Faith & Leadership recently interviewed John Wesley scholar Randy Maddox about Wesley’s emphasis on physical health throughout his ministry. “Of all Wesley’s books,” Maddox states, “the one that stayed in print the longest and went through the most editions wasn’t his sermons or hymns. It was ‘Primitive Physick,’ a book on medical advice. It was central to his work” (Randy Maddox: John Wesley says, ‘Take care of yourself’). It would be odd in the 21st century for a clergy person to give medical advice, but not so in the 18th century. Maddox does a great job explaining practical reasons why, but also shares how this practice of caring for the body also grew out of Wesley’s theology.
I am afraid of heights. To anyone who knows me, this is no revelation. As a child I got “stuck” on the top of my neighbor’s jungle gym, paralyzed with fear. As an adult I had a moment where I thought I might be stuck on my own roof. The roof-to-ladder transition, and ladder-to-roof, is terrifying. The scariest rides in an amusement park for me are the ferris wheel and the sky ride. Sometimes I get a tingling sensation looking over the balcony on the second level of the mall. Yes, I have accepted my wimpy-ness.
Normally, this doesn’t come into play in ministry. Most of my work is done on solid ground. Around holidays though, my fear becomes evident. I hand the Christmas decorations up to the people on the ladders. On Friday, as we prepared the sanctuary for Easter, I helped set up chairs while the lead pastor draped the cross (see picture). And on Saturday I helped move the lift from place to place while others went up in it to maintain projectors and change light bulbs. Twenty foot extension ladders and mechanical lifts are not things I can handle without a great deal of fear. There are others to do those things, so I don’t. Well, most of the time I don’t.