A person relatively new to our area lavishes a mixture of praise and platitudes on influential people in order to ingratiate himself with the community. The manipulation factor, which is reminiscent of the parable of the shrewd manager, is something I struggle to understand. “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:8-9 NIV).