Self-care: An Ethic of Responsibility

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Batliner, Sheryl
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
Self-care is about understanding our needs and meeting them, it is one of the primary ways we love ourselves, as well as others. The current U.S. health care crisis, at its core, is truly a crisis in self-care--a lack of personal responsibility for individual health. My pastoral project, in fostering responsible self-care, challenges the church--individually and collectively--to assume its proper role for modeling and promoting health and wholeness. Unquestionably, the healthier or more whole we are, the more loving we will be. German sociologist Max Weber’s “ethic of responsibility’’ promotes “a morality of vital involvement”’ and serves well as a challenge to the church’s “historically fostered...ethic of withdrawl and defensiveness in the face of the realities of personal and social life” (Jonsen 548). Weber’s ethic leads me to my premise: to work effectively within the world, we must first love ourselves. Therefore, to assess how effectively we are loving ourselves, I centered my project on the DEAP-R (deeper) model. DEAP (deep) is a mnemonic used by the American Natural Hygiene Society (ANHS) to represent four controllable components of health: Diet, Environment, Activity, and Psychology. I added R--relationship with God--to account for the lacking spiritual component and to make the model truly holistic. My passion for responsible self-care arises from both my personal experience in refining my own diet and lifestyle, and my commitment to authentically respond to the Spirit. Currently, my ministerial aspiration is to develop an outreach ministry as a Lifestyle Consultant.