During the last three years since we moved our home base back to the United States, we have become increasingly aware of the great spiritual need in North America. The United States has become more divided not only politically but spiritually as well. Regardless of your faith, we find the sacred/secular divide growing ever wider. The sacred viewpoint based upon personal subjective viewpoints is overshadowed by the secular viewpoint claiming to be based upon fact and objective truth.
This divide was highlighted during a recent conversation with a young clerk who sold us a new phone. It turns out this clerk is preparing to enter medical school this fall. As the conversation continued it was revealed that her birth place was in Eastern Europe and that we lived in Ukraine for 15 years. Also the clerk’s father is Muslim and her mother is Christian. The next natural question was what did we do in Ukraine?
After explaining the work of UMO with medical students, the clerk explained her belief that all roads lead to the same God. She had read the Koran and the Bible as well as visited India. She then proclaimed that science is based upon fact, while faith is just subjective and relative varying from person to person.
With this background, it was with pleasure Jim accepted an invitation to speak to first- and second-year medical students at the University of Cincinnati at their monthly lunch meeting and then to practicing professionals in the evening at the Cincinnati Christian Medical Association. Jim’s topic was The Scientific Evidence for the Role of Faith in Medicine.
About 25 to 30 students gathered for lunch. They gave the same answers to my questions that the Ukrainian students give when I present this talk in Ukraine. How many of you have professors who talk about faith? Less than a handful of hands went up. They all have one or two classes where the topic of spirituality is discussed. I pray that the discussion encouraged them to think about the importance of faith and gave them a desire to want to learn how to share their faith both with colleagues and patients with sensitivity, respect and permission, gaining their trust by being the best medical professionals they can be.
In the evening, the small gathering of 6 physicians with some of their spouses was encouraging because the group kept digging deeper going 30 minutes or more overtime. The discussion led from issues of faith to trying to determine how to share that Scripture is the truth. This was exactly the issue concerning the clerk at the phone store.
I pray this will be only the beginning of a growing relationship with these groups.