Sunday, 1 August 2010

Speaking on Spirituality and Health

Its been a long time since we had a lego posting. So here we have some shots of Enoch's current project. He calls it a church. It certainly doesn't look like our normal house fellowship - where we meet in a small group on Sunday mornings in the home of Jolly and Suma Thomas (do come if you are in the neighbourhood!). Enoch's vision at this point seems larger.

In Enoch's lego church looks suspiciously like the public meeting called the "Great Life Series" which our group of house churches help organise on the 4th Sunday of each month.

The idea is to have a seminar open to all where we explore issues of importance from a Biblical perspective. I spoke on the topic of "Spirituality and Health" at the most recent event (2 rapid weeks ago now!).

Given that there are 74 million google hits for the two words - it was a challenge coming up with something pithy. But at the same time what a fascinating set of relationships between our spirituality and health. A review a few years ago spoke of over 1200 studies that look at religious involvement and spirituality and its correlation with health outcomes. The vast majority of the studies point to positive associations between the two. People who are religious tend to be more (insert positive variable here). The list is a laundry list: lower BP, better cardio-vascular health, quicker recoveries, less complications, better immunities (important for HIV), less alcoholism, less suicide, less depression etc.

That doesn't mean that we can take spirituality like a pill. It doesn't mean that people who are spiritually grounded will never get sick. There are some sects that teach this: Know Jesus and you will never be sick. Hardly. The apostle Paul writing to his dear friend and disciple Timothy (an early and youthful bishop) tells him to not only drink water but also some wine on account of his stomache and frequent illnesses (1 Tim 5.23).

What we do see is that in this broken world, that people of faith mend better, are sick less and live longer. Death comes to all. We fall apart. These amazing bodies have their wear and tear. But how wonderful to see the healing that does take place. The remarkable way that tissues once torn are now mended. The marvel of our immunity taking on multiple threats to our body at once. The recovery from the man-inflicted-but-necessary wound of surgery. The huge number of diseases that are efficiently nipped in the bud without our ever knowing it!

Spirituality and Faith are not primarily about getting physically better - but they sure do help.

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