The Civil Reader–3 June 2012

I am out of town, and my schedule is a bit crazy, but I did want to post something on here so that I don’t forget how.  I only have two articles to share this week, but I really enjoyed them both.


Why We Lie, by Dan Ariely

Okay, first of all, if you don’t find psychological studies fascinating, well…I don’t know what’s wrong with you.  Do you just not like interesting things??  Surely you do!  But even in the off chance that you a completely strange person who is not utterly riveted by such studies, KEEP READING until you get to the part about the Ten Commandments.  It is…just, wow.  I am sooo interested in fleshing out these implications.  Feel free to do so in the comments.


The Dark Side of Healthy Eating:  Diagnosing ‘Orthoexia’ Eating Disorders, at Her.meneutics

While this article is not as hit-you-in-the-face revelatory as the first, it did put words on some vague pseudo-thoughts swirling around in my head.  After reading 7, by Jen Hatmaker, my already budding interest in healthy eating was given an ethical dimension.  However, I can’t help but notice that the desire to eat in healthy, ethical ways often butts up against the als0-very-important practice of eating communally.  This article articulates that tension in helpful ways.

And that’s really all I have.  If you have something interesting that you read this week, please leave it in the comments!

10 responses to this post.

  1. oh, wow, love the food article…truly “food for thought”!


  2. Posted by Tim on June 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I liked that Orthorexia article too, Kim. Rachel Stone always has interesting things to say about food!

    Ariely was on NPR last night, but I don’t recall them getting into the 10 Commandments portion of his research. I wonder how that squares with Paul’s comments on the effect of the law in Romans?

    Hope you are having a good trip!


    P.S. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m up at Ellen Painter Dollar’s blog as part of a series she’s doing on money.


    • That’s funny b/c that was the most important part to me, and the part that he seemed to latch onto in order to find some practical application to his research. Oh, well. I thought it was interesting!


  3. Posted by Molly on June 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Hey Kim! The article on orthoexia was really interesting to me – it’s something that Kevin and I have really worked to figure out the balance on for years. When I first became Catholic and was required to give up meat on Fridays in Lent, I found my hardest Friday to be Good Friday, which we always spend with my extended family at my (not-Catholic) grandmother’s house. Inevitably we would have steak or a meat-laden casserole for dinner. Early on, I felt compelled to refrain from eating this dinner that was lovingly prepared for me because it went against the precepts of my faith. What I have since decided is that, in my life, the love of Christ means eating what is put in front of me for the sake of community rather than demand special attention for the sake of my convictions. At the end of my life, I would rather have erred always on the side of love at the expense of “the rules,” especially when it comes to something as community-focused as eating. If I’m wrong, at least it was in an effort to be a loving part of the body of Christ!


  4. Wow, I found both of those articles to be extremely interesting. I was wondering about the “Ten Commandments” thing, though… I would like to see them do a test to determine if the effects of being reminded of morality lessen (or increase) with repetition. My guess is that the reminder would be less effective with time because people would start to take it for granted, but, who knows? Maybe it would actually sink in and help people to be honest even without a reminder.

    As for the food thing, everything I recall about food in the New Testament seems to indicate that love for our brothers and sisters is more important than what we actually put in our bodies. Stewardship and all that is definitely important, but love should trump everything else. However, something else we need to remember is that sometimes those of us who are providing the food need to be mindful not to put our friends in situations where they are going to be tempted to eat something beyond what they feel they should be eating. Obviously we can’t cater to every single person’s diet, but if we know that our friend is trying to lose weight, we shouldn’t offer them unlimited pieces of brownies. (Of course, this is dependent on the level of relationship we have. We also don’t want to send the message that WE think they need to lose weight.) Maybe we could include a veggie tray or some healthy option. It is so easy for us to eat junk food communally because we think that eating junk food makes everyone happy. But, maybe with certain friends we can communally decide to eat healthier things. Still though, accepting food from someone definitely does show them love, and loving people is more important than the food that we eat.


    • Posted by Tim on June 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Right there with you, Becky. That’s what 1 Cor. 10 is all about, isn’t it?


      P.S. Now up at Ellen’s blog, woo-hoo!


    • Becky, that’s a good point about the factor of repetition. I think that my private, Christian schools tried to apply this same concept by having us sign the “Honor Code” after every test. I know that it often did not help to deter cheating. Although, I did like their idea to have people sign the insurance version of Honor Codes BEFORE they filled out the form. I do think that if students had to write an actual statement averring our honesty before the tests, that would be more effective than just putting “Honor Code” and our signature at the end.


      • our kids had to write out the honor code and sign it at the top of every test before they started. did it keep everyone from cheating? of course not. did it plant a seed? make them at least think about it? hopefully. there is something good in repetition, even if it becomes monotonous. for me, it provides structure and reminder, so that when i do fall away, i tend to remember the benefits it provided.


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