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ABOUT CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS--APRIL 13, 2013
Interviews near the time that he died.
Published on 21 Mar 2013
Christopher Hitchens interviewed by Sally Quinn
By the way, If you like a laugh, READ THE FOLLOWING
A certain minister tells the following story about himself: "Born in 1930 I was Ordained as a minister in June, 1953--I was 23 at the time. I had the good fortune to be able to retire at 63 with over forty years of service.
"The service of ordination took place in the convocation hall of Mount Allison University www.mta.ca Sackville, NB.
"And, by the way" he said, "during that 40 years of ministry, not once did I miss taking a service, wedding, funeral or any appointment because of ill health.Yes, I did have some days when I did not feel all that well, but not sick enough to stay home or go to hospital. Yes, I did take some drugs, like penicillin, when I had an infection or two, but to this day (at 80), I take no prescribed drugs, regularly.
"To what do I credit this good fortune? Many things! But among them I have always had more than a passing interest in learning about holism: the integration of things spiritual, mental and physical; the putting what I learned into practice helping anyone in need--of any race or creed--and doing so with empathy and a sense of humour."
More about holism, later. As part of my preparation for retirement and growing old I decided to have thorough check up. After two visits and several exhaustive lab tests, my doctor said: "You are doing "fairly well" for you age. " I turned 64 just after I retired.
A little concerned about that comment,
I couldn't resist asking him, "Doctor, do you think I'll live to be 80?'
The doctor responded by asking the following questions, "Do you smoke tobacco, or drink."
I did smoke a pipe and cigars, once, but quit when my daughter became very allergic to smoke.
"Oh no", I replied, omitting to tell him that I did like beer and wine in moderation ... And proudly I said, "I'm not doing drugs, either!"
Then he asked, "Do you eat junk foods, rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"
I said, "Not much since my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!"
"Do you spend a lot of time having fun in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, and bicycling?"
"No, I don't," I said.
He asked, "Do you gamble, go on wild vacations, like to be the life-of-the-party and have lots of sex?"
"O...Noooooo', I said. "The latter is OK, of course, but only with my wife."
He looked at me and said: "Then, why do you even give a $#!X about living to be 80?"
[I ADD THIS NOTE TODAY, SATURDAY, MAY 26--a warm and sunny day day: I was 82, January 14, 2012]
ABOUT THE ABOVE STORY AS TOLD TO A JOURNALIST:
Since the above story is based on an old joke he once heard, the Rev. King king said that some of the answers to the doctor's questions--a fictional doctor, of course--are given with tongue-in-cheek, and are not to be taken too seriously.
"For example", the Rev. King said, "I do like wine and beer--in moderation. That is, I think and hope that I am moderate! But seriously, I don't gamble, I eat sparingly, including grains, no white sugar, no extra salt, lots of fish and very little red meat. By the way, the first four paragraphs above are based basically on fact. And I hope that I will always have a healthy sense of humour."
From my interview, here is what I learned about the Rev. King's approach to HOLISTIC HEALTH:
JESUS WAS A TOTALLY NON-SECTARIAN HEALER. HE OFFERED HIS HEALING POWER TO ALL WHO ASKED FOR IT--no exceptions
I learned that the Rev. King likes to point out that, like Jesus, his approach to healing is, totally, a non-sectarian one.
"Look at the Gospels", he said, For example, Jesus healed the daughter of a Roman soldier--supposedly bitter enemies of the Jews. He mingled with the Samaritans, and the like. Jesus never asked people--Jews (and there were several sects) Gentiles and even the despised Samaritans--anyone in need of healing of spirit, mind and body: What is your race, your religion? "Come unto me all you who are burdened ..." he said, "and I will give you rest." He did not require people to worship him before he would heal them."
"How did you first get interested in what is now called holistic health?" I asked. He responded: "I was raised in a family plagued with poverty and its consequent sad measure of bad housing, bad food, disease and death."
When I asked: "What about Medicare and other such social safety-nets?" he responded: "Virtually zero. No Medicare at all! For a population of ten thousand people with 2,100 miners working in dangerous iron ore mines mines there were two doctors, a nurse, no hospital, no motor ambulance and no public purse to pay the the bills. By the time I was five (1935) I had lost my oldest brother (25); my oldest sister (23) and she lost her husband and two very young children. This was followed by our mother--all because of tuberculosis."
Education? It was provided as best they could by the churches. It and other public services were either non-existent or in a sad state of affairs.
How young king was able to finish high school and get to university when he was seventeen is too big a story--an amazing one, by the way--to go into here.
He said, "As a student, preparing myself for the ministry, it came to me--I now think of it as a spiritual revelation--that the bad circumstances in which I found myself and in which I was raised was the end result ignorance--a lack of knowledge of who we, as human beings, we really are--spiritually and mentally. With the help of a wise faculty adviser, I was inspired to take a keen interest in psychology. I made psychology of religion, along with philosophy of religion a major study of both my undergraduate and, graduate years."
He went on to describe how that in his pastoral ministry he, regularly, preached sermons about the healing ministry of Jesus--the healing of lives which he said could be "more abundant ones." If we take him at his word, as is recorded in the New Testament, should we not think of him as Dr. Jesus? Perhaps his influence inspired a young follower named Luke, who became Dr. Luke, the physician. Paul, a close companion of Dr. Luke, wrote and told the Thessalonians (1Thess. 5:23) I want you to be whole in spirit, mind and body--pneuma, psyche and soma.
Then beginning in 1964--inspired by the dramatic spiritual and physical healing of his own daughter, who had a life-threatening lung condition--in addition to sermons on healing, he began giving a regular series of public lectures on CHRISTIANITY AND HOLISTIC HEALTH to people of all faiths.
By the way, he believes that the Holy Spirit always plays a role in helping bring all thing together for good.
But in this series he did more than just give information. This series, encouraged the setting up of programs and services of healing. Week after week hundreds of people gathered in the groups which grew out of it, They continued for the rest of his pastoral ministry and into his retirement, which he prefers to call re-directment. "I am re-directed" he said, "not retired. I prefer to wear out, not rust out."
He said that he got the information and inspiration needed to give his lectures from studying the works of writers like Dr. Leslie D. Weatherhead--a minister/psychologist, who was active right up until his death, at 93. In City Temple, London England, he actually set up a clinic in which medical doctors, psychologists/psychiatrists and clergy worked together.
Thus armed, the Rev. King began to explore how Psychology, Religion and Healing--the title of Weatherhead's book--go together and can be powerful tools when we invite in and allow the Holy Spirit of God to work within us. This inspired him to add to the mix Pneumatology--the study of the spirit, mother of psychology and the offspring of theology--the study of God. Jesus frequently spoke of the healing power of the Holy Spirit of God, which is at work, in, through and around all who choose the way of love, forgiveness, justice and peace.