Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Battling Obesity, Spreading the Gospel

posted by Linda Mintle

This was the headline in our local paper a week ago. As someone deeply involved in preventing obesity, the headline caught my eye.

Five churches in the Elizabeth City, North Carolina area have decided to take action and be a part of the obesity epidemic solution. The churches noted that several of their members are diagnosed with diabetes due to obesity. Adult diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among African Americans. So the churches decided to band together and have their pastors lead the congregations to better health.

There is exercise, lessons in healthy cooking and portion size, fewer fatty foods at church socials and encouragement for members to participate in blood screenings and weight monitoring.

The awareness and attention to developing healthy eating patterns and lifestyle gets a praise from me.

Great idea pastors. Thanks for doing your part and showing that the church cares about the whole person!

 

Pastoral Care to the Elderly is Still Needed

posted by Linda Mintle

My 90- year-old father has always been an easy going person. It takes a lot to get him to a point that he feels he must confront someone.

A year ago, my mom passed away. She had been very ill and was in a nursing home and hospice for several months. During that time, my dad and others in my family had asked the pastor of their church to visit my mom–just a few miles from the church offices. No one ever came and I wrote a blog about this, Neglecting the Elderly.

So last winter, my dad took his pastor (my dad has been a member of his church for 60 plus years and has served faithfully) to breakfast. Dad confronted the pastor and told him that his lack of pastoral care was unacceptable. The pastor laughed uncomfortably, promised to do better and told my dad that he would treat him to breakfast next time. Dad thought his breakfast meeting would make a difference. It didn’t.

My dad attends church every Sunday and is active in his Senior group. The pastor has not called even once to check on him or taken him to breakfast as promised. It has been a year now and not even a phone call. The church is blocks from my dad’s home.

As a family, we’ve given up trying to change the lack of attention to the elderly in this church. My brother, also a pastor, has met with this pastor and also talked to him. I have confronted him. My aunt has begged him to visit once in awhile. And to all of us, he promises to do better but makes no behavioral change. And that is the disturbing part. Do not promise us, and especially my father, that you will visit and then never do it. It would be better to admit that you have no interest in this type of pastoral care.

What is sad is that it would take such little effort to brighten my dad’s day and feel cared about by his pastor. To his generation, this is very important. And the pastor knows how this older generation values his attention.It is a small town with people who have been in the church for generations and served faithfully.

I am thankful that others fill in the gap. So thank you to the elderly group who takes care of each other. Thanks to Oscar and Mart who every week send my dad meals because they prepare a little extra and feel it is a nice gesture. It means so much.

Thanks to Aunt Betty and Uncle Harold who come and help whenever dad needs something, to Phil who takes him all around town and goes out to eat–these are the people who take a little time during their day to care. And to dad’s former pastor of over 20 plus years ago, who still calls him to check on him, Pastor Raymond. He calls a few times a year, but it means so much to my dad. Dad brought his cell phone with him to visit me. Hours after getting off the plane, he said, “I brought my phone to call Pastor Raymond. He thinks of me during the year and I want to wish him a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Me too! Thanks Pastor Raymond for being someone who cares about the elderly. You  have a pastor’s heart and care about your people. And thanks to the community of believers who tangibly show their care for the aging. This is a group who needs our attention. And someday, we will be the ones who hope people don’t forget about us.

 

How is your church doing when it comes to pastoral care to the elderly? Any suggestions as to how to interest church leadership in this need?

The Duggar’s Miscarriage: A Model of Grieving

posted by Linda Mintle

For those of you who may not know who the Duggars are, they are the family who currently has 19 children, all by natural birth, and have their own reality TV show on TLC, 19 Kids and Counting.

Recently, the mom, Michelle miscarried. The way they handled the miscarriage was considered “controversial” by some reporters.  Not by me. I was impressed having been through the experience myself and also having treated many couples who have experienced this loss.

Michelle and her husband Jim Bob posted photos on-line. One was of  Michelle’s hand hanging on to the tiny hand of her child who died. There was also an audio message stating how much the child was loved. It was tasteful and moving, especially the part where she says she will miss her child’s heart beat, a statement of the reality of pregnancy and loss.

Of course, the criticism rolls in. The main argument is that this private moment should not be made public. I’m sorry, but they are reality TV stars who had to acknowledge the loss in some public way. This was tasteful and a model for other families. The loss of life by miscarriage is often minimized and can result in couples being stuck in grieving.

Because a woman is pregnant, her body has changed to accommodate that pregnancy. When miscarriage occurs, the physical, hormonal, emotional, relationship and spiritual experience is intense. Grieving the loss is a necessary step to move forward. Yet,  I have counseled many couples who do not know how to handle the experience and grieve the loss. This can lead to depression and couple problems. With miscarriage, grieving is necessary. Part of mourning process may include some type of ritual like a ceremony, letter to the child, or photo (like the Duggars did).

Whether you agree with the Duggar’s  Christian faith and decision to have 19 children is not the issue here. This family grieved well. They involved their children in the process and handled their grief in a healthy way. My hope is that this will serve as a model for others. The public nature of this gives permission to other couples to openly grieve and acknowledge the loss of a baby. And that is a good use of reality TV stardom.

5 Tips to Deal With Loneliness

posted by Linda Mintle

Today’s blog is a video blog. I’m providing 5 tips to help prevent loneliness this holiday season.

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