I had an interesting encounter last week with a person who has a much more conservative and literal interpretation of Christianity than I. The interaction was formed out of a discussion within a support group that I facilitate and centered around the topic of sexuality within and outside marriage. The group that I facilitate is about 1/2 "churched" and the other half not. The discussant is a member of a large non-denominational church near where I live.
I've mused about the conversation ever since it ended. This musing has blessed me with its challenge to continue to be in dialogue with persons who not only hold to different doctrine than I do, but who are very assertive in their defense of their views. While the theme of human sexuality and morality are good ones, the dialogue has broadened in my mind to one of perspective and its effect on our health, wellness and wholeness (HW2).
Perspectives change as we go on in life. New experiences test "old" or "usual" modes of being and reacting. New knowledge, and hopefully a bit of wisdom, creep in and alter the way we interpret situations. Informed dialogue and study create a crucible where new data can be "vetted" and either accepted or rejected. Our spiritual beliefs inform our secular beliefs and create a new way of seeing - a new way of being. Now, there are approximately 38,000 versions of Christianity to choose from (at last count). All have (purportedly) the same Bible (with the exception of the Book of Mormon) but the perspective and interpretation of the doctrine varies widely (and often wildly).
It is no different with our health information. Schools of thought on how to live life fully and in a good state of health are legion. In fact, I fully expect that there are many more than 38,000 different "doctrines" to choose from when one is evaluating health and wellness. We all choose those views that reflect our worldview and our interpretation of what it means for our HW2. It's no wonder that folks will follow fads and schemes that promise great things - especially if those great things come without great change in behavior. We really don't want to have to alter the way we are living in order to achieve HW2.
Perspective and wisdom bring us to HW2 through the knowledge that we can never be "sure" of the path that we're on. We never have all the answers, we just try to do the best we can each day with what we're given. In my role as facilitator, I'm called to hold open the space for others to find their way. I can give perspective and information, but I have to "soft pedal" my own beliefs. I need to keep in perspective my own journey and how difficult it has been both spiritually and physically. HW2 is not gained without significant effort both physically and spiritually. Wholesome doctrines in all areas of life are likely going to bear the most fruit - and allowing space for "unknowing" seems logical and practical to me.
So this week, examine your perspective on health, wellness and wholeness. What narratives are operating that determine how you evaluate these aspects of living? What might you need to do to alter those perspectives and routines to improve your HW2? What do you not know that is important to your pursuit of HW2?