Spiritual Health

Living Wholly in Christian Community

The sermon was delivered, hands had been shaken, and the church doors were locked for the day. Now, it was time for the pastor’s favorite part of the week – Sunday afternoon.

Note: This is the ninth 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.

August 29, 2010
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 • Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Freedom from Infirmity

In his woodcut, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” the artist Robert Hodgell depicts a man bent over, not unlike the woman in today’s scripture from Luke.

Note: This is the eighth 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.

August 22, 2010
Luke 13:10-17 • When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.

The Contest of Faith and the Christian Athlete

As a teacher of early Christian history, I often hear students who have an introductory knowledge of the early Church pose two criticisms of the Church Fathers.

Note: This is the seventh 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.

August 15, 2010
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 • Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

Being Rich Toward God

One word holds together the assigned gospel, epistle, and Old Testament lessons for this week: greed – the unhealthy, human tendency to trust primarily in ourselves and what we can acquire rather than putting our trust in God.

Note: This is the fifth 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.

August 1, 2010
Hosea 11:1-11, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21 • Put t
o death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly.

The Abundant Life of Bread

We worship a God who loves bread. This should not be surprising to us, particularly if we recognize that in the sharing of bread we become companions to one another.

Note: This is the fourth 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 25, 2010
Luke 11:1-13 • Give us each day our daily bread.

Have They Fruit?

"Have they fruit?” John Wesley asked of his would-be preachers. Could those who were seeking ordination show anything for their service?

Note: This is the second 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.

Exercise and Bible Study: A New Way to Multi-Task

In this month's issue of Healthy Leaders, Pastor Beth Birkholtz describes the 10-week running group/Bible study that she formed in her church and the exhilaration she felt at seeing the group progress from walking to finishing a 5K race.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America produces a monthly clergy health newsletter, Healthy Leaders.  In this month's issue, Pastor Beth Birkholtz describes the 10-week running group/Bible study that she formed in her church and the exhilaration she felt at seeing the group progress from walking to finishing a 5K race.

Pilgrim’s Progress

The Society for Spirituality, Theology, & Health held its third annual meeting on June 15-18 here at Duke. I’m glad to say I’ve attended all three meetings.


The Society for Spirituality, Theology, & Health held its third annual meeting on June 15-18 here at Duke. I’m glad to say I’ve attended all three meetings. The Society is a key sponsor of an ongoing conversation without which the Clergy Health Initiative might not exist.

What's Vacation For?

Recently I went online to rent a beach house for a week in August. The place I prefer to go is one I’ve visited many times over a span of more than twenty years.

Recently I went online to rent a beach house for a week in August. The place I prefer to go is one I’ve visited many times over a span of more than twenty years. What struck me as I checked realtor websites for rental options this year were the selling points listed for the various properties. Location, of course, is always paramount, beach-front still at a premium.

Coaching from the Pews: Laity’s Role in Improving Clergy Health

Last week, I and several colleagues from the Clergy Health Initiative attended the United Methodist Annual Conferences in Greenville and Lake Junaluska, N.C.

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. 

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