Posts Tagged ‘healing’

532945_10207362262240698_5530050580359190562_nThe health of our bodies is deeply intertwined with the health of our communities. In the U.S., we know the level of unhealthy living has reached crisis level, yet the problem can feel insurmountable. Restoring health to our communities requires not only institutional support, but also spiritual strength and a solid dose of inspiration. The latest work from author Stanley Porter, a Boston-based musician, minister, and inspirational speaker, will be a blessing to communities in need. Written with personal trainer Nikquisa Nunn, The Weight is Over: My Journey toward Faith, Fitness, and Freedom addresses the deep emotional and spiritual challenges that stand as obstacles to wellness.

As Porter says in a video for this book, “I’m hoping that we can hold hands through this book and help each other be all that we were created to be.” There is power in sharing our stories of overcoming challenges and emerging stronger. The testimonies of Nunn and Porter bring encouragement and hope.

With the aim of bringing their lessons into communities, where people can immediately receive inspiration and turn toward wellness, Nunn and Porter are raising funds for outreach. You can directly support their efforts, and receive a pre-release copy of The Weight is Over.

An official book release celebration in Boston is scheduled for July 25, 1-3:00, at Frugal Bookstore in the Roxbury Mall.

For another opportunity to read Porter’s inspirational words, I recommend Every Song Has a Story, which I reviewed here.

Disclaimer: This review is freely given, and no fee was received. I know Stanley Porter from my youth, when we attended high school together.


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If you have any interest in health care, and in how we could be showing more love to those who need help, I urge you to read God’s Hotel: A doctor, a hospital, and a pilgrimage to the heart of medicine by Victoria Sweet. The author was a physician at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, which at one time would have been called an almshouse. It is a place that serves those with nowhere else to go. In God’s Hotel, Dr. Sweet shares a powerful journey of learning and healing.

During her studies of the history of medicine, Dr. Sweet focused on the medical work of Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th-century German abbess who left behind several written works as well as a corpus of music. In sharing a historical perspective, Dr. Sweet reconnects readers with the origins of hospitals, which grew out of the radical sense of hospitality in monasteries, where monks and nuns took care of anyone who knocked at the door. There was an understanding that “whatever our current role, it was temporary.” Today I may be the nurse, and tomorrow I may be the patient who is ill. We must care for one another.

Dr. Sweet has good sense and a compassionate heart, and her feelings about how to practice medicine emerge directly from her experience serving patients. She has been a witness to miracles, and this is not something to take lightly. In caring for patients who lived in quite desperate circumstances, Dr. Sweet witnessed that, despite all the capabilities of modern medicine, sometimes peace, rest, and safety are just what a person needs to heal.

The stories of patient care and transformation are powerful, and Dr. Sweet brings a refreshing perspective on healthcare and wellness in the U.S. I highly recommend God’s Hotel.

Disclaimer: This review is freely given, based on a copy that I borrowed from my local public library. No fee was received.

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In Reconcile: Conflict transformation for ordinary Christians, John Paul Lederach has updated and expanded upon the work he presented in The Journey toward Reconciliation (Herald Press, 1999). The writing integrates biblical lessons and stories from Lederach’s work in conflict transformation. This carefully written book could be beneficial to any individual or congregation willing to take seriously the healing message of reconciliation.

The vision presented in Reconcile has grown out of years of work with people in conflict, and out of careful reading of the gospel message of Jesus. With an Anabaptist theological perspective, Lederach expresses a commitment to following the example of Jesus in his actions. We might theoretically accept a call to be peacemakers, but shy away from the steps required to create healing. However, if we are to follow the lead of Jesus, “we move toward human troubles and choose to live in the messiness.” In order to build relationships, we must first move toward one another, rather than put up walls.

Practical steps are provided throughout the book, many of which are drawn directly from the Bible. A helpful chapter on Matthew 18 sheds light on commonly overlooked advice given by Jesus that would benefit church communities immensely.

An exciting discussion of Paul’s letters leads to the powerful observation, “True atonement and holiness place us on the journey to make real the reconciling love of God in our lives and to heal our broken communities across the globe.” Our journey toward God is not meant to be a solo journey, but a journey undertaken in community, and for the benefit of others.

With its clear and compelling message, Reconcile is ideal for church Sunday school classes, which could take one of the nine chapters each week for in-depth discussion. The resource section provides tools to help carry the message into community, including prayers, suggestions for further reading, and experiential activities.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided for review purposes. No fee was received.

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“All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?”

excerpt from “Blessing the Dust” by Jan Richardson
© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com

This Lent, what quiet, hidden corner of your heart will you open to God? Where will you invite God’s healing, to bring you toward new life, toward wholeness? Wherever your path may lead this season, my prayer is that you will be surrounded by love on your journey.

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may God’s light break into the darkness, bringing healing to all our wounds. As we celebrate the inbreaking of light in the natural world, with winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, I’d like to share a beautiful solstice reflection from Jan Richardson:

a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart….
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.
This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

(excerpt from “Blessing for the Longest Night”
© Jan Richardson janrichardson.com)

I am grateful to a friend for sharing Jan Richardson‘s passionate, thoughtful reflections and her creative works of art. May her work be a blessing to all who read it.

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Each of us bear witness to the lives of people who try with all their heart and soul to be encouragers. These encouragers are people who build up, who reach out, who open themselves to others. Who do you know who daily inspires with their determination, their positive attitude, their deep faith?

I want to lift up a book by Stanley Porter, an ordinary man who grew up near me. I reviewed Stanley’s book, Every Song Has a Story, soon after it was published. Stanley is a musician, inspirational speaker, husband, and father. He is a person who strives to do his best to encourage and uplift others. I invite you to read my review, and to share the word about this inspiring book.

I would like to reinforce Stanley’s message of hope by giving someone a copy of Every Song Has a Story. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below. Share with us a person, a song, or a piece of writing that lifts you up. A winner will be chosen at random next Thursday, October 9.

May your day be full of joy and abundant blessings.

Disclosure: This review is freely given. No fee was received.

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Singer and recording artist Stanley Porter has written a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s love at work in his life. In Every Song Has a Story, Porter takes readers on a deeply personal journey that is honest, relevant, and hopeful. My prayer is that, through hearing the author share that he trusted God and received help, readers also will grow in trust and feel their suffering lifted.

I learned of this book because the author and I were high school classmates. We both grew up in Boston during the 1980s and 90s, and witnessed the traumas caused by violence, drugs, and poverty in our communities. The gangs and guns were not on my block, but I knew the pain of hearing the news and fearing that a classmate was lost to a stray bullet. When I read Porter’s chapter on those struggling with addiction, and the words from the gospel of Luke that God has sent Jesus “to heal the brokenhearted,” my tears flowed. My own heart continues to break from the violence and poverty in our communities, and I am grateful for those who are called to work in a healing capacity with people who are hurting.

In each chapter, after sharing his own testimony on a particular topic, Porter draws upon the riches of the Bible to further encourage readers. He shares stories of Joseph, Daniel, David, and the prodigal son to help us remember we are not alone in our struggles. It is powerful to have someone say, “I was in a place of darkness and my prayers were answered.” Through his honesty, Porter goes beyond pious language or feel-good sentiments. Clearly he does not wish merely to evangelize, but to truly reach hearts that are suffering.

I found the testimony of healing from the wounds of racism extremely compelling. Personally, I pray for more honesty in all our religious communities regarding racism, and I offer praise when I hear of congregations working toward restoration in this area. While I was lucky to grow up in one of Boston’s more integrated neighborhoods, the pain of racism was ever-present. In this past year I had a memorable opportunity to worship at an AME church in my old neighborhood, where my pink skin put me in the minority. I was welcomed warmly by those who shared my pew, and invited to visit with fellow worshipers. While I know that worshiping side by side is only the beginning of healing, I was grateful to be present among a congregation that strives to heal racial divides at all levels, working for peace and social justice inside the church and throughout the community.

The songs mentioned in this book come from Porter’s popular recording “Square One,” produced by his 4:12 Records Inc. Most recently Porter was the featured artist at the Haley House’s Summer Gospel Jamboree and he was nominated for an Angelic Award this past April (for Best Artist). This September he will be starting as the Chapel Team Music Director at Eastern Nazarene College. Stanley Porter is currently consulting and performing throughout the Northeast.

[This giveaway now is closed.] I am happy to offer a giveaway so that a lucky reader can have a chance to read this book. In order to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post. Be sure to include your email (to be used only for contacting the winner).
2. Subscribe to this blog to receive an additional drawing entry. Please leave another comment so I know you subscribed.
3. Follow the blog on facebook, or share the blog with friends, and receive another entry.
A winner will be chosen on Monday, September 10, and contacted by email. Good luck, and thank you in advance for helping me spread the word about this book.

Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this review are my own. No fee was received for this review.

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