In my previous post I mentioned an appointment with the doctor. Nothing serious.
The nurse had asked if I exercised. She was looking for some reason for a low pulse and good blood pressure. I noted I did try to work out regularly and enjoyed playing basketball. She told me of her daughter who would soon be deployed to Iraq and noted that she had began to run again. She asserted, “I had to begin running again.” It was as if to say, I need the stress release that comes with running as I think about my daughter. A bad case of “Plantar Fasciitis” had kept her down. She was now running again.
If you have never enjoyed thes kind of heel pain associated with “plantar fasciitis,”Â don’t go looking for it. My donning Crocs dates back a couple of summers ago when I endured this same experience. One of the fellows I play basketball with also suffered a couple of months with the malady and just now feels good running up and down the court.
The doctor entered the room and we began talking about my health. He too found the information worth noting and suggested I might be in “elite” company after looking over my file. We discussed why I had come in and a course to handle the small matter. This did not take long. Soon, the doctor was on to talk about other things – prompted by reading my personal information.
On the personal information questionnaire the question of occupation always comes up. Pastor. Minister. Clergy. I know many occupations help the doctor find context for potential health matters, including risks. Maybe he could say, “Most members of the clergy show signs of ….” But, he did not. Instead my reply gave him cause to talk about his beliefs, his church and a recent experience leading to a quote I will not soon forget.
It seems his church faced a decision, a cultural one. Their tradition ordered their practices and they had followed them with precision. The day came when one of these traditions came under scrutiny and question. Looking for real validation for the practice left them realizing it was really a matter of preference. They decided to alter the tradition offering a different experience. In order to preserve unity the matter was discussed by the elders, ruminated on by the members and passed by congregational vote. Not everyone would be forced to participate in this new tradition but it would be available to all who thought it might be meaningful for their spiritual journey. Upon approval by the congregation, large numbers of people left.
My new doctor friend seemed genuinely pained. The ramifications of this loss, despite his support for the decision, affected missionaries the church had supported for years. He just could not understand. He began to talk more about how easy it was for him to believe certain things. His line of reasoning went something like this, if God could create the world then what could he not do? How would “resurrection” be out of the question when thinking about the power to create? I could not disagree. He then said,
“It takes more faith to believe some people are the people of God than to believe in the Resurrection.”
He did not make this statement in anger or disgust but rather as a matter of fact. This was simply one more random statement confirming what most of us know, it does matter what kind of ethic we practice in front of others. I am glad to say my new doctor friend firmly believes in both the Resurrection and in the Church (people of God) despite the warts.
This conversation also stirred to my mind N.T.Wright’s comment as to how he loves the Church (people of God) no matter how beleaguered.