Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sino ang Boss mo?

During the Christ the King Sunday, I remembered a sermon I preached in San Jose, Ibajay, Aklan entitled "Sino ang Boss mo?" I am posting here a copy of that sermon with a prayer that it will bless somebody today.

The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel according to St. Matthew Chapter 22:15-22. Our Scripture reading is appropriate this morning as we celebrate Laity Month and Youth Sunday. It challenges us to look and reflect into our lives as Christians who live the everyday of our life in the secular world. The question and challenge from the text for us is, who is your king? "Sino ang boss mo?" The Book of Matthew is full of stories about Jesus as the King. It tells about how the Kingdom of God will come and how God will reign as King.... (edited)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Patient's Right

I was asked by my senior consultant what I thought about the issue of former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo wanting to seek medical consult abroad but the current government of President Noynoy Aquino denying her request. My quick reply was to agree with retired Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Cruz, that Gloria should be allowed to seek consult abroad with a guarantee that she will come back.

As Bishop Cruz pointed out, to which Department of Justice Secretary De Lima also acceded, every patient has the right to seek medical consult and to choose the doctor she wants.

It is a medical ethical issue whether to allow Gloria Arroyo to exercise her right to seek medical help and to choose where it will come from. (Click here for other ethical issues Young Doctors face). The ethical issue becomes bigger when the denial of such right is measured against the right of the people of the Philippines to justice. Critics want to be sure that Gloria will be present to face charges of electoral fraud in 2004. The justification is that the right of over 90 Million Filipinos is 90 Million times greater than her individual right.

Can the right of a person be greater than another that he/she can trump down another person's right? Doesn't my right ends when your right begins? Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to our Christian virtues? What will happen when people are guided by their virtues in making ethical decisions? Oh, just like heaven...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where am I now?

I started this blog several years ago now in my struggle to find the intersection of theology and medicine. But I have never truly articulated the problems inherent to this dilemma. This short essay is another attempt to state the issues I continue to struggle with until now. The first issue and probably the biggest one that I had to contend with is the issue of dualism.

The modern thought of the 18th century thinkers have introduced us to the idea of dualism. Even in this so called post-modern era, the influence of modernism cannot be denied with the extent of its effect. Dualism gave birth to the perception of humans into body and soul. This has ultimately given rise to the perspective of medicine to focus into the bodily realm. Consequently, the soul has been the object of focus in theology. Dualism has therefore led to the separation of theology and medicine as distinct fields. Thus, to have a better understanding in the intersection of theology and medicine is to deconstruct a dualist perspective of human nature.

In my daily patient interaction and discussion with colleagues, I often find it difficult to explain myself because the people around me are still influenced by the dualist understanding of humanity. They often get the idea that my advocacy for the inclusion of "Spiritual History" as part of the medical history comes from my being clergy. To be sure, being a clergy may have influenced me but it is our doctrinal understanding of human nature that guides me to see human holistically.

Similarly, I have continuously struggled in explicating the need for the church to address the needs of the people outside it other than the spiritual domain. I have often been questioned why do I insist on the church having a comprehensive health ministry and not just focus in strengthening Bible Studies and Prayer meetings in the church. While it is important to focus in human spirituality, my Wesleyan tradition have taught me that holistic salvation goes beyond matters of the soul.

My struggle in finding the intersection of theology and medicine may have to take a twist. The intersection may never be there, because theology and medicine was never distinct and separate in the first place.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Invest in your Future

This morning we had a non-medical topic for our weekly roundtable discussion. We had a life insurance agent talk about financial independence by investing in the future. She opened her talk by emphasizing that more than 80% of people do not invest in their future and so they end up in financial crisis when they are in their retirement age. The message she wanted to bring across was that people, especially doctors should start planning their future NOW by investing their money in different modes: bonds, equities and others. The future will be better if one starts saving their money now. Make your money work for you instead of you working for money. By accumulating enough possessions, one will leave a happy life by simply spending from the profits of ones possessions. By storing an abundant supply of money, one will have enough to spend in the future. The agent, knowing that I still do not have an insurance policy was persuading me to secure my future by investing in her company. Her logic was sound enough for me...

But I then I remembered the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:13-21. The foolish man built a barn to store up his grains so that he said to himself "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” He had so much surplus of grain that he planned to build a bigger barn to have a more secure and more financial independence future. He got caught up saving so much properties he forgot to invest in his future with God. And so the foolish man died. I remembered the succeeding verses was encouraging. Verse 22-23 said: Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes."

As I wrestled with these thoughts, I remembered John Wesley was attributed to have said " Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can." Hmmm...