By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Who in their right mind would want to be sent to a toxic island where everyone was a pirate, including the grandmothers, grandsons, and everyone in between? Who would want to be sent to an island where all islanders were liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons? The Island of Crete which my wife and I visited had been a pirate stronghold for over 800 years. While in Crete, we learned about Titus who was just the man for the job. He did not flinch. Titus taught toxic Cretan pirates how to become radically healthy: how to love, how to lay down their lives for another, how to be the faithful husband of but one wife, how to be gentle and patient. He taught the female pirates how to be best friends with their husbands and their children. This is true health. If the wisdom in the 45-sentence book of Titus can revolutionize a pirate island, it can even transform a pirate continent like North America. Signs of our North American toxicity include gun violence and the insanity of the shooters, obesity when there is no shortage of food, and a wealth of communication tools while many are no longer talking any more.
Is it a mere coincidence that the late Steve Jobs defined Apple employees as pirates, even raising a pirate flag with the Apple logo as the pirate eyepatch? It is better, said Jobs, to be a pirate than join the navy. In the 1999 movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, Jobs accused Bill Gates of ripping him off by producing the Microsoft Windows mouse-based graphical user interface. Gates, the wealthiest person on earth, memorably said to his outraged fellow pirate Steve Jobs: “we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.” Ironically Jobs loved to quote Picasso’s comment: “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” So do great pirates.
Titus was a first-century go-getter. He reminds me of my father, Ted Hird, who always gets the job done. At one of my father’s retirements, his company, Microtel, gave him a statue of a horse in memory of my father’s billing the company for a dead horse. Working in Newfoundland for three months with the snowy roads sometimes impassible, my father hired a farmer’s horse to drag the telecommunications equipment up the hill. The microwave tower was finally finished, but the horse died. Titus-like leaders make things happen against impossible odds.
If the toxic Cretan pirates can become healthy, anyone can become healthy, even North Americans. Dr. Brene Brown, whose TED talk has been seen by over sixteen million people, said that we in North America “are the most we are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in (our) history.” In an age of many regrets, Titus is a symbol of hope for healthy leadership in the twenty-first century. With the huge global changes happening, the need for healthy leaders like Titus has never been greater. A key solution to our North American toxicity is rediscovering Titus, the epitome of integrated healthy leadership. Titus planted significantly healthy communities by identifying and training indigenous leaders in every one of the over hundred Cretan cities. The book of Titus gives you the keys to healthy communities, healthy families and healthy lives.
The book of Titus calls us to become whole people – in mind, body, and spirit. That is the theme of my brand new book ‘Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit.’ So often we North Americans are toxically fragmented in areas of our lives. We need the Great Physician to give us a full check-up to determine whether our lives, our marriages and families, our churches and communities are sound and healthy. Many of us are out of balance in our health emphasis, neglecting either the body, the mind or the spirit. Too many good people have bought the lie that they can eat anything they want and not bother to exercise. The Bible says that our health choices have consequences. We reap as we sow. People who neglect their bodies lose the ability to travel cross-culturally as they get older. People who neglect their minds go stale and have nothing worth saying. People who neglect their spirits go shallow and self-absorbed. Healthy leaders embrace their bodies, minds and spirits for Christ’s sake.
My prayer for those reading this article is that we will choose the way of holistic health in every area of our lives.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
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