Posts Tagged wellness

Where Spirituality and Illness Meet: The Middle Ground – Rev. George Rossi*

Some people need to become more human.  Some people need to become more spiritual.

Wholeness is found in the middle ground.  It’s the place where the coastal sea water from the Atlantic Ocean meets the black soil of the South Carolina coast.  It’s a rich and fertile place where marsh grass thrives, shrimp populate the grassy reeds, and redfish troll the high tides for dinner. The meeting and convergence of water and land is much like the meeting of the physical and the spiritual.  It’s the place where one has to merge with the other and something magical and something important becomes reality.

As a minister my growing edge is on the “becoming more human” side of the equation.  Just recently I read an excellent tweet from Twitter that was trying to “normalize” (eliminate shame) the fact that humans become physically ill, experience terrible disease processes, and eventually face difficult medical challenges.  For some that happens very early in life as a neonatal baby, and for others in their 20’s, and the much more fortunate, those in their the 50’s and 60’s when one has to carry more daily medications in his or her briefcase just to take care of themselves one more day.  Here’s the point of the tweet I mention and my point now:  Having illness is “normal” because it is reality and we have to find ways to talk about it more and to recognize our humanness, our fragile bodies that depend on equilibrium and homeostasis.  Yet, sometimes we are anything from feeling even-keeled or living in a good equilibrium.  A recent prescribed dose of antibiotics confirmed my disequilibrium as my stomach rumbled and tried to cope with the antibiotics.

Honoring our imperfect bodies is a way to honor our deep connection with God.  It means looking to God for grace so that one can “gracefully age.”  Sometimes prayers and reading and reflection can help one “accept one’s humanity which does eventually include illness.”

I encourage you and me to find fellow strugglers who are able and want to live in the middle.  In my case, the goal is to accept my humanity, find true physical and spiritual wellness, and to live a balanced life.  Illness can send that balance out of orbit with one abnormal lab result for sure.    I think we need more ministers, more medical professionals, more people who can help others and themselves to “normalize” the experience of illness and give people space and time to make sense of it.  I venture that healing will happen as people balance medical challenges with an alive faith and in that find health and meaning and purpose for living.

GeorgeM Rossi* at 1:28 AM George is a counselor at the Medical University of South Carolina.

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Lewis Scholar, Wellness Specialist at Hamrick Lectures

             Dr. Jerry Root and Dr. Peter Walters are the speakers for the 16th Annual John Hamrick Lectures at First Baptist Church of Charleston on January 16 and 17. Both speakers are faculty members at Wheaton College.     

            Dr. Root, an authority on C. S. Lewis, will speak at 5:p.m. on Sunday afternoon and again at 10:30 a.m. on Monday. He will be introduced by Rev. Brian McGreevy, the chaplain at Porter-Gaud School and by Dr. Don Kirkland, president and editor of the Baptist Courier. Dr. Walters, who specializes in wellness, will speak at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. He will be introduced by Dr. Melvin Ezel.

Dr. Root has lectured or preached in fourteen countries and nineteen states. He is the editor of, The Quotable C. S. Lewis, published by Tyndale House. He contributed a chapter, “C. S. Lewis, “The Resurrection,” to The Baker Dictionary of Christian Education. “Tools Inadequate and Incomplete: “C. S. Lewis and the Great Religions,” is in, The Pilgrim’s Guide: C. S. Lewis and the Art of Witness. He was awarded his Ph.D. by the British Open University. He received the Master of Divinity degree from Talbot Graduate School of Theology and his B. A. degree from Whittier College. He joined the Wheaton faculty in 1996. He is a former pastor concentrating in youth ministry. His sister introduced him to the writings of C. S. Lewis. He has made of Lewis his life’s focus of study and research.

            In 2004-05 Dr. Walters received the Wheaton College Senior Teaching Achievement Award. He has published and presented papers including: “Intrapersonal Depth and Spirituality,” “Self Discovery and Spirituality,” “Childhood Obesity: Causes and Treatment,” and “Sleep and Spirituality.” Dr. Walters was awarded the Ph.D. and Master’s degrees by Texas A and M University and his B. A. degree by Western Kentucky University. Dr. Walters will address, “The Relationship between Physical Wellness and Spiritual Wellness.”

            The Hamrick Lectures are given in recognition of the life and work of Dr. John A. Hamrick, long time pastor of First Baptist Church and the founding president of what is now Charleston Southern University.

            All programs are held in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church and the public is invited to attend. There are no charges. Parking is at 48 Meeting Street. For further information contact the church office at 843-722-3896 or the web site www.fbcharleston.org

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