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Scott Morris books at the Parish Nursing conference

Today we were selling books at a local Parish Nursing conference, an event we do every year, an event that inspires us as we hear of good folks doing innovative work in the local church.  It is a delightfully ecumenical event, with Mennonites mixing with Methodists, conservative Catholics and liberal Episcopalians.  I'm not sure who first came up with the idea of parish-based nurses---probably Lutherans---but this event is a delight.


There is the aspect of thinking Christianly about a field of science (nursing and health care), missional vision casting as they consider how to serve projects arising from vibrant congregational life, and the practical good that we see---folks who care for others in their illnesses, chronic pain, grief and sadness.  Congregations that hire parish nurses often have a good number of older members, or elderly neighbors, so they are attentive to the spirituality of aging; yes, to issues of hospice, death, and dying. This is salt of the earth work, and we are humbled to offer resources for them. 


Obviously, we need those who are involved in health care in any venue to think Christianly and act with spiritually-based integrity and innovation -- that is the weight of the offer we make here, often, inviting everyone to read about their careers and callings in so-called secular jobs or public institutions.  But seeing folk do this within a local church is very nice indeed.  We have quite a few books on spiritually-informed health care, books about the human body, Christian critiques of how we think of medicine, and, of course, books on the ministry of prayer and healing.  From the Catholic gem The Nursing's Calling: A Christian Spirituality of Caring for the Sick by Mary Elizabeth O'Brian or The Healer's Calling: A Spirituality for Physicians and Other Health Care Professionals by Daneil Sulmasy (both Paulist Press; $12.95) to a very thoughtful one we often recommend, Reclaiming the Body: Christians and the Faithful Use of Modern Medicine by Brian Volck and Joel Schuman (Brazos Press; $22.00) we enjoy sharing these kinds of books, and are glad for friends at the Parish Nursing event who care about them.

 

DR. SCOTT MORRIS

The main speaker today was a real saint, a guy who we have heard of often over the years.morris.jpg  Perhaps you have heard of Scott Morris, too.  Paraclete Press released a book years ago that he wrote about his Memphis, Tennessee, urban health clinic; his mentor William Sloan Coffin mentions him in his own lovely memoir, Credo. Philip Yancey dedicates an eloquent chapter to him in the excellent What Good Is God? a recent book which we've raved about more than once.   Morris is known for founding the Church Health Center in Memphis. The center, formed in 1987 to provide healthcare for working, uninsured people, and has grown to become the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the United States.


To see a Christian family practice doctor, who serves an under-served population, whose work is endorsed by such a wide array of folks, from charismatics who write on health and Godly wellness to mainline Bible scholars like Walter Brueggemann, to prestigious faith-based scientists like Harold Koenig, M.D. of the Duke University Medical Center, well----he's our kind of guy!  And he has written a set of guidebooks for taking charge of various medical issues, and a great, basic book (more on that in a bit), one with a bit of cultural diagnosis, a bit of Biblical vision, and a whole lot of good medical sense.  Phyllis Tickle, known for being one of the most astute readers of our time, rarely says this about a book but she has said that "every single person" should read his book --- especially those whose work impacts our health, such as "politicians, clerics, social workers, insurance executives, physicians or medical administrators."  So Dr. Mo was the right guy to bring the message today about the need to localize our health care and re-imagine what it could be like to work on daily preventive health and changing the nature of health care services.  Local churches are key to public health, and his free clinic is a great example. And (wow!) does he know a lot about the art and science of wellness.   Geesh, this guy is like Patch Adams, almost, although he is a solid ordained United Methodist clergyman as well. And doesn't wear a funny clown nose.


We hope you enjoy knowing about this Central Pennsylvania event (maybe it will inspire you to consider starting something like a parish nursing ministry in your church, or getting others together to learn more, praying and brainstorming a bit, perhaps scheming up starting some clinic to meet needs in your community.)  And, of course, we thought you might like to purchase some of the great books we have left over from the event.  There's not too many left, but we have to tell you about them -- on sale for 25% off, good for one week, or until we run out. 

 

DUST & BREATH

What was especially fun was that we got a large shipment of a brand spanking new book about health care and congregation culture, a splendid read, that when we ordered it, didn't even quite realize that it was mostly about Dr. Morris!  Morris himself told everybody to get it as it really does do a great job raising questions about health care in our time.


This pale reproduction doesn't do the cover art justice.  Sorry.  It's very striking.

Dustd-b.jpg & Breath: Faith, Health -- and Why the Church Should Care About Both is written by Kendra Hotz, Matthew Mathews, and Gary Guderson (Eerdmans; $14.00.) This great new book makes a very, very important case, in truly lovely prose, inspired by Morris' story and including reflections for his own journal, that God's church simply must be involved in caring wholistically for the needs of people.  Not only are initiatives like parish nursing helpful to equip and encouraging church members to live in greater wellness and health, but our missional vision should compel us to reach out with social projects that aid the poor, that advocate for normative proposals for public health.  Yes, the church must help us deepen our faith, enhance our health, and care about it all, seeing how we are to be stewards of all God has given us, including our bodies, health, relationships and such.  This little book is truly fantastic, and we have it at a good discount, hoping to get a buzz going about it.  It is the kind of book that could get lost, I'm afraid, but it really deserves to be widely read and considered.  We are among the first to promote it.  Don't you know somebody who might care about such a book?  Hope so!  Order it now at 25% off, making it just $10.50.

 

GOD, HEALTH, HAPPINESS

Ggod health.jpgod, Health, and Happiness: Discover Wholeness in Body and Spirit Scott Morris (Barbour Books) $5.99


We don't often promote such inexpensive, handy mass market paperbacks, but this is a slightly abridged version of Morris' earlier hardback, Health Care You Can Live With: Discover Wholeness in Body and Spirit (Barbour; $19.95) which we also have stocked. With our BookNotes discount, you can afford to give out a few of these inexpensive paperbacks, although the expanded hardback might be best for a lending library.  The perspective and great information Dr. Morris brings is something you need, I'm sure of it! It is very, very responsible --- not quite the radical organic living perspective of, say, Dr. Jospeh Mecula, but certainly a bit more insightful and useful than standard old-school AMA or industry approaches. (And, happily, even the most traditional docs these days are aware of the usefulness of complimentary medicine and are open to more wholistic approaches, even prayer and spirituality, which is increasingly recognized as a proven asset for healthy living.)  So, we're fans, and love this little book as well as the good hardback.

 

Morris's health care clinic of course grapples with big issues of urban poverty, racism,not all of us.gif homelessness and the like.  It shouldn't have surprised us that he cites Not All of Us Are Saints: A Doctors Journey With the Poor by David Hilfiker (Hill & Wang; $21.00) which is still one of the great books about service to the dispossessed I have ever read. (He also inspired friends in both Pittsburgh and Philly to open Christ-centered practices, clinics oriented towards the poor and uninsured.) Obviously, the systemic problems of urban poverty are multi-faceted and illustrate the great injustices of race and class in our culture.



(Although Morris wasn't addressing this, he might have: see, just for one powerful example,fire in a.gif Jonathan Kozol's new Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-five Years Among the Poorest Children in America [Crown; $27.00] for how unjustly inequitable resource distribution in funding schools in America---what in another book he calls "savage inequalities"---leads to all manner of hardships in the lives of children.  As I've reviewed elsewhere, this new Kozol book is exceptionally riveting and so very urgent.  In it, he follows up on some of the people he so passionately wrote about in earlier books, giving us another glimpse into the nature of the lives of the poor in our land.  He speaks the truth, up close and tender, and we should pay attention.)

 

In this God, Health, and Happiness: Discover Wholeness in Body and Spirit -- guidebook for healthy living, mostly, Dr. Morris does not write much about his inner city clinic or his insights about public health.  He is at heart an ordinary family doctor and he cares about his patients well-being, helping them learn about what constitutes healthy eating, sensible but important stuff that we need explained, and new insights about how the body works.  He offers solid medical insight framed by a mature Christian worldview, and his counsel is pleasant, helpful, and even inspiring. We need books like this, I am sure of it.

 

And, as I said, he does offer solid practical information. For instance, check out these five small books, colorful, upbeat, practical and faithfully produced.  He put these together and they are just great.  We sold a bunch of these today and the parish nurses and pastoral counselors were really impressed about how inviting and interesting they were.  Each one includes a wonderful story of a real person, and walks you through the journey of a 40-day plan for step-by-step improvement.  I won't tell you more about each one, but they are excellent, fun to look through, and very motivational. While supplies last, we have them at 25% off--now just $5.99 each.


40 - 1.jpg

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These five small paperbacks are colorfully designed and really nicely produced -- better than, say, Prevention, or other similar resources.  They are really interesting.  They guide you through information and action plans,  helping you achieve a God-inspired, balanced, wellness.  The first is on diabetes, the second on depression, the third shown is hypertension while the fourth covers various aspects of optimal health. The fifth, shown here, is about weight management and eating better.  All are very, very nice.

Each regularly sells for $7.99 but at our 25% discount they are only $5.99 each.  This offer is good for one week only, until October 5th.

 



Health, Healing and the Church's Mission: Biblical Perspectives and Moral Prioritiehealth, healing and the church's mission.jpgs Willard Swartley (IVP) $24.00  We reviewed this a month or so ago and won't belabor it here, but we did feature this, as you might expect, at the parish nursing event.  Again, it is just tremendous to have a skilled New Testament scholar reflect deeply on insights about health and wholeness, prayer and miracles, medicine and congregational life, healthcare and the public good.   Swartley has written an interdisciplinary book that, frankly, ought to be read by folks in most every congregation in the land!  It is that good, and so important to our life in these times.  Who among us doesn't get sick, doesn't long for greater health, doesn't desire to understand wellness in deeply faithful ways? Who among us hasn't heard that our current health-care system is changing, for better or worse, and that we need as much Godly wisdom as we can muster?  What does God's gift of shalom and the gospel's fruit of reconciliation imply for our health, for our approach to health care? What does the Bible say about healing, about wholeness, about caring for the sick?  The times are growing more urgent on these matters, and this mature book is a help, perhaps helping us understand the famous "balm in Gilead." At our 25% discount offer --- good until Friday, October 5th --- you can nab this at the sale price of $18.00.


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