HEALTH SOVEREIGNTY & MEDICINE OF HOPE
Originated Dec 25, 2018 Birth of Christ
This brief history shows how monastic medicine emerged into nature cure which then developed into naturopathy and natural medicine as we know it today. Most of the nature cure advocates were devout Christians, if not priests like Father Sebastian Kneipp, Rev. Sylvester Graham, Rev. Kuenzle, and many others. Nature Cure IS Christian medical practice!
The New Thought movements promote the idea that “Infinite Intelligence” or “God” is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and “right thinking” has a healing effect. Hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential indeed, that, like faith and love, it can itself designate the essence of Christianity. This restoration of health is part of what is meant by the ‘abundant life’ which the Lord promised.
We find the elements of nature cure, new thought, and Medicine of Hope provide the three pillars of effective primary medical care which can be delivered world wide to the poor and needy at least expenses. Nature cure nurtures the physical body, New Thought the mental body, and Hope the Spirit. Our physical pillar are inexpensive medicines that can manage epidemic and fatal diseases affecting the planet today.
The Knights of Hope Emerge
The Grand Master of this Order has been a Hospitaller since 1999. From extensive research of the various Hospitaller Orders to date, it was realized a Christian medical tradition had been all but lost. The Grand Master, Grand Lieutenant, and Grand Bailiff sought congressional approval for the reformation of the Order in Ecuador, once home to the Hospitaller’s in the 1600’s. In April of 2007, congressional sanction of Ecuador was issued to SMOCH and as a medico-religious charity. Today SMOCH has built a teaching facility in Loma Linda, has actively enrolled medical students, and owns property in the country. A Chapel and hospital is planned in the near future.
We are a group of Knights and Dames from various denominational backgrounds, who feel called to this ministry of healing. Many of us are involved in medical care; several of us are involved in interdenominational work; many of us are involved in equipping our own churches for the healing ministry; all of us are involved in personal ministry and the medicine of Hope.
As we have evolved over the years, it became obvious the need for educational programs to aid our new and emerging members. Two schools are now affiliate with SMOCH:
- Panamerican University of Natural Sciences and Medicine
- Therapeutae Ministry & School of Metaphysics and Healing
Sacred Medical Order offers training programs online and by residence throughout the year.
The Knights of Hope of this Church are members under the United Grand Priories of the Knights of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, the largest Hospitaller organization in the world. The United Grand Priories of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem operate in six continents, with 38 different regions and 42 different jurisdictions all under the Supreme Grand Priory of the Lazarite Order. Today, the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus continues its Hospitaller and philanthropic work in 42 different jurisdictions around the world and is spread in six continents.
The Medicine of HOPE
“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow”
Orison Swett Marden, founder of Success Magazine, is considered to be one of the most influential founders of the modern success movement in America. An American writer associated with the New Thought Movement. He also held a degree in medicine.
The medieval monastic medical system represented a transitional period in the history of medicine during which natural, physical medicine of Hippocrates and principles of spiritual healing of our Lord uniquely coexisted in Christian culture. The story of the Church throughout its history has been instrumental with the history of hospitals and caring for the sick as this book points out. The Monks, Hospitaller’s, Methodists, and other church communities concern for the sick and dying elevated the professional and social status of the physician and nurse. We must not forget that Scripture is full of stories that speak about the fragility of life, the imminence of death, sickness and our Lord’s examples of healing.
The Bible contains imperatives to care for those who suffer and provides hope for something far better than merely the restoration of bodily function or a new drug or nostrum to relieve symptoms. If we are to advance viable alternatives to secular medical care within today’s modern culture, particularly within the Church communities, we must give clear witness to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and historical development of medicine. If Christian physicians, nurses, and other providers are to be alternatives in the medical community they must constantly be aware of the sin and sickness connection as well as natural causes and treatment(s). They must also advance those “certain cures” and “tried remedies” as testament to our cause.
Sickness is the shadow of death, a reminder of the horrible consequences of humanity’s rebellion against God. Each illness reminds us of our ultimate mortality (Hebrews 9:27). In this sense, most every illness has a theological dimension for all Christians as well as those religious. It is a spiritual issue, one where not only the physician but also the patient, pastor, educator and counselor have legitimate roles. Spiritual and mental issues should not take a secondary aspect to physical ones.
DECLARATION OF ALMA-ATA, WHAT THE WORLD’S GOVERNMENTS PROMISED
The International Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC), held in 1978 at Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), attempted to define the concept, bringing it international recognition as the principal strategy for attaining the goal of Health for All by the year 2000. This vision of PHC was stated in the principles and recommendations of the Declaration of Alma-Ata, which marked the start of a new paradigm for improving public health and providing a new platform for international health policy.
The final Declaration of Alma-Ata contained 10 principal points, which are summarized below:
- Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and is a fundamental human right. Attaining the highest possible level of health is a worldwide social goal that requires the action of many sectors.
- The existing gross inequality in people’s health status is unacceptable and is of common concern to all countries and people.
- Economic and social development is essential to attaining health for all, and health is essential to sustained development and world peace.
- People have the right and duty to participate in planning and implementing health care.
- A main goal of governments and the international community should be the attainment by all peoples by the year 2000 of a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and economically productive life. Primary health care is the key to attaining this goal.
- Primary health care is based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible through people’s full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford. It is the central function of the health system and its first level of contact, bringing health care as close as possible to where people live and work.
- Primary health care evolves from a country’s own conditions and addresses the main health problems in the community. It should lead to progressive improvement of health care for all while giving priority to those most in need.
- Governments should formulate policies and plans of action to make primary health care part of a comprehensive national health system, in coordination with other sectors. This requires political will to mobilize domestic and external resources.
- The attainment of health in any one country directly concerns and benefits every other country. All countries should cooperate in the development and operation of primary health care throughout the world.
- An acceptable level of health for all people by 2000 can be attained through better use of the world’s resources, much of which is spent on military conflict.
“The International Conference on Primary Health Care calls for urgent and effective national and international action to develop and implement primary health care throughout the world and particularly in developing countries in a spirit of technical cooperation and in keeping with a New International Economic Order. It urges governments, WHO and UNICEF, and other international organizations, as well as multilateral and bilateral agencies, nongovernmental organizations, funding agencies, all health workers and the whole world community…to collaborate in introducing, developing and maintaining primary health care in accordance with the spirit and content of this Declaration.”
“Health for All by the Year 2000” was an ambitious and worthy goal. But those who formulated it back in 1978 did not have a clear vision nor fully grasped its core meaning and methods for accomplishment. Thirty years later, it is useful to look back on the event and its historical context on the theme of “Health for All” in its original sense. It has fallen victim to economics, to oversimplification and misinterpretations, and is based on an obsolete world view that continues to confuse the concepts of natural health and integrative care with curative, medical (drug based) treatment focused almost entirely on so-stated diseases.
The Declaration of Alma-Ata posits that health is “a fundamental human right and that the attainment of the highest possible level of health is a most important worldwide social goal whose realization requires the action of many other social and economic sectors in addition to the health sector.” The sad truth of today’s modern life is that children in developed nations are not able to live healthy and productive lives due to malnutrition and developing obesity, while vast numbers of children in developing nations suffer and often die too early from treatable diseases. Clearly, many difficult challenges lie ahead. Forty-two million people were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2002, and millions were children under the age of 15. It is estimated that out of 100 children born, 30 will suffer from malnutrition in the first five years of life; 26 will not be immunized against the basic childhood diseases; 19 will not have access to safe drinking water and 40 will lack adequate sanitation; 17 will never go to school. 11 million children each year, or 30,000 a day, die before reaching their 5th birthday.
The conditions that led to the stated goals of “Health for All” and to the strategy of primary health care still exist and worsening conditions are even more pronounced today. Many countries today warn of future shortages of doctors, making clergy and social workers a logical resource in the immediate future. The world health report 2006 – working together for health – has brought renewed attention to the global human resources required to produce health. It estimated that 57 countries have an absolute shortage of 2.3 million physicians, nurses and midwives. There remain few strategies, leaving large segments of the population without health care. Poverty is on the rise, and the few resources that societies have for education and health are invested and spent in misguided and inequitable ways. The confusion between natural health and curative medical, drug treatment is still ever present in government agencies. Programs are focused on a few diseases or syndromes, e.g. hyperlipidemia, hypertension, HIV/AIDS, while lack of effective measures for prevention prevails more than ever. Health care systems have not been changed effectively, and both citizen participation and social control in health remain distorted concepts.
For example, over the last 25 years in Africa, as wars, economic collapse, one-party states and military dictators crippled much of the continent, many—perhaps even most—of Africa’s scientists and academics were forced overseas. Rwanda had its own unique problems in addition to genocide. Joseph Karemera, the Rwandan ambassador to South Africa, was his country’s minister of education immediately after the genocidal violence that took place there in 1994. “Out of 3,000 students and professors,” Karemera says, “we lost 1,500 students and 200 lecturers to the genocide. We had to bring in foreign manpower to assist us in the government and the university. We also tried to attract our people in the Diaspora to come back and assist. And we sent out hundreds of students to study in India, the U.S. and other African countries.” (Carnegie Reporter, Vol. 3/No. 1, Fall 2004)
Many of the academics who worked in Africa increasingly abandoned research and development activities as their universities became too expensive to maintain. Numerous scientists were forced into side work, like chicken and pig farming, just to make ends meet. The result, according to the Science Citation Index, is that Africa accounts for 0.4 percent of the world’s R&D expenditures and produces just 0.3 percent of “mainstream science.”
Traditional medical practices are beginning to resurface in Africa. The ganoderma mushroom is one example of the growing interest in just about every African country in traditional medicine. Throughout the continent, scientists are studying ancient plants and herbs. The aim is to try and reestablish traditional medicine as an integral part of the primary health care system.
Between 600 and 700 Ghanaian physicians, for example, are practicing in the U.S. alone. That’s half the total population of doctors remaining in Ghana. An estimated 10,000 Nigerian academics now work in America. Between 1980 and 1991, only 39 percent of Ethiopian students returned from studies abroad out of 22,700 who left.
“Africa must return to traditional medicine,” says Dr. Ragasian Mahunnah, with the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Tanzania. “The key to health care in Africa is to be more preventive, because most Africans, once they get sick, can’t afford to treat diseases in the Western ways. We can’t afford the machines, or the drugs, or the Western trained physicians who know how to use them.”
Compared to the science in Asia, Latin America, Europe, the U.S., and especially China, research in traditional medicine in Africa lags far behind. Dr. Mahunnah says the main reason for this is colonialism. “When the colonists came, they suppressed the traditional medicine system. It was seen as something evil—voodoo or witchcraft. The colonists used force in suppressing traditional medicines. People were killed in public for using them.”
The focus on traditional medicine in Africa today is on taking an inventory of the customs and traditions all across the continent. The African Union (AU) has a scientific technical committee on traditional medicine consisting of medical doctors, botanists, pharmacologists, chemists and traditional healers who do ethno-botanical surveys. So far, in 19 countries, plants are being collected and identified and compiled into an ethno-pharmacopeia for each particular nation.
Fortunately, unlike many industrialized countries, African governments are finally striving to institutionalize traditional medicine. Even in South Africa, where Western medicine is very advanced, the very country which inaugurated heart transplants, traditional medicine is being rediscovered as a method of primary health care in a nation where, like much of Africa, Western methods are too expensive to be practical for many people.
We would like to add, in today’s globalization, where national health programs are failing, one of the few ways in which countries can begin to solve their health crises is allow the religious communities to reclaim their primary medical care. It is essential to return political power for social decision-making to its point of origin – the citizenry. Natural health care for all and by all is perhaps the best way to phrase Alma-Ata’s, and God’s call for genuine primary health care as a necessity not only for health, but also for the economy of countries that wish to remain sovereign nation states in an increasingly globalized world.
The Medicalization of Society In today’s age of medical technology and drug care that emphasizes little health and well being, the human body has become the exclusive province of the secular health care and insurance industries. The secular and scientific solutions it proposes are taken as gospel. As Christians however, we are called to view all of life, including medicine, through the lens of faith and scripture. In reclaiming our Medicine of Hope, the physician and the theologian alike can take a critical look at some common assumptions and explore what theology has to say, and said, about medicine, our bodies, and our health. Reclaiming monastic/clerical/pastoral medical and nature cure principles invites the reader to a theological and ecclesiological reflection on both the human body and the Christian body (Christendom) in an effort to reframe the relationship between Christian faith and the Medicine of Hope.
There have been major global changes and many important new experiences in the world during the 30 years since the first International Conference on Primary Health Care of Alma Ata. Perhaps it is time now to convene a Christian conference, to set forth again, without distortions, the original concepts that led to that conference in 1978. Congregations have been promoting health and wholeness for centuries through worship, music, sharing and caring. Celtic monks once traveled around Europe in healing and prayer ministries, Christians have started hospitals and hospices all over the world, denominations have trained hospital chaplains, and churches have employed nurses as deaconesses.
But with the development of secular medicine in the 20th and 21st centuries, health care has become much more distanced from the church. Christian health professionals and chaplains perform great services but most times feel restricted by regulations and secular consensus. At the same time in our culture, health care, fitness and spirituality seem to have taken on a life of their own, completely outside of the church.
As we consider such ethical debates we should note that they are being conducted in a cultural context where a prevailing Judeo-Christian moral consensus has collapsed. The history of Western medicine was a blend of Judeo-Christian moral precepts and Hippocratic medical ethics, an ethical formula that contributed to the development of the health care system in the world. That tradition is now largely ignored, if not outright reviled. This is not just a subtle drift away from the Judeo-Christian ethic in medicine, but an abandonment. Physicians are sometimes no longer required nor expected to take a Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm.” The blending of medical skills and ethical integrity that marked the medical profession for so many centuries has been replaced by purely commercial and secular interests. This change is evidenced by the number of physicians returning to graduate schools, doctors leaving undeveloped countries for urban riches, or leaving the profession altogether.
Until the advent of synthetic pharmaceuticals after World War II, many doctors attempted to enhance what occurs in nature. It fostered the tendency of wounds to heal, the bowels to evacuate, and of bacteria to be overcome by natural immunity. Now medicine tries to engineer the very genetics that has allowed man/woman to evolve, survive and persist since the beginning of our time. Synthetic drugs are used to reduce blood pressure and production of cholesterol. Oral contraceptives are prescribed to prevent a normal occurrence of fertility in healthy persons. Unnatural therapies induce the organism to interact with chemicals or machines in ways where there is no precedent in evolution or nature. Organ and tissue grafts involve the outright obliteration of genetically programmed immunological defenses.
Technological medicine has become a domineering, monopolistic enterprise. In its war against suffering, it deems that all disease is unnecessary but profitable. Disease is no longer the body’s attempt to self-heal, no longer the infliction of previous sin, no longer a natural survival mechanism due to unseen forces. Disease in the biomedical model which can be fixed with biomolecules called new drugs. Inherited illnesses are considered simply damaged, genetic biomolecules which some day will be fixed through biological experimentation and intervention with nature. Secular medicine externalizes the illness from self. Disease is now caused external to self, for which the individual has no control and least responsibility.
A Christian Reflection on Pain Then and Now
Pain is a prime motivator for one to seek medical care. Pain is defined as “an unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder.” What we today call pain in the clinical setting is something which former generations had no special name. Today, a journey from Western Europe to the Holy Land would engender unimaginable pain for the average citizen, yet thousands of people a millennia ago made this voyage on foot in spite of all odds including fear of robbery, rape, sickness, or being slaughtered to death.
In most languages, the term pain encompasses grief, sorrow, shame, and guilt. Indo-Germanic meaning of bodily pain includes “torture, endurance, and punishment;” or more generally “illness, tiredness, hunger, mourning, confusion, or oppression.” The history of pain is far from complete, it shows that different languages distinguishes many kinds of “evils.” In some languages, pain is defined as “evil” itself. The usual medical approach today for pain only calls for methods of pain control, or even killing the pain, rather than a Christian approach that might help the patient in pain take on responsibility for his or her experience and make some change of lifestyle or habit.
Today the secular medical profession judges which pains are authentic, which should have a physical cause, verifies those which have a psychical base, and prescribes or operates accordingly. A purely secular approach. Governments and society recognize and respect this approach as medical judgment. Compassion thus becomes an obsolete virtue. The patient is left with less self-respect, less autonomous discipline, and in essence becomes a ward of the state.
- Our religious practice should stimulate personal responsibility for healing, send ministers for effective consolation and often provide a framework if not integration for the practice of religious, folk, indigenous, and cultural medicines. In today’s secular society, religious organizations are left with only a small part of their former healing roles. The major religions should recognize illness as misfortune and offer a rationale and a community setting in which suffering can become a dignified affliction.
The pupils of Hippocrates distinguished many kinds of disease, each of which caused its own kind of pain. Pain thus became a useful tool for prognosis, for it revealed to the physician how the patient had to recover. The Greeks believed pain was the soul’s experience of evolution. To the Greeks, as well as the Buddhists, happiness and pain are the two sides of the coin of life and evolution. The human body was part of the universe that is irreparably repairing itself daily. Pain was not divorced from illness. All words that indicated bodily pain were equally applicable to the suffering of the soul. Thirteen distinct Hebrew words of the Old Testament were translated into a single Greek word for pain. Whether or not pain was considered divine punishment, it was always a curse to the Hebrews. No suggestion of pain as a desirable experience can be found in the Scriptures or the Talmud.
In the New Testament, pain is portrayed to be intimately associated with sin. Sin is a term used mainly in a Christian context to describe an act that violates a moral rule, a transgression of divine law, or the state of having committed such a violation. Pain is a consequence of commitment to pleasure. For a Christian, pain is the loss of original integrity produced by Adam’s sin, and today an affliction for which he or she should be held responsible. Repentance from sin, and atonement (repayment) for past deeds leads to the pathway of Christian healing.
For the Christian in dealing with the fullness of life, of which pain is a major expression, one must stand up in heroic defiance and deter from the need for alleviation, and welcome the opportunity for purification, penance or sacrifice, as did our Lord Jesus Christ. Opium, mandrake, or other narcotics, as part of therapeutics, would be unthinkable to the devout Christian of that day. The belief that pain ought not to be suffered, and destroyed or killed by the intervention of a priest or doctor was unthinkable. Pain killing was simply alien to the culture of Christendom (Western Europe). The physician was not viewed as God’s body patcher, as held by Martin Luther.
Medical procedures today often demoralize the patient when, instead of mobilizing his or her self-healing powers, they transform the sick man or woman into a consumer of toxic pain killers and drugs that remove one outside the scope of his or her own personal responsibility of treatment. Medical prescriptions and procedures simply multiply disease by moral degradation when they isolate the sick in a professional or institutional environment, rather than providing society with the motives and disciplines that increase personal discipline and social tolerance for the troubled. Clinical iatrogenesis, religious injury, and moral degradation are generated under the pretext of a medical and pharmaceutical pursuit, all of which are crucial mechanisms contributing to social iatrogenesis where medicine extends its domain over more and more of our existence.
Secular medicine actually reinforces a morbid society in which social control of the population by the medical system turns into a principal economic and profit making activity. Medical treatment turns into an inimical force when, instead of mobilizing man’s self-healing powers, they profit from transforming the man into a drug dependent customer who’s illness can be controlled by routine prescriptions. Medical procedures actually multiply disease in the community by moral degradation, by isolating the sick in an economic environment and fostering drug dependency.
Christianity is in a need to reclaim its inherent rights as a church of healing, not only of the mind and spirit, but also the body. A myriad of Christian and religious virtues are being lost by the medicalization of society. Patience, forbearance, courage, resignation, self-control, perseverance, and meekness express a different coloring of the responses with which dis-ease and painful sensations were accepted, transformed into the experience of religious suffering, and endured for benefit of the soul. Duty, love, purification, prayer and compassion were some of the means that enabled the infirmed to be managed with dignity. Traditional Judeo-Christian culture made everyone responsible for his or her own performance under the impact of bodily grief or harm. Pain was then recognized as an inevitable part of subjective reality of one’s own body in which everyone constantly finds himself or herself. People knew from scripture that they had to heal on their own, to deal on their own with infirmities and grief, and the God Heals.
Taken into today’s social context, Christians should once again view pain and infirmity as an opportunity for purification. The original principles of Hygienics by modern Christian founders of nature cure provide a remarkable avenue for restoration of the body, soul and of the church. Today’s crisis in medicine could allow laymen and clergy to effectively reclaim their own control over medical treatment and decision making. We can return primary medical care back to the church and reserve catastrophic medical illness, trauma, and treatment for the medics and surgeons, which is their righteous specialty and the focus of their training.
We posit the abandonment of Christian faith in favor of a doctor’s ministrations, the medicalization of society, has caused significant moral decay in our society. Most of man’s ailments that are acute or benign, like headaches, colds, and backache, are either self-limited or subject to remediation through a few dozen, simple remedies and modalities. For a wide range of chronic conditions, like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia (all three ailments due mostly to abusive dietary), those who refuse medical treatment do no worse in the long term than those who do. Many who suffer such chronic infirmities are those who refuse to acknowledge gospel, sustain dietary abuse, and take scripture seriously only on chosen, momentary occasions. Modern medicine can do next to nothing for the advance of ageing, cancer, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, and even the common cold. It is not too well known that advocates of faith, prayer, hygiene, and fasting over the centuries, having religious convictions, have lived well beyond eighty years of age without any need of medications. Rural communities around the world are evidence of this fact, in spite of increasing pollution of the environment and morbid alterations in the food supply.
It is a sad legacy that this important and monumental movement of Christian (monastic/clerical/pastoral) medicine went into decline. Many health care providers recognize a mind-body connection as a role of spiritual healing, but it is not generally considered an important practice objective; or considered the exclusive domain of psychologists and psychiatrists. According to a survey published in the September 2007 issue of Psychiatric Services, psychiatry is the least religious of all medical fields. A disturbing survey, though, refreshing is that religious physicians are apparently less likely to send patients to psychiatrists and more likely to send them to clergy or religious counseling. All Christians believe that God rules, and our savior brings healing, but the way many Christians use today’s health care system implies that God is subordinate. The way Christians patronize the world of doctors, drugs, and hospitals just as much as non-Christians points to a dramatic spiritual depravity. While they give greater than deserved power to the carefully animated social, economic, and political forces of medicine, by ignoring scripture, they generally remain sick as a consequence.
Reclaiming our Christian, monastic/clerical/pastoral Medicine of Hope is a well-deserved argument calling Christians to understand and utilize natural medicines under safeguarding of the Church’s spiritual doctrine. The world has convention for this under international law. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established on November 16, 1945. Its stated purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter. In that Charter of the Declaration of Human Rights is found Article 25:1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Under the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 17 October 2003) we charge this Sacred Order as citizens of Christendom to make the necessary measures to ensure the safeguarding of monastic, clerical and pastoral Medicine of Hope as part of our intangible, Christian heritage and to maintain active management, to promote the function of this heritage, and to ensure recognition and respect for and enhancement of their cultural heritage in society. We view monastic, clerical, and pastoral Medicine of Hope as a living, human treasure.
This Order maintains a unique position to sustain an effective way to safeguard monastic, clerical, and nature cure medicine, to sustain and to ensure that we, as the bearers of that heritage continue to transmit our knowledge and skills to future and younger generations. In this regard, Article 2.3 of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage places transmission among the safeguarding measures aiming at ensuring the viability of this heritage. UNESCO also encourages States to establish national systems of “Living Human Treasures”. In this perspective, exemplary bearers of intangible cultural heritage are identified, among whom some are given official recognition and encouraged to continue to develop and transmit their knowledge and skills. Living Human Treasures are some of our more exemplary members of this Order who possess to a high degree the knowledge and skills required for performing or re-creating specific elements of our intangible cultural heritages of progressive testament we call or sacred rights by these definitions:
- Monastic Medicine can be defined as: charitable medical services rendered to the poor using natural agents such as food, herbs, and water; and supernatural agents including spiritual counseling, prayer, divination, worship, fasting, application of sacred waters, salts, foods, herbs and oils, and exorcism.
- Clerical Medicine can be defined as: medical services (Imitatio Christi) rendered to the poor and needy using natural agents such as food, herbs, electricity, physic, water; “certain cures” and “tried remedies”; and supernatural agents including spiritual counseling, prayer, divination, worship, fasting, application of sacred waters, salts, foods, herbs and oils, and exorcism.
- Pastoral Medicine can be defined as: medical services (Imitatio Christi) rendered to the poor and needy by the application and use of the health sciences and clerical medicines for the purpose of applying them in pastoral functions and in the explanation and support of the teachings of faith and morals. Pastoral Medicine has for its object the prevention and treatment of contagious disease, somatic illness, mental disease, nervous disorders; disease due to occupation, drug addiction; and rendering first aid to the injured and those in crises.
- Medicine of Hope can be defined further as: that the highest spiritual principle is loving one another, teaching the health laws, and healing one another as a force for good. That much suffering and sickness originates in the mind, and “right thinking” has a positive healing effect. Hope is the first step towards positive thinking. The Medicine of Hope recognizes that bodily sickness is promoted by psychic stress, but also by toxemia, autotoxemia, nutritional deficiencies, improper food combining, improper breathing, poor hygiene, and lack of exercise. Toxemia is the universal, basic cause of most chronic disease and becomes anchored in the flesh by habit, wrong thinking, despair and hatred. The New Medicine of Hope has for its object the prevention and treatment of contagious disease, somatic illness, mental disease, nervous disorders by the explanation and support of the teachings of faith and morals, loving one another, teaching the health laws, and healing one another as a force for universal good.
It was at all times a recognized fact that the pastor who devotes his work to the care of the soul, should take into consideration its habitation: the body and mind, and, consequently, should not be without a certain amount of medical skills and knowledge. It is not the sole purpose of the Medicine of Hope to induce the priest to take upon himself the full task of the practicing physician or surgeon; but undertakes to enable him or her to advise and caution, to treat by hygienic and dietetic measures, to render immediate aid in case of injury or trauma, and to protect his or her congregation against disease.
One of the great contributions of monastic medicine was to preserve the ancient texts of such works from authors such as Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, and Avincenna. Such preservation was the focus of our medical teachings and spiritual/medical care. Most importantly, medical care was guided by reference to biblical scripture. Furthermore, the lasting spirit of monastic medicine was transformed into nature cure, wherein Christian practitioners sustained herbal medicine, fasting, dietary reform and water cure (hydrotherapy) as potent medical practices as this book will point out.
This active, Medical Order is the last such organization, carrying on the works of monastic and clerical medicine, and we wish to have it preserved for the benefit of future generations as well as serve a lasting memory of a movement that contributed significantly to the Renaissance of today’s modern medicine. This heritage included languages, transcription, folk tales, ceremonies, diaries, etc. about traditional medicine, and all the medical and nursing skills that were handed down from generation to generation including surgery and ambulatory care. These traditions and practices reflect the spirit of members and communities of the Monasteries, Hospitallers, and religious camps from Europe to the Americas, to the Philippines. Yet this intangible heritage is at great risk as the natural and spiritual heritage must be preserved to the world for future posterity.
Primary care, Christian medicine today is in dire need to return and provide not only essential, economic, medical care, but also to return Christians to a forgotten fundamental: THE CURE COMES FROM GOD!
The New Medicine of Hope
The new Medicine of Hope represents for the 21st century the Christian medical way forward. The new Medicine of Hope is the culmination of Judeo-Christian and Greek medicine that led to monastic medicine and by the 20th century blossomed into nature cure and new thought movements. It represents an intangible cultural heritage and demands official recognition. We encourage to continue to develop and transmit our knowledge and skills as Hospitaller Knights of Hope.
Medicine up until the nineteenth century was concerned chiefly with the study of survival and disease. Anatomy had been discovered while physiology was based on humoral theories. The discovery of germs, what Pasteur called the kingdom of the infinitely small, opened the doors of a new world. Every physician was eager to enter and possess it. Thus the bacteriologist, the man who was master of the germs of disease, became the most prominent researcher of the origins of sickness. He told his admiring colleagues that this or that infirmity was due to this or that bacillus, and that if the germ could be destroyed the malady would disappear from the earth. The very highest hopes were formed; the most extravagant ideas were put forth as serious contributions to scientific progress. Then came the discovery of the ultramicroscopic virus.
It would be wrong to deny that great benefits have been obtained from this attack on the bacterial seeds of disease. We owe to bacteriology much of our safety and fitness as a community. It has given us purer water, cleaner and more wholesome food and freedom from many infections. Nor are its services in these directions by any means exhausted. It has given us, also, a new insight into the spread of disease and into the subtle and wonderful methods by which nature defends herself against attack. This knowledge has placed such potent weapons as the antibiotics and the smallpox vaccine in our hands. Again, it has given us antiseptics and so modern surgery.
But bacteriology, the study of the seed, has not given us that complete dominance over disease which many in the 20th century expected it to obtain. The world of microscopic organisms is every much part of our life on earth as with animals, amphibians and reptiles. We must learn to co-exist, co-habitat, for all creatures contribute to the symbiosis of life on earth. And so, little by little, men’s minds have turned again to the other side of the problem – the soil in which the seed of disease germinates and grows, the human body. The natural medicine of the twentieth century chiefly became concerned with the study of health and soil, while the “scientists” labored to find more germ fighting measures with drugs, and new laboratory/radiological methods of diagnosis.
Our central idea of the medicine of hope today, may be expressed in the term nature cure. The body, in its ceaseless struggle with survival of aging and disease, acts as a self-healing agent, especially when left alone to its maker. When attacked, it defends itself, reacting with all the hopeful vigor at its command by its immune system and vital forces. Fever, fasting, and recovery from disease, therefore, is a successful reaction of the body; failure to recover means failure to react with sufficient vigor. This is a very different idea from the 20th century in that the body was regarded as a passive agent receiving the seed of disease and making no useful effort to prevent this seed from growing. Fever is still viewed as a transitory reaction, rather than a healing agent. Removing the seed of disease is by administration of antibiotics, agents against life.
So different, indeed, that the doctrine of self-healing gave us a New or Natural Medicine, a Medicine of Hope, that is a new outlook on medicine and nature is still today ignored by popular medicine. When, what and how do we decide that medical treatment may actually be the suppression of the natural survival mechanism? How do we harness the natural survival mechanism to enhance recuperation to health, rather than opposing it by creating a new, toxic illness?
No better illustration from this is that of the state of fever. Robert Mendelssohn, M.D. routinely told patients to throw away their thermometers. “Give me fever, and I can cure anything,” proclaimed one ancient doctor of natural medicine’s past. Fever is the mounting of attack from an invading organism, and to suppress such with medication obstructs the body’s of treating disease. One attempt to cure itself. Fever should only be artificially reduced when the body is in danger of termination or permanent damage. We could say that fever is the body’s attempt at atonement.
Symptoms, for example, we now regard in a different way from the practitioners of regular medicine. We have learned to not think of them as just signs of disease; we are learning to know them as signs of the body’s resistance to disease. The unconscious, unresisting body of the dying man feels no pain, is not flushed with fever nor vexed with flying pulses. It does not react. These symptoms, therefore, so long ascribed to the assaults of illness, are in fact assaults upon illness. The doctor must not set himself to hamper or hinder or even mitigate this salutary work of atonement. All such “fevers,” that are localized, are today viewed as illness, rather than the reaction to sickness – vomiting, diarrhea, catarrh, itch and heats, expectoration, etc.
The New Medicine of Hope is the study of signs and symptoms, because these are indications of the lines on which nature conducts her own defense. If we know accurately the signs and symptoms of a disease and the mechanism of these symptoms, we know how the disease may be assisted and remedied with nature.
There are two principal methods is the combative, the other the preventive. The trend of modern medical research and practice in our great colleges and endowed research institutes is almost entirely along combative lines, while the individual, progressive physician learns to work more and more along preventive lines. The slogan of modern medical science is, “Kill the germ and cure the disease.” The usual procedure is to wait until acute or chronic diseases have fully developed, and then, if possible, to subdue them by means of drugs, surgical operations, and by means of the morbid products of disease, in the form of serums, antitoxins, vaccines, etc. The combative method fights disease with disease, poison with poison, and germs with germs and germ products. In the language of the Good Book, it is “Beelzebub against the Devil.” Henry Lindlahr, M.D. 1913. NATURAL CURE.
In short, we cannot kill all the germs of disease without the assistance of the living organism in which these germs are lodged. Neither antiseptics, antibiotics, nor medicines, nor even surgical instruments can prevail without the vigorous action of the bodily tissue’s defense systems. Antibiotics may help destroy germs, but only the body and its immunity can effectuate lasting resistance and continuity of life. And so, to prevent or cure disease, it is necessary to create or recreate fit men and women for this new century. Drugs will not solve our planetary problems. One hundred years of experiment with antibiotics has confirmed our observations.
Thus the Medicine of Hope embraces and coordinates all branches of healing. Its scope is as wide as human life, because there is no circumstance, mental or material, which does not either increase or detract from that vital energy by which we live, given to us by the Almighty. A blow or a chemical poison may occasion faintness and collapse; but so also may a stuffy room or a shock in the purely emotional sense. These various stimuli, apparently so different in character, become alike, as judged by their effects, when translated into terms of life and transformed into the body’s vital force.
The body’s vital, spiritual force is thus the most important element in the human soil into which the seeds of disease fall. If it is not flowing freely into any given organ, if the organ lacks this invisible nourishment, its vital electrical voltage, then its power of warding off or reacting to the germ or poison is enormously weakened. This is seen in its most acute form in those cases in which damage has been done to nerve trunks, either by injury or neuropathy. The muscles supplied by the severed nerves begin to waste away though they are still being supplied with blood in full amounts. Later on abscesses tend to form, and the whole denervated area may be destroyed into a state of gangrene to which no doctor can deny nor remedy. It follows that any factors which interfere with the free flow of vital force through the body are favoring the germination and growth of disease.
The Medicine of Hope fights disease by fostering health on all fronts. The destruction of germs is but a very small part of it. Just as important as the body’s natural flora is the cultivation of human hope and happiness by means of hygienic, dietetic, emotional and spiritual tonics. It is profoundly true that man does not live by bread alone. We live by our spirit, the shrine of which is our body. We must know about our body; we must know how it works, and how to care for it in its workings. All these aspects are found in Scripture.
We must know ourselves in a new and intimate way – how to eat, how to sleep, how to dress, how to exercise, how to work – above all, how to have peace, pray and play. We must know, too, something of the inner workings of our minds so that we may guard these exquisite instruments against depression, dismay and evil spirits which may be more deadly even than the germs of disease. We must understand the basis of happiness as it affects both the intellect and the emotions, and be instructed in its cultivation.
We must lift our eyes above disease and the treatment of disease and see the human life which has been so perfectly equipped by nature and our Lord to defend and preserve itself. For the New Medicine of Hope is neither more nor less than a return to nature herself as the fountainhead of wisdom, and those rules of life that our Lord Jesus Christ so taught.
Congregation based Hope Medical Ministry
The New Medicine of Hope is a way of rediscovering the essential wholeness of the Gospel as Jesus proclaimed it, both body and soul. Churches should be once again encouraged to recognize and employ Hope trained or spiritually motivated Christian physicians, pastoral healthcare counselors, and parish nurses as part of their ministry teams to deliver health screenings, hygienic measures, natural health care, and dietary counsel, both spiritual and physical amongst their congregations and communities.
The types of ministries this Sacred Medical Order envision include church-based health care screening and educational programs, preventative medical education, congregational nursing that includes home health care, assisted living, and life-skills development.
Philosophy of Ministry of Hope Operations
The philosophy of a ministry which employs this approach is grounded in biblical teachings concerning the nature of God, the Christian culture of nature cure, the marks of an effective church role in the life and health care of the believer and the community it serves. The components of the medicine of hope remain as the fundamental of effective delivery which has proven to have worked in the author’s island clinic on Nevis hosting more than 6,000 patients:
- Effective health screening by taking of vital signs, blood pressure screening, monitoring of blood sugar and cholesterol levels, basic urinalysis, blood microscopy, and electrodermal screening. 2. Identification of nutritional deficiencies for therapeutic correction, identification of allergic or inimical foods in the dietary and their elimination. 3. Use of herbal teas as cleansing and detoxifying agents, tonics to restore the bodily constitution, and therapeutics to alleviate symptoms. 4. Specific advise on hygiene. 5. Cooking classes emphasizing hygienic and wholesome foods. 6. General advise on spirituality, prayer and repentance as therapeutic agents. 7. General spiritual and psychological counseling for communicant and family.
At a minimum, churches could implement a modest congregational nursing ministry that would provide such services as blood pressure screening, monitoring of blood sugar and cholesterol levels, basic urinalysis, and home health visits to the elderly, shut-ins, individuals recently released from the hospital or new mothers. Congregational health educators, counselors, and nurses may conduct health-screening clinics (weight, blood sugar and cholesterol, urinalysis), facilitate eye and dental exams, coordinate health promotion activities and integrate health education within the mainstream of the church’s educational programs.
Health educators can conduct seminaries and workshops on various topics while assisting the believer in personal health practices and hygiene. The most portable and effective method of health care available is simply health education. Health education is defined as the principle by which individuals and groups of people learn to live and behave in a manner conducive to the promotion, maintenance, or restoration of health according to Scripture. The ultimate aim of Health Education is positive behavioral modification with respect to dietary discretion and improvement in personal hygiene.
Education for health begins with people. It hopes to motivate them with Christian interests in improving their living and social conditions. Its aim is to develop in them a sense of responsibility for health conditions for themselves as individuals, as members of families, and as communities. In chronic disease control, it aims at preventative measures followed by effective natural and economical remedies that are readily available as first hand measures before having to resort to drugs and surgery. In communicable disease control, health education commonly includes education of what is known by a population about a disease, an assessment of habits and attitudes of the people as they relate to spread and frequency of the disease, and the presentation of specific means to remedy observed deficiencies.
Health education should be included in the work of all Churches. A health education program consists of planned learning experiences which will help believers achieve desirable attitudes and practices related to critical health issues. Some of these are: emotional health and a positive self image; appreciation, respect for, and care of the human body and its vital organs; physical fitness; health issues of alcohol, tobacco and drug use and abuse; effects of exercise on the body systems and on general well being; nutrition and weight control; sexual relationships, the scientific, social and economic aspects of community and ecological health; communicable and degenerative diseases including sexually transmitted diseases; disaster preparedness; safety and driver education; choosing professional medical and health services; and choices of health careers.