Words Matter – “Health Discipleship” becomes “Grace Based Wellness”


What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…
– Juliet, from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1600

Perhaps Juliet is right about the rose. Names don’t change the nature of objects or situations, but they can change the way we think about them. In medicine, names often represent diagnoses. To name an illness means to claim an understanding of the situation – what exactly is wrong and, hopefully, how to set it right. But as we’ve covered before, such labels may influence our thinking in ways that are not obvious, for better or for worse.

Like Juliet, people are talkers. The use of language is universal among humans, and the high level at which we use language is unique to humanity. For the most part, we think in, and communicate with, words. And, because the world’s a complicated place, we’ve developed a lot of them. With the right words we can communicate fine shades of meaning, creating just the right message to influence our listeners or readers.

It’s not always that easy. Witness the current presidential campaign with candidates taking great care (some more than others) to choose proper words to explain their positions, only to experience “failure to communicate,” or at least communicate adequately. Seems that, the day after each debate, they’re all back on TV explaining their explanations. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I, too, strive to communicate well. Like the politicians, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. One can always improve. Also, and again like the candidates, sometimes my thinking “evolves” and new words are required to match the new thinking. That’s why I’m changing the name of this blog to “Grace Based Wellness.”*

I still think “Health Discipleship” is a good name, and I’m not repudiating any of my posts under that name, but my thinking is evolving. Based on my current understanding, grace deserves more emphasis than I have previously given it in the process of becoming well as a follower of Jesus. Hence the name change. Just trying to communicate well.

Although the blog’s name is changing, I’m not going to change the main url (healthdiscipleship.com), mainly because I’m not up to the technical challenge of a migration. But it did seem appropriate to use “GraceBasedWellness.com” in communication to new readers, and this site can be reached through that address.

As always, this blog will be where I work out my thinking, and the concept of grace-based wellness is not yet “neatly packaged” in my mind. So please bear with me as I take my time to adjust the “about” pages and write some posts on this specific topic. Feedback is welcome. If you’re interested in influencing my thinking, please leave a comment. Or, if you are an Orlando-area employee of Adventist Health System I will be speaking on Grace Based Wellness at October’s wellness seminar. Please come and share your thoughts.



*For any grammarians – Yes, I know that “Grace Based” should be hyphenated, but, at least for the blog title, I like it better this way.