What does a life lived well look like? What did God intend for us? What are some of the obstacles to living well spiritually, emotionally, physically and vocationally?
These and other questions emerged while considering who should write for this month's cover story and how the topic should be focused.
One barrier to our living well is the incongruity that can exist between our inner and outer self. This topic is covered in-depth in Parker J. Palmer's book A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward An Undivided Life (Jossey-Bass, 2004). Parker (who also wrote Let Your Life Speak and The Courage to Teach) was unable to write a special piece for this issue but was glad to let us use two excerpts from his book.
ELCA theologian Diane Jacobson, professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., and now also director of the ELCA Book of Faith initiative, writes about shalom and God's intention for us.
Finally, John Kirkpatrick, chief medical director of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, Wis., gives practical tips on staying healthy and managing stress. Visit the ELCA Board of Pensions Web site and click "2008 PPO Benefits changes" to see how the ELCA values wellness.
We’re on the brink of a longevity revolution. By the year 2030 the number of Americans 65 and older will more than double to 71 million and will comprise 20 percent of the population, according to a U.S. government report , “The State of Aging and Health in America 2007”.
Much of the burden of chronic diseases that cause disability and death can be avoided through practicing a healthy lifestyle, a life in balance. Three behaviors—smoking, poor diet and lack of physical activity—were the root causes of almost 35 percent of U.S. deaths. To address the challenges of an aging society, promoting and preserving the health of older Americans is essential. Healthy aging involves taking charge and modifying behaviors, especially those that are the root cause of declining health.
It’s interesting to follow national trends in health-related issues. I watched a movie that was set in the 1940s during World War II. Nearly everyone smoked. Even when someone was shot in the chest, they were offered a cigarette to comfort them. Many have since suffered the consequences of permissive attitudes toward tobacco.
Since the 1940s smoking rates have declined. Workplaces and some public places are now smoke-free. The battle over tobacco and health issues isn’t finished, but progress has been made.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers