Spin and Propoganda

Good humor can provide the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down, whether most delightfully or not.

After his death, Stalin was greeted at the gates of Heaven and taken on a tour by St. Peter. Stalin found the quiet and pious life of the people there disagreeable, and requested permission to go to Hell. Complying with his wish, St. Peter took him to the gates of Hell and handed him over to Lucifer. Stalin was led to a noisy bar, where there was much revelry and dancing going on. “This is for me,” declared Stalin, but Lucifer’s reply was to lead him into the kitchen where he was popped into a kettle of boiling oil. Stalin protested and asked to be returned to the bar. “Brother,” replied Lucifer, “that was just propaganda!”

Satan and his minions are masters at public relations, spin, and propoganda. They effectively make the worst, most distasteful, painful, and destructive things to appear irresistibly necessary to life. The anecdote well expresses what our mortal foe is about when he tempts us. Agreeing with the temptation and acting upon it never delivers what the temptation promises; rather it brings pain, disappointment, shame, and spiritual darkening. We should have learned from our experience.

Someone has defined ‘insanity’ as trying the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. We listen to the same old lines, accept the same tired old tempting thoughts, and expect somehow to avoid sin or have a different outcome. In fact, sin is insanity; it is not being in our right mind. And it is to this insanity that our enemy would lead us. Witness the man possessed of the legion of demons in the Gospel and how Christ cast them out and restored to him his right mind.

A fellow priest who once led a workshop on preaching for the priests of our diocese likened temptation to a chocolate-covered dung ball. It looks good, it smells good, it even tastes good when you first put it in your mouth. But the chocolate cannot compensate for the vileness it encompasses. How many chocolate-covered dung balls have we eaten? And how many more will we attempt to consume? May God grant us more discriminating taste!

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Published in: on Sunday, 15 March, 2009 at 21:22  Comments (2)  

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  1. I have a friend whose father used a similar device to teach his children when they were growing up. Whenever a popular movie would come out, but was inappropriate (for one reason or another) they would try and sweet talk their dad into letting them go see it. Usually by saying something along the lines of, “Dad there is this great movie that everyone has seen, but us and there is only one little scene where {blank} happens. The whole rest of the movie is fine …” Invariably his response was: “Sure, kids! No problem, but first I want to stop and get some brownie mix and when we make them we’ll put a little bit of poop in them. Don’t worry, you probably won’t even taste it.” They were always duly grossed out, but they got the point.

  2. Great post! I can Identify with your story from my experiences on the farm, and many mishaps with dung. Thanks for the story.
    Deacon Steve


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