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Health, Spirituality, & Religion: Perspectives of a Physician-turned-Priest The Rev. Ronald David, MD American Association of Pastoral Counselors St. Louis,

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Presentation on theme: "Health, Spirituality, & Religion: Perspectives of a Physician-turned-Priest The Rev. Ronald David, MD American Association of Pastoral Counselors St. Louis,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Health, Spirituality, & Religion: Perspectives of a Physician-turned-Priest The Rev. Ronald David, MD American Association of Pastoral Counselors St. Louis, MI April 4, 2014 The Rev. Ronald David, MD American Association of Pastoral Counselors St. Louis, MI April 4, 2014

2 Invitation to a Dialog in Cyberspace

3 The Task... A theory of pastoral care (or relevant thereto) An autobiographical sketch A theory of pastoral care (or relevant thereto) An autobiographical sketch

4 Ineinander... In-each-otherness Health, Spirituality, & Religion are intimately intertwined, inseperable

5 A Critique of the Literature...  None offers a definition of health except to imply that it is the absence of disease  None define “spirituality” from a theological perspective; one contrives a “RS factor”  Most conflate “religion & spirituality” or offer simplistic, monolithic notions of religion  Conclusions regarding the salutary effect of religion and spirituality are suspect  None offers a definition of health except to imply that it is the absence of disease  None define “spirituality” from a theological perspective; one contrives a “RS factor”  Most conflate “religion & spirituality” or offer simplistic, monolithic notions of religion  Conclusions regarding the salutary effect of religion and spirituality are suspect

6 Proverb 18:14 “The human spirit will endure sickness; but a wounded spirit—who can bear?”

7 Autobiography... A Thumbnail Sketch Eden Tragedy & Trauma Exile Conviction & Commitment Eden Tragedy & Trauma Exile Conviction & Commitment

8 Autobiography as Hypothesis “Research as re-search is a searching again for what one has already felt as a call, perhaps long ago and now only dimly recalled... re- search that proceeds in depth and from the depths, is about finding what has been lost, forgotten, neglected, marginalized, or otherwise left behind.”

9 The Meaning of Health “ We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats, and drink, and air, and exercises, and we hew and polish every stone that goes to the building; and so our health is a long and regular work...” John Donne “... In this world perfect health never exists in absolute form... Jean-Claude Larchet “ We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats, and drink, and air, and exercises, and we hew and polish every stone that goes to the building; and so our health is a long and regular work...” John Donne “... In this world perfect health never exists in absolute form... Jean-Claude Larchet

10 The Meaning of Health “The concept of health cannot be defined without relations to its opposite—disease.” Paul Tillich “health... is a state of optimal physical, and social well-being; the popular idea that it is merely the absence of disease and infirmity is not complete.” Dorland’s Medical Dictionary “The concept of health cannot be defined without relations to its opposite—disease.” Paul Tillich “health... is a state of optimal physical, and social well-being; the popular idea that it is merely the absence of disease and infirmity is not complete.” Dorland’s Medical Dictionary

11 Intuition about Health “This is a permanent difficulty of philosophic discussion: namely, that words must be stretched beyond their common meanings in the marketplace.” Alfred North Whitehead “It is evident that the numinous feeling also, in its first outbreak in consciousness, must have found sounds for its expression...” Rudolf Otto “In prayer we speak out of our ‘flesh,’ the ground of all our experience, collecting into awareness what our self is saying...” Ann & Barry Ulanov “The body is not mute, but it is inarticulate; it does not use speech but begets it.” Arthur Frank “This is a permanent difficulty of philosophic discussion: namely, that words must be stretched beyond their common meanings in the marketplace.” Alfred North Whitehead “It is evident that the numinous feeling also, in its first outbreak in consciousness, must have found sounds for its expression...” Rudolf Otto “In prayer we speak out of our ‘flesh,’ the ground of all our experience, collecting into awareness what our self is saying...” Ann & Barry Ulanov “The body is not mute, but it is inarticulate; it does not use speech but begets it.” Arthur Frank

12 Helen Keller Discovers Water “I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!”

13 Kailo Indo-European root word for whole, holy, and hale A visceral, lived experience Indo-European root word for whole, holy, and hale A visceral, lived experience

14 Whole, Holy, and Hale As complexity, creativity, and vitality

15 Hydrogen: An Icon of Complexity Creativity, and Vitality 90% of “normal” atoms in the universe 63% of atoms in the human body 100% “left over” from the Big Bang

16 The Meaning of Spirituality “It seems that while it may be possible to rescue the term ‘spirit,’ the adjective ‘spiritual’ is lost beyond hope.” Paul Tillich "Spirituality is that dimension of living in which we are aware of God's presence... “ Lawrence Kushner “The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord, searching every inmost part.” Proverb 20: 27 “It seems that while it may be possible to rescue the term ‘spirit,’ the adjective ‘spiritual’ is lost beyond hope.” Paul Tillich "Spirituality is that dimension of living in which we are aware of God's presence... “ Lawrence Kushner “The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord, searching every inmost part.” Proverb 20: 27

17 A Grammar of Spirit Spirit –Spirit is as Spirit does: enlighten, create, animate, differentiate, integrate Spirit ual –Illuminating, creative, animating, differentiating, integrating Spiritual ity –Having the quality of spirit Spirit –Spirit is as Spirit does: enlighten, create, animate, differentiate, integrate Spirit ual –Illuminating, creative, animating, differentiating, integrating Spiritual ity –Having the quality of spirit

18 Spirituality as Awareness—NT

19 The Spectrum of Awareness Prehension—tactile Apprehension—emotive/intuitive Comprehension—cognitive Ascension—numinous/mystical Prehension—tactile Apprehension—emotive/intuitive Comprehension—cognitive Ascension—numinous/mystical

20 Inherent Relationships... Ineinander Health is experience as such-- quidditas Spirituality is awareness of suchness-- veritas Religion is what is done in response to awareness-- effectus Health is experience as such-- quidditas Spirituality is awareness of suchness-- veritas Religion is what is done in response to awareness-- effectus

21 Medicine as Religion If longevity without disease or even a dollop of discomfort is one’s “ultimate concern” as Paul Tillich might put it—that to which we devote our life to with the hope of salvation—then medical care becomes a religion. I know because I was once a devotee of that religion. It is a religion for which the human genome project is considered the “book of life,” and medical centers are Meccas, wherein hospitals are cathedrals, operating rooms are the “holy of holies,” and surgeons are the high priests and priestesses.

22 Defining Religion--Implicational “Outward and visible sign of an inward grace” The human endeavor to witness and celebrate and sustain and restore and remember relationships

23 Defining Religion--Propositonal Ethics of being in relationship Virtues of being—humility, charity, veracity Vision of being—things are more integrated, better, and more mysterious than they seem Ethics of being in relationship Virtues of being—humility, charity, veracity Vision of being—things are more integrated, better, and more mysterious than they seem

24 Denouement AAPC Mission Deeper theological reflection and engagement Freedom from mundane assessments and charting Sentinels and advocates for complexity, creativity, vitality Apologists for Church, Temple, & Mosque AAPC Mission Deeper theological reflection and engagement Freedom from mundane assessments and charting Sentinels and advocates for complexity, creativity, vitality Apologists for Church, Temple, & Mosque


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