This morning I had the great privilege of speaking to the pre-medical student group at Bob Jones University.  I always enjoy speaking with students planning to enter the medical profession.  Their enthusiasm, their sense of wonder at the things we in practice take for granted, their hope, all are intoxicating.

Today I had the chance to discuss my medical and spiritual journey, and to delve into a number of ethical issues that either face physicians now, or will face them in the near future.  My assessment?  Bob Jones University is doing an outstanding job of teaching their students to look critically at issues of ethics, faith and morality.  Their level of expertise, their understanding of complex issues like embryonic stem-cells or euthanasia, is outstanding.

Since I was speaking to Christian students at a Christian school, I spoke candidly about the place of faith in medicine.  I explained to them that their Christian faith would be critical to their dealings with patients and other professionals.  And I told them that, in the end, their very presence in hospitals and clinics around the nation or around the world would be a source of comfort to many; because their actions are motivated by the recognition of a higher authority, a higher calling, a higher duty to their patients and colleagues.

Medicine has never needed faith as much as it needs it now.  We need the ethical convictions of devout physicians.  We need their commitment to compassion and to right actions, based on foundational truths rather than the constant fluctuation of human ‘feelings’ about right and wrong.

I told the students at BJU what I’ve long believed.  Medicine has many troubles.  But most of them could be solved if we could just ‘baptize’ the profession.  We need a revival; we need for physicians to recognize the transcendence of their callings and gifts.  We need for physicians to learn to love their patients because they recognize that they are loved; to show grace because the see themselves as recipients of it.

So to my attentive, courteous students and their instructor, thank you for the gift of your time, the blessing of your enthusiasm, and the hope for the future that I saw in all of your eyes, whether future researcher, PA, dentist or physician.

Go forth, young ones, and baptize the house of medicine.  You are awesome!

Edwin

PS  A special thanks to Leah, Daniel and John who organized our time together.

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