Exercise disclaimer.

Have you ever read this? “Before doing this exercise or participating in any exercise program, please consult your physician.” They wrote it to cover their butts. Really, they should write “Don’t sue us if you hurt yourself doing this” because this is what they really mean.

People aren’t very good at thinking ahead and thinking for themselves. Remember we live in a time where you can win a lawsuit against a fast food company because you spilled hot coffee on yourself.

It doesn’t do you any good to consult about exercise with your doctor. Western doctors treat symptoms rather than cause. If you started exercising and eating well, you’d put them out of business.

Rather than encourage my father to stop smoking, his doctor gave him a pill to stop his coughing. Rather than connect patients with nutritionists and exercise coaches, doctors give out diabetes medications. There are ads telling us that we can “eat like a kid again” meanwhile the person is at a state fair eating corn dogs and funnel cakes. It may be fun to eat this, but it isn’t food. Doctors should not be enablers. Doctors should “Do no harm” like their oath says.

I went to an ENT this year because my throat and neck hurt. He put a tube down my nose to look at my throat and saw evidence of acid reflux. Rather than suggesting lifestyle or diet changes, he put me on an antibiotic and an antacid. My neck still hurt, and obviously the acid is still there. He didn’t even want to tell me what the problem was. He didn’t want to spell out my condition, which was a symptom, not a disease. He wanted me placid and docile. He wanted to be in charge.

It took a trip to my chiropractor (who is also a nutritionist) to find out that I have arthritis in my neck. I now use a special pillow for my neck. What a simple fix. A comment to him about my experience at the ENT resulted in his entirely different theory that the problem isn’t too much acid, but too little. He says that we produce less acid as we get older and we need to supplement it or our food does not properly digest. I did a simple vinegar test and now know how much acid I need. I feel a lot better, and I’m even losing weight.

I wonder if Crohn’s and IBS and many other digestion maladies can be solved in this simple way? I doubt that regular doctors will even entertain this idea.

More doctors need to engage their patients in their own health care. More doctors need to understand that they work for the patient, and stop treating us as if we are ignorant children.

And we need to wake up. We cannot be passive about our lives. We can’t keep on thinking that we can eat whatever we want and not exercise and we won’t get ill. We know what we have to do. It isn’t a surprise.

It isn’t easy to switch from drinking sodas to water. It isn’t easy to switch from all meat to mostly vegetables. It isn’t easy to go from fried to steamed or baked. But it is worth it. Food does indeed taste better when it isn’t salty, deep fried mush. It takes about a week for your taste buds to relearn this.

It isn’t easy to start exercising. It isn’t easy to stick with it. But it is worth it. You won’t see the benefits right away, but the payoff is better energy, better rest, and better strength. The payoff is a stronger heart and increased resistance to disease.

If we are concerned about changes in health insurance, then we need to do what we can to improve our health so that we don’t need it. We have to stop thinking that doctors have all the answers. We have to stop thinking that we can do whatever we want and then just take a pill or have surgery to counter our mistakes.

You know how Jesus said “Go forth and sin no more”? That. But with health. The “sin” is continuing to eat whatever we want and refusing to exercise and then thinking we will be rescued by modern medicine. It is far better to not need to be rescued at all. There is no diet. There is only what Michael Pollan suggests in his book “Food Rules”. His mantra? Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. For a further explanation, read the book. I suggest getting it from your local library.

Sheep.

There is the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus as the shepherd goes after the one. Every one is important. This lesson is used to remind us of how much God loves us. He cares for us personally, intimately, wholeheartedly.

There is a concern I’m hearing about me leaving church. It is the concern that I am the lost sheep. The only problem with that is that I’m not a sheep. Or maybe I am – it depends on your definition of sheep.

Most people feel that sheep are very docile. They are seen as soft and sweet. In the cartoons they are depicted with big smiles. Sheep need a shepherd because they aren’t smart enough to get where they should be on their own.

In that sense, of course people should worry about me. In that sense, I’m a danger to myself if I wander. I could get lost. I could get hurt. I could fall into a ravine. Or worse, I could wander around aimlessly and never return.

This image of sheep is a false image. Have you ever gotten face to face with a sheep? They are not fluffy and sweet. They are fierce. They will face you down if you dare to get in their area. Sheep are not what you think. They are so much more.

When I went to Great Britain with my aunt we spent a lot of time in the country. We saw sheep from afar mostly, but one time I wanted to see a Roman ruin that was in the middle of a pasture. Those sheep were not happy with me being there. They faced me off. Sheep don’t smile. They glower. That was a terrifying experience. And an enlightening one. It let me know from personal experience that everything I’d been told about sheep wasn’t true, in the least.

Sheep need a shepherd? No. Sheep are able to get by just fine on their own, thank you very much. It is more honest to say that the shepherd needs the sheep. The sheep are his livelihood. He trains them to be dependent on him so that they don’t get ideas about wandering.

Jesus says that his sheep know his voice. They come to him when he calls. Have you ever thought that when a person leaves a church it is for that very reason? They don’t hear their master’s voice in that church. They leave because they want to follow Jesus, and they realize they aren’t hearing him while stuck inside a building, going through the same old rituals that have been performed for 2000 years.

I’m not saying that folks in my old church aren’t getting what they need there. I’m saying that I’m not. I’m saying that the closer I get to Jesus, the further I want to run from church. All church. The entire idea of church. But I don’t want church as it is. Church as it is feels dead. The Body is on life support. It isn’t alive.

I want community. I want sharing. I want natural growth and support. I want there to be no leader. I want everybody to participate. I want no money to be used for this. I want people to work hard on their faith and their life. I want people to listen to each other honestly and with caring. I want dialogue. I want people to feel free to share their different viewpoints.

Hurray for sheep. They aren’t what you think they are. They are much more.