, Corbin, KY

November 26, 2012

Dr. Oz and the pursuit of health and happiness

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — TV is dominated by pharmaceutical ads. Although I am rather an infrequent TV viewer, these ads inform me that for every ailment I have or imagine that I have, I can be rescued by some wonder drug; a drug that bears a catchy name that may well have taken as much research as the drug itself.

With all the notoriety and acclaim of Dr. Oz, I arranged twice to watch his enthralling 4 p.m. TV show. His revelation of medical findings and health insights so dramatically demonstrated, greatly impressed me. As a health wizard, a winning personality and an entertainer, Oz convincingly impacts any viewer — including myself. I never heard of OOLONG TEA, but now I’m drinking it. My wife even adds a little ginger, cinnamon and garlic to hers.

One thing nearly overwhelms me after viewing Dr. Oz and the pharmaceutical ads — the endless number of health difficulties that can befall anyone of us; difficulties of which we may have never even heard. Maybe I need to stop enjoying my good health, developing a more somber vigilance of potential occult killers. I’m given the message that a lifestyle more serious and defensive will reward me with endless health (and maybe even endless life?). All this excitement and pursuit of health prescriptions so abundantly displayed on TV, disclose that we will do most anything to stay alive, enjoying health and happiness.

Sitting on the edge of our seats carefully comprehending and pursuing every TV health ad, could become an obsession. Reminded of so many possible health limitations, fear would dominate and preoccupy us. Such fear could impede us from enjoying the present moment — the only segment of life we can live.

Respecting and appreciating the wonderful anatomy our Maker has given each of us, behooves us and morally obliges us to look after our bodily needs.

However we all need to be realistically reminded of our ultimate and unavoidable destiny — death; with a serious daily resolution to make this death experience our greatest — the gate to everlasting life.

May we never lose respect for Dr. Oz and modern medicine. But most of all, may we never lose faith in the author of life, understanding death as the  door to permanent  life; a life available to us after  spending our earthly time loving and serving our Maker and one another.

“To the person who pleases God, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.” [Eccl. 2:26]

The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology. Contact him at