Author: Jocelyn Sarvady

Can faith healing and Western medicine coexist?

Most people greet the concept of “faith healing” with one of two responses. They either need a reminder of what faith healing is, or they say those who believe in faith healing are nut jobs.

For those that don’t know, faith healing is often referred to as “spiritual healing” or the “laying on of hands.” This method is a way of healing the whole body with prayer and positivity, often trying to channel a greater power that Western medicine cannot match. When practiced under a Christian theology, this practice can be traced back to the ideas of connection between the mind, body and spirit and believing that the Bible is against Western medicine. Faith healers see their fate as situated in God’s hands, and humans shouldn’t try to intervene with God’s greater purpose and mission.

Now, I am no expert on faith healing by any means, but I wouldn’t call myself a non-spiritual person either. Sometimes it is comforting to believe that when someone leaves the planet sooner than we would like, there is a reason that makes the loss easier to handle. But I would never go so far as to ignore all the advancements Western medicine has given us since Biblical times. If I were ill, I would want to explore all available options to recover. So if a combination of medication, surgery and a little prayer for good faith is mentally and physically a strong treatment plan, then that is what I would do.

When diving deeper into the topic of faith healing, I discovered that many of my St. Olaf friends can imagine certain situations in which Western treatments, accompanied by spiritual healing methods, could yield positive results. For example, if the person is facing their last days on Earth, sometimes the best “medicine” can come in both a pill and through good faith, which is a pseudo form of healing with faith.

“I think it makes sense if it is helping the person,” Sierra Napoli ’15 said. Napoli also cited laughter, humor and music as alternative resources that can help some people feel better during illness, especially a terminal one. Napoli thinks that faith healing, in a way, doesn’t need to be tied to a certain religion, but can assist those in need of comfort.

Rory Anderson ’15 echoed Napoli’s sentiments.

“I think it can help with emotional support … it’s something to look forward to [if you are on your death bed], but it needs to be in conjunction with professional medicine,” Anderson said.

However, I still have several friends who see little to no benefit in faith healing. Nathan Dickerson ’15, a double major in chemistry and biology, expressed a negative view to the practice.

“Faith healing is fine if the cure you want is to feel happier,” Dickerson said.

Eric Loon ’15, who is a pre-med student, agrees with Dickerson’s general opinion and said, “As a Christian, I believe faith healing is problematic.”

One of my friends, who wished to remain anonymous, provided an argument against faith healing. She said, “I think faith healing has no place in our society today. It uses anecdotal evidence in an attempt to refute scientific proof, and can lead to death and severe complications in patients whose disease is treatable…. Also, I believe that people who support faith healing are the same people who believe vaccinating your children can cause Autism. Both have been scientifically disproven.”

Many professionals in Western medicine don’t promote faith healing. However, I am starting to see how the positivity and easing of stress, often associated with faith healing, that can be achieved with an openness to exploring a spiritual option. Of course, for me, that spiritual practice will go side-by-side with Western medicine.

Jocelyn Sarvady ’15 sarvady@stolaf.edu is from Atlanta, Ga. She majors in American studies and women’s and gender studies.

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Rather Be

I would rather be a ship than love you

Getting tossed throughout the ocean

I would rather be a lion than love you

Fighting for my food and shelter

I would rather be a corporate lawyer than love you

Selling my soul for a five figure paycheck

I would rather be a gravel path than love you

Being stepped on and kicked around

I would rather be unhappy than love you

Because only then would I learn how

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“Minnesota Nice” sacrifices candor for courtesy

My first experience with Minnesota Nice was in the bathroom at Chapati, the Indian restaurant in downtown Northfield. The incident occurred about two weeks into my freshman year, so it was my first time eating a meal off campus in Minnesota.

I was in a bathroom stall when I heard a strange female voice. Someone said, “Oh my goodness, I just love your shoes!” While still in the stall, I snuck a peek outside, assuming I would see two sets of shoes by the sinks. But there was no one there. The only two people in this bathroom were this mystery woman, also in a stall, and me.

I couldn’t believe it. Was she really talking to me? A total stranger in the middle of using the bathroom! I was speechless – and slightly flattered because I was wearing boots that I had been tempted to throw out – but still! The whole incident was creeping me out.

We emerged from the stalls at approximately the time, and she just kept chatting like we were two Northfield ladies out on the town together. I returned to the dining area, excited to see my friend’s reaction to the world’s strangest place to give a compliment I was eating with a girl I knew from Atlanta who now goes to Carleton College. My friend’s reaction did not disappoint: she was even more confused and flustered than I was.

Upon returning to campus, I told multiple girls on my floor this story. The non-Minnesotans were thinking the same thing I was: that this lady was crazy for talking to a stranger in a public restroom. But the Minnesotans’ response to my story was a shrug of the shoulders, saying things like, “Welcome to Minnesota!”

After talking to several Oles, I decided that this encounter was an instance of quintessential Minnesota Nice. Being a person with strong opinions, I find it funny that I still can’t pinpoint exactly what I think of this Midwestern polite-yet-often-distant behavior. Is Minnesota the land of Nice or Ice?

As an Ole and a fan of randomly bugging people, I decided to collect the views of five lovely Oles from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa about Minnesota Nice, as well as how the phenomenon impacts both life on the Hill and how the state is perceived as a whole.

“I think that people feel uncomfortable sharing the struggles that they go through, even with their close friends on campus, because Minnesota Nice makes sharing feelings a taboo … and so many Minnesotans have lots of pent-up negative feelings … If we, as a culture, were more okay with saying, ‘no, I am actually not all right today, please talk to me,’ perhaps this wouldn’t happen as much,” said Julie Anne Franzel ’16.

“I think Minnesota Nice … is much more a stereotype than it is a reality … It’s such a simple, seductive idea that people love to talk about and perpetuate it – which, to be fair, may cause more Minnesotans to feel like they have to live up to the expectation,” said Kelly Martin ’15.

“I like to call it ‘Minnesota passive aggressive.’ Someone does something wrong, a Minnesotan brushes it off and says ‘It’s okay’ and then they continue hating the other person behind their back. I have also heard from others outside Minnesota that they feel like Minnesotans are friendly, but don’t follow through. Here’s a classic example: someone says, ‘We haven’t seen each other in forever, how are you? We should really get together sometime!’ And then it never happens,” said Janna Jansen ’15.

I overhear both guys and girls put on a big fake smile and use that voice – the one that sounds too excited to be truly sincere – in the Caf all the time. While you can sometimes track down these people to make plans, Janna is right more often than not. Usually, you never hear from that person until you randomly bump into them later in the year.

“I think that Minnesota Nice has its advantages and disadvantages, but here is one poignant example of Minnesota Nice that I remember my dad telling me about when I was a little kid: When you are in a store, people who don’t even work there will ask you if you need help finding something if you look lost or confused. And similarly, this Minnesota Nice friendliness to strangers may not be carried over in closer relationships,” said Megan Ecker ’15.

“At its best, I think Minnesota Nice means smiling strangers and neighbors willing to go the extra mile to lend a helping hand. However, sometimes it can cause difficulty among family, friends or coworkers. Maintaining relationships requires being open and honest. Problems arise when people sacrifice openness and honesty for niceness,” said Brianne Power ’15.

I think many Oles would agree that sacrificing honesty for niceness causes more problems than it solves. How many times have you wanted to call a friend out for saying something that truly bothered you, but instead brushed your feeling under the rug? All these Oles show that while Minnesota Nice seems quite fine and good on the surface, a problem arises when people maintain that same basic level of niceness to strangers as they do with their friends and family.

Jocelyn Sarvady ’15 sarvady@stolaf.edu is from Atlanta, Ga. She majors in American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Graphic Credit: ERIN KNADLER/MANITOU MESSENGER

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As the Tide Turns

The massive ship pulls out of the harbor

Dockworkers softly untying the wet rope

There is a sudden burst of the horn

The wives wave good-bye as the children are crying

“Let daddy come back” a frail boy stammers

To him this doesn’t make sense

To him, everything he was ever sure of just became a spindle of thread coming undone

The mother with the hollow eyes carries the young boy home

She sticks the corn over the flames for dinner

Forgetting to remove it until she smells the smoke

The mother keeps wiping down the dining table

Because, if she looks up, her son would see the tears

The boy sneaks back outside seeing if his father’s ship is still in sight

Hoping the ship will turn around so his father can tuck him into bed one last time

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Top summer songs keep us warm this fall

In my unprofessional opinion, this wasn’t the most exciting summer for new music. Unless you are super into soundtracks from films starring Shailene Woodley, hearing about Ariana Grande’s “problems,” or looking as perfect as 5 Seconds of Summer aka the 2014 version of One Direction. But a few gems did creep their way into our hearts during this summer’s commute to work and weekend getaways

Lana Del Rey, “West Coast,” Ultraviolence: While I find Del Rey to be a bit whiny during interviews, I am willing to admit that she has a nice voice and some catchy songs. “Summertime Sadness” seems to be the song that really put Del Rey on the map with the top hit crowd, but her song “West Coast” is what drove me to reevaluate my previous impression of her as an artist. This song isn’t the typical Billboard Top 100, probably due to its indie coffee house beat that makes it hard to dance to. I find that aspect charming because I believe it shows that Del Rey wasn’t trying to create a top radio tune.

Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, “Latch,” Settle: While the music video isn’t one of my favorites spoiler alert: it is just a bunch of hipsters partying and hooking up the song should be on every dance floor playlist of 2014. I also need to give a shout-out to any band of brothers that were “discovered” from posting videos on MySpace from their hometown of Surrey, England. I like reading the stories of bands that start off with nothing. Disclosure was literally giving its first EP away for free so people would give the band a listen. Now they are signed to a label under Interscope, so let’s cross our fingers that they don’t sell out and lose their original sound.

Broods, “Bridges” and “Mother and Father,” two singles from the upcoming album Evergreen expected to drop Oct. 7: You probably haven’t heard of them because they just made their U.S. debut this summer, but, trust me, they are worth a listen. I heard the group play in New York and, while the performers’ stage presence lacks imagination, their sound is the real deal.

Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, “Rather Be,” New Eye: Up until last week I was listening to this song on the radio and could have sworn the vocalist was Adele. So, if you haven’t heard the song, give it a listen and stop me in the hall to say whether or not singer Jess Gylenne sounds like Adele in a pop-techno phase. This song gives us a new band, Clean Bandit, to keep an eye out for.

EchoSmith, “Cool Kids,” Talking Dream: There is not a ton to say about “Cool Kids” because it is becoming a bit overplayed, but it is a solid song to dance to in the car as long as you keep both hands on the wheel. This really is a must for a Friday night dance party/ Saturday workout playlist.

Sia, “Chandelier,” 1000 Forms of Fear: Sia’s sound has really evolved since her mellow track “Breathe Me” broke the Billboard charts in 2004. At first I thought she had reinvented herself to appeal to a more commercial audience, but then my dad, who has the music taste of a 24-year-old British new wave punk, told me about the traumatic death of her long-time partner and battle with depression. With so much sadness in her life, it makes sense that her music would transform. I was so happy to read that Sia just got married. So who knows, maybe in a year we will see Sia sporting a whole new sound.

Sun Kil Moon, “Ben’s my Friend”, Benji: While this album came out in February 2014 I felt the need to claim it as a song of the summer because it was the number one song of my summer. This is a fantastic song to quote because it tells the story of a summer day that ends with Mark Kozelek, the band’s front-man, going to a Postal Service concert. The “Ben” referred to in the title is Ben Gibbard, the front-man for both the Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie. With the song’s witty lyrics and stellar saxophone solo, I promise you will have this tune stuck in your head for days.

sarvady@stolaf.edu

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