Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: faith crowder

the plague of profitibility

My chiro may have just ruined me in a glorious, freeing way. I’ve not been ruined so beautifully since Jesus and I had a heart-to-heart back in 2000. I’m not saying my chiro is Jesus; however, my journey into faith mirrors my recent steps away from mainstream thought. It was a conversation here, an event there. Suddenly the scales fell from my eyes and it wasn’t just how I felt, it’s how I see the world. It’s both joyfully freeing while at the same time saddening. You want to run through the streets expelling such wonderful news, but not be that pushy-pushy neighbor that won’t shut up about how she’s been healed.

So, to what have I converted? Am I a member of a subgroup of sorts, like vegetarians or Episcopalians? Not really. No, rather than having membership in some new body of people, I’d rather identify what I see and believe about my healthcare options. Which can basically be summarized as: I’m tired of being a consumer of “healthy things” instead of living a healthy lifestyle. And our current system is set up for consumption, not change. (Again with the direct mirrors in the spiritual world).
Everybody wants to be healthy; I’m sure there’s a rare person out there that truly cares nothing about it, but on the whole everyone wants to live without pain, for as long as they can. However, rarely do we want to do the work of change. I’ve said before that there are 2 levels of change: wanting to change, and wanting to do the things that bring about change. The first is easy. The second can be excruciating. Instead, we want our productive culture to produce something that will do the work for us. We’ll buy food packaged with promises to lower cholesterol or increase metabolism. When that doesn’t work, we head to the professionals and let them write a script for the heavy-duty version.
But my friends – and this has been my biggest revelation – healthiness is more than what we buy. Believe me, I’m plenty aware that there’s a whole health food racket out there willing to sell us the organic version of the same stuff that got us in this mess. But that’s the American way. If something can make us better, then it simply must be packaged and sold for profit, right?
In this journey with Baby C and her sensitive systems, our buying habits have changed for sure. I’m hoping Panera will forgive me someday and maybe even reconcile on a more limited basis. But healthy living doesn’t depend on a product or a manufacturer. We must depend on a variety of sources to keep us going. Just like buying Addidas doesn’t do the workout for us, putting “all natural” or “reduced fat” in the cart won’t keep us thin or healthy.
I’m not pointing fingers. Doctors don’t go into their line of work to become pill dispensers – they’re put in that role because it’s what the market economy asks them to do. On the one hand, I’m saddened that I can’t expect to take my daughter into her PCP and s/he ask, “well, let’s see what we change by changing her/your diet or environment.” Instead, the script pad comes out for Nystatin. On the other hand, how many of his/her patients are coming in and asking to be put on an extremely limited diet without things like donuts and muffins, as an attempt to get rid of a rash? No, our system is one of consumption because we don’t come to get healthy, we come to buy a product that will fix us.
This new lifestyle of eating has been a lot of work. A lot. So when I raise my flags, the cries of “who has time to do this?” is a fair question. People opt for quick and easy because that’s the preference of how they’d like to spend their time. And that’s fine. If people want to take a pill instead grind nuts for flour, this beautiful land called America is the place to be. I’m just saying that I’ve decided to opt out of that.
I believe there are other ways of life, and in my (limited!) experience, they’re more effective. We know the effectiveness of drugs because the drug companies have lots of money to do studies to prove to you how effective they are. We know that Cheerios “reduce cholesterol” (I have no idea why I seem to be picking on cholesterol reduction. I’ve never had a battle with it and the word is impossible to spell correctly on the first try) because General Mills has the cash to run a study on it and then the marketing team to tell us about it. Do we know the effectiveness of nuts and broccoli? Nope. Raw food producers probably have enough of a task at hand keeping prices low enough to warrant buying fresh without adding in a marketing budget. They’re stuck with a prayer that time-honored knowledge, broccoli is good for you, will do the trick.
My journalism professor for news writing used to tell us to “follow the money trail”. It’s advice that extends beyond the newsroom. If you follow the money, you begin to learn the hows and whys. Most decisions have an economical drive, which is why our food has changed in the past 100 years. And it’s not a new idea that money rules. So these powers-that-be have their hands in government decisions, such as recommending how much or what we, or our babies eat.
So a lot of the steps I’m taking now are unconventional. Weird. But that’s because no one has come up with a way to package and sell it. But don’t you worry – someone will. And it won’t be pure. It’ll be the same song, different tune.
When I started to read up and fall in line (to some extent) the emergent church movement, people asked what was different. Many made adaptations, but it was the same thing, with candles. That’s not emerging. The change wasn’t in what was purchased or structured, but in how the world was viewed. A stream came out of that movement that had branding and structure and raised financial support. Gone was the sense of emergence; it was just… the newest fad.
I think the same will go for efforts at living healthy. Someone will put a logo on it and try to make a profit. That’s when your buzzer should go off. Not that I won’t buy the product or take part in the service. But rather, my hope is that I won’t blindly believe it will fix everything.
Just like a one-time prayer and attendance on Sunday won’t fix my spiritual life, switching brands won’t increase my life expectancy. But rather it’s the constant efforts – even the failures – that bring us a step closer to the goal. It’s leaving behind a way of life that, quite simply, wasn’t working.
So, onward we go. Hopefully with a healed-up system that allows us to enjoy the best the world has to offer. At least, that’s what the package said. 
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always be prepared

I mumbled my way through my first, last and only opportunity to chat with the band that lived as the cement in the cracks of my faith. No line of people behind me, no one watching (except KLR) and the best I came up with was a brief “thanks for the many years, it’s been wonderful.” Generic. Hallmark could’ve done better at being authentic.

Over the course of 11 years they traveled many a mile via tour bus, which was now parked a stone’s throw from the little blue Ion that took us to nearly all our shows (Why did I never drive? I have no excuse. I didn’t realize it until now. But I did buy dinner to reciprocate). And Lo, as I realized that the buses so near were that of Crowder and his *band, who do you think steps afoot one row of cars away? Four very hairy, older guys, clearly the hip-artsy-hipster types by the wearing of their plaid and the dark rimmed glasses. And the hair. No one goes out with hair like that but the cool and the homeless. 
I wish I’d have told Crowder how I could recite history based on my playlist. I wish he could know that KLR and I would text his lyrics as a means of encouraging and lifting one another up through difficult times as well as use it as code in our snarky relationship. Rescue is coming could be a promise that Jesus will make all things anew OR there was a bottle of wine being chilled. The space created by our own DC*B tour allowed KLR and I to make fun of everything that is wrong with the CCM movement and enjoy everything that is right.    
Had I thought it through, I would’ve provided Crowder a verbal expose on our friendship’s history and how each song took me to a place and a memory that I treasure deeply. Of course those memories include difficult times but it was the hope that emerged that hangs on, not the pain. 
I could’ve told him how I nearly cry when I praise him under open skies, everything breathing praise him God, because of how we did that with the sunroof and windows open, skittering around San Diego on a missions trip. AK was pretty fed up with the song by the time we left, but ABG holds it as one of those formational memories as we cruised over the Coronado bridge. We learned how to cross 5 lanes of California traffic together. That’s nothing short of relational glue. 
Then I would’ve went on to tell him that the harder I try, the more clearly can I feel the depth of our fall and the weight of it all in a ministry setting. So, so, so, many times I had to come to realize that by trying I fail and that it’s simply not me that will make change, but the work done through me. Yes, yes, letting go gets a better grip
And then he would resonate with my past (and who’s lying? present!) struggles, remarking that these give reason why the Lark exists. He knows. He’s been trying to make you sing, from inside where you believe, like it’s something that you need, like it means everything. And he’s been trying to make you feel that this is for real, that life is happening and it means everything. We’re trying to make you sing
But sometimes you try to sing and the words barely fall out. Like during the month of October. So I’d thank him for reminding me that in sun and rain, in joy and pain, You’re still the same, oh you never let go. Because when I had a heart of hurt, those are the words I would utter. 
Or how I’d pray on behalf of friends, like when MHK’s mom left, that when shadows fall on us, we will not fear, we will remember – when all seems lost, when we’re fallen and tossed, we remember the cross and rest in Him, the shadow of the cross
And then again, feeling dry (this time not in the same house or town with KLR, so in a sense lonelier), I would drive to work crying while hearing Shine your light so that I can hear you, pull me up I need to be near you, hold me I need to be loved, can you overcome this heart that’s overcome? And then I’d remind myself to live that as well because there’s a whole world who needs it. 
Should I go on and on? Would I have rattled off the list of his songs that have made my Funeral Playlist? Or tell how we brought together a bunch of teenagers for a retreat and made yarn beards and sang happy birthday to KLR a little less pretty and a lot more loud? Or that we read aloud parts of his devotional book, including the part about the urinal with they electronic eye and KLR and I had to act it out for effect? 
I guess I could’ve rambled on and on to Crowder and his *friends about these things, but by now their tummies would be rumbling and it was slightly chilly and the homeless crowd that descended upon the Nice Christian Crowd outside Bogarts would begin to drift our way. 
I probably should’ve just asked what I’ve been wondering since the Ohio State fair show: what does ministry look like for he and his band now that they’re too “old” for all this traveling and what-nots. Now that they’re no longer in the demographic of the group they’re ministering to, what does that look like? Because at the end of the night we realized that if DC*B hadn’t retired it we weren’t sure how many more of these shows we could stand for (where are the CHAIRS, Bogarts?). And the late nights! Oh, my it was nearly 1am when we arrived home. We’re just not in college anymore. Or even our 20s. 
So through all these years, all these songs, all these memories, David & Boys’ final lesson: always be prepared. You never know when you’ll cross the paths with someone who had a deep and profound influence on your life and you’ll want to say more than “thanks for the ride. It’s been great.” 
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