Taking in Context


There is no piece of literature that is taken out of context more frequently than the Bible.  I know I am always amazed when someone takes something I have written out of its proper context and uses it to either confirm something they think or to criticize me.  God is a lot more gracious than I, otherwise there would be a lot more public speakers struck dead mid-sentence and lifeless writers found slumped over their writing instrument.  It is important that we use statements in the context in which the author wrote them.  Anything else is less than honest.  It is especially true when it comes to objective straight chiropractic because the foundation of our approach is based upon honesty, integrity and a presentation of clear thought.  To use things out of context is just plain wrong.  I can usually gain something of value from almost every chiropractic speaker or writer (even if it is nothing more than the basis for a Pivot article).  On occasions, however I have made the mistake of applying something a traditional chiropractor has said to straight chiropractic.  Usually it was because I wanted to apply what was said to my idea of chiropractic.  This might not be entirely fair to him or her. 

Recently, I wrote an article on the subject of testimonials.  They are quite a controversial subject when it comes to non-therapeutic straight chiropractic.  We obviously do not claim to treat or cure medical conditions.  But medical conditions do appear to resolve or be relieved under chiropractic care.  Does that justify a testimonial alluding to that fact?  Here is where proper context is important.  If a testimonial by a practice member discusses getting well from a medical condition, it should be in the proper context.  That context should include an explanation and understanding of the following:

1.  Chiropractic did not get them well, the body got itself well

2.  The body has an inborn healing ability

3.  The person’s or the chiropractor’s objective under care was not to get well by chiropractic but to enable the body to work at a higher level and hopefully heal itself

4.  The person is still continuing care even though the medical problem is gone…and why they should be under continued care. 

If the practice member understands these four points and expresses them one way or another, then you know, and the reader of the testimonial will know, why they were under care and the context of the resolution of their medical problem.  Anything less than the above may be an effective testimonial but it is less than honest objective straight chiropractic.  It runs the risk of misleading the reader into thinking that anyone with a similar condition would get similar results from chiropractic. 

Principles of context are important even for us as chiropractors.  We should try to make an effort to say and write things that have the ability to stand on their own.  That is not always easy and I admit to failing to do that many times.  Still we should make the effort to have every statement, written or verbal, stand by itself and be a clear presentation of a straight chiropractic thought.  Not only will that prevent someone from taking you out of context but it will greatly improve the quality and the clarity of your writing and speaking.v21n1

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