Note: This is the first post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina. Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.
July 4, 2010
2 Kings 5:1-14 • Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.
Last week, I and several colleagues from the Clergy Health Initiative attended the United Methodist Annual Conferences in Greenville and Lake Junaluska, N.C. Our primary purpose in going was to share information about the Clergy Health Initiative – our research findings and future plans for introducing a suite of interventions to improve the health of pastors statewide.
Many of you have already seen it, but in case you haven’t: the current issue of Circuit Rider (May/June/July 2010) features three articles on Clergy Health.
Melissa Rudolph writes on the physical health challenges of United Methodist clergy, and gives an overview of the efforts of general boards and different Annual Conferences to meet the challenge.
Today’s US News and World Report’s Health Buzz reports on an article in the journal Circulation reporting that reducing your intake of sugary drinks (especially canned soda) by just one 12-ounce serving a day (Americans average 28 daily ounces) can lower your blood pressure.
This month, our regular Tuesday health resource posts will introduce readers to useful tools or online resources.
Online support groups for the chronically ill and their caretakers can be a lifeline for reducing isolation, enabling us to connect with a community that really understands what we're going through (especially when symptoms or finances make travel difficult) and enabling us to connect to resources that we might never find on our own. Some of the most frequently visited sites -- Health Central, Patients Like Me, Healing Well -- serve as hubs. From there, users can access discussions on any of a broad spectrum of chronic diseases. Others are disease-specific, such as Diabetes Daily and the arthritis support site on About.com. Many users of these sites like the breadth of information they find; the availability of other voices who share their experience, day or night; and the non-judgmental attitudes of their online friends.
I remember my mother telling me that when she was young, people looked at recreational runners as though they were crazy. Running…just for the fun of it? If you wanted exercise, your best bet was to play mixed doubles at the local tennis club or – if you’re from the Midwest or Florida – perhaps even a quick match of Jai-Alai or Shuffleboard.
Don't miss this excellent piece, Bedside Manners: The Broken Spirituality of Contemporary US Medical Practice, on the blog Religion Dispatches.
In the spirit of the Olympic Games, my Lenten discipline is 10 minutes of exercise every day. I went looking for some exercises you can do at your desk, and, lo and behold - WebMD has two pages of them! Warn the church secretary and the nosy volunteers if you're going to go all-out, or, better yet, invite them to join you.
Shortly after the Clergy Health Initiative grant began in July 2007, the Duke Voice Care Center (VCC) came to call, offering to help us with vocal health education, and to be a referral source for people having voice difficulties. Their term for clergy, teachers, music directors, actors, and other performers is "vocal athletes". You use and depend on your voice all day.