As people created in the image of God, we seek to unite our practice with our values. One way we do so is to strive for holistic health—a way of living in unity with our environment. In American culture, there exists a disconnect between people and the land. Most people perceive food as originating at the grocery store; they see beans as coming from a can, and bananas as coming from the Chiquita lady in South America. Very few people harvest their food from an actual bush, carry it into the kitchen, and eat it. Few know the feel of a piece of fruit warmed by the sun, ripened perfectly by the passage of time. One of the many results of this industrialization is the general unhealth of the population, as well as the burgeoning pharmaceutical industry.
Obesity is alarmingly at an all time high in our country. The state of Tennessee ranks #2 in obesity, with nearly 31% of Tennesseans being considered obese. But in Genesis 1, God creates humans and deems them “very good.” A body uncared for, a mind untended, and a spirit uncultivated is not fair treatment of what God considers so very special.
As a movement, we resist the accepted cultural norm of poor health. As we begin to implement biointensive agricultural techniques, we find ourselves “living off the land”—this week, we served our first lunch that was entirely gathered from our community garden!
Connecting our health to the things we eat is just the beginning of wellness. The spirit and body are connected; if the body is undisciplined, so is the spirit. In order to know God and learn to image him in the world, our bodies must come under submission. We look to physical training to condition our bodies to be in the service of other people. Community-wide exercise benchmarks were met before the summer teams dispatched. In Uganda, Amanda Aaseby is putting her physical training to practical use: she has been helping our friends Lawrence and Josephine collect water for their household needs. The well they use is half a mile from their home. Two jugs of water equal approximately 66 pounds. Amanda has surprised many Ugandans by serving in this capacity. Knowing that Amanda had trained to run a mile without resting and do 15 consecutive push-ups, Lawrence commented, “I no longer need to see it to believe it!”
As we continue to bring our whole selves into submission to the word of God, the evidence will be shown in our health—in our right living, right thinking, and our lives of service to God, each other, and our friends around the world.