Holistic Healing, Herbalism, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Balance, Native American Medicine, Ancient European Medicine ~ what do they mean? What do they have in common and how do they differ? There are countless books that deal with these questions so I'll just leave you to find the answers. Let's just say that these and many other cultures have influenced Western Herbalism.
A fellow VR student/sister believer recently asked a public question concerning opinions about a Christian's involvement in alternative medicine and eastern practices. After taking a course from a well known yogi and herbalist on Ayurveda's use of food and herbs for healing, I've been pondering that question lately myself and I had kinda formulated an answer in my head. Her question forced me to actually put it into words. I edited my reply a few times until I was happy that what I'd written truly conveyed my opinion. Here's what I wrote:
"I believe we, as Christians, can use all that God has created for our health to His glory if we are able to separate the method from opposing belief systems. Of course, we have to take into account the image we are giving to others and be open about where our faith lies. If what we're practicing becomes a stumbling block to someone influenced by our actions, it's time to reconsider our approach."
The line becomes blurry when wisdom and religious practices interact. Can we follow the wisdom without being influenced by the spiritual practices? Maybe the question could be rephrased. Can we follow the healing wisdom of other cultures and maintain our right relationship with the God of the Bible? I think through diligent prayer and proper focus on the Creator of all things, we can. But, I don't think this is true for everyone. Now I'm talking in circles, right?
The reason I say that is because we may be able to participate in a healing practice without even considering an opposing religious view that might have a negative affect on our faith or to effectively separate the two. But another believer may not. Or more importantly, an unbeliever. The Bible is very clear about not being responsible for leading some one down a path that would draw them away from God.
There are so many different views on using foods and plants, energy and mantras (could we substitute prayer or a hymn or a praise?), manipulation and chi, and the list goes on, that I think we'd be foolish and not very good stewards if we were too quick to "throw the baby out with the bath water", so to speak, by completely avoiding the wisdom of other cultures. Once an alternative practice is examined, it often becomes clear that it is effective, not because of the spiritual rituals included in it but because of the way our bodies are designed to work. So we can use these things to heal our temple to God's glory.
It kinda reminds me of the story of the talents. If we stick our heads in the sand rather than stand firm in our convictions, we're missing out on multiplying the gifts we've been given to further the kingdom.
What do you think?
Much herbal love,
Friday, August 5, 2011
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