Love 2 – Fear 0. Health and theology find better ways forward

In his Houston Chronicle blog called Acceptance of spiritual healing, an uphill climb my colleague Keith Womack shared the following quote*:

Dr. Dean Ornish told the attendees in the standing-room-only ballroom space that the joy of living is a greater motivator than the fear of death. And the 1.0 version of managing health risks has been more the latter than the former. As a result, Ornish’s two decades of research have shown that health is more a function of lifestyle choices than it is drugs and surgery.

It is interesting to me that this coincides with the Christian community waking up to what might be called Evangelism 2.0, where proselytising on the (awful) basis of spreading fear of (the fiction) of eternal punishment is losing its cache.  As shared in a recent blog Dr Parry, the author of Evangelical Universalist: The biblical hope that God’s love will save us allstated in a Church Times article that:

Fear of hell is not the only motivation for gospel proclamation.

I would have removed his diplomatic “only”…and emphasised the NOT!

Reading these two quotes together seems like witnessing a (positive) pincer movement from both the health and religion disciplines, easing thought off the slippery slope of inducing action by fear in favour of the solid ground of promoting action by (divine) love.

That squares with what I have learned is beneficial through the practice of Christian spirituality as a basis for health-maintenance and healing, premised on an all-loving God. I have been healed of fear on many occasions by Love. I have never been healed by fear!

Fear is the sickness, not the medicine. It is a belief in punishment that separates us from the goodness God always has to give us.

We can celebrate these Spring shoots of progress out of fear-based coercion in both fields and expect to see further movement in this healthy and holy direction!

* taken from a Disruptive Women in Health Care report by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of a recent “Health 2.0″ Spring Fling.

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