Don’t take me to the Cheesecake Factory…

One thing I love doing is reading the nutrition information of foods and restaurant items.   I know that probably seems contradictory but one time my brother and I were reading Eat this Not that and all we saw were ideas for lunch not health advice.

While reading the “20 New Worst Foods in America” a number of things popped out at me.

1)    The Blimpie Special Vegetarian (12”) found to be the worst vegetarian sandwich, has the same amount of sodium as 2 1/2 bags of Fritos, more than a plate of fried chicken.

2)    T.G.I. Friday’s BBQ Chicken Wrap, the worst wrap, has more calories than three Big Macs (1,720).

3)    On the Border Dos XX Fish Tacos, has more calories than 10 Taco Bell crunchy tacos and a gordita supreme (2,240).

4)    IHOP’s Top Sirloin Steak Dinner has more than 6 Milky Ways’ worth of saturated fat, and more sodium than 5 cans of Pringles, without even including the actual steak.

5)    Cheesecake Factory’s Grilled Shrimp and Bacon Club, the worst sandwich, has the same amount of calories as 7 Wendy’s Junior Cheeseburgers.

There were a lot more, you could probably guess 15, and I highly recommend


reading it for yourself, or you could just take my word for it.  The funniest/saddest thing for me is that this list makes fast food seem like a diet option, 7 cheeseburgers?  3 Big Macs?  I never eat that much when I go to eat fast food, but I definitely finish my meal when I get an entree at a restaurant.  This makes it seem as if fast food’s been getting all the bad press while restaurants have been let off easy, only Wendy’s had something on the list (Wendy’s Triple Baconator) which I’ve never even heard of let alone seen anyone actually ordering it.

I actually kind of want one now.

Essentially, people place moral judgments based off of characteristics that have nothing to do with moral character.  When the Immokalee workers were protesting about how companies were not paying tomato pickers, pretty much treating them like slaves, they had more trouble getting Chipotle to reform than they did with Taco Bell.  Why?  Because, it was easy for people to believe that a fast food restaurant like Taco Bell would resort to cutthroat cost cutting measures, but not the clean stylish Chipotle; forgetting that it’s owned by McDonalds.  Another company they had trouble with?  Whole Foods, a grocery selling high priced organic produce.  A company doesn’t sell organic, fresh, naturally grown produce because they value health and environmentalism, they do so because they know certain consumers value those things.  Chipotle, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, etc don’t offer higher quality goods because they are more ethical, just good at marketing.

Subway’s 9-grain wheat bread?  Not much different from the others, each loaf “contains 2% or less” of each grain they claim to have, other than wheat.  The primary ingredient is white flour, and there is more high-fructose corn syrup than there are whole grains.  Even the color of the bread is artificial, coming from ammonium sulfate and caramel coloring.  Essentially, Subway used a clever marketing ploy and a wholesome image to convince consumers they were selling a healthy meal.

The Coke Company has ordered the deaths of countless workers in their bottling factories in South America, and used physical threats and intimidation to curb any attempts at unionization.  All this while the World of Coca Cola is still one of the frequent answers when someone asks where they should go if they visit Atlanta.

It's so pretty...

I don’t think its necessarily apathy, people are easily riled up about natural disasters and the evils of politicians, I just think that people make value judgments from face value, and are unwilling to change their views.  Coke has some of the most memorable commercials spanning decades, and is synonymous with American culture and globalization.

But I don’t care about Coke, what I do care about is the reliance on superficial expressions in determining deep-set beliefs and characteristics.  Where I see that the most is when it comes to the Holy Spirit.  The thing I ask myself whenever I see someone “speaking in tongues” is what are the chances that they would ever do a thing like that when praying in private?  Am I saying that those who do, or have very intense spiritual experiences are being insincere?  No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were being influenced more by the people they were around, probably more unconsciously than not, but still influenced nonetheless.  Another form would be in the creation of an image with the intention of projecting one’s faith.  Can’t get into any schools?  I’m sure Jesus meant for me to go to this Bible College, it is the will of God.  Getting horrible grades?  God must want me to be a youth pastor, since He’s telling me not to pursue academics and I’m so good with kids.  Youth or College group not going well?  God must want me to go to another church, better yet that’s what I’ll tell the congregation, might as well leave with a lesson on God directing one’s path.  Is it wrong to go to Bible College?  No.  Is it wrong to be a pastor?  No.  Is it wrong to leave a church for another when the time is right?  No.  But it is wrong to use God in order to cover up mediocrity and to deceive oneself and others.

Originally for the most part Protestant America didn’t consider demons and spirits to be legitimate entities.  One of my professors pinpointed the exact year that Protestant congregations made spirits and demons a part of their theology again.  The year was 1971, the same year that The Exorcist was published.  He believed that it was due to the popularity of The Exorcist that Protestants actually wanted to believe in spirits and demons.  Actually I dropped his class because that book was required reading, and I didn’t think I could handle it, but whether he’s right or not the emergence of spirits and demons is a recent phenomena that has come to be widely accepted within contemporary beliefs.  In my opinion Satan, the Devil, demons, etc are just another example of people wanting to shift responsibility away from the self.  My professor calls it “agency,” who is making the actual choice and who holds responsibility?  Eve or the serpent?  Mankind or Satan?  Myself or the steak for being so juicy?  Obviously it’s the steak’s fault for tempting me in the first place.

Sorry for the poor quality, I had to scan this.

Basically my point is that people look at the sleek and exciting surfaces while ignoring the boring, dirty, liar underneath.  I feel as if there are two main groups of people in church communities.  Idealists who look for the good in people, and skeptics who look for the bad.  I am definitely a skeptic, an extreme one at that.  I look for the bad in people sometimes at the sake of denying the good, but the other end looks only at the good while ignoring the bad altogether.  Both have their pros and cons but in this situation I consider a false negative to be better than a false positive.  I would even argue that it is better to be a skeptic for if all people are good than really no one is.

Am I biased?  Definitely.  Am I being heavy handed?  Yeah.  Am I being level-headed?  Don’t want to be.  Am I justified in making these accusations? Probably not.  What I do know is that there seems to be a much larger number of extreme conservatives than there are liberals, probably because I live in the Deep South, so I’m just balancing it out a little bit.

According to spell-check gordita isn’t even a word, and Holy Spirit is supposed to be capitalized.  Which seems pretty prejudice to me, as if the only spirit that can be holy is the Christian one, also I say “my professor” a lot but I’m not referring to the same one every time, just wanted to clarify.

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