AUGUST 2014 Vol 34 Issue 2 FOCUS faith and practice - a Christian Medical and Dental Society publication Practitioner & covenant Practitioner as witness Practitioner as priest as witness Practitioner
August 2014Vol 34 Issue 2
FOCUSfaith and practice - a Christian Medical and Dental Society publication
Practitioner & covenant
When people look at you, what kind of person do they see?
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Editor-in-ChiEfLarry Worthen, Dartmouth NS
foCUS MAGAZinE iS PUBLiShEd BYChristian Medical and Dental Society of Canada
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ProdUCtion And dESiGnMegan Kamei, Winnipeg, MB
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InsideFOCUSIN EVERY ISSUE
04 Editorial Larry Worthen
16 Point/Counterpoint Dr. John Patrick, Dr. Dan Reilly
31 The Last Word Larry Worthen
05 The Challenge of First-World Re-Evangelization Dr. Charles Ringma
09 Five Ways that 1 Peter Challenges our Stereotypes about Apologetics
22 Breaking out of our Canadian Christian Parallel Universe Syndrome
26 The Physicians Conscience Mary Anne Waldron
08 Board changes at the Annual Meeting
12 Grace Prescriptions Dr. Gene Rudd
14 Leadership and Service Awards Larry Worthen
18 Love One Another: The Importance of Christian Love in Healthcare
Dr. Thomas Bouchard & Dr. Suzanne Sawyer
19 Satisfied with Good Things: One Couples Missionary Witness
Dr. Nancy Wood
30 Dont Proselytize Patients: Following Christ by Obeying CPSO Policy
Dr. Dan Reilly
Practitioner as witness
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ
may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15,16 (NIV)
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EditorialWe Have Seen the Lord! Larry Worthen
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: I have seen the Lord! And she told them that He had said these things to her . . . Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord! ( Jn 20:18, 24-25 NIV).
Witness. Simply put it means to tell someone what we have seen. The earliest witnesses to the resurrection were the people who were closest to the Lord. They simply shared what happened to them through their encounter with Christ. They were never the same again. Their changed lives became a testimony to the power of He whom they had met.
The many people who were kind enough to contribute to this months issue seem to have encountered Christ as well. You can tell by how their lives and attitudes have been affected. Professor Charles Ringma has the courage to believe that the developed world can be re-evangelized. Krish Kandiah, fresh from our national conference in Barrie, ON this past May, found some time to share with us some lessons he has learned about how to evangelize in the post modern world. Dr. Gene Rudd and our colleagues at CMDA in the United States have developed a new program called Grace Prescriptions designed to help the average Christian practitioner witness to the good news of Christ with their patients. Our 2014 Leadership award winners, Terry and Sheila Harding have invited students to their home on a regular basis for the last umpteen years to help the students integrate their faith in Christ with professional practice. Our Service award winner, Dr. Sherif and his wife Mary-Lou Hanna have headed to Menouf, Egypt in their retirement years so they can improve the quality of surgical training in that country and the quality of life of other residents. Sherif never thought he would go back after leaving his homeland as a young man. Drs. Philip and Nancy Wood have spent a lifetime serving the medical needs of the poor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. David Macfarlane challenges all of us to venture out of our safe Christian enclave to testify to Christ in a culture that does not know him, as he has clearly
done. Professor Mary Anne Glendon, QC of the University of Victoria Law School feels that conscience rights are worth fighting for because Christian practitioners are on the side of justice. Even Drs. John Patrick and Dan Reilly, still managing to disagree with each other while at the same time staying within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy, have clearly seen the Lord. (Perhaps John saw Him at the cleansing of the temple, and Dan saw Him forgiving the woman caught in adultery, but it is the same person - really).
None of this months contributors seems to have gotten the memo that Christianity must give way to secularism because our defeat is inevitable. In fact, the opposite seems to be true, the battle against principalities and powers seems to be just heating up.
I have a wonderful vantage point on all of the action because of this fantastic job you have given me the honour of holding. This months issue of Focus is designed to give you a ring side seat as the battle rages so you can see two things 1. that we are far from giving up, and 2. that losing any of these modern skirmishes is not inevitable. The result depends more than anything else on our ability to continue to follow Christs call into battle, rely on His grace to overcome our weakness, and provide the world with the desperately needed witness to Christ, His love and His truth.
As you read this issue, consider Pauls letter of encouragement to the Hebrews.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb 12:1-3)
Take heart, we have overcome the world through Him who has loved us.
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The Challenge of First-World Re-EvangelizationDr. CharLes ringma
The world of global Christianity has changed radically. In the 1800s 80% of all Christians were Westerners. Today 70% of all Christians belong to what we call the majority world (a term that has replaced Third World, or least developed countries -Ed.). And not only have we become the minority, but the church in the West is not doing all that well. The famous missiologist, Lesslie Newbigin, has called it the most culturally captive church in the history of Christianity. While this may be hard to prove, what is fairly clear is that the church in the West is in decline, that it is marked by consumer Christianity, that it is grossly divided with some 30,000 denominations (many are single standing churches), that it lacks depth in theological and biblical formation, that its spirituality is shallow, and that the commitment to the church is minimalistic average church attendance of committed members is now down to once every three to four weeks. And, as we all know, many of our Christian friends no longer attend church at all.
In a longer article, it would be appropriate to ask the question: how did it come to this? And in answering we would have to look at several hundred years of the Enlightenment project, the embrace of rationality and science as the only way to come to wisdom and understanding, the de-enchantment of the modern world, the impact of liberal theology, the weaknesses of conservative Christianity, and
the proclamation of a culturally convenient Christianity that lacks theological rigor, formation in the faith, a spirituality that draws from deep wells, the cost of discipleship, and a vision for societal transformation. But this is not the place to pursue this further.
What I wish to do is to look for signs of hope and to help us move forward. We need to ask: what might be the shape of re-evangelization of the West?
NO PlACE FOR NOSTAlGIAIn seeking to chart a way forward, it is not helpful for us to look back to a time when the church was a more powerful institution in society and long for a return to the good old days. The church of Christendom when Westerners were predominately Christians and societys institutions were shaped by Christian values, has long gone. Not only is the church a more marginal institution but our multi-cultural and multi-religious world has relativized the Christian faith in the public arena. We are no longer the only show in town.
It is also not all that helpful to think that some sort of revival or renewal will bring us back to a place of strength and respectability. The Jesus Movement of the late sixties soon ran out of steam and the charismatic renewal movement in mainline churches in the 1970s has not been able to stem the tide of the weakening of the church.
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This, of course, is not to say that we should not look back for inspiration and encouragement. We should look back to New Testament faith and life. We can learn from the church of the martyrs. We can gain inspiration from the Desert fathers and mothers, from renewal movements such as the Franciscans, from the Reformation and from the Wesleyan revivals. But we cant recapture these movements of hope. They can only be signposts for us. We have to walk our own road in this difficult time. The Latin American proverb is appropriate: make your road by walking it. And if there is any challenge facing the church in the West it is that we have to live our faith in the personal and public domains of life. The genius of Franciscan spirituality was to live the Gospel.
NO PlACE FOR FUTURE ESCAPISMWhenever there have been major changes in society either through social upheaval, tragedy, cultural or economic change and the church has felt overwhelmed, there has emerged the impulse to escape. One form of escape has been to put life on hold for the second coming of Christ. Another, has been to batten down the hatches and to hide from the so-called big, bad world.
While we cant recapture the past, we cant pull the future into the present either. We are people who are called to live the in-between. We live between the first and second coming of Christ. We live in the present but not yet fully present Reign of God. We are as one missiologist states, too late for this world and too early for heaven.
We, therefore, are called to embrace the sojourner or pilgrim status of our existence as Christians. We have come home to the heart of God through Christ in the power of the Spirit. We have been invited into the communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But we are still on the road. That road is the call for on-going conversion, to grow into the stature of Christ, to live the imitatio Christi, to live the faith in our churches but also in our neighborhoods and places of work and especially in the neglected, broken and wounded places of our society.
NO PlACE FOR EASY ANSwERSJust as many people in our post-modern world are no longer all that confident about our ability to make and shape a better world, especially in the light of global population growth, natures
degradation, questions about the integrity of our major institutions, globalization, and global warming, so Christians at this point in history are not all that sure about the way forward regarding the churchs re-vitalization.
While there are the experiments in the West with emerging church, missional church, the church in the pub, new friar movements and the new monasticism, just to mention a few, no one is really sure about a clear way forward.
We are in many ways in an intermediate zone, in an in-between place. Christendom lies behind us. We are not sure what lies in front of us. For many, this is a difficult place to be.
Yet maybe this is good place for us. Victor Turner calls such as place a liminal space. This is the place of the pain of the death of the old and the uncertainty and hope of the emergence of the new. This is a place that Jacques Ellul calls hope in time of abandonment.
The reason why I believe this to be a good place is because it can strip us of some of our illusions. And as Westerners we have many of those. The greatest of these is that we have long thought that the Kingdom of God is our project. And following on its heels is
our preoccupation with religious methodologies whether that has been our evangelistic strategies or our church growth projects. We have long worked on behalf of God and not with God. Our poor God has needed us to help fix things. As a consequence, it is not simply the secular Western world which has relegated God to the sidelines, so have we
as Christians. We have lost all sense of the Lordship of God and of Gods sovereignty. Having lost an appropriate posture before God, all of our other relationships, in the words of Karl Barth, have gone out of kilter. And a life of prayer marked by a humility that seeks the heart of God has certainly gone out of the window.
RECOVERING ThE GRAND NARRATIVEThe well-known Gandhian saying be the change you want to see is appropriate as we look towards a re-vitalization of Western Christianity. And one of the ways forward is to recover the grand narrative of the biblical story. Not only are most Christians in the West biblically and theologically illiterate, but most have bought into another grand narrative. Francis Fukuyama has called this replacement the narrative of Western economic and democratic power. We have believed in our own ability to make and change the world and have assumed that the more powerful we become the more effective we will be.
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This is not to say that we should not be responsible stewards in our world or make major contributions in every sphere of life, but we have the wrong narrative. The biblical narrative has a very different theme to that of Western pragmatism and utilitarianism. Kraybill is right when he speaks of the upside down nature of the Kingdom of God. And Brueggemann in his The Prophetic Imagination suggests that we should not follow the way of royal consciousness and power but the way of the prophets in seeking the shalom and justice and mercy of God.
The grand narrative of the Bible with its theme of the goodness of creation, the tragedy of the fall, and the grace of the new creation in Christ, calls us to a way of life not based on power over but power for. It reminds us that reconciliation, healing and forgiveness is a way of life, not exploitation, marginalization and oppression.
Having come home to the grace of God in Christ, we are called to come home to each other and to the world we inhabit. Homecoming involves Christification. This means Christ taking form in us, living in the way of Christ, and giving birth to Christ anew in lives of others and in the places we inhabit and where we work. Thus the grand narrative of scripture is the Christification of our world.
OVERCOMING DUAlISMOur world has long been plagued with social stratification the powerful and the neglected. And the Christian church has long been infected by another form of stratification the saint and the sinner, the monk and the ordinary Christian, the clergy and the laity, the missionary and the person working at the stock exchange.
If the church in the West is to recover it will need to rediscover and practice the vision of the whole people of God. It will need to find a new sense of community and common participation. As such, a new form of church will need to come into being. The church will need to become a sisterhood / brotherhood in the following of Christ. In terms of Benedictine spirituality it will have to become a school of learning in the way of Christ. And in the words of Bonhoeffer the church is Christ taking form in our world.
Our present day church looks nothing like this. For the enthusiastic, it has become the place of entertainment. For the majority, it is the place of the psychological pep talk. For others, it is a liturgical re-enactment. And for all of us, it is the duty to get our spiritual boost.
Not only does dualism in the church need to be overcome, but other forms of dualism need to be rejected as well. One form is the erroneous doctrine of the two kingdoms. Simply stated: Christ has relevance only for our personal spirituality, but not for our work-a-day world. In the latter, we are to conform to what is asked of us in the public dimensions of life. This clearly relegates Christianity to the private sphere. But the biblical narrative applies to every aspect of life. In the words of Wolterstroff: we need to recover a world-formative Christianity.
lEARNING TO SING ThE SONGS OF lAMENTThis is no easy time for us in the Western church. There are no neat answers. And importantly, we need to be careful with easy solutions. It is easy in a time such as this to go down all sorts of rabbit trails.
But this is a time for us to grieve. Maybe, by way of metaphor we can see ourselves in Babylonian captivity like the Old Testament people of God. Or like the Desert Fathers and Mothers in the 3rd and 4th centuries of the Christian era, we can see ourselves in the desert needing to pray for the renewal of our lives, our church and world.
But whatever images work for us, it is appropriate that we learn how to sing the Lords song in an alien land. And in this time of a corporate dark night of the soul, we need to cry out to God about our sense of loss, uncertainty, abandonment, and lack of consolation. Here the Psalms can be a model for us. And who knows how long we will need to grieve and cry?
DRINkING FROM DEEP wEllSIf there is anything that we have done to weaken the church in the West, it has been the encouragement of an easy believism. The church has not formed its members in the way of Christ. Superficiality has been our key characteristic. Unlike the church in the early centuries of Christianity where seekers had a year of catechesis, then professed their faith, were baptized in water, experienced exorcism, received the infilling of the Spirit and were anointed with healing oil, in the West one simply raises ones hand at an evangelistic event. Little wonder that Christ for many is merely a tuck-on.
Thus it time for us to go deeper. We need to indwell the biblical story. We need understand the faith of the church. We need to be formed in the spiritual disciplines and begin to live a life of prayer.
There are many who are seeking to make Benedictine or Franciscan spirituality intrinsic to their daily lives as farmers, doctors, parents, or motor mechanics. There are many who, like the monks of old, are seeking to set time aside to be with God three or four times a day. Many are exploring Celtic spirituality. Others are taking a second look at the Anabaptist and Wesleyan tradition. And others again are discovering that Calvin had a more profound understanding of living the Christian life than later Reformed orthodoxy.
This is not the time to become shallower but to go deeper. And what does this have to do with first-world re-evangelization? Everything. We are to be, in a small way, a second incarnation of Christ. We are the bearers of good news and our biggest challenge is to begin to live this good news in every sphere of our lives.
Dr. Charles Ringma is a theologian and activist, and is a Professor Emeritus at Regent College where he teaches a course on first-world re-evangelization. His latest book Hear the Ancient Wisdom: A Meditational Reader for the Whole Year from the Early Church Fathers up to the Pre-Reformation was published in 2013 by Wipf and Stock Publishers.
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Board changes at the Annual MeetingDR. ElMER ThIESSEN COMPlETES TERM AS CMDS CANADA PRESIDENT Dr. Elmer Thiessen stepped down at the end of his two-year term as national Board President at the National meeting at Horseshoe Valley, ON in early May. Larry Worthen publicly thanked Elmer for his support, encouragement and wise counsel during Larrys first two years as Executive Director. Elmer took time away from his busy practice to introduce our new Executive Director to the Chapter leaders throughout the western region in 2012. Dr. Thiessen has also served for several years as Canadas representative on the International Christian Medical and Dental Association board. He has been a dedicated supporter of the work of CMDS Canada since his days as a dental student at the University of Alberta. He has recently sold his dental practice in Williams Lake, BC and will be retiring from dentistry later this year. While he plans to continue his role on both the CMDS and ICMDA Boards, he also hopes to spend more time with his wife Shirley, his 6 children and 18 grandchildren. All of CMDS Canada sincerely thanks Elmer for his substantial contribution and wishes both he and Shirley all of Gods richest blessings on his retirement.
Dr. Elmer and Shirley Thiessen
DR. DIANE hAAk ElECTED CMDS CANADA PRESIDENT The members of CMDS Canada unanimously elected Dr. Diane Haak as Board President for a two-year term at the
recent annual meeting. Dr. Haak is currently Chief of Anesthesiology at the Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Orillia, ON. She has been practicing medicine since 2002, and has been a member of the Board of Directors for two years. She is married to Clarence, who is a frequent attender at CMDS gatherings and they have three children. Diane attended the Christian Medical and Dental Associations Media Training Course in Bristol, TN in 2013. CMDS Canada is truly grateful for Dianes leadership and look forward to her contribution in the coming years .
Dr. Diane and Clarence Haak
NEw MEMbERS NEEDED FOR CMDS CANADA NATIONAl bOARD There are currently several vacancies on the National Board for Members at large and for the position of President elect. If you have an interest in putting your name forward, or recommending a fellow member for this service opportunity, please contact Dr. Dan Reilly, Past Chair at [email protected] The Board plays an essential stewardship and accountability role in ensuring that the organizations vision and direction represents the will of God and the aspirations of the membership. Annual time commitment includes attendance at two meetings a year plus involvement in policy decisions via email from time to time. Fresh perspectives are always welcome! Please pray that the Lord will send us people to fulfill this important role.
ChANGES IN CMDS CANADA NATIONAl bOARD
Dr. Robert Patton has decided to step down from the board of Directors after serving 40 years in that capacity. Bob is a pediatric dentist practicing in Vancouver BC who has also served many years as Chapter President. Bob will be looking forward to spending more time with his wife Emily, his two children and two grandchildren.
Dr. Breel Nickel Davis is a family physician in Campbell River, BC who is stepping down from the Board after four years of service. Breel and her husband have one child and are expecting a second in the near future. Impending family responsibilities were cited as the reason for her resignation.
Paul Crocker is graduating this year from Memorial University School of Medicine in St. Johns, NL and as a result will be ending his time of service on the Board as student representative. We really appreciate Paul sharing his time and talent with us during this challenging phase of his studies, and wish him all the best in his future career.
Dr. Corina Gottschling is the new dental representative on the National Board. Corina practices dentistry in Kitimat, BC with her husband of 20 years, Dr. Dave Stephenson. Corina is a second generation CMDS Canada member. She tells us that her dad, Dr. Gerd Gottschling, also a dentist, first hired her at the age of 11 to be his janitor. By the age of 22, she had graduated from University of Alberta dental school, and went to practice with her father. She has served on two Boards, the BC Dental Association (BCDA) and Kitimat First Baptist Church (KFBC). Corina and Dave have a passion for practice management using Christian principles.
We welcome our new Board member and sincerely thank those who are stepping down from the Board for their significant contributions.
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Five Ways that 1 Peter Challenges our Stereotypes about ApologeticsKrish KanDiah
Most Christians I know are scared to death of evangelism. The fear for many of my friends is that someone is going to ask them a question that they wont know the answer to. Thats where Christian apologists come in we may imagine them to be the brilliant philosophical gladiators that we can call in to debate on our behalf and defeat the arguments of the militant atheists or hard-nosed sceptics or at least take them down a notch or two. If there is one go-to proof text for the role of these intellectual champions then it is 1 Peter 3:15.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
What does it really say or not say? Let us take a closer look at this passage in its context to allow its true message to challenge and provoke us into reconsidering a more biblical approach to apologetics and evangelism.
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1. ITS NOT AbOUT hAVING A bRAIN ThE SIZE OF A PlANETIn the circles in which I grew up, Christian apologists were the kind of people who were introduced at conferences as a man (and they usually were men) who had a brain the size of a planet. No comment was ever made about any other aspect of this persons body or life. The brain was elevated as the dominant organ for effective apologetics. But the Bible in general, and Peters first epistle in particular, know nothing of this kind of elevation of the brain, which can be incredibly disempowering for most Christians who do not claim to have a similarly proportioned cerebral cortex. Indeed in this very chapter, which begins with Peter specifically addressing women, Peter has also spoken about tongues, lips, eyes, ears, and face not to mention challenging readers about the beauty of the inner spirit, good behaviour, a clean conscience and a compassionate and humble nature. His ancient readers would have included slaves, women, believers in mixed marriages and those trained in practical professions who would all have been in all probability illiterate, without anything like the philosophical, academic or theological training that the card-carrying apologists of my youth claimed. Peters injunction to always be prepared to give a reason (apologia) for the hope you have is therefore unlikely to have meant a formal apologetic as seen in most of the apologetics courses that I have seen offered in seminaries or books that bear that title. Peters challenge here is not to eloquent academic champions, but to all Christians simply to be prepared to talk about why and how they trust in Jesus the returning King. This could involve recounting their understanding of the Gospel accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus or witnessing to the love and care they had received from Christians or simply recounting their personal experience of God.
2. ITS NOT AbOUT wINNING AN ARGUMENTJohn Stackhouse once wrote about his experience of going to an apologetics event where a mighty champion of the faith was brought in to his university to annihilate the objections put forward by non-believers. As he listened in to the conversation of some people leaving the auditorium after an emphatic win to the Christian Apologetics Gladiator, he heard someone say: I dont care if he won - I still hate him.1 This listener had felt that the speaker had manipulated the arguments and humiliated his opponents, and so although he may have won the debate he lost the audience. When we share or defend our faith winning the argument is not the final goal. Our aim rather is to honour God. Peter expects his readers to be living Christ-like lives of love and service for those around them. He calls us too to have a lifestyle marked by courage and compassion (see 1 Pet 2:12
1 See Stackhouse, J., (2006) Humble Apologetics, Oxford University Press
and 1 Pet 3:13-14). Our uncommon lives, hopes and aspirations will not only provoke people to ask questions of our faith, but it will prove and corroborate what we say when we are defending our faith. The respect and honour we show even the most hostile of enquirers is part of our worship of God, and winning the listener for Him is more important than winning any argument.
3. ITS NOT AbOUT jUST whAT YOU SAYThe Canadian philosopher of communication theory Marshall McLuhans best-known axiom was that the media is the message. In other words, the form of our communication impacts the content of our communication. He once declared, The content of the message of any particular medium has about as much importance as the stencilling on the case of an atomic bomb.2 Peter seems to feel similarly about the tone of our verbal communication when it comes to sharing and explaining and defending our faith: ...do this with gentleness and respect (vs. 16). I have sadly seen many present an apologetic for the Gospel of peace with an aggressive argument and dismissive tone, and heard others talk about the forgiveness and grace of God whilst point-scoring arguments.
Peter, as we might imagine, seems to be acutely aware of the temptation to speak in an aggressive and combative manner. Instead when handling the powerful truths of the Gospel, he calls gentleness to be our dominant tone. As Proverbs 15:1 states: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
I recently came across a book called Tactics: a game plan for discussing your Christian Convictions which aimed to teach how to navigate in conversation so that you stay in control I am going to introduce you to a handful of effective maneuvers I call them tactics that will help you stay in control.3 I was uncomfortable with the implicit assumption that other people are objects to be controlled and maneuvered. The book continues to teach its readers the need to employ a military strategy or gamesmanship to keep the upper hand in a conversation with people who dont share our faith. This does not sound like the kind of respect for human dignity that Peter encourages to be normative for the way in which we relate to nonbelievers. Rather, as the apostle Paul said, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyones conscience in the sight of God (2 Cor 4).
Fundamental to our apologetics then seems to be an open and honest and gentle approach to sharing our personal experiences and
2 Cited in Hipps, S., (2009)Flickering Pixels, Zondervan, p. 26 McLuhan, E., & Zingrone, F. (eds.), (1995) Essential McLuhan, Basic Books, p.238
3 Koukl, G., (2009) TACTICS: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, Zondervan, p.20
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the reasons that led us to faith. Practically this may mean that we admit when questions arise we do not know the answers to. It may mean that we recognize when those we are witnessing to are ready to change the topic of conversation. It may mean that we openly invite our friends to church, without the need for any preamble or pressure.
4. ITS NOT AbOUT YOUThe context of this passage on Christian witness is the prior decision of a believer to in your hearts revere Christ as Lord (1 Pet 3:15). This decision to honor Christ as Lord means that He comes first, even if, in extreme circumstances, Christians need to choose between faith and work, or Christian ethics and government. A Christian should be eager to do good even if that good is rejected or contested by the employer or the state. But this statement also implies another aspect of Christian witness. The motivation for a Christian to witness to Christ is the worship or reverence of Christ, and to see Him acknowledged and recognized as Lord. This means we cannot be motivated by the desire that others speak well of us, that we gain the applause of an audience or even the appreciation of a patient. Ultimately it is Christ we are seeking to please. This is true for our spoken witness to Christ as well as the social justice part of our mission. Peter explains that our acts of compassion are to be visible to a watching world so they may see your good deeds and glorify God. Just as our words of witness are to draw people to worship God not to show off our intellectual prowess, so our acts of kindness and mercy are to help others appreciate Gods love and not to win us a nomination for a local hero award. This can help us if we are timid in offering words of witness or if we are bombastic in our witness. However articulate or nervous or self-conscious, however generous or people pleasing, we need to remind ourselves often that witnessing is not primarily about us but is rather about the reputation of Jesus.
5. ITS NOT PERSONAlThere is a lot at stake when we seek to share our faith in any context but especially at work. As we have seen we must be careful not to abuse a position of power but we must also not abdicate our responsibility to witness for Christ. In Peters day there was a lot at stake for the ordinary people that Peter was challenging to give a reason for the hope that they had. By the time this letter was written it was unlikely that the full-blown persecution of cruel emperor Nero had come to believers. If it had, it would be unlikely that Peter would highlight the verbal abuse that believers would receive.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted
because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you (1 Pet 4:12-14).
Peter also reminds his readers of the insults that were hurled at Jesus on the cross. For us, just as for those first recipients of Peters epistle, witnessing for Christ could result in a fiery ordeal. We could face insults, censure or ostracism. Peter challenges all of us to be willing to face this kind of opposition. It is one of the indicators that we have a hope that is different to the materialism and consumerism of the world around us.
As I write this article the world is watching as a 27-year-old mum courageously refuse to renounce her faith in Christ in Sudan. Despite having to give birth in chains, being separated from her other young child and facing death by hanging, this young woman has demonstrated a hope in Christ that demands an explanation. Her provocative life of faith is a living apologetic of the truth of the Gospel and the trustworthiness and majesty of Christ. We pray that Meriam Ibrahim would escape the death penalty and be released from captivity in Sudan but we also thank God for the witness of a life well lived for God and ask for His help that we might live such courageous and faithful lives of witness.
Dr Krish Kandiah is Executive Director: Churches in Mission, Evangelical Alliance UK. Krish and his wife Miriam are birth parents, adoptive parents and foster carers. Krish leads the UK based Home for Good campaign www.homeforgood.org.uk . He blogs regularly at www.krishk.com and can be found on twitter @krishk . He was the plenary speaker at the last CMDS national conference.
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Grace PrescriptionsDr. gene ruDD
In his book Whats So Amazing About Grace?, Phillip Yancey tells a story from the life of C.S. Lewis. Lewis arrived late to a British conference on comparative religions. The scholars were debating what tenets were unique to the Christian faith what doctrines separate our faith from other religions. They ruled out incarnation since some religions also claim a god came in human form. Resurrection? No, other faiths provide accounts of people returning from the grave. When Lewis entered the room, he asked what the lively debate was about. When the question of the uniqueness of our faith was posed to Lewis, he responded promptly, Oh, that is easy. Its grace.1
While those of us who experience Gods grace know it is amazing, are we careful to share that blessing with others? I suspect we all have stories that make us cringe. I was
1 Philip Yancey, Whats So Amazing About Grace?, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 45.
in the airport of another country when a Christian mission team came to the same gate. They were zealots, but lacking in grace. Their boisterous, attention-seeking behavior was a turn-off for all, including me as a fellow believer. When I struck up a conversation with the team leader, I suggested that an essential part of being a witness was to be winsome and tasty to those around us. In a loud voice, loud enough to hear across the terminal, he responded, Yes, praise God, were sprinkling salt wherever we go. Hardly!
In my work at CMDA, Ive received numerous calls from healthcare professionals who feel persecuted because of their Christian witness. Their employer, hospital committee or dean has reproached them for sharing their faith. While some are clear cases of persecution, sadly, most are the result of irresponsible, inconsiderate or insensitive behavior by the person providing a witness.
I recall my own early years learning to be a witness to my patients. My motivation to witness followed a dreadful pattern. It began with a growing guilt over my neglect and ended when I unloaded a whole truckload of salt on the next patient, whether they were ready or willing. Maybe you have done something similar. Or maybe you are at the other end of the spectrum: your witness of
Christ is never apparent to anyone.There must be a better way a way in
which healthcare professionals can fulfill the expectations of Scripture that we be ambassadors for Christ, ambassadors who are neither too zealous or too quiet, but who are properly seasoned with salt (Colo 4:6). That better way Gods way follows the way of grace. To teach this better way, Christian Medical & Dental Associations developed a curriculum entitled Grace Prescriptions.
Grace Prescriptions teaches busy healthcare professionals how to effectively and ethically share their faith. The content was developed by Walt Larimore, MD, and William C. Peel, ThM, both authors and popular speakers on topics of faith, health and the workplace. Included in their many publications are Saline Solution and Workplace Grace.
Grace Prescriptions is scheduled for release as a DVD small-group curriculum beginning in the summer of 2014. It will also be offered in a weekend seminar format to live audiences. (See sidebar for more information.) Eventually, others will be trained how to share the content.
The content is divided in 14 modules, with each module following a similar pattern. At the beginning of each module, the audience is introduced to a case study that illustrates common dilemmas experienced in healthcare. Research and experience show that most of us feel woefully inadequate knowing how to deal with these situations. Our response is typically
While some are clear cases of persecution, sadly, most are the result of irresponsible, inconsiderate or insensitive behavior by the person providing a witness.
Grace Prescriptions teaches busy healthcare professionals how to effectively and ethically share their faith.
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to ignore the opportunity rather than to prescribe grace. The curriculum helps you recognize these opportunities and respond. Then the last step in each module provides a personal exercise or small group discussion to reinforce what was learned.
Surveys of Christian healthcare professionals reveal that their number one concern in being a witness is how to deal with the problem of time. How can they manage a busy schedule while stopping to witness? It is possible, and Grace Prescriptions will show you how. One key is learning that you are only one step in a process that God is orchestrating in the life of your patient. In most situations,
our job is simply to help them take one step closer to knowledge of Christ, usually by softening the ground so seeds can be planted. The course will teach you how to recognize spiritual barriers and how to respond to them. And in those occasions when the time is right and the patient is willing, the course will give you competence in sharing your faith.
Since scientific research has become the gospel of our culture, three modules review what the medical literature contains about faith and health, as well as the ethics of healthcare professionals addressing the spiritual concerns of our patients. You will discover overwhelming support for appropriate spiritual intervention. When done with respect, sensitivity and permission, patients are highly receptive and appreciative. Other modules also cite the literature as a basis for initiating and defending our actions. You will be taught how
to take a spiritual history, raise faith flags, build a spiritual support network and much more. And importantly, you will gain the confidence that you can be an effective witness, and do so within the proper boundaries of healthcare.
Grace, Gods unmerited favor, is a means by which God has made Himself known to us. His character, goodness and offer of salvation are revealed to us by grace. We are called to do likewise. We can and should be prescribers of grace. You can learn more through Grace Prescriptions.
Gene Rudd, MD, serves as Senior Vice President of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, in the United States. Gene is a specialist in obstetrics/gynecology with experience in maternal-fetal medicine and rural healthcare. He has garnered several awards including the Gorgas Medal, presented by the U.S. government for the most significant achievements in preventive medicine. Gene has received national media coverage, including interviews with the Washington Post and People Magazine. He has also conducted international programs with World Medical Mission, where he established the Christian Medical Mission of Russia. He directed the rehabilitation of the Central Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. Gene has also served in Belarus, Bosnia, Kazakhstan and India. He is co-author of Practice by the Book. He and his wife Gay have four children.
During the development of Grace Prescriptions, two conferences were held to beta test the material and presentation. Here are com-ments from these audiences:
I love it. Very practical. Awesome. So practical and easy to do. Challenging, convicting,
encouraging. I was very encouraged. Excited to go back and put what I
have learned into practice. This has truly changed my life!
Opportunities to learn Grace Prescriptions: Live Seminars with co-authors
Walt Larimore, MD and William C. Peel, ThM September 12-13, 2014:
Calvary Church, Naperville, Illinois (Chicago area)
November 14-15, 2014: Cedar Mill Bible Church, Beaverton, Oregon (Portland area)
Video Curriculum: www.cmda.org/graceprescriptions
When done with respect, sensitivity and permission, patients are highly receptive and appreciative.
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Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada 2014 Awards Presentation, Saturday, May 3, 2014 Horseshoe Valley Resort, Barrie, ON
DISTINGUIShED ChRISTIAN lEADERShIP AwARD
Sheila and Terry Harding, Saskatoon, SK In recognition of a lifetime of exemplary Christian leadership by providing academic, professional and spiritual guidance and support for students both at medical school and over a meal at their home.
Presented by: Drs. Margaret and Robin Cottle, Vancouver, BC For most of us here, Terry and Sheila Harding need no introduction as long-time members of CMDS with years of service on many fronts. The Saskatoon medical and dental students gather at the Hardings home every Thursday night for physical and spiritual nourishment. Terry and Sheila are the master minds, organizers and event coordinators for the Western Student Retreat (WSR). They have provided guidance and support for decades of physicians and medical students. Their range of services include: sage advice about how to
deal with the medical system academically and clinically; tips on how to survive the labyrinth of medical education and curriculum renewal; match-making; and always being faithful friends with listening ears and open hearts. Sheilas excellent work at the University of Saskatchewan as Dean of Medical Education and Professor of Pathology is well known and appreciated by patients and families in addition to students and colleagues. Terry trained as a civil engineer, chairs the Rules Committee for the Federation of International Lacrosse has been nominated to be the next Director of Mens Lacrosse for this organization. His many years of officiating international lacrosse championships comes in handy when setting out the procedures to be followed for the WSR!
However, for us, our deepest gratitude centers around the way they shared their son Rosss life with all of us. In 1996, Ross
died at age ten due to complications of his Menkes Disease. He was one of the funniest, quirkiest, most delightful people we have ever known. The Hardings welcomed us into their life with Ross in all its delightful, complicated and bittersweet caring. Ross would be so proud of them tonight and might even have made a remark that it was about time that we recognized his parents in this way.
So thank you to both of you, to Team Harding, for all you have done and continue to do for all of us at CMDS
Philipians 1:3-6 sums it up well:I thank my God in all my remembrance
of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
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DISTINGUIShED ChRISTIAN SERVICE AwARD
Dr. Sherif Hanna, Menouf, Egypt In recognition of a lifetime of exemplary Christian service to international short and long term missions through leadership in CanMedSend, CMDS, EMAS and Harpur Memorial Hospital, Menouf, Egypt.
Presented by: Dr.Sandy Tigchelaar, Orillia, ON Dr. Sheriff Hanna is well known to all of us in CMDS Canada because of his warm and endearing personality, his professional medical accomplishments and his service to the poor in the developing world.
Sherif Hanna graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University in July 1970. He immigrated to Canada in September of that year. He completed his postgraduate medical training at the University of Toronto in the specialty of General Surgery in 1976, after which he trained in surgical oncology at the Princess Margaret Hospital for one year. He subsequently trained in liver surgery in
Denver, Colorado for a year (1978-79) and Atlanta, Georgia for 6 months.
He returned to the University of Toronto to join the staff of Sunnnybrook Health Sciences Centre in January 1980. During his time at Sunnybrook he held several leadership positions including Head of the Division of General Surgery (1992-2002) and Head of the Surgical Oncology Program at the Odette Cancer Centre (2001-2012). He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto.
He has been heavily involved in CMDS Canada serving as Vice Chair and Chair of the Board of Directors. He was instrumental in starting CanMedSend, initially as a project of CMDS, and eventually served for seven years as Chair of the Board of CMS after it gained its own independent status. He has made several short-term mission trips to China, Niger and Egypt. Sherif and Mary-Lou have also had a long history of service in
every church they have ever belonged to. In January 2014 he stunned many of
his Sunnybrook colleagues by deciding to move to Menouf, Egypt a small town 75 km. northwest of Cairo in the Nile Delta. Sherif is serving as a General Surgeon at Harpur Memorial Hospital there, assisting in the education of Egyptian surgeons. Mary-Lou is learning Arabic and exploring various ministry possibilities including teaching ESL (English as a Second Language).
Sherif has earned many awards for service in health care and in medical missions. In 2010, the $3 million Hanna Family Chair in Surgical Oncology Research was funded by various donors & named in honor of Dr. Hanna.
Sherif and Mary-Lou (nee Heise) have been married for nearly 38 years and have been blessed with two children and two grandchildren. May God richly bless them as they head out in faith in this latest journey of service to Christ and his poor.
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POINT Sweet reasonableness: a meditation on 1 Peter 3:15 Dr. John PatriCK
Jesus told us that we are to be salt in society. Salt in the ancient world was extremely valuable; indeed it was used as a means of payment. It is from the Latin word for salt we get our word salary. Its function was primarily to preserve meat and fish for the winter rather than merely for flavour. We are to be preservatives for society. Paul also tells us that our conversation should be salty. So how does this fit with modern ideas of respect and courtesy? I think another misused word can help meek. A horse, broken in, trained and ready for battle is described as meek. It is the steel hand in a velvet glove.
Peter is writing to refugees. He offers no false hopes but reminds them of the joy beyond words which has and will sustain them. He tells them that Christ will be with them not as a distant example but as a schoolmaster putting his hand over the hand
of the struggling pupil so that together they can complete the exercise. Then to comfort them further he tells them that more persecution is coming but they are not to fear their opponents. It is into this context we must place our text.
The first century of the Christian era was not a politically correct world, but it had ideas of justice and honour, which in some ways put us to shame. Those who were described as gentle were the powerful as distinct from ordinary folk. Peter and Paul knew that the ruling classes would feel threatened by this new religion and they did. Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit came He would convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and because of this His disciples would do greater works than He had! The over throw of the Roman Imperium without the use of arms was surely just such a work. Because Peter
is sure of the outcome he can tell us that we should never fear our persecutors. They are doomed. They face superior forces the Holy Spirit and the Spirit-filled church. The subsequent history of the church, like that of the Children of Israel, is more often of the world seducing us rather than us overcoming the world. I doubt that if Peter was here today he would be telling us to not to display our confidence too arrogantly. We hardly display any confidence at all. We, I think, would be more likely to be receiving the letters to the churches in Asia Minor, where John warned that if they did not repent they would die out. They did. Asia Minor has very few Christians today. The first part of Peters instruction we need to heed; Be ready to give reasons! When did some one last ask you why you behave as you do and the answer was because I was redeemed and taught. I do
not think that it is respectful of someone made in the image of God to treat him or her as though they did not have a mind. Our young people leave home and leave the church and only about 50% return after many years. Why? Because they were not challenged to develop a Christian mind and be ready for the modern worlds attack. Moral neutrality sounds good to them but it is impossible; some view of morality must dominate, of necessity and that is what makes distinct cultures. Boko Haram and the Mennonites both believe they are following Gods will! Tolerance is a much overblown virtue. The more important virtue is to not tolerate what ought not to be tolerated and know why.
Jesus has a warning attached to his description of his followers as salt. He knows we can lose our saltiness. If we do we are good for nothing and we will be trodden underfoot by all men.
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Dr. Dan reiLLy
COuNTER POINT Be Christ-like in how we answer
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So dont worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (1 Pet 3:13-17 NLT)
In a world of selfish materialists, those for whom Christ is Lord will be noticed for behaving differently. Those differences will be attractive to some and a source of frustration for others. Some will threaten us to try to force us to behave
differently. Those threats may not be empty and we will suffer. But when we suffer we wont worry or fear and that behavior will be a further difference that will be noticed.
When is the last time someone asked about why you live the way you do? If has been a long time, then perhaps your behavior is more consistent with selfish materialism than it is with Christlikeness.
When someone asks about your hope in hopeless circumstances (or some other way you are different) you need to be ready to explain. Because I have been redeemed and taught will work if you take the time to unpack what redeemed means and what you have been taught. Most people I rub shoulders with think redemption is something you do with coupons.
Of course, when you have a chance to explain is not the time to stop being Christ-like.
Gentleness is not weakness or simple courtesy. It is power restrained by love of the other. Christ on the cross, choosing to forgive the crowd rather than call on the armies of heaven to save Him, is our example of gentleness. When someone asks about our hope, they are often feeling hopeless. When they ask about joy, they are usually joyless. They are usually vulnerable. Their request may put you in a position of power. The opportunity may exist to manipulate or coerce. You may be able to overwhelm them with your intellectual prowess or big words. The command to be gentle means you must restrain from using your power in any manner that doesnt seek the best for the other out of Christ-like love.
To respect is to admire deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. When someone asks about your
reasons for hope they open up the opportunity for the focus to turn to you. But we must keep the focus on Christ and His view of the asker. Christ loves that person enough to die for her. She is created in the image of God and due the greatest respect because of that quality. As you explain why you behave as you do, you must continue to model Christs love and so you must respect the asker.
Peter calls the reader to continue to live with Christ as the standard by which you judge what is good. It will be noticed. When it does bring questions, he exhorts us to be Christ-like in how we answer. Easy to write and yet so challenging to live out!
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Love One Another The Importance of Christian Love in Healthcare 2015 CMDS Canada National Conference, June 11-14, 2015, The Fairmont Palliser, Calgary, AB
Jesus says the fruit of our loving Him is following His commands ( Jn 14:15). And the new command He gives us is tolove one another, as I have loved you ( Jn 13:34). Indeed, this love for one another will be the sign by which all people will know we are His disciples ( Jn 13:35). Love One Another is our theme for next years conferencein Calgary.
For the first time, CMDS Canada will be co-hosting the national conference with the
Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians Societies (CFCPS). CFCPS is a relatively new organization (6 years old), which brings together Catholic physicians and other health care professionals from across Canada for an annual conference. CFCPS has about 150 members, some of whom are also members of CMDS Canada. This year both the governing body of CFCPS and the CMDS Canada Board of Directors felt that it would be good to hold their 2015 meetings in the same location over the same weekend. Essentially we will be running parallel conferences with joint plenary sessions and meals, and will have separate breakout sessions and activities organized by each group. Everyone will be of course free to follow their traditional program for their group or participate in the other
groups meetings and activities as they wish.The emphasis for our conference is that
as Christian health professionals we want to be known by our love for our patients, as well as in our charitable relationships with colleagues. In addition, we think our love for each other as Christian physicians and dentists, Catholic and Protestant alike, can be a testimony of faith to our colleagues who do not share our faith in Christ. We know that Christs command to love one another can feel intimidating when we have different faith traditions and historic divisions. Nevertheless, our mission requires us to stand united as a sign of contradiction for this age, not as a sign of contradiction for each other! We have more in common than we think, and more work to do than we realize, and we think that work is best accomplished when we acknowledge our differences, yet choose to work together on those issues that concern us all.
We will be addressing how to love our patients at the end of life (Dr. Margaret Cottle and Dr. John Scott), loving our patients amidst conscience conflicts (Dr. Stephen Genuis and Janet Epp Buckingham), and loving the poor in mission work (Dr. Rod Crutcher). Another special guest is Fr. Joseph Soria who was the personal physician to St. Josemaria Escriva who will be offering reflections on the spiritual life. Dr. Gordon Smith, President of Ambrose College in Calgary will be rounding out what we think will be a very interesting and informative set of presentations and discussions.
The Holy Spirit is fanning the flames of Gods love in us, so let us not quench the Spirit, but put out into the deep together for a great catch!
See you in Calgary in 2015 and God Bless!
Dr. Tom Bouchard, Dan Hardock and Dr. Martin Owen, three members of the organizing committee.
Thomas Bouchard, MD, Co-chair Family PhysicianCMDS Calgary member and Vice-president, Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians Societies
Suzanne Sawyer, MD, Co-chair Family Physician CMDS Calgary member
Dr. Suzanne Sawyer with her husband Daniel and daughter Naomi.
Issue 2 | August 2014 FOCUS 19
Satisfied with Good ThingsOne Couples Missionary Witness Dr. nanCy houser WooD
I must have been one of the first medical students sponsored by CMDS Canada to take an elective in Africa. At a CMDS meeting Dr. Don Gibson suggested that medical personnel of many different types were needed in missions so I went up to him afterwards and said, Im just a first year medical student but what do you want to do with me for next summer? I had 3 summers of lab experience at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital, so he arranged that I go to Mengo hospital for the summer of 1968 to help out in their laboratory. CMDS paid my airfare to Uganda and Mengo my room and board.
Before going, a close family friend encouraged me to visit the Democratic
Republic of Congo while I was there. The country was just recovering from the Simba rebellion and the needs were enormous. I was able to get a visa but travel during my 10-day visit involved straddling the gearshift of a Land Rover! I was impressed with the inter-mission nature of the Centre Medical Evangelique at Nyankunde (CME) and with their heavy emphasis on training programs in French. Two years later I had a longer visit thanks to a Smith,
Klein and French scholarship. Having seen the possibility of working in Congo what reasons could I have found not to go?
I had met Philip as a result of the first International Conference of Christian medical students held in Oxford UK in 1966 and on my way back from CME through London in 1970 we decided to get married. The wedding did not take place until 1972, two weeks after the third International Conference of Medical students of which I was the secretary, which was just after my internship at Toronto General and after Philip had obtained his FRCS. Tropical medicine and missionary preparation in Europe for 10 months were an interesting
Medical practice in Congo proved interesting and challenging.
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time of cultural adaptation, language learning and sightseeing.
Our first term in Congo was the most difficult and we might not have made it apart from Gods grace and a three-week local holiday at the end of our first year. Jeremie was born five years after our wedding but our second child, Jonathan, came nine weeks early; and with no oxygen, incubators or respirators he did not live more than an hour. Although we had other plans our obstetrician persuaded us that Tim, our third, be born at Toronto General Hospital
and not in Switzerland and indeed there were complications that were successfully overcome. He was only a month early.
Medical practice in Congo proved interesting and challenging. Initially I was given responsibility for 24 paediatric beds and 24 beds for adult women with medical problems. I found a Canadian nurse
of 15 years experience very helpful and encouraging when I decided that Pulmonary Tuberculosis was a valid diagnosis on some of the very small children. In one case I made the diagnosis and initiated treatment in spite of a negative family history, only to later find both father and grandfather in our TB ward under treatment. I took motherhood seriously and when Jeremie was born I stopped hospital work but continued to teach one hour a day in the Nursing School, and take call for our missionary community of 50 adults and 25 children.
The Lord showed us through a prayer meeting that we should return to Congo.
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In 1988 we moved to Elwa, Monrovia, Liberia where there was a primary school on the same campus as the hospital and a fledging high school one mile down the road. I was able to resume hospital and outpatient practice with trepidation but with a graduate in Internal Medicine of Yale University Medical School usually working in the office adjacent to mine. Referrals were common. Again our other plans were overruled when it came to the secondary education of our boys; when forced to evacuate after two years in Liberia because of civil war they had their secondary education in Canada. They are now both typical third culture kids having worked in the States, Canada, UK, Italy and Austria. Both have revisited Congo. Tim now lives in the UK, Jeremie in Toronto and both are very active members of their respective churches. Pessimistic pronouncements about it being difficult to get back into medical work in Canada later or to obtain insurance did not prove true. During our ten years in Canada (1991-2001) I was able to work part-time in the general practice office of a Christian lady doctor who was totally sympathetic to my occasional absence for missions conferences as we were Canadian Directors of Worldwide Evangelization for Christ International. I was also able to attend Wednesday refresher courses at Mc Master University in Hamilton and bring my clinical knowledge of Canadian medicine up to date.
In 2002 when Jeremie was working in Austria and Timothy was studying in UK it seemed right that we return to Nyankunde Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We were obliged to rethink that decision when four months later the hospital was overrun with rebels and completely devastated. Within a week we had invitations to Angola, The Gambia, Chad, Niger and Ghana but the Lord showed us through a prayer meeting that we should return to Congo. In the four months before the war
I had done ward rounds every day with a recently trained paediatrician on newborns, sick kids in intensive care and in the paediatric ward. After the war, displaced by 150 km, the Congolese paediatrician was no longer with us and I was the best they had for paediatrics and premature babies, which numbered about 15 per month under 2 kg. (4.4lbs). The Lord provided and even two sets of triplets were thriving without an incubator, without oxygen, and without artificial feeds. But at that hospital they also asked me to do outpatient gynaecology and high-risk obstetrics. On one of our visits home we purchased the first ultrasound for that hospital especially for obstetrics. This complemented my teaching of obstetrics and gynaecology as well as early childhood development and paediatrics in the Nursing College.
In 2007 we moved back to Oriental Province to the city of Bunia with the Nursing College of Nyankunde that we had helped get back on its feet after being displaced by war. In this new clinical setting it was soon clear that someone needed to take an interest in diabetics and by 2012 I was looking after 400 diabetic patients, about ten juveniles and the rest adults of all ages.
When we first went out to the mission field, there was considerable incredulity from family friends and classmates, but now there is an admission that we seem to have had an interesting career. All of Philips contemporaries have taken early retirement from the National Health Service (in England) and now some express difficulty in managing a round of golf because of aches and pains.
Yes there are insecurities in Congo but they are located in isolated pockets. Life goes on quite normally in many places, especially in the city of Bunia that has a population of more than 300,000 a contingent of about 7,000 UN Peacekeepers and 2 trained surgeons!
We remain in good health and now take shorter trips to Congo. Philip is asked to
operate on everything from head to toe that others dont want to tackle and we pass on practical skills wherever possible. On this last visit from November 2013 to March 2014 I checked more than 500 people: pastors, their wives, priests and nuns for obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Results are yet to be analyzed.
Coming from Canada and the UK we were not sure if we would retire to Bermuda, but the Lord has miraculously given us a condo in downtown Toronto and a brand new car. We are looking forward to some involvement with Christian medical students here in Toronto. We would encourage any medical practitioners or specialists to consider longer or shorter terms of service to share their practical skills with the new African doctors. Speaking some French is a significant help in Democratic Republic of Congo. A visit from a cardiologist would be very much appreciated. Come one, come all.
Dr. Nancy and Dr. Philip Wood with their son Jeremie.
Drs. Philip and Nancy Wood currently make their home in Toronto. They would be pleased to take inquiries from people concerning medical missions in Africa. They can be contacted at [email protected] On behalf of all Christian doctors and dentists we wish to thank them for their selfless witness to the healing mission of Jesus Christ in Africa. You are a credit to your profession.
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But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Pet 3:15)
Breaking out of our Canadian Christian Parallel universe SyndromeDaviD arroL maCfarLane
Issue 2 | August 2014 FOCUS 23
How many of you came to Christ through the efforts of a friend or relative? I often ask the audience of Canadian Christians that I am speaking to at seminars. Inevitably 80 to 90% of the hands go up. Evangelism in North America happens mostly through relationships. But here is the problem: most Canadian Christians do not have many, if any, credible relationships
(bridges) with non Christians over which, in time, Jesus can cross. How can we be salt if we stay in the saltshaker or light if we hide under the bowl? The challenge is Canada-wide. In the last decades Canadian Christians (and the society as a whole) have become so busy and self-focused that they have retreated to the point where most have lost the will to be hospitable and build genuine friendships with those who have not yet found Christ. A friend of mine says that many of us have become what he calls Submarine Christians we come up for church on Sundays and submerge the rest of the week. The result has been a sharp decline in the number of Canadians who profess to be followers of Jesus in our nation.
Speaking hundreds of times across Canada, over the last decade, in Christian churches of a wide variety of denominations, I have become aware of numerous spiritual trends. Here are some of them: While Canadians say that they are more spiritual than ever
they are not turning to organized religion as in the past. This privatization of faith has led many Christians to retreat and become silent about their beliefs.
Immigration is swelling the numbers of Christians for many denominations but, we are still losing ground overall.
While a few decades ago Christians went to church at least weekly now the trend of the committed is every other weekend or less.
Young Canadians are less likely than other age groups to identify themselves as Christians with many having never attended a religious institution.
A larger percentage than ever of young people who were brought up in the Christian faith are falling away once they go to University or begin work. (We can only hope that they will return later on).
Most practicing Christians in Canada enjoy their faith and church community but have retreated and keep quiet about their faith to those around them.
wISDOM FROM ThE APOSTlE PETERHow can we break out of this parallel universe so that we can authentically connect, serve, love and influence people for Christ? In 1 Peter 3:15 the Apostle Peter instructs us on how to do this with three practical and powerful points: 1. Keep your own walk with God real. But in your hearts revere
Christ as Lord. The old adage says: Your life speaks so loud that I cannot hear a word that you are saying. But the opposite is also true. When Christ is number one in our lives then our faith is authentic and people should be attracted by the difference that they see in us and even ask: What makes you tick?
2. Know what to say when asked. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have It is one thing to know the Gospel but another to be able to share it in a way that will be clear and understandable to people with no Christian frame of reference. We do need to prayerfully prepare so that when we are asked about our faith we can explain it in a winsome way. Your own faith journey when thoughtfully told can help others encounter Christ too.
3. Love and graciousness should lead the conversation. But do this with gentleness and respect.
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The Pharisees criticized Jesus for always wanting to visit, interact, care and even have meals with lost people instead of just spending time with the already religious crowd. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? (Mt 9:11). On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Our example, Jesus, was all about interacting with the ordinary people of His day not hiding in an exclusive religious club.
My own spiritual journey is typical of many. From being an agnostic who seldom set foot in a church I became a believer in Jesus Christ because of a high school friend. Actually calling him a friend is a bit much as he was openly a Christian that most of us made fun of. In spite of this Mark good-naturedly kept talking to me about his faith and one time invited me to a church on a Thursday night to see an illusionist called Andre Kole. I loved magic and so I went. Andre is a creative and dazzling performer and at the end of the show he shared the good news of the Gospel and how one could find personal peace with God. That evening I began a spiritual quest that ended six years later when, as a young businessman of 23, I saw my need for Christ and turned to Him and have been following Him and involved in church ever since. All this began because Mark chose not to live in the Christian parallel universe and boldly, yet respectfully, shared his faith with me.
7 STEPS TO bREAk OUT OF OUR PARAllEl UNIVERSEHere are 7 radical and counter cultural, but biblical, ideas for breaking out of our parallel universe:4. Daily pray for those you know who do not know Christ. God
answers prayer. Through your consistent prayer the Holy Spirit can make them open to the Gospel and show you opportunities to reach them for Christ. At a camp for University of British Columbia students I was able to lead a number of them to Christ. A fellow student came up to me in tears and said, pointing at one of the new converts: I have been praying for Max daily for five years! She had done all the hard work, the prayer, I just happened to be there to help him cross the line. Persistent prayer is key to seeing people respond to the Gospel.
5. Be quick to listen and slow to speak ( Jas 1:19). Showing an interest in others builds trust, shows care and paves the way for
genuine relationships. An extremely traditional church, in a small rural community in Ontario, has a dynamic and fast growing youth ministry that is revolutionizing their congregation. When I asked the Pastor for their secret he told me that it was because the church had gone out of their way to listen to the community needs and built a large professional skate park on their property. Youth come to the meetings with a bible under one arm and a skateboard under the other. In the summer they keep it open every day and the local police have thanked the church because while the skate park is operating, juvenile crime in the area goes down. Many of these young people are coming to Christ.
6. Show you care. Love is a verb. Do not underestimate the importance of small yet thoughtful acts of kindness. Leave your comfort zone and think of ways you can reach out and bless others that you already know. After speaking at a church service
in Winnipeg I met two young men from Central America who told me that they had recently given their lives to Christ. When I asked how it happened they told me how they were refugees to Canada and arrived with nothing. The people of this church had befriended them, listened to their needs and helped them get a place to live. These church people also gave them tables, chairs and other furniture. The
young men visited the church to say thank you and the Pastor led them both to Christ. I later discovered that retired people from this congregation collected and refurbished over 1500 pieces of furniture a year to give to new arrivals. The leader of the furniture ministry said to me: This is a tangible expression of Gods love to people in need and, David, this not about furniture. It is about evangelism.
7. Have people over. Hospitality builds bridges and cements friendships. In many cultures having a meal in your home with someone is the mark of a solid relationship. Diana and I had a couple from Sri Lanka over for dinner. We had a fun time and then when Diana put the roast beef dinner on the table, the lady opened her huge purse and started taking out lots of little bottles. Then she said: We brought our own spices because we find your food too bland. We all laughed and had a great evening talking about faith.
8. Join secular organizations. Rub shoulders with seekers. Instead of joining a Christian hockey, bowling, soccer etc. team, choose to become salt and light on a community team. Instead of joining a Holy Rollers Christian bowling league a friend of mine who
Many of us have become what he calls Submarine Christians
we come up for church on Sundays and submerge the rest
of the week
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is a Baptist Pastor has been playing on a secular bowling team for many years just so he can rub shoulders with people who do not yet know Christ. In the process he has gained their respect, made many wonderful friends and performed a number of weddings as he is the only religious leader that they know. Some of them are now admitting their own spiritual quest and asking him about his faith.
9. Talk openly and positively about spiritual things. Dont be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:16). If you went on a Christian Marriage retreat or heard a great sermon on Sunday, talk about it with secular friends without making a big deal of it. It could open doors for you to share Christ in the future. In British Columbia (where a very low percentage of people attend church) a denominational leader told me about four successful church plants each started by a hairdresser who owns a salon. When I asked, What was her secret? he told me that when she cuts someones hair she says, I will give you five dollars off the haircut if you come to my Bible study. Does it work? I asked him. He told me that her latest church plant has sixty people in it after only a few months.
10. With sensitivity and common sense, use your work relationships to talk about your faith when you have an opportunity. One successful businessman in a large organization had good quality pens made up (at his own expense) with the name of his church embossed on them and gave them to clients who had to sign contracts with his firm. Often the client would comment on the church name on the pen and it gave the businessman an opportunity tell him about his faith and let him keep the pen should he ever want to visit the church. When I was in business I kept a Bible amongst all my other books and files in my credenza at the office. It was surprising how many would comment on it and often come to talk to me privately about some issue they were facing because I think you believe in prayer and will understand. Often this led to talking about my own faith journey.
ClOSING ExAMPlEHarvey, a member of the church that I led in Toronto was a wonderful Christian who did not believe in living in a Christian ghetto. During the summers this fun-loving believer would prayerfully and intentionally invite his neighbours over for BBQs. Then, after the neighbours had reciprocated and enjoyed many community parties because of Harvey he would call me. I invited them all over for a BBQ this Saturday and told them that you were my Pastor and were going to come and give a short talk about Jesus, and they said that they would come. At the event, after they had flipped the burgers, drank their beers, smoked their cigarettes and
had lots of laughs together Harvey would introduce me. They all gathered round to listen (because they respected and loved Harvey) and I shared the Gospel as simply as I could. Each year some two or three would begin a relationship with Jesus at his BBQ. The key was simply Harvey who lovingly chose not to live in a parallel universe but to build genuine and caring relationships with his neighbours so that, in time, Jesus could cross over. Harvey continued to be their friend regardless of whether they responded to the Gospel or not. If every believer in Canada chose to live like this, God could change our nation in our lifetime.
David Arrol Macfarlane is the Director of National Initiatives for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada. David is a popular banquet and conference speaker whose energetic, humorous and inspiring messages about authentic faith regularly take him across Canada and beyond. David was born in Uruguay, Latin America, and came to Canada to work for the American Express Corporation. Today David and his wife Diana live in Waterloo, Ontario.
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The Physicians Consciencemary anne WaLDron
A paper prepared by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, a few years ago, suggested that a physician was required to check his or her private beliefs at the door of the surgery or risk violating the law. How could the Commission come to that conclusion? Are they right? Is it true that a physician must be prepared to perform procedures he or she finds morally indefensible?
This issue is currently becoming a wider concern. In Alberta, the College of Physicians and Surgeons has received complaints against physicians who refused to perform or refer patients to those who would perform abortions or vasectomies or prescribe contraceptives. Whether or not the College decides that these physicians should be disciplined, the matter is likely to be appealed. The question of the physicians conscience will soon therefore be tested in the courts. No doubt it will ultimately reach the Supreme Court of Canada.
The problem lies in an apparent conflict of rights. Constitutionally, our Charter guarantees the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion. Our human rights statutes in each province prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion in a variety of situations, including employment. These provisions would lead us to think that a
body such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which operates under provincial law and is also subject to the Charter because it is a body created by statute, would have to uphold these rights. The College, therefore, should be expected to support physicians who, for
reasons of conscience or religious belief, turn away patients seeking prescriptions or procedures that violate those beliefs.
But our Charter also contains a guarantee of equality before the law. And our human rights statutes also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in services commonly available to the public. It may still not be obvious why these sections put at risk the rights of physicians to follow their conscience. After all, sterilization, abortion and contraception are all legal in Canada, but that does not settle the moral debate about them. Nor, despite all the comments from politicians lately, has our Supreme Court of Canada ever established a womans right to unrestricted abortion access.
There are two factors that create a conflict here. The first is the Canadian courts unreserved adoption
of the concept of substantive equality. This term is used to make a distinction with what is called formal equality and it is a key concept in Canadian human rights law. The underlying idea is that a precept, rule or law may appear on its face to be non-discriminatory, but in fact impacts members of a particular group differently. For example, suppose an employer decides that all employees must be
Is it true that a physician must be prepared to perform procedures he or she finds morally indefensible?
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able to work a Saturday shift each month. This rule is, on its face, neutral, affecting all employees the same. However, it is no problem for Janice, who is a Christian and holds Sunday as a Sabbath day. But it is a problem for Jane, who is a Jew and observes Saturday as the Sabbath. The rule appeared to treat everyone equally (formal equality) but actually affected Jane adversely because of her religion. The rule would be held by the courts to discriminate against Jane on the basis of her religion. To be legally acceptable, the employer would have to change the schedule to accommodate Jane so that it would not impact her adversely, compared to its effect on other employees.
The idea of substantive equality is an important one. It prevents seemingly neutral rules from being applied to disadvantage the groups who are protected by human rights legislation or under the Charters equality rights. But, unfortunately, having adopted the idea, courts have never refined its application. It has become axiomatic that the impact of the action is examined and divergent impact on groups protected by human rights legislation is the first, crucial step in finding the action constitutes discrimination contrary to law.
In the case of physicians, refusals to prescribe contraceptives or perform abortions or sterilizations impact women differently than men. It is women who get pregnant and have the babies. Thus, the argument is made, the refusal discriminates against women and since sex is a protected characteristic under human rights legislation, physicians who refuse these requests are illegally discriminating. Now we have a conflict between the rights of women and the rights of the physician.
The second factor in creating this problem is the approach courts take when two rights apparently conflict. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated numerous times that there is no hierarchy of rights, meaning that one right does not automatically trump another. However, in the case of conflict, the courts state that they must balance the rights at stake. In practice, however, the analogy of a balance can convey two possibilities: the first, being to hold rights in balance, which would mean to keep two rights equal, as the scales of justice are held in balance. But, the second possibility is to see rights placed on a balance scale that weighs one to be heavier than the other. The second approach is more descriptive