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04 August 2009

Christian Snobbery, Perceived Value, Weight

There is a blog called "Stuff Christians Like" that i enjoy a lot. He has a good way of writing humorous script that helps us "see us as we are" & while i laugh i am often convicted, too. This post is on "Being a Christian Culture Snob." I had some pre-conceived ideas from the title that were totally wrong.

He gave a list of 29 things that Christians tend to do, looking down their noses at other Christians. Honestly, i didn't score any points on this list, but largely because i have not lived in "Christian Culture" in a long time. Well, except that i don't like the "Left Behind" series, but i didn't respond the way that would garner points for me. Most of the things he mentioned are things of which i'm not even aware. (I had to go to YouTube to listen to "I Can Only Imagine" as i didn't know the song.) I don't think that excuses me, however, it is just that the things i react to are not what others react to. And so, i was convicted.

However, the comments by folks had good points. Some folks stated that some of the "cheesy" things other people hate were the very things that brought them to Jesus. And others said that it wasn't the fact that movies were about Jesus or God or
whatever was the problem but that they were not well done. They hated second/third/fourth rate books or movies or music. One said that she feared that the perception by the rest of the world would be that Christians can't create product of quality. Another said that she didn't feel that any (or many) of the things listed were things that Jesus would consider Christian.

But the point about quality really struck me. There is a Christian author of whom i am aware. She is very popular, & i have read a few of her books. The last couple i've read just because i was curious if she had improved. Her first book was simply awful. She was writing about uneducated folks, & so she wrote with very poor grammar. It was unreadable, as far as i was concerned. I've not been impressed with any subsequent books she's written that i have read. The story & characters creak. But it is important
to remember that God does use her to fill a need. And so i need not be snobbish about it.

Anyway, the post is excellent & thought provoking, as are the (many) comments.

Duane's grandma (his step-dad's mother) was placed in a skilled nursing facility the beginning of May. The family has been cleaning out her house since then & this past weekend they had a "yard sale." There was some grumping about calling it that because many of her things were high quality & it should have been listed as an "estate sale." We got a few small items, but for the most part we don't need things & i DO NOT want to have a clutter problem.

My MIL now has one (clutter problem) as their basement den is now full of stuff
that will be used (?? maybe ??) in a couple of years when they plan to build a retirement house in Branson, MO. This would simply drive me nuts, but, it is not my house.

But, a couple of the aunts tended to price things very high so that things did not get sold or they had to severely cut
the price later in the day. And my MIL now has a new "wall unit" for the living room that i don't really understand. It is made of the particle board-covered-in-Formica to look like wood with some wood trim. It is in fact very much inferior to what she had before. But the aunt (who originally bought it & then later gave it to her mother) feels it is highly valuable.

And that is where perceived value comes in.

I don't remember where i heard of it, but someone recently was talking about someone else who had to have a certain "name" on their clothes & accessories. They mentioned this person had spent $1300 on a purse that had the "right name." Well, in all honesty, that purse probably had about $20 of material in it, but the perception of the right name made this person
willing to spend an outrageous sum on the purse. Was it actually worth that amount? Not to me, obviously. And honestly, i think if that person turned around & tried to sell it, i doubt if she'd get 10% of what she paid for it.

I started to have an inkling of this when i was scouring Craig's
List for things for our house. I would say that a large portion of the things in our house are not new. They came from Craig's List, were gifts, hand-me-downs, yard sales, consignment & thrift stores & we made a couple of things. My house will never win a prize on a designer show, but we have chosen things that we like, that fit our lives & Sugarbear feels like home to us.

But it was while looking for things that i began to get a feel for this perceived value that folks have about their things. I would see a bedroom set listed as "near new, paid $4,000 for it, asking $2,500."
And the picture of it tells me i wouldn't pay $200 for it, much less than the amount for which they are asking. And i began to realize that we recognize this with cars.

They say that when you drive off the lot with a new car your car loses 30% of its value. But we never talk about other things like furniture, clothes, appliances. They lose a great deal more, but you never hear it talked of.

In general, whatever you pay for furniture new, i think you will be lucky if you recover more than 10% of what you paid. My ILs have beautiful, very expensive leather living room couches, but i doubt they would recoup more than 10% of that value, maybe 20% if they are very lucky.

And so, this weekend's yard/estate sale was difficult as folks had perceived values in their heads far beyond what the item was actually worth. Fortunately, we were in the mountains & not involved.

It is no longer "haze" here in So. Cal. We definitely have smog. I talked of that at this post. It made me rather nauseous to see that pinky-brown stuff we were coming down to this AM. Not pleasant.

I'm not very happy with that new doc for telling me i'm "obese." According to my scale, my BMI is 29.54, which i know is pushing it, but the doc's scale & other info gave my BMI as 30.6, which is "over" the obese limit.

I think there are other factors not taken into account here, but i find that his focus on weight & those issues have got me severely discouraged. BEFORE he showed me his numbers i was not happy with my body, but i was ok with it & sometimes looking in the mirror i was able to see a reflection i could accept if not love. SINCE telling me his numbers all i see & feel is fat, fat, fat. It has changed my body image in a very negative way & i'm not sure how to fight that.

This is an issue i've had trouble with all my life. When i was 16 & weighed 114 (which is a BMI of 19.3) BOTH my parents indicated i needed to "watch my weight." There were a lot of factors involved, but both Sis #2 & battled with anorexia, she more than i. I've just gotten to the place where even tho i don't like my weight, i'm accepting myself & trying to take baby steps to handle it. I'm finding that the doc has sabotaged all of that & it may be a while before i regain that equilibrium.

Enough blather for one day! :)



Stacey said...

Hey Kathryn,

I also follow Stuff Christians Like & found that post interesting. I'm certainly guilty of some of that "snobbery" -- especially when it comes to what I consider cheesy Christian movies and music. Anyway, it made me think, too. Something I find cheesy may be just what speaks to another. I guess it's all a matter of preference to some degree, but it did make me consider how I may come across with some of my opinions.

Also, I'm very sorry that you're feeling down about weight/body image. ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...


I signed at Stuff Christians Like with a different username than my blog here is under, so that's why you couldn't find my profile. I'm signing this time with my LJ name.

I read Janette Oke when I was a new Christian in high school and some when I started college, so, yes, she meets a need. I start to raise an eyebrow when grown, mature women are reading and enjoying her, but, hey, whatever makes 'em happy. If people are going to be reading poorly-written fiction, better something that glorifies God than stalking, abuse, and sexism (aka the Twilight series) or milks 'they want each other but they're siblings!' for about two and a half out of the three novels in the trilogy (the Mortal Instruments trilogy).

Land of shimp said...

Hey Kathryn,

First off, remember that you're not a label and that doctor, again meaning well, is dealing with a chart based on averages, not based on you, as an individual. It's very clear from your blog that you aren't stuffing yourself with food that doesn't serve your body well. You make actual effort in putting things into your body that are best designed for your system. Your doctor's chart isn't based on "What is healthy and best for Kathryn" but rather what is considered healthy and best for no particular individual but data that is based on what would apply if we, as a world, were all one lump.

If you feel well, and I know you struggle with that, then the labels are meaningless. The best you can do is what is best for you, not some lump sum of people. Seek feeling well, not fitting into some shape that wasn't designed for you specifically.

Just keep trying to find the form of exercise best suited to you, and please remember that your exterior is the least valuable part of you. Truly. Your worth is not in your jean's size.

Don't let some doctor, no matter how well meaning, impose a label on you. Try not to think in labels. Do you eat well? Do you try to stay as active as your own, very personal, sense of well being will allow?

Gosh, it really, really sounds as if you do. Gauge your health not by some size of clothing, or number on a scale, but by what you are doing to maintain it. Please remember that you face some challenges that the lump sum of that average aren't facing. Cut yourself a break, and make the pact, "I will do what I can with what I am given."

Also, this can really work well, if you wouldn't say it or think it about another person, don't say it or think it about yourself. Be as kind to you as you are to others, you are worth that and more.

Fat, thin, obese, underweight, these are all lump sum labels. You are not a lump sum, you are an individual.

From what I can tell, and from what I see here, you are kind, decent, thoughtful and you try. Please remember those labels, because they are based on you. You specifically, as a whole, not an aspect.

Those charts are based on one aspect of a person. A target weight. But people are multi-faceted and meant to be so. Don't let one part define your whole.

You've got a really neat, kind, special whole entity going. When you look in the mirror -- and hey, don't feel pressured to look in a mirror, by the way, or to step on a scale, it's just an exterior image -- remember that.

There isn't even one person in your life that thinks, "Boy, I'd like Kathryn more if only she was a size eight." Really. So don't think that about yourself either.

Doctor's charts are goofy things. Based solely on "Hey, here's an ideal of one aspect of a person."

Be multi-faceted you :-)