For some reason health and nutrition became partisan just like every other aspect of our lives.
I don’t know why this is, but my experience has been that New Age’rs and liberals tend to be into holistic health and Christians tend to act like it doesn’t matter what you put in your body.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20
It may come from Pauline lectures about not worrying about what you eat. (Here’s a good summary of Scripture speaking to the early Judeo-Christian debate about food.) That was directed at converted Jewish people who were used to extensive Mosaic laws about food, as well as the context of living in Rome where animals sacrificed to pagan gods were also eaten. In that time and place, food was almost a form of virtue signaling, and early Christians had to learn to let that go.
Today we face a situation that early Christians did not: most of our food is manmade. People are buying, not beef and broccoli, but preservatives, dyes, and substitutes. It is making us sick, and it is making us dependent on man. The manmade system, which includes pharmaceuticals and corporate healthcare, pushes manmade solutions to solve manmade problems. It pushes injections, sanitizers, and ventilators in response to COVID-19 instead of vitamin C and sunlight. It pushes boxed food and bottles of antacids to help you suffer through digesting that food. It pushes viruses, and the cure to those viruses.
We should seek the solutions from God, not a lab. Best case scenario, we’re starting with prayer, as pretty much every Biblical reference to healing advises.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.James 5:14-16
But we’re not all master prayer warriors or faith healers and sometimes you just need a boost in the natural. I’m just suggesting we seek it from God’s providential design. Most manmade treatments have much more severe side effects than the worst scenario of abusing an herbal or nutritional treatment. I dare you to find someone in real life who overdosed on nettle tea.
Christians should use God’s provision. This means prayer, physical activity, time outdoors, and herbs and foods that God created. Bone broth and dandelion tea, beef and broccoli, ginger and lemon.
We should choose fermentation over preservatives, sweating over diuretics, stretching over aspirin.
If these things sound foreign or strange to you, that’s okay, but that doesn’t mean they’re not Biblical. That orange bottle on your bathroom counter with the white Rx label is arguably not Biblical, as I started to explore in a recent post about pharmakeia.
By ignoring natural remedies and nutrition, we are idolizing man’s supposed intellectual superiority. We are buying into the narrative that man can “fix” God’s plan.
The problem is that for several decades now, the folks who promoted holistic health also tended to lean towards New Age ideology. Instead of admiring God’s creation and God’s design, they admire the creation itself. They tend to worship the earth, the moon, and the herbs instead of worshiping He who created them.
The hippie herbalist may be misguided, or worse, in worshipping the earth that gave us healing herbs. But that does not mean we as Christians should avoid those healing herbs.
We just need to be clear on who made them, and who we thank for them.