Archives For Health

 

Toward the Health and
Well-Being of all People

 
A Review of 

Upholding the Vision: Serving the Poor in Training and Beyond
CCHF
Foreword by John Perkins

Paperback: 3rd Edition, 2016
Buy now:  [  Amazon ]
 
Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
 
 
The Hebrew prophets described the flourishing that God intends for creation as shalom, which we could today translate as health in the deepest and most holistic sense.  And nowhere is the lack of shalom more evident today than some of the most broken and economically-deprived places.  We would do well to work toward to health and shalom of these places.  Indeed, the Christian Community Health Fellowship (CCHF) has been working toward this end for almost 40 years, and they have just released the third edition of their helpful book Upholding the Vision, which articulates why working for the health of our poorer neighbors is vital, Kingdom work.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

Hungry Spring and Ordinary Song: Collected Poems (an autobiography of sorts) (Paraclete Poetry)

By Phyllis Tickle

Read an excerpt from this book...

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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Disengaging in order to Flourish

 
A Feature Review of

The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World
Christina Crook

Paperback: New Society Publishers, 2015.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle]

 

Reviewed by Ryan Johnson.

 

The gentle sounds emanating from my smartphone alert me to the fact that it is time for me to wake up. I go ahead and disconnect it from its power source and crawl out of bed. Throughout the day my phone will serve to remind me what meetings I have, emails I need to respond to, and texts that are vying for my attention. On top of that, it will serve as an entertainment source for when I’m bored (or for when I want to procrastinate) and a way to keep in touch with friends through social media. For all of these services it demands only one thing… my unwavering fixation.
 
In her book, The Joy of Missing Out, Christina Crook explores this unwavering fixation that has grown out of the technology boom of the modern era. The compulsive checking of emails and the incessant check-ins on Facebook have become the norm for society. As Christina points out in her book, the very definition of compulsive behavior is an irresistible urge that is often against one’s own wishes. Our phones are within arm’s reach, our inbox remains open on our computers and our latest tweet was only a few minutes ago, yet we find ourselves drained with little desire or ability to interact with others face to face. Ultimately, it is us who have been disconnected from our power source.

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Why Keep the Sabbath?

A Brief Review of

24/6: Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life

Matthew Sleeth

Paperback: Tyndale House, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Leslie Starasta.

 

Dr. Matthew Sleeth’s newest book 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life is the most recent book on the topic of keeping the Sabbath.  Many books on Sabbath keeping read like a technical manual describing in detail how to keep the Sabbath.  Sleeth differs in his approach by emphasizing the health aspects of keeping the Sabbath, as befits his training as a doctor, in addition to the spiritual benefits.

 

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There’s a number of us here at Englewood Christian Church, who have been thinking recently about churches’ role in nurturing the health of our places (Reading essays like Wendell Berry‘s “Health is Membership” and books like Making Healthy Places, one of our Best Books of 2011). So, we were undoubtedly excited when the review copy of this book arrived in the mail yesterday:

Health, Healing and the Church’s Mission: Biblical Perspectives and Moral Priorities.

Willard Swartley

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]






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Jonathan Gruber - Health Care ReformKapow! It’s Health Care Reform

A Review of

Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works

Jonathan Gruber, with H.P. Newquist,

Illustrated by Nathan Schrieber.

Paperback: Hill & Wang, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed  by Jess O. Hale, Jr.

 


Jonathan Gruber - Health Care ReformOther Sample Pages Available on Amazon:
[ Sample #2 ]  [ Sample #3 ] [ Sample #4 ]

With spring bringing us Marvel’s ” Avengers” out to rave reviews and giant box office and summer looking toward a new Batman movie, what better way to tide a politically-engaged readership of comic books over than a discussion of health care reform?  Well, what if it came in the form of a graphic novel—does that help?  I hope so, as lack of health insurance and spiraling costs are quite arguably more serious threats to young adults than Loki.  Yet as we await a Supreme Court decision on the constitutional fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the more neutral shorthand for Congress’ enactment of the health reform effort that President Obama pushed for and signed, many people know more about a movie about comic book characters than about the content of what the health reform legislation actually does.  With a little help,  MIT economist Jonathan Gruber has sought to explain the nuts and bolts of health care reform in a format readily accessible to many young adults (and quite a few older folk who are at least a little young at heart) – a graphic novel.  Ably assisted by H. P. Newquist and Nathan Schreiber, Gruber has written Health Care Reform:  What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works as an explanation of the ACA for those who are not political or policy junkies.

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“Trauma and its Far-Reaching Consequences

A review of
Outsmarting Yourself:
Catching Your Past Invading the Present
and What to Do About It

by Karl Lehman, M.D.

Review by Jasmine Wilson.


Outsmarting Yourself - Karl LehmanOutsmarting Yourself:
Catching Your Past
Invading the Present
and What to Do About It

Karl Lehman, M.D.
Paperback: This JOY! Books, 2011.
Buy now:
[ OutsmartingYourself.org ]

I had the privilege of meeting Karl Lehman this summer and being mentored by his wife, Charlotte. Being in the community where the two of them work on the methods Dr. Lehman describes in his book, it was apparent to me how influential his theories and practices were in the lives of those in the church community.

Dr. Lehman’s work begins with the notion of trauma, but he explains trauma is not caused just by incidents like hurricanes or military combat. Instead, trauma can be caused even by minor painful experiences. For example, one of Charlotte’s memories from her childhood was when a fifth grade boy kept saying boys are better than girls. Seems like a small thing at the time, but when an experience like that is internalized, it can cause latent trauma that an individual might not even recognize. These internalized experiences can then be “triggered” by present events: “When something in the present triggers a traumatic memory, the unresolved content from the trauma… will come forward as ‘invisible’ implicit memory that feels true and valid in the present.”

As I read Lehman’s book, I began to think back particularly on all the negative interpersonal interactions I’ve had in the past few years, and recognizing how in certain situations I had been triggered, and I was directing my anger and frustration toward a person from my past at the person I was arguing with in the present.

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MAKING HEALTHY PLACES A Review of

Making Healthy Places:
Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability.

Dannenberg, Jackson and Frumkin, eds.
Paperback: Island Press, 2011.
Buy now : [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

[ Read an excerpt from this book ]


Making Healthy Places is a superb collection of essays that explores how neighbors can work together in a variety of crucial ways to seek the health and well-being of their places.  Richard Jackson observes in the book’s preface that:

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A Brief Review of

Working with Aging Families:
Therapeutic Solutions for Caregivers, Spouses and  Adult Children
.
Kathleen Piercy.
Hardback: W.W. Norton ,2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Jennifer Price.

As our population includes many more people over the age of 65, we are forced to address the question of how do we take care of aging people?  Our little nuclear families are not always equipped to take care of aging parents and more often other support is needed, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Our families often include step-children and step-parents in a mobile culture which add to the complexity of caring for our families.  This book provides resources for counselors and therapists in navigating the golden years in the outpatient realm.

In order to get a grasp on this challenge, one must start with understanding the family dynamics and the transitions that older people make.  This book offers help in the aging process in the earlier years of aging, as well as the later years.  It offers examples of families who sought out therapy, with challenges such as, how to communicate with a family member or spouse who has MCI (mild cognitive impairment) or lessons in communication in marriage counseling for the later years.  Piercy suggests, that addressing these challenges sometimes involves psycho-educational  seminars at a senior community center for those reluctant to see a therapist. She offers several vivid examples of therapy sessions that demonstrate how people learn to cope, problem solve, and give resources.  Her research is thorough; in coordinating the care of the elderly person’s families she provices resources for various contexts, both urban and rural.  This can ease the stress placed on families in such situations.  Many times the children of elderly parents like to reciprocate the care they once received, but with health issues it can still be taxing to the caregivers.  Piercy explores complex family situations such as elderly parents who have a developmentally disabled adult child for whom they provide  care.  Another complexity, which is happening more often, is grandparents who are taking care of grandkids whose parent is absent.

Through reading this book these problems are addressed with lots of counseling interventions and resourceful examples for families that are described in a practical manner.  WORKING WITH AGING FAMILIES is a good resource for church families as we seek to care for both our birth parents as well as our older brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

A Brief Review of Death and Life in America:
Biblical Healing and Biomedicine
.
Raymond Downing.
Paperback: Herald Press, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Rev. Karen Altergott.

Is biolife an idol and biomedicine an overly powerful force in contemporary society?  What is a Christian to do when confronted by a beast of a system that seems able to name our problems, control and limit the potential solutions, and make any choice other than biomedical intervention seem foolish?  The option of considering bio-psycho-socio-spiritual healing requires somewhat more of both patient and practitioner.  Biomedicine, while not ultimately to be rejected, is quite reasonably questioned.  The independence from God that a pure mechanical and physical approach implies should be completely and clearly rejected.

Death and Life in America provides an excellent overview of healing as Jesus healed into the Kingdom of Heaven, and healing as modern physicians, including the author, have healed. Physicians heal through the advances of biomedicine in the Kingdom of this World.  While dancing on the edge of gnosticism with the division between physical and spiritual, Downing basically places biomedicine in the realm of the world.  He labels medicine as one of the principalities and powers, and since it is tied up with power over others, the market, the illusion of independence from God, it is somewhat dangerous to all.

On the other hand, the power of Jesus, Son of God, heals in another way.  The comparison of resuscitated life and resurrected life shows the difference between holding on to biolife and to entering God’s Kingdom and the new life therein. The central chapters provide a good description and analysis of healing in the New Testament record. The power of God through Jesus to name the problem humans face, to heal the body, mind, spirit, relationship, and to change the approach we have to life itself is incarnate healing, embodied healing.  If we accept that we are not autonomous from God, that medicine does not rule our decisions or our lives, then there is hope that healing – biomedical as well-  may be based on faith.  The concept of Christ carrying our pain, and of us carrying others’ suffering moves us into the realm of how are we now to live with one another in a very helpful way.  Acceptance of brokenness and suffering – and biodeath when it is time – is a major sub-theme of this book.

What then for medicine and healing?  Perhaps here is where Downing doesn’t go far enough.  With the burgeoning of alternative healing, by 2008 when this book was written, our good doctor could have taken some stance on the many ways of healing that Americans are seeking.  The next book might be notes from the resistance: what it means to combine healing as Jesus heals with a world that accesses – but does not bow down to – biomedicine.