by Christine Berglund

In my front garden stands an unusual flowering shrub that I had erroneously assumed was “False Indigo.” It came to my attention that it was in fact an “Indigofera,” although its pronunciation still baffles me. Its airy sprays of continual pink blooms are a delight from spring until fall, but when I purchased it I had no idea what it was going to look like as a mature plant. Oh, yeah. I’m that kind of an addict.

The seller had it labeled “False Indigo,” which is another name for Baptisia. At that time, I had no experience with this type of shrubby perennial. Baptisia is a much smaller plant, with a different type of growth habit. Indigofera is a seven-foot tall arching shrub, but the flowers are similar. So do I have a “false false Indigo?”

A double negative in the English language is universally frowned upon, but in the French tongue it would just drive the negativity deeper. So it would become “a plant that really, really isn’t Indigo at all, never was, never will be, and isn’t even really related.” Well, not quite. Mine is probably Indigofera Heterantha Brandis, which may be closer to the true Indigo plant than Baptisia is. Confused yet?

Imitations abound. We constantly make substitutions based on our own preferences. I substitute finely chopped sautéed pork in a traditional Czech soup because one of the aunts in the family used the phrase “make a brown sauce” in her recipe notes. While my siblings may not approve, I look at this as going back to the original method. Mainly I do it because I prefer the flavor over my Dad’s boiled “hunk-o’-meat” method.

Our family has been known to use imitations in other things, too. I use the store brand on many grocery items, and call them “fake” Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, or whatever.

It is a good idea to consider what is true and good, and what might be dangerously false.

For instance, “True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us” (James 1:27, CEB). Does this mean there is no place for what we look at as traditional devotion, or “religion” as some of the translations call it? Do we cast aside singing, preaching, and praying?

Of course not. The Bible is replete with examples of the early church practicing these things, and directions from the apostles to participate in traditional worship. This passage simply tells us to get our hearts right before we come to God in any worship setting. Jesus reinforced this when he told us to leave our offering (worship) until we made things right with our fellow man (Matthew 5:23,24).

Our hearts must be ready before any adoration to God is offered, otherwise it is just a cheap imitation of devotion, a fake.

Another way of making our hearts ready to worship is by loving and respecting the truth. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24, NASB).

How odd that we are told to love the truth, but don’t always bother finding out what it is before coming to God in praise and adoration? It’s similar to calling a plant by the wrong name for five years. I didn’t know any better, but I was still wrong.

I wonder what Solomon would have thought of the plant called “False Solomon’s Seal?” More importantly, what does God think of false devotion?

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