we don’t remember how to evaluate fruit. Too often we are looking for something sweet, something satisfying, something tasty and pleasant in the moment.

Why have a well rounded meal when you can just drive through for fast food?

Most of the time, good food (fruit) takes a while to prepare, it requires care and consideration, variety and effort. Some of it will taste great, some of it will be necessary (and will come to be a welcome taste the more often it is eaten.)

The thing about false prophets is this: bad news drives away business. You’ll never hear a negative prediction from a good fortune teller, despite what fiction tells us about them. They want you to keep buying, so they’ll keep shoveling positive tripe your way. Predictions that encourage you, that make you feel good, that teach you how to avoid suffering. In short, foods that taste great and require no effort to prepare and consume.

When you are evaluating a teaching for ‘good fruit,’ make sure there is some effort in there. Some measure of chewing required to get the full meaning. Some complexity and call to change your actions, not just your outlook.

Don’t drink your calories.


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