二○二一年一月二十三日／二十四日 Click here for English
Spiritual Health Pyramid
Rev Raymond Chan
Good health is closely related to eating habits. That was why the idea of the Food Pyramid was developed. At the base of the pyramid are grains, which should account for the largest portion of the food intake. Higher up the pyramid are vegetables and fruits. They are rich in Vitamin C and are good for health. Still higher up – meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Appropriate amounts of them can help with iron, calcium and protein intake. At the apex is oil, salt, sugar, etc. Stay away from these as far as you can for the sake of good health.
Good health requires that we watch what we eat. Likewise, to be spiritually healthy, believers need to carefully select their spiritual food (what they read). Let me suggest a “Spiritual Health Pyramid,” which will hopefully shed some light on a good choice of reading.
At the base of the pyramid is undoubtedly the Bible. It is God’s revelation to man and is “… useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Our daily devotionals, Bible studies in fellowship and the sermons in worship build up a strong foundation for spiritual health. Higher up the pyramid are other people, matters and objects that provide spiritual nutrients. Here, the most popular is reading spiritual literature. But sharing with brothers and sisters, worship liturgy, and solitude and retreat are also a kind of spiritual reading, albeit without the use of books. Still higher up is the Father’s creation in various realms. In addition to culture, the arts, nature, science and current affairs, simple, heart-warming or cheery pieces can be a source of wisdom. Be careful about reading at the apex, though. Here is a wealth of information from the Internet which, for the well-being of the soul, you would not mind reading less.
We all know that junk food is not conducive to good health. But many of us can hardly resist the enticement of potato chips, candies, desserts and deep-fried food. We finish them all, ending in “three highs” and a good deal of remorse. This is just like excessive web surfing. Although there is a lot of useful information on the Internet, what makes you glued to the mobile phone is usually the virtual space of the social media, celebrity gossips, consumer entertainment information or just aimless “surfing.” All this cause you to waste a lot of time. While medical research has ascertained the harm of oil, salt and sugar to health, a lot of recent research has revealed that excessive web surfing increases the chances of anxiety and pressure, undermines concentration and makes people more prone to self-centeredness.
Junk food is not poison. There is no need to ban it altogether. But we still need to blow the whistle about its problems so that in the interest of good health, we can make a wise choice. As to reading online, how much you read or what you read is entirely your freedom. But from the perspective of spiritual growth, I would propose that you put your effort in the three foundational levels of the Spiritual Health Pyramid. And who knows, you may soon discover that the unmatched lure of the virtual world is just vexation of spirit. May we all stay safe and healthy in body, mind and soul amid the pandemic.