Posts Tagged 'health care'

Why We Need Government-Run Universal Socialized Health Insurance

The best under-five-minute argument for ‘socialized medicine’ I’ve yet encountered.

Postmodern Apologetics in a Post-Postmodern Time?

So yesterday a friend writes on my Facebook wall, “Mike, is there is place for post-modern apologetics in post-post-modern times? The issue has been weighing on me for some time now.”

And since my reply would probably be too long to write on his wall, I thought I’d share it here.

“Really? That’s what’s been keeping you up at night? I guess I’ve been thinking more about the national health care debate and whether or not Threadless is going to bring back my favorite t-shirt designs, but different strokes I guess.”

Pet RockBut seriously, that’s a good question. And honestly, the word ‘apologetics’ has rubbed me the wrong way since my undergrad days – it sounds very sterile, very militant, very…propositional. And we all know that for the certifiably postmodern, ‘proposition’ is a four-letter word. If you can ‘prove’ it, I don’t wanna believe it! Okay, but that said, I’m assuming you don’t mean ‘apologetics’ in a highly-concentrated form; you simply mean the credible and persuasive means through which we might gain a ‘proper confidence’ to embark on the life of faith – yes?

But probably, at least partially, you do mean ‘apologetics,’ and how the term fell out of favor when more ‘postmodern’ approaches to finding and sharing faith began to proliferate, and now you’re wondering if those approaches now stick out like a 1970s Pet Rock or 1990s Gigapet in the wake of What’s Come After Postmodernism, if indeed anything has. Giga Pet

So my first question to you (feel free to reply in the Comments) is, what do you mean by ‘postmodern apologetics’? I think of approaches outlined in Brian McLaren‘s Finding Faith or George Hunter‘s The Celtic Way of Evangelism or Doug Pagitt‘s Church Reimagined or Rick Richardson‘s Reimagining Evangelism (yes, one of the ‘Pet Rock’ elements of the pomo epoch might be the frequent employment of ‘reimagining’ everything. At least my wife seems to think so.) or Jim Henderson‘s Evangelism Without Additives or Spencer Burke‘s Making Sense of Church. In these books – and the lives and communities they seem to attest to – ‘apologetics’ is more like creating a sweet and savory aroma of the divine, inculcating a Godward hunger. It emphasizes a multi-layered approach, the power of narrative, the authority of the community of faith and of the subversive Holy Spirit, of belonging before believing, and of faith experiments to try and validate certain spiritual notions as true (or not) in the seeker’s own life. The postmodern approach sees the Gospel as a grace-filled, centered-set journey toward Jesus, not a bounded set who’s in/who’s out delineation based on saying the right prayers or believing the right things. And faith is seen as personal, but never private – having social, political, and ecological consequences as we learn to live well together in God’s good earth. Is this what you think of as pomo-apologetics?

Fire DancersMy second question is, if the postmodern turn is in some way over, what has come after it? I’m not convinced that the above is passé, though I will acknowledge some cultural shifts since those heady days of the 1990s when Christians began discussing things that rocked the art, architecture, and literary worlds of the 1970s. I think the pop cultural advent of the New Atheists phenomenon shows us that there might be a more resilient/resurgent strata of our population who rely on science, ‘pure reason,’ and reductive thinking than we thought – they’re not likely to make metaphysical leaps of faith based on such ‘squishy’ ethos like ‘belonging’ and ‘faith experiments.’ Secondly, our increasingly cozy global village and the collaboration/voyeurism engendered by social networking has shown us that a pure pluralism or pure relativism, as advocated by some postmodern purveyors, is untenable – even in the world of ideas. Some ideas – and some forms of faith – are simply healthier (better) than others. (It’s worth noting that neither of these phenomena are un-accountable for in pure postmodern philosophy, but they do grate against some of the ways the philosophy has trickled down into both pop culture and/or the ’emerging church’ conversation.)

In light of these shifts, I’ve heard two credible proposals for what might be Coming After Postmodernity. They are…

Critical Realism

I first encountered this term around 2001 when a guest professor was in a religion class trying to debunk open theism, claiming it was too ‘postmodern,’ that we needed critical realism or a post-postmodern take on reality. I wasn’t too convinced, as his version of critical realism seemed to strangely validate modern (or even pre-modern) epistemological ideas, and static Greek/rationalist ideas about God. Thankfully, though, his wasn’t the last I’d heard of critical realism – others, like Andrew Perriman, have made good use of critical realism in reconstructing a narrative shape to the Christian story from Scripture and history, proposing provocative ways we can live today in the wake of that story. I have seen Andrew and others faithfully live out a version of Wikipedia’s definition of critical realism as “The theory that some of our sense-data (for example, those of primary qualities) can and do accurately represent external objects, properties, and events, while other of our sense-data (for example, those of secondary qualities and perceptual illusions) do not accurately represent any external objects, properties, and events” – giving proper place to both objectivity and subjectivity in our spiritual journeys.

Integral Theory

The other major contender I’ve noticed for postmodernity’s usurper is Integral theory, most popularized by philosopher, map-maker and master synthesizer Ken Wilber. Integral theory is an attempt to make sense of commonly recognized stages of human development – biological development, cognitive development, moral development – as well as normal/extra-ordinary stages of spiritual development as recognized by everyone from Christians (like ‘sanctification’ – or purgation, illumination, union) to Zen practitioners (y’know, satori and enlightenment and all that jazz). The map-making can become almost freakishly dense until you get the hang of it, much to the ire of some right-brained people – there are Levels, Lines, Quadrants, States, and Stages – to name a few. This simplified diagram depicts how Integral-ness maps reality in a nutshell.

Integral Map

Two of the other important ideas in Integral theory are that everything is a Holon – a whole/part. So an atom is both its own entity, but is part of a molecule, which is its own entity and part of an organ, all the way up to humans, families, communities, nations, psychographic groupings, planets, solar systems, dimensions, the noosphere, etc…  The other major contribution of this line of thought is that integration implies that everything belongs. It’s not simply that a human being progresses from pre-conventional moral development to conventional or post-conventional development, but that we transcend and include each stage, integrating the best (and even the shadow-side) of each previous stage into ourselves. But it isn’t a ‘flat’ egalitarian values system – Holons form a ‘nested Holarchy’ wherein we’re moving somewhere. Integral Christianity is just now blossoming. There are growing ranks of integral Christian thinkers and practitioners, including John Sylvest, Corey deVos, Zach Lind, Carl McColman, Cynthia Bourgeault, Michael Dowd, Rich VincentBruce Sanguin and Chris Dierkes – but most certainly not including Stuart Davis. 🙂

Clear as mud?

To recap: You asked me: “Is there is place for post-modern apologetics in post-post-modern times?”

And I’m asking you:

  • What does ‘postmodern apologetics’ mean to you?
  • What, in your estimation, has displaced postmodernity? Is it critical realism? Integral theory? Something else?
  • And finally, what might a critical realist or integral approach to faith (and attracting others to a life of faith) look like?

Please – everyone weigh in, not just my one friend. I might do a follow-up post looking more at these questions.

Update: Andrew Jones has some oldie-but-relevant posts pertaining to the enigma of pomo apologetics, in his dialogue with Mr. Born Again himself – see a recap here.

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

Fitness & Testing For Nutritional Deficiencies

Testing In ActionThus far in my daily range-of-motion routine I’ve seen a consistent loss in fat and consistent gain in muscle. Consistency is good, but it’s been s-l-o-o-o-w. Slow is undoubtedly good for me.

But! I’ve also been curious as to whether there might be more going on with me, in me – could there be anything blocking a more heightened weight loss? And what about my blood pressure? It’s reduced considerably since I’ve been using the ROM, but it’s still high for someone my age. And finally, there’s this pesky (more than pesky; downright frustrating) generalized anxiety that’s reared its head in recent years (I owe you at least a full blog post on that – remind me sometime) – what’s up with that?

I have questions. My Aunt Sharon has answers.

If not answers, at least responses. Good ones. My Aunt Sharon, whom I called Auntie Ra-Ra as a child, is Dr. Hatch to you. Dr. Hatch operates a wellness center in the West Metro Atlanta area that addresses questions and symptoms such as mine, without the use of pharmecuticals or surgery. She has a three-fold approach to health that includes chiropractic care, NAET allergy testing (& removal!), and nutritional testing; while we were in Atlanta last week I scheduled a couple of appointments with her. I already see a good chiropractor in Raleigh and NAET takes several months to do right, so on this brief of a visit we focused on the latter – nutritional testing.  I think her website (which, true confession, I helped her set up) asks a great question with regards to nutrition in general and vitamin and mineral supplements in particular:

Are you tired of wasting hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of dollars on expensive and seemingly useless nutritional supplements? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly which nutrients your body needs? At the Wellness Center, we provide precise nutritional testing and counseling that specifically targets what you and your family need. Because nutritional needs change over time, we re-test regularly to ensure that you aren’t taking supplments pointlessly – overdosing on vitamins and minerals your body already produces in abundance can actually be detrimental to your health.

That’s been my experience at least – walking into a supplement store (or browsing a ‘health’ website), eyes glazed over – I mean, the way the labels are written you want to take ’em all – I mean, who doesn’t want increased stamina, better eyesight, and silky hair? But the thing is, if (and I realize this is a big “if” these days) you have a basically healthy diet eating real food, you don’t need most of those supplements. In fact, too much of a good thing can be harmful.

So back to Dr. Hatch. She uses a kinesological approach to test your body’s response to different nutrients – if you’re sufficient in an area, or have an allergy to a certain nutrient, she can tell. And if you’re lacking in something she’s testing you for, she can tell that, too. We discovered that my adrenal system is fine (something that can lead to increased anxiety if its out of whack), but my thyroid is off and my blood pressure, while not astronomical, is too high for someone my age. My body also needs a lot of Vitamin B right now. There were other results, too, but what I really cared about was the bottom line – she recommended to me several supplements that I’ll be taking at fairly high doses over the next 45 days, in conjunction with my normal ROM-ming and chiropractic routine. Then I’ll go in for testing again, to see how my body is responding to this nutrient infusion in areas I’m deficient in. She deals directly with a medical-strength supplement company that ensures high-quality ingredients – another relief, since I never know what I’m getting online, really. I was surprised at how affordable they are.

My aunt thinks that my body should respond positively to these supplements fairly quickly – that I should see positive results within 30 days, including a stronger metabolism and lower blood pressure. Perhaps a weight loss acceleration is coming? I can only hope! Stay tuned…

For my continuing whole-health journey, go here!


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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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