"Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper
and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:2
Do you remember the movie that popularized the phrase "LIVE LONG AND PROSPER"?
It comes from the Star Trek character, Mr. Spock (actor Leonard Nimoy, himself Jewish) as the greeting of the Vulcan people.
'Live long and prosper' is an abbreviated version of a traditional Jewish religious blessing. The phrase was the accompanying spoken greeting/blessing to the hand gesture called the Vulcan salute.
'Live long and prosper' is translated, if that is the correct word, from the Vulcan language phrase 'dif-tor heh smusma', which was so uttered in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The phrase echoes the Hebrew 'Shalom aleichem' and the Arabic 'Salaam alaykum', which roughly translate as 'peace be upon you'.
It remind me of the Biblical prayer, "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:2
And, speaking of LIVING LONG AND PROSPERING just as your soul prosper...I am going to take a risk.
I am going to share an experience that some might find offensive or label it as 'sour grapes' or assign some other term. But it happened - and it continues to happen - and I hope this posting will help reshape our thinking.
I have been attending a certain Church for several years. Everything seems good. I love this Church and all my friends who attend.
But sometimes, it is the seemingly small things that create lasting impressions that stick with us. They show what is hidden. I will share one of these things. It isn't an isolated incident, it is common.
One night during the week, our Church offers a bible study or a video with discussion which follows. We gather around tables that will comfortably seat about ten to twelve people. At first, people would make room if the group grew to more than twelve. We would just expand the circle.
Soon, however, those who arrived early would hurry to their seats (or save seats) and close the circle. Those who would show up on time, would find all the seats filled and there was no effort to make extra room. It is an awkward moment to see some excluded by their friends. And, it had become the norm.
Then, my wife and I experienced 'being on the outside' several weeks in a row. We would sit 'outside the circle' and that excluded us from most of the conversations. So, at first we would look around and find another table group to join. The tables are 'age grouped' so our life experiences in other groups were not the same. We became spectators rather than participants.
We experienced, to some degree, what it means to "feel alone in a group".
Attending is not always being included
And it's not just on this particular night. It see 'after church groups' gathering to go to lunch while others watch. I hear about folks getting together for dinner or for social get-togethers in homes while others are not invited.
Even when the Church has planned group get-togethers, attending is not always being included.
Which brings me to my point: Loneliness, in many forms, is becoming an epidemic social and health crisis, even within the Church.
Consider this excerpt from a George Will article:
"Loneliness in "epidemic proportions" is producing a "loneliness literature" of sociological and medical findings about the effect of loneliness on individuals' brains and bodies, and on communities.
"Senator Ben Sasse, politician, author, professor, consultant, and educational administrator from the state of Nebraska says "there is a growing consensus" that loneliness — not obesity, cancer or heart disease — is the nation's "number one health crisis."
"Sasse's subject is "the evaporation of social capital" — the satisfactions of work and community. This reflects a perverse phenomenon: What has come to count as connectedness is displacing the real thing. And matters might quickly become dramatically worse.
reduces average longevity more than twice as much as does heavy drinking and
more than three times as much as obesity, which often is a consequence of loneliness.
Research demonstrates that loneliness is as physically dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and
contributes to cognitive decline, including
more rapid advance of Alzheimer's disease.
"Sasse says, "We're literally dying of despair," of the failure "to fill the hole millions of Americans feel in their lives."
There is plenty of research on this matter. And there is research that tells what to do about this crisis for your own life. (I won't reveal the sources so you can have the joy of finding them for yourself)
I want to say this first: I have Jesus as my Savior and friend, Who sticks closer than a brother. But, God made me - made all of us - to live in community. He made us to need family and friends. This is important. So, here are some researched and suggested remedies in order to
LIVE LONG AND PROSPER
1. Consider Family
Research shows that successful, healthy, longevity comes from putting your family first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home, (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too). They commit to their spouse for life (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).
2. Right Group
The world’s longest lived people chose or were born into social circles that supported healthy behaviors. Research shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people who live and think healthy on purpose have better outcomes. And once you find your place, BE INCLUSIVE.
Go to a family oriented and loving Church. (A bible based Church that values relationships over programs) Research shows that attending faith-based services in a church or a group like this four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy. Find purpose, then pursue it. Retirement is not healthy without it.
5. Slow it Down
Everyone experiences stress at various times. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. Shed that stress. Take a few moments each day to remember your family, present and past. Pray. Take a nap. Spend time with a friend on purpose.
6. Don't stuff yourself
Stop eating when your stomach is 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. Eat your smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
7. Plant based eating
Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Eat meat, on average, only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards. You'll be healthier. MUCH healthier.
8. Stay healthy by moving about
The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that require them, that is it constantly nudges them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work and they walk to where they need to go, whenever possible.
(These items were gleaned from the Blue Zones Project "Power 9" and other articles available online. I have modified some of the language to fit the purpose of my posting)
Please think on these things. Let's help one another to LIVE LONG and PROSPER.
I pray this is received in the spirit it was intended.
Your Brother and Friend,
Philippians2:1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,