Nothing created is the center

While I’m on a posting and linking spree, I wanted to link to another really good post about the tendency of Evangelical Christians to think we’re/they’re* at the center of the universe:

Proestants and Evangelicals have a curious tendency to make everything about them. This mentality is less prominent in the Catholic, Orthodox, and old Proestant (Lutherans, Anglicans, etc.) communities, but it is unfortunately on the rise in those areas as well. People with this mentality are almost exclusively on the extreme right-wing of the thought spectrum. To them, anyone to the left of Torquemada is not a genuine Christian but an atheistic imposter whose sole mission in life is to spread paganism, secularism, and moral relativism (often with no understanding of what those words mean). Everything in the world is judged according to whether it is for or against Christianity, their Christian denomination, or their idea of what their Christian denomination should be. If anything is not explicitly for Christians, it is automatically assumed to be opposed to Christians.

It took me a long time to realize that, no, it’s not about me, and no, I’m not persecuted. I think the thing that did it was knowing people who actually did experience real religious persecution of the “My landlord saw my altar and kicked me out” variety rather than the “Someone said something mean about my beliefs” variety.

*I’m not sure which of those pronouns to use because I don’t necessarily identify myself as evangelical anymore. Usually I refer to myself as a vaguely liberal Christian of no particular denomination, and I’m not a fan of on the focus on trying to convert everyone around you that is central to evangelism (in that, you know, that’s what the word means). But since that’s the flavor of Christianity I was part of for a very long time, I still kind of identify with it.

Oh, and also, my title comes from this quote from A Wind in the Door. “When we seek our own pleasure as the ultimate good we place ourselves as the center of the universe. A fara or a man or a star has his place in the universe, but nothing created is the center.”

More on that smug Facebook picture

Since I posted about the “I’m about to graduate debt-free and if you can’t, you’re just not trying hard enough” picture, it’s been coming up all over my search terms. So I thought it only fair to link to this takedown of the picture that does the math and the research to show that no, you probably can’t go to college and have an apartment on a minimum wage job, even if you do have 90% of your tuition covered.

I particularly love this part:

I have been able to be successful, in large part, because my parents were successful. I did something with what I was given, but I was given a huge amount, and to have squandered it would have been criminal. Having done what was expected of me shouldn’t warrant a pat on the back, it was, whether I want to admit it or not, the bare minimum. And to expect someone who wasn’t given a fraction of what I was given to do the same without help is wrong, and it’s senseless.

If you’re a middle class kid, or an upper middle class kid, or a rich kid, you have no right to claim that you got where you got simply because of hard work. You got where you are, at least in part, because of what others did for you, and if you hadn’t been born into a family of people who wanted to and were able to do those things for you, you would have needed someone else to do it.

Restaurant Portions

Kate Harding wrote a post about restaurant portion sizes, and how you don’t get to go “OMG, that’s why ur all so fat hur hur” in the very same breath as you’re noticing that people take leftovers home. That is, they’re generally *not* finishing that ginormous portion. Though, to be fair to the person who posted it, lots of people *here* fail to grasp the same concept and go on and on about the evils of portion sizes–yes, you get a freaking boat ton of food at a lot of restaurants; that doesn’t mean you have to eat it all. Honestly, I’d rather get too much than not enough, because I can almost always take leftovers home–if I’m still hungry, I have to order (and pay for, and wait for) something else.

I know they’ve done studies where people’s sense of how much they’ve eaten varies dramatically based on things like plate size and whether you’re eating out of a big communal bowl (of chips or popcorn, say) or an individual bowl or plate. The thing I have to wonder is how such an experiment would turn out if you controlled for dieting behaviors or an eating competence score. My theory is that the more you focus on external cues, whether that’s a calorie count or the amount of food on your plate, the less attention you pay to your own satiety signals. So, I’m thinking that people who have been doing intuitive eating for a while would be less affected by things like plate size than someone who hasn’t.

Granted, distraction plays a role too. One of the things that I’ve been working on lately is trying to take time at work to just sit and eat, rather than multitasking, especially if I’m eating something particularly filling. Because if I’m just eating and not paying attention, I go past comfortable and straight over to stuffed before I even notice. Though I will say that on the occasions when I do that, it’s a relief to think of it as a learning experience, rather than an “I’ve wrecked my diet and I’m a horrible person” experience. And it doesn’t happen often.