Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Healthy Habits (Personal Health - Week 1)

It was generally not a good idea to get sick in ancient times. Doctors had some pretty crazy ideas about how to cure diseases.

For example, in cultures around the world, one of the most common methods of treating insanity has been trepanation. The basic theory is that people go insane because there are demons or evil spirits trapped in their heads. How do you get the demons out? Well, you drill a nice little hole as an escape route. Unfortunately, the people tend to loose a lot of blood and maybe some brains along with the “demons.”

And, you all know Charles Darwin, the guy who made the theory of evolution famous. Well, his grandfather believed that sleep could cure all kinds of diseases. Not able to get to sleep? No problem, the cure for insomnia is simple: spinning, lots of spinning. Apparently, Grandpa Darwin would put people on a chair on wheels or something and just spin them round and round until they passed out. Unfortunately, it didn’t cure any diseases, but on the upside, it might have given birth to some great carnival rides.

One of the oldest medical remedies is bloodletting. The theory was that, sometimes, we just have too much blood or too much blood in the wrong places. For the body to regain balance, we have to let that blood get out. So the doctor would cut you and let you bleed out all that bad blood. It turns out that we actually need our blood, so letting it bleed out is generally a bad thing.

Here’s my favorite. 3-4,000 years ago Egypt had the best medicine of anyone around. They really knew their stuff, but even they came up with some crazy ideas. Here is their cure for skin sores or lesions: “After the scab has fallen off, put on it scribe’s excrement, mix in fresh milk and apply as a poultice.” Let’s see: scribe poo + milk = skin cream. Any takers? Maybe we could sell the idea to Skin Food or Bath and Body. It makes you soft as a baby’s bottom!

So the old doctors didn’t always know how to help us get better if we got sick. However, they did know how to stay healthy.

In the 13th century, a group of doctors in West Wales recorded the best medical wisdom in their tradition. Here is what they said about the basics of health:

Whosoever shall eat or drink more or less than he should, or shall sleep more or less, or shall labour more or less from idleness or from hardship … without a doubt he will not escape sickness.

An ancient Chinese proverb advises:

He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. ...

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vision Month (Week 4): Global Change through Local Action

According to Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the wisest and most cunning human who ever lived. Unfortunately for him, this all led to some conflict with the gods. He stuck his nose into a love triangle involving Jupiter, and he fooled the gods of death two separate times, adding years to his life.

Finally, however, the gods won out. They sentenced Sisyphus to one of the most famous punishments in the history of the world. Every day, he pushed a huge round stone to the top of a high hill. After struggling all day to reach the top, the stone rolled back down to the bottom of the hill. Sisyphus punishment was meaningless work, forever. He was cursed with an unsolvable problem that he just had to fix.

When we hear the statistics of global poverty, we can feel a lot like Sisyphus. 3 billion people living on less than 2,500 won a day. 25,000 children die every day because of poverty. 2.6 billion people lack decent toilets or clean water. 1.8 million children die every year diarrhea.

When we talk in millions and billions, the problem of global poverty seems like an impossible mountain. We look at the pictures of the starving children, and our heart knows that we must do something. But our brain reminds us that we can’t feed billions. If we give 1 or 1,000 or even 100,000 kids enough medicine to prevent diarrhea, there will still be 1.7 million who die from it this year.

After a while, it all feels like rolling that stone up the hill, day after day. We can work hard. We can give our lives to helping others. Yet, it can still feel meaningless because of the millions and billions we didn’t help. Sometimes, it seems as if the whole world has the curse of Sisyphus. Sometimes, it feels like we’re cursed with an unsolvable problem we just have to fix.

So what do we do? Well, some of us keep pushing that stone up the hill. But others of us, give up on that all together. We just quit trying. Some of us even quote Jesus as support for giving up on the fight against poverty, “The poor will always be among you.” We forget that he also said, “Whatever you do to the least of these you to do to me.” But when there are 1 billion “least of these” who need our help, the problem just seems too large.

But we have special powers that Sisyphus didn’t have. In fact, we have three special powers that completely change the game. ...

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Vision Month (Week 3): Multicultural Community

Our world is fractured, separated, segregated, split, divided. And this cuts to the core of our hearts, for deep down our souls know our world and our hearts are designed for wholeness and harmony.

Globalization pushes us together and forces the essential fragmentation of humanity into eyes. We see this theme emerge again and again in our movies and stories. Consider just a few examples:

· Shakespeare's classic story of Romeo and Juliet. The tragic lovers from two divided families shine a light on the brokenness of their world.

· The Lord of the Rings series is asking the question of whether we can overcome our differences to make the world safe and whole.

· Remember the Titans tells the story of a championship football team when the black high school suddenly merges with the white high school. The fundamental question is whether we really can get along.

· Beauty and the Beast challenges the cultural fragmentation that happens when we place too high a value on external beauty.

· The Little Mermaid – amid all its cuteness and fun songs – deals with the serious theme of cross-cultural marriages.

In his book, Sex God, Rob Bell argues that our world is designed to be whole, one … diverse – yes! - but sharing a fundamental unity, soaked with loving relationships. But Bell says, “our world isn't [whole]. It isn't one. It's broken, shattered, fractured, with pieces laying all over the floor.”

So when we see people who come together out of brokenness and find wholeness and peace, it touches something deep in our souls. It connects with our deepest longings and our deepest hopes. We need peace. We need wholeness. We need community amid our diversity. It is a deep, deep craving of our soul, and without it we will forever be malnourished. ...

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Vision Month (Week 2): Renewed by Love

KNU International English Church
Josh Broward
September 6, 2009

Drama: Table is set at center stage with: large bowl (preferably glass); two large spoons; tongs; medium size glass bowl; pitcher of water; hand towel; 50,000 won bill; large variety of strange ingredients (mustard, kimchi, corn flakes, peanut butter, dirt, old bugs, chocolate syrup, fish, etc.). Next to table is a large trash can with liner.
Person A:
1)Pick up 50,000 won bill and slowly, carefully shows it to audience.
2)Put 50,000 won bill into large glass bowl.
3)Slowly and dramatically add all “ingredients” to large glass bowl.
4)Mix thoroughly.
5)Smell and attempt to taste.
6)Dump bowl into garbage can.
7)Exit stage.
Person B:
1)Enter with Person A. Sit in chair at stage left.
2)Watch A do everything; smile at 50,000 won bill; look disgusted as A adds and mixes ingredients.
3)When A goes to dump bowl into trash, B says: “NO!” [This is the only spoken word in the drama.]
4)Go to table. Get tongs. Remove 50,000 won bill from trash. Hold it up slowly to show audience.
5)Pour water into clean bowl.
6)Put 50,000 won bill into clean bowl. Clean 50,000 won bill.
7)Dry 50,000 won bill with towel.
8)Slowly and dramatically show 50,000 won bill to audience. Kiss it; hold it to your heart; and exit stage.
(This drama and it's application were taken from a story in the footnotes of Rob Bell's Sex God.)

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. …
“Then God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.'
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female, he created them” (Genesis 1:1, 24-27).
We are created in the image of God. We are God's representatives on earth. We have something of the heart of God deep inside of us. We are infinitely and inherently valuable.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

You Are God's Masterpiece