It's now two weeks since clergy conference and I am still stewing about the well-to-serve presentation.
Let me resist any ad hominem stuff about the presenters and just make four general points:
1) If one listened to the key words in the presentations, they seem to be a response to stress and overwork on the part of Episcopal Clergy. But nobody is asking who is throwing these folks in the river. (Everybody knows that modern parable, right?). Why is the expectation and practice of over work and unbalanced lives valued so much? At times we say we deplore it, but again and again it is reinforced. Nothing will change until somebody had the honesty to step up and challenge these basic assumptions in clerical culture. True health must begin with a positive response to life, not a reaction to or compensation for fundamental habits that are not life giving.
2) The nutritional information presented was pretty pitiful. Whole grains only once a day? 8 oz of red meat? Calorie intake below one's basal metabolic needs? This is a prescription for undernourishment, higher disease rates, and major yoyoing.
3) There was no attention whatsoever to ethical eating. No eco-justice dimension at all.
4) And there was no joy.
My cynical side remembers when the Church Pension Group got with the program of addressing sexual harassment and abuse. It was all about preventing law suits, and their costs, not about the basic sin of sexual expolitation and abuses of power. Now I wonder - even if the presenters of this program really do care about people's health, and I suspect they do - is the underlying reason for this program an attempt to slow the rate of increased costs of caring for an aging, fat client base?