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Science & Spiritual Awareness Week 2005

Observance Examines Body and Soul
By monét cooper

In talking about this year’s Science and Spiritual Awareness Week, to be held March 27 to April 3, Lawrence E. Carter begins a discourse about meat—chicken of all things—that may best exemplify the error of some of our ways when it comes to doing right by our bodies and souls.

Carter, dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel and professor of religion, tells how he went from 190 pounds to a svelte 140 by eliminating most meats and artificial foods from his diet and eating more fruits and vegetables. He then proceeded to talk about the waste functions of the chicken and other two-legged creatures, which many a fowl-eater may be loathe to hear. Before he could expound further, as some like the taste of chicken and prefer ignorance, he was asked to stop the explanation.

He did and politely said, “Ah, you’re hearing wisdom, but you don’t want it.”

Carter’s point is the prescient thread that runs through Science and Spiritual Awareness Week: the interdependent relationship between spirituality and science.

“Both the scientist and the clergyman are trying to change reflection. The only time you try to change is when you know about yourself,” he said. “If you never relate what
you’re saying to your own ambiguities, then you’ll never connect the dots to change.”

“The Diet of Life: Feasting Upon the Light,” the theme for Science and Spiritual Awareness Week, sponsored by King Chapel, is the umbrella under which the weeklong discussions about spiritual wellness and science will take place.

Robert O. Young, microbiologist, nutritionist and founder of California-based Innerlight Biological Center, will speak at the Thursday, March 31, luncheon about the interconnectedness of health and spirit. Young and his wife, Shelly, also a nutritionist, are the main people Carter credits with helping him to lose weight and to develop a different perspective about his own body and soul.

“I want people to see the relationship between spirituality and health. People say cleanliness is next to Godliness, well so is health,” said Carter about the week that will link science to the spiritual body.

Eight chapel assistants will speak on topics ranging from challenges of interpreting the Bible to how words impact the ways we understand ourselves and the environments in which we live.

Carter will honor T.J. Jemison, a leader of what some historians call the first civil rights bus boycott, with the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award. Jemison led the Baton Rouge, La.-boycott in June of 1953, which he said Martin Luther King Jr. ’48 emulated during the Montgomery bus boycott two years later.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, a bimonthly liberal Jewish magazine, will receive the Ghandi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize for his work to live out the meaning of his magazine’s name: “to heal, repair and transform the world.” Indeed Tikkun’s website calls the publication, “A Jewish Magazine, An Interfaith Movement.”

Carter said the importance of promoting dialogue across faiths and, well, diets is what he wants people to learn when they attend an event during the week.

“Cross disciplinary and interdepartmental teaching provides holistic understanding [so that] students are able to see the interrelatedness of the human experience,” he said.

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