“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.
It’s not the easiest discussion to have and yet a few days ago, when a friend posted THIS article, I felt compelled to begin a conversation and explore what it means to rightfully stand for a Pro-Life agenda while not compromising a Christ like mindedness and nonviolent mission. I do agree and understand standing for pro life values. Yet, the judgmental exploitation of graphic images can cause greater harm to those who have been through abortional issues. I ask the question; is this how Christ would respond to the “woman at the well“? (John 4:1-26) My hope is that as Christ’s followers we can learn to respond to these issues with more a Spirit of love!
The Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform has for several years protested against the practice of abortion for several years here in Calgary by posting graphic images to bill boards, and protest signs openly on street corners and in front of clinic buildings. Any unsuspecting passer by from the age of 50 down to 5 would be instantly subjected to the violence of aborted fetuses and gruesome death. Is this really how we should protest against the tragic loss of life due to these issues? Must we force everyone from senior citizens to children to be visually aware of this grotesque misrepresentation of choice?
It is argued that if the sexually explicit images of naked bodies and such could be used to promote sexuality in media, television, and promotional ads; then these graphic images to which the CCBR are using could also be used in the protest against abortion issues. It is true that our culture and society are deeply affected by sexual immorality and we cannot ignore the misuse of such advertising and should likewise protest against such images. Yet, sin is not graded nor quantified. You cannot compare graphics from abortions to sexuality. Nor do I think the acceptance or use of one cancels out or excuses the use of the other.
We as followers of Jesus need to embody a message of protest which lovingly takes the discussion of abortion into the public with a practice of grace and not judgement. But, we must be willing to ask how and who does this also. Statistics may advocate for a faster more immediate response but are always a poor base for Christian social activism otherwise, one man’s death would count for nothing! With regards to who… Perhaps only one percent of those who struggle with the contemplation of abortion are reached by the Crises Pregnancy Center but, who’s fault is that? We need to have a community which not only embraces the truth but builds a community of openness and interdependence upon one another. One which builds relationships in the practices of grace! Proper Christian activism spends less reliance upon the movement of para-church organization and instead takes the message of truth directly to the heart of the formation of community and church.
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Several years ago I remember reading a book by Philip Yancey where he described an art exhibit called something like the Cadaver Museum. In it you would find everything from the preserved lungs of a smoker, the heart of an obese man, bodies riddled with cancer, and even aborted fetuses. It was meant to promote an awareness to the many health issues and effects they have on the human body. A small portion of it I believe came through the Glenbow Museum here in Calgary maybe a year or so ago. The city was shocked and in an uproar as to the ethical issues this placed on them and yet the display was not public nor visible unless you actually went into the exhibit yourself.
Do I think graphic and violent images can be shared in the Spirit of love? the short answer is yes, but not in the way the CCBR chooses to do so under their understanding of love. Yes, the CCBR does have the freedom to protest and yet true freedom is not the ability to do what you want to do. Freedom is not the ability, the right, to do what I want to do. Freedom is the power to do what we should do. I do not protest the CCBR’s RIGHT to protest; I protest the WAY they choose to protest!
It is true that many war memorials and Holocaust Museums have horrible graphic images as to the atrocities the Jews and others have been through. Yet, these images are not paraded and displayed on the street corners for any and all to see. They are shared in places and environments which build bridges of relationship and foster healing and not deconstructive separations between absolute rights and wrongs.
King David had committed a horrible sin; he had committed adultery and after it was discovered he would be exposed, he then committed murder to cover it up. The prophet Nathan rather then convicting him the the public courtyards then took him aside, and he told him a story of a a rich man who stole a poor man’s lamb. David was enraged by this sin and it was only after this that Nathan told him that it was him and David repented remorsefully for he knew that God was the one speaking to him. (2 Sam. 12:1-15)
I ponder whether the outcome of this story would have been different should Nathan had forcibly convicted David in the public eye. If we have learned anything as followers of Jesus, it’s that we should not scare at the images of violence in this world. Were it not so then the cross would have no meaning. Jesus promised us, “In this world you will have tribulation.” Yet we cannot allow those images to be used outside of a Christ like manner. We cannot dismiss that it is not us who will overcome but the amazing graces of Jesus who has “overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” – John 21:20-22
Last November we had the honor of my friend and chiropractor Dr. Jeff Koep coming and sharing his faith with our Re:Genesis group. He had quite the testimony and spirit for encouraging holistic faith and health while we spoke for about 1 1/2 hours! Jeff offered five practices of holistic health which when applied with our faith can give a real representation of what it means to find health in the midst of the greatest challenges. Here is a letter which he offered at his practice of South Trail Chiropractic Family Wellness Center in the following weeks.
To see a write up on our January Re:Genesis gathering Click Here.
Believe it or not, my goal in last week’s newsletter was not to depress you! In fact, it was meant to a) honor an incredible woman and b) to get you thinking about who in your life might be taken from you prematurely if they keep living the way they are living. You see, that man who died in the gym could have been anyone; even someone you know right now. It could happen to someone you know tomorrow or 20 years from now if they don’t change. I also wanted you to think about what YOU need to change so that you can live life fully right now and for many years to come; so that you can fully enjoy your family, your work, your passions, and your purpose. It is our mission to help you and your families achieve that.
The “part two” of this is that there absolutely IS a better way to live that will ensure a long healthy life. But most people do not live that way. We here at South Trail Chiropractic are dedicated to teaching you this way of living, which we call Maximized Living. There are Five Essentials to Maximized Living and all are extremely important if you are planning on living a full and healthy life and raise the healthiest children on the planet! The 5 Essentials are:
1) Maximized Mind – includes time/stress management, sleep, spirituality, and positive relationships.
2) Maximized Nerve Supply – the power to heal and be healthy is in the spinal cord. When the nerves are interfered with (subluxation), the body cannot function or heal properly.
3) Maximized Quality Nutrition – food provides the fuel and building blocks that your body needs to continue to power and heal itself on a daily basis; you are what you eat!
4) Maximized Oxygen and Lean Muscle – Exercise allows your body to take in higher levels of oxygen and creates lean muscle that keeps both your body and mind healthy.
5) Minimize Toxins – toxins affect our bodies in a negative way and inhibit us from functioning at optimal levels eventually leading to illness and disease.
The 5 Essentials are the core foundation of Maximized Living. Without any of these Essentials, you are unable to live the long, healthy and fulfilled life that you are meant to live. Each of these Essentials work together to keep your cells in optimal shape and your body functioning at its highest levels. If you only focus on one of these essentials, such as exercise, you are leaving out other core elements that keep your body healthy. Of course, your adjustments and spinal correction exercises are taking care of Essential #2, which makes sure that the brain-body connection is fully functional, but what about the other four? Again, we are dedicated to teaching you about them! Starting in January, we will be holding bi-monthly advanced health workshops teaching you the Five Essentials of Maximized Living. As well, we will be holding a one day Maximized Living Makeover to teach you how to regain your health in 40 days.
The exciting part of this is that you CAN regain your health; and you CAN save a life by sharing this information with your friends and family. The North American lifestyle is literally killing people and many don’t see it happening until it’s too late. We will be asking you to bring guests to our events to make sure that we are all reaching out to those who need us. Again, I ask you, what if you gave a dying person the information they need to LIVE? You CAN save a life.
Maximized Blessings, Dr. Jeff
As many of you know Bonnie and I have the dream of one day planting Expressions as a church plant here in the Calgary area. As such, much of our activities, energy, finances, and home space are vital to the model which we see Expressions functioning under. However, we both have faced a number of great challenges over the past few months which have made these things extremely challenging; leaving us exhausted a drained physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is for this reason I would like to reach out to you for prayer in the following ways:
Our van lift has broken down to the point that it needs replacing. This is deeply affecting our ability to transport both for health needs but also the many trips we make in coordinating gatherings, connecting with leadership, food providers, and pastoral visits/services. We have a make shift fix which can finally get us back on the road after using Calgary Handi-bus for the last month as of today (thank you Jesus). However, in order to replace the lift we are applying for funding through DRES as we are unable to do so ourselves.
- Please pray for safety for Bonnie and I as we use the make shift lift!!
- Also please pray for DRES to recognize our van requirements as being “work related” even though I’m not officially on staff in a church and in so doing granting us funds for the replacement of the lift.
We both have been experiencing a number of health issues. I have had a “lump” on the right side of my chest for a couple months which has been giving me grief with sweats, pain, discomfort, and tingly sensations on my right side. You might say my “thorn in the flesh”. We are not sure if I broke something or what it is however the doctors are in pursuit! Bonnie has been getting severe pain and weakness in her right arm which she broke back in 2000. She has been unable to use it as well as she did before as well as the back pain she deals with due to Osteoporosis. She has been dealing with a sore which is not healing and the doctors are doing a biopsy later in April too. Transportation in those pursuits is and issue again.
- Please pray for health and healing for us both, wisdom for the doctors, and wisdom for us to take the right course of action.
Last night after arriving home from work (at Home Depot) Bonnie and I discovered that our washing machine had broken down leaking water all over the upstairs laundry room, draining down the vent and flooding our dinning room ceiling, table, and floor. We have phoned our home insurance and they came over right away to assess the damages and we are relieved that they will be helping us through this process. As you know, we are deeply reliant on our passion for hospitality and this hits us hard in our ability to have an open home.
- Please pray that Bonnie and I do not need to leave our home in order for the contractors to do the repairs. This was brought up last night and is a great fear we have due to our physical needs in accessibility.
- Please pray that the repair work goes quickly and that the damages are not too extensive. Also, that it does not affect the events we hoped to host over the next month. We had planned for a couple movie nights, Re:Genesis, and the possibility of Forge Canada’s Pilot Groups to be hosted here. We are greatly excited by what we are planning for Expressions in the next year as well as the possibilities of working with Forge Canada.
- Please pray for Bonnie’s and my peace of mind. The amount of change in the last few months has hit us very hard both in security and accumulative breakdowns/damages whether it has been the markets, our elevator, van, lifts, house, and health.
Lastly I’d like to ask if you would please pray for the community of Expressions. Many of you have participated with the many activities we have been involved with in this community whether it was a movie night, Sunday Night Expressions gathering, Grey Cup’ of Coffee, Re:Genesis, Mustard Seed Visits, or something else. We have not articulated its definition too greatly as we believe it to be more about just doing life together in the hope you and others might find Jesus in Life and Community. You are all a great blessing to us and an inspiration to our faith, hopes, and dreams. If you would like to know more about Expressions please invite us to meet with you over coffee or check out our website at www.expressionscommunity.org. Please pray for:
- Leadership and people who would like to come along side with us in Expressions Journey.
- Clear communication and vision partnership with our home church McKenzie Towne Church and others who would like to come along on the journey.
- Continuing leadership development, Networking, and partnership with Forge Canada’s Missional Training Network through their Pilot programs. (www.forgecanada.ca/).
I thank you all for being willing to pray with us and for us along these lines. You are all good friends and we cannot show enough appreciation for the ways in which you are a part of who we are. Thank You!
“There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”
“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’”
This has quit possible been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. I feel completely and absolutely exhausted; not only physically but emotionally too. My wife Bonnie has dealt for several years with chronic infections and has been treated with so many antibiotics that her body now can no longer respond to these treatments. As such the doctors pursued surgery on Tuesday with the hopes of stopping the constant attacks of infection.
The follow up was appalling as she was discharged that day with the instructions that we were to contact Home Care for assistance. On the other side was Home Care stating that the hospital can only make the contact. And so the political burocratic circle begins. “No, it’s not our responsibility. It is their’s!” “No, I’m really sorry but, it’s not our responsibility either. It’s theirs!” Why does political paper work take more concern over the health and welfare of the human being? Does no one care for others anymore? Does no one care about my wife and I?!
It was a difficult moment and in truthfulness I was prepared to remove some heads. That is when some close friends of ours responded to our call. Geraldine is what I would call a 70 + year old marathon runner. No word of a lie she showed up on our door step with a box of freshly baked breads, home made soups, and a tin of cookies which were still warm from the oven. With tears coming down her checks she hugged us and said she was praying and felt a calling from Jesus to contact Anne who was a Home Care nurse in our church. Anne would be visiting us that afternoon (Thursday). Following Anne’s visit, Bonnie felt waves of relief as she promised to return this coming Sunday. It was the greatest news and blessing we could ever have received this past week!
The week has yet to finish out and Bonnie and I are still waiting to hear the results of some biopsies which they took during the procedure. However, I can honestly say that I have felt Jesus with us throughout this week. At times it has been extremely difficult but it is then that we have felt the simple acts of kindness which only faith could have provided us. The many emails we’ve been sent – Jesus wrote. The many phone calls we’ve answered – Jesus spoke. The simple acts of kindness which we have received – Jesus was there!!!
“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!”
This afternoon I walked… opps!… wheeled into my good friend and chiropractor’s office and was blown away by an article which he had written and handed to me. Jeff’s faith and devotion to God, his family, and his patients are always an inspiration to me which is why I asked if he would share his story with Expressions next month.
All that said, I thought I would give a short taste into that faith by sharing this weeks message from The Good Doctor:
We all know that what you eat has a direct impact on your health. It is true that you are what you eat! The food that is made by God (fresh whole food in its original form) is what we were meant to eat. The processed, refined, chemical-laden food that is made by man will actually cause illness and disease. Unfortunately, we in North America, are over-fed (we get plenty of calories) BUT extremely under-nourished (processed food lacks the nutrients needed for good health). This is one reason why we are getting sicker and sicker as a society.
But the fact of the matter is that, when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, what you are eating is less important than WHAT’S EATING YOU! That is, how much stress you have in your life has an enormous affect on your health. Stress can literally kill you. If you are under a lot of stress, your body tends to shut down its healing and restorative abilities just so that it can cope with the stress. Let me explain. When an animal is faced with a stressful situation or a stressor (a deer comes face to face with a cougar), it reacts in a very predictable manner. Its blood pressure rises pushing the blood away from the internal organs and towards the peripheral limb muscles. These help the animal move fast and have the power necessary to either fight or flee. This is why the stress response is called the fight or flight response. Less blood to the organs means that digestion, detoxification, and normal organ activity stops, immune organs are less efficient, and healing is almost non-existent. For the moment, this response can save the animals life. But as soon as the stressor is gone (i.e. the cougar leaves), the deer quickly returns to a normal state and its body resumes normal function and healing.
We too have this fight or flight response. Any time that we are stressed or worry about something, the same exact reactions take place in our body. Our blood pressure rises, blood flows away from our organs, our immune system slows, digestion stops, and normal organ function stops (to name a few). So you get into your car to go to work and…it won’t start! You have an important meeting to get to and you only have 15 minutes to get there. STRESS!!! Enter fight or flight response. You manage to catch a ride to work with your neighbor and arrive at the meeting a half hour late. Your boss is not happy. STRESS!!! Now in the animal world, when the stressor is gone (your car is fixed and your meeting is over), your body should resume normal function. But humans tend to “hold on to” their stress; we worry. We have big brains that can remember and rehash stressful situations. And as soon as we rehash the stressor in our mind, our body reacts as if it is the real thing. The result is that most of us are in a constant state of fight or flight! Our digestion, our healing, our normal organ function are affected on a massive scale. Blood pressure is through the roof, immunity is low, digestion is slow and painful, sleep is interrupted, irritability is common, and we tend to store energy in the form of fat (stress makes you fat)! No wonder there are so many sick and depressed people (it is estimated that 1/3 of North American adults are on antidepressants).
So the question is: WHAT’S EATING YOU? More importantly, how are you dealing with it? Chiropractic will absolutely help you deal with your stress better by allowing the nerve system (the system that was designed to help you manage stress in your body) to function properly. Chiropractic will also allow your organs to function more effectively. However, we must all make an effort to create more peace in our lives. Set your priorities; take control of your time; spend time with loved ones; do what you love and love what you do. It is not always how much stress we have but how we react to the stress that leads to ill health. A very wise man once said:
“…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – Matthew 6:25-27
So less worry and more peace, Dr. Jeff