Healing Harbor

To Build Health, Build a Community

I practice integrative medicine.When people ask me, "What does that mean?" I tell them about the unity of mind, body and spirit, but these days, that sounds like a trite phrase.Who hasn’t heard it before, and what does it really mean? Understanding and embracing the concept of your integral wholeness is critical to gaining real wellness in this world.If you want to be well, you have to look to every party of yourself, not just the systems and organs that make up your physical body!

Western Medicine likes to describe any physical symptom that we cannot account for with a physiological disease process as a "somatoform disorder". Best estimates for the percentage of people with physical complaints who see their doctors about it that would fall into that category is 50 % .That’s about half of everybody who goes to see their doctor with aches, pains, nausea, loss of balance, you name it.

What is going on? First, it is not abnormal to experience emotional or spiritual distress in a physical way.Describing it as a "disorder" completely misses the fact that it is a normal response to distress! How many of us have felt "butterflies" before public-speaking, or "gastrointestinal distress" before getting married or going on a first date? Let me say it again, this is normal!

Further, anxiety and depression are also very common. The CDC estimates that the lifetime incidence of anxiety "disorder" alone is 15%! How is something that affects 1 in 7 people a "disorder"?

Why is this happening today? I think it’s about a loss of true community. We are wired to be social in an increasingly isolated world. Loneliness and disconnection account for a significant portion of depression, and the major portion of drug abuse.Even though we are connected through social-media, have acquaintances at work, we are not experiencing the deep, enduring, connections necessary to keep us feeling whole and healthy—and it is showing up in our physical and mental health.

In the Bible, God tells us, repeatedly, that we need community to survive and thrive. God said, "It is not good that man should be alone." Pastor Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, tells us that the Bible says "we are put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, and held together and will be caught up together." We need each other as a community of seekers, and we need each other to be the extended family that we all are desperately hoping for but don’t know how to form.

How can we, as Spirit Harbor, help? First, join one of our Harborlife groups, or, even better, form one! Bring together two or three other people in your home, the coffee shop, or a local park. Meet wherever or whenever you need to get people together. Use one of our ongoing Harborlife series.Dig in to the meaty questions and wrestle with them with your group.Get to know one another, and become mutually supportive. Invite new members as you grow in your faith and ministry.

Above all, as you journey with your Harbor Life group, be REAL! Be genuine seekers trying to learn about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.Be confused. Be angry. Be lonely. Be whatever you are right now, and let everyone else be who they are—and then reach out and help each other come through.

Remember that feeling lonely is far from abnormal, and it is definitely OK. Is it affecting your physical health? Your mental and emotional health? I’d say, "Yes!" But, you know what? There’s something you can do about it. You CAN integrate your physical, mental, emotional AND spiritual health, and we can be there to help.

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Church - What's in it for me?

I frequently hear people make the statement "I don't really understand church. What's in it for me ? ". In the past, I was put off by that question because, as a practicing Christian, it is considered selfish and sinful to ask such questions. We are conditioned (maybe even brainwashed) to believe that we have an obligation to show up on Sunday morning and worship with reverence. However, since starting this Spirit Harbor journey, I've been forced to confront questions like this. In my previous posts called "Finding Church", I found myself looking at my own history and how it has affected my view of church. In this post, I'd like to give some practical thoughts on the value I think we get from church.

I certainly don't claim to have all the answers but that's really one of the main reasons I helped to found Spirit Harbor.I wanted a church where we could be honest about these questions.I wanted a place we could really figure what it means to be church.I wanted to be a community that was concerned about finding ways to put the "Word" - Jesus' teachings - into real life practice. So here is what I've come with so far to describe what's in it for me...

Think "Way of Life"

We often get so caught up in the mystical and doctrinal parts of Christianity that it is easy to lose track of the fact that it is first and foremost a way of life.In John 14, Jesus promises that he is "The Way, The Truth, and The Life". It is a way of life that produces happy and healthy people who have a clear purpose, great relationships, fearless faith, and eternal hope.It is a way of life based on love.It is ok to be selfish initially because as you explore this way of life you'll discover the power of giving.

Don't be a "Lone Survivor"

I like to watch outdoor survival shows like "Survivorman" and "Dual Survivor". What these shows share in common is skills and strategies for surviving an accident or other unexpected event that leaves you stranded in the wilderness.While they definitely focus on basic survival needs - water, shelter, fire, and food, both shows stress the importance of increasing your chances of being found. It is easy to get lost in life.It even happens to the best Christian.However, we don't have to survive alone. Church is the search party that notices when you get lost and proactively comes to find you.

Spiritual discipline on steroids

If you have ever seriously pursued any sport, you know that there is a huge connection between mind, body, and spirit. You know that preparation (mind and body) is key to success.You know that you have to give in and allow yourself to be coached(mind, body, and spirit). You know that not having the right focus will keep you from getting in "the zone" (mind). You know that playing with emotion(spirit) can elevate performance in unexpected ways.Well, the same is true with Christianity except it applies to everything that you want to be successful with in life.Church is the place where you work on these spiritual disciplines.Just like being on a sports team, you benefit from the support, accountability, talents, and skills of the other people on your church team.

Make a Difference

For 2000 years, the church has been on the front line of fighting hunger, disease, and violence while also promoting education, innovation, and peace. In fact, it is themost effective system EVER devised for delivering these services. Why? Because the church can mobilize people in ways that governments and non-profit organizations cannot.The church as a binding purpose...a call...a mandate...to help people that is bigger than any individual. It rallies people to the cause so that they can do more together. It empowers ordinary people to do extraordinary things. If you want to make a real difference in the world, church is your most effective resource to started.

There is a place for you

One of the best things about being church is that we always have room for new people. You don't have to be perfect. You don't even have to believe in God or Jesus.We'll accept you wherever you are in that journey. Most importantly, we're not going to try to change you.We're going to leave that to you and God. We simply invite you to come and experience the love of God's family for yourself.

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Spirit Harbor is a faith community that is dedicated to helping people rediscover themselves and their relationship with God.