I attended a Strategic Planning meeting for our the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists a couple of months ago and spent a weekend with a group of very bright and opinionated endocrinologists. During this time we tried to read the tea leaves and divine where the current health reform efforts would leave patients and their endocrinologists. A big goals was to try to keep patients healthy and still be able to earn a living. In all honesty it was very frightening and kind of discouraging. At one point in a very long day, one of the senior members of the Board of Directors took a moment to give an impassioned plea and encourage us to action. His words perfectly captured the sentiments of the group. Sensing this, he said 'I'm talking about applehood and mother pie people.'
Astoundingly, nobody paused for a second at hearing this fantastic spoonerism. The group, roused by his stirring speech, kept on task and we completed our work. But the concept of applehood and mother pie has got me thinking (here and here for related posts). My colleague had everyone's agreement. Both motherhood and apple pie were beyond awesome. But that's not what he said. The energy of the moment and his fluency of speech made it easy to hear what he intended, and to miss what he actually said.
So it is in life. Nuances, shrouded in lofty terms and ideals can change the substance of a message. So often they go unnoticed and unchallenged. We unwittingly agree--or remain silent--despite the absurdity. If it is bloviate (yet inspiring none-the-less) speech at a Board meeting it's harmless enough. Not so if it is part of Satan's carefully orchestrated counterfeiting system which "[has] a form of godliness, but [denies] the power thereof (JS-H 1:19)." Consider the advice of James E. Talmage:
Satan has shown himself to be an accomplished strategist and a skilful imitator; the most deplorable of his victories are due to his simulation of good, whereby the undiscerning have been led captive. Let no one be deluded with the thought that any act, the immediate result of which appears to be benign, is necessarily productive of permanent good. It may serve the dark purposes of Satan to play upon the human sense of goodness, even to the extent of healing the body and apparently of thwarting death. (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, pg. 232)
To attempt to compile a list of spiritual spoonerisms belabors the point and probably also cheapens it. Suffice it to say that if we're not very careful, Satan will have us rallying behind him with pitchforks and torches as we rush in to defend applehood and mother pie.