A: Every film has its own unique beginnings. I had done a documentary film on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German theologian, and I was invited to go to Loma Linda, California, to show the film at the University church. My wife and I were there for the weekend, and while we were there they gave us the tour of the Loma Linda medical facility at Loma Linda. We saw the proton accelerator. We met and we spent some time with Dr. Len Bailey, to see the work that he does with infant heart transplants. And I realized all of this together could make for a really wonderful film. What I saw was the juxtaposition between the rather conservative, traditional faith that is Adventism and this 21st-century pioneering medical technology that they’re doing, along with the wellness. For me the combination of those two things made for a really interesting storyline. And that became the basis of the film.
Q: What intrigued you about Adventist health care?
A: For the last several generations medicine - health care - has been really focused on specialization. And that's good. Great things have come out of that. What you’re seeing now the beginning of the 21st century is a new appreciation - a new acceptance of the fact that as human beings we have three components: body, mind and spirit. And that trinity is critical to the understanding of how to treat people. If one of those components is ill or failing then the other two are in jeopardy. If you only treat one of those aspects - the body or the mind or the spirit - then the other two are being neglected, and I think the person really suffers. The Adventists understood that right from the very beginning. Even 150 years ago that was part of the way they wanted to approach health care and medicine. They're not the only faith tradition that does that, but it's served them very well over these 150 years. Approach health care with the basic principle that you treat the whole person: body, mind and spirit.
Q: Has making this film changed you in any way?
A. I've done 25 films now on some aspect of religion, faith or spirituality, and with each film I hope I learn something. With this film, where I couldn’t help but spend all this time in hospitals and wellness centers, how can I not take stock of the life that I’ve been living, and my diet - the way that I’ve been eating? Spending all these months making the film has really just forced me to rethink what I'm doing now in my late fifties and the kind of life that I'm living. I don't smoke. I don't drink except occasionally at a social gathering. But I'm asking myself, “Do you really want to be eating meat any longer? Do you want to think more about a plant-based diet? Shouldn't you be exercising more?” And it's really started to change the way that I approach my own life. I think I owe it to myself, my body. I think I owe it to my family. And I really do believe that my body is on loan from God, and so I think, in the end, taking care of my body is something that I owe back to God.