Martha White Milling Company’s radio ads were a staple part of growing up for anyone who grew up in the Fifties and Sixties within the range of WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. With Flatt and Scruggs hammering out their jingles, Martha White was a household name across the southeast. “For the finest biscuits you can bake…” so the Bluegrass harmony admonished us, “get Martha White self-rising flour, the one all-purpose flour, get Martha White self-rising flour, for Goodness sake.” For the cornbread, the jingle included “with Hot-Rize Plus.”
While the biscuits and cornbread Mom baked seemed equally fine whether she used Martha White or Sunflour from Hopkinsville Milling Company, we could never be really sure that anything baked in the oven without the advantage of Hot-Rize Plus could possibly be quite as good. It didn’t matter that we had no idea what Hot-Rize Plus actually was; that was immaterial. It just sounded like the exactly right thing to make cornbread rise up all hot and fluffy.
Sounding like the right thing is a mighty fine commodity, whether you’re selling flour to rural homemakers, trying to elect the next resident of the White House or soliciting contributions from millions of Americans so your television ministry can continue to provide its uplifting and edifying programs. Yessir, if what you’re selling sounds like the right thing, you’re on the right track.
Trouble is, not everything that sounds like the right thing is the right thing. Cloak imperialism under the guise of “democracy” and it sounds like the right thing. Cloak indifference to morality under the guise of “tolerance” and it sounds like the right thing. Cloak materialism and greed under the guise of “the abundant life” and it sounds like the right thing. There is no religion or philosophy that is not perverted for the use of power and manipulation. One day, all of the snake oil salesmen and money-grubbers and power-grabbers will be revealed for what they truly are.
Until then, read Jesus, study Jesus and live Jesus. That, I guarantee, is better than Hot-Rize Plus.