Sunday, February 14, 2016

I am an African-American, Southern born-and-bred, Seminary-educated, ordained minister, raised and indoctrinated in the Southern Baptist Tradition. I believed for many years that sickness is somehow related to sin and punishment. I have independent study, experience and research into the various interpretations of sickness. I have extensive study and practice in the field of alternative health and wellness, including nutrition as disease prevention. Finally, I have studied extensively the relationship between belief and behavior. This post is my Valentine’s Day gift to you. I trust you will find this information enlightening, if not liberating. Liberation, as you know, is the ultimate goal of all learning.

NOTE: According to John Mbiti, in the African tradition of time, as long as the name of a departed is called, the departed remains with us. I, therefore, dedicate today’s post to the life and memory of my Fourth Sister, Tanya Renita Davenport. She departed this plane so very long ago, entirely too soon. Today is her birthday, Valentine’s Day!

Tea Party for My Sister!

Jane Roberts, in The Way Toward Health, discusses “The Broken-Hearted, the Heartless and Medical Technology,” making the following quote regarding heart disease:
“With many people having such difficulties, the addition of love in the environment may work far better than any heart operation. In other words, ‘a love transplant’ in the environment may work far better overall than a heart-transplant operation, or a bypass, or whatever; in such ways the heart is allowed to heal itself.” (p. 154).

Discussing the effect of beliefs upon behavior, Roberts states that people who are exercising strenuously and vigorously do so not because they seek good health; but because they fear illness and because they dislike their own bodies. (emphasis added). She speaks of the various levels of beliefs with which a person lives. For example, a person’s reasons for exercising are more important than the exercises that are performed (p. 157). Roberts also states that one’s ideas about one’s health are more important than steps that one might take to improve it.
Roberts states that there are some very basic religious beliefs which teach that illness and disease are God’s punishment (p. 163); however, she does suggest that many times illness and disease can be catalysts to life-style changes which a person otherwise might not have made, without the illness. She says that feelings of being ...

“ ... coldhearted, or heartless, ... will have a significant effect upon that physical organ; ... “She states that many people who have heart trouble have no ‘heart’ for life (p. 164).

Roberts talks not only of physical health, but it also provides sheds some light on the wholeness of the entire entity, “(W)e are not speaking of physical health alone, but of mental, spiritual, and emotional health as well. You are not healthy, for example, no matter how robust your physical condition, if your relationships are unhealthy, unsatisfying, frustrating, or hard to achieve (p. 233).”
An American Health Dilemma Volume One - A Medical History of African- Americans and the Problem of Race: Beginnings to 1900 (2000), by W. Michael Byrd and Linda A. Clayton discusses the historical medical/health experience of the African-American from pre-historic to present times. This source lays out the interactions not only between Africans and Europeans but also Africans and Arabs. The writers use data of various sorts to simply outline the ‘dilemma’ of African-American health and disease. One chart outlines the social causes of disease among the colonial slaves, citing among the reasons, the grief of enslavement. In a discussion of black health in the period 1731 through 1812, Byrd and Clayton report that, “In the south, blacks were sometimes permitted to practice folk and herbal medicine on fellow slaves ... (p. 241).” This source moves forward through the nuances of history, education and culture, with the notion of ‘scientific racism’ being the common thread. While discussing the education of Martin Delaney and Dr. John Sweat Rock, the first African-American dentist, they point out that at every hand, one after another obstacle to advancement was constructed (p. 308-310). The sum of these discussions is to point out that today’s health crisis among African Americans has its genesis in the three-way slave trade, hit its stride in the pre-Civil War through Emancipation Periods and today, continues unabated, even to the extent that present-day white physicians expect from and in some cases, unconsciously assign, poor health to African Americans (emphasis added) (p. 216).
My calling to ministry was to ‘teach and preach’. I have learned entirely too much to keep it to myself. If you find this information ‘off-putting’ in any way, I have done my job. The least that a teacher can do is cause the student to think differently. Please consider these things—think on these things—as you move forward through the year. You may be called upon to aid someone who has an ailing heart. The ailing heart may be healed just through love and kindness.
While we speak of heart health, I have added in the video below, just to give some extra edge, in case you need something to think about while you're resting. 
God is with us! Ashe!
SandraTeresa Davenport
The Health Reverend
Local Radio Show - Listen Live – Saturday 7:00 pm | Sunday 8:30 am – EDT


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