Friday, May 13, 2011
The Christian Medical and Dental Society 2011
The Christian Medical and Dental Society is the mainstream protestant Christian society for medical doctors and dentists. This year's national conference is being held May 12 to 15 at the Fairmont Hotel, Winnipeg.
So far I've really enjoyed the Fairmont. Growing up in Winnipeg it was the premier hotel which , living here, I never did stay at. Now with 30 years passed since I lived in Winnipeg I'm finally staying here. The food and service are as terrific as I ever could have imagined. It 's truly elegant. I, for one, appreciate that CMDS Annual Conferences are not held in caves. Half of the doctors here have served as missionaries in third world countries, with meager resources and accomodations and I appreciate that this CMDS outwardly is as civilized as other medical conferences. It's just the relationships that are different and the presentations.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrew 13.8) the conference brochure declares. I registered last night and enjoyed meeting doctors I've known. I talked sailing with Dr. Phillip Ney who few know as the great sailor he is as his pro life and clinical work and research have taken centre place. He's running another sailing school for young people again.
Dr. Robin Cottle lead us in singing after breakfast this morning. I met him and his wife Margaret years ago as for decades they've opened their homes and hearts to Christian medical students and residents at UBC. Christians generally are great singers. Look at Elvis Presley. The harmony in the room was palpable. Interesting. Secular medical politics might improve if doctors were required to start their committee meetings with rousing songs of praise and hallelujah! Marvellous for the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Dr. John Stackhouse, originally from Manitoba, now a professor at Regent College, Vancouver, engaged us all with his plenary Session discussion of the history of thought in Traditional, Modern and Postmodernist thought and method in building to his main theme "That's Just Your Opinion": How to respond professionally and personally to Relativism. Dr. Stackhouse is a thoroughly delightful and engaging thought provoking speaker. Question and answer period exploded with controversy. Dr. Stackhouse made it impossible for us all to miss his next session. We're all on tetherhooks to see how God plays out in all these ideas of man.
After that, I attended Pierre Gilberts, PH.D "Evil, Suffering, and Death - Developing a framework of hope in an age of nihilism." It was such a rich seminar from a theological, philosophical and psychiatric perspective. He quoted the latest in French philosophers and the richness of the discussion going on in Canada's second language. "Selling like hot potatoes, no, hotcakes" he said. The French have such intellectual passion. I bought his book Demons, Lies and Shadows: A Plea for a Return to Text and Reason (Winnipeg, Kindred Publications).
Dr. Roger Gingerich, after the luncheon, as executive director of the society talked to the meaning CMDS and discussed the services CMDS performed. Scholarships for Christian medical students and residents were provided in increasing numbers. Support for EMAS, the missionary society associated with CMDS, and support for overseas training of indigenous doctors by missionary doctors in advanced procedures was being done in Africa. It's a good organization doing such good work.
In the afternoon I attended Stewart Wakeman, MD and Sandra Robinson, BN MMFT's workshop "Resilience: Where to find it, how to keep it." As always with these break out sessions I was sorry I couldn't attend another. Dr. Ronald was presenting on 30 years of HIV and what we've learned. But Stewart is a psychiatrist and the last time I'd heard him talk, I'd found myself reflecting on his words for almost a year and my patients benefitted from the ideas I learned then. Sandra worked in mental health too and their presentation was just what the doctor order. Excellent material personally and also that can translate into improving my own practice. Questions I now know I will ask that will help my patients struggling with mental illness and addiction.
Dinner was followed by Dr. John Patrick debating with Dr. Dan Reilly, President of CMDS, on whether Christians should support the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What a concept! How radical! Dr. John Patrick founded Augustine College www.augustinecollege.org after retiring from the University of Ottawa Department of Biochemistry and Pediatrics. Augustine College is a school committed to the belief that education can strengthen faith. John's mind is extraordinary and his Christian walk as a Hippocratic physician equally admirable. The debate ranged from chuck the act out given it's failings of date to it's the best we've got. If only the judges would acknowledge the preamble and people would act with good faith. "Freedom for Christians" Dr. Patrick said, "is freedom to do the right thing". But ask Canadians that today and too many would say it's freedom to do drugs, drink and be promiscuous. Non court courts and various bodies are interfering with individuals where the "process is the punishment' when the act was meant to protect individuals not harrass them unnecessarily. The discussion brought in Dr. Phillip Ney who had run as an independent three times in the elections and a lawyer along with several doctors passionately making their views known. There is nothing milktoast about Christian physicians.
That's only the first day. We prayed too. People talked of Jesus without shame. Persecution was discussed and matters of faith shared. Between sessions I met other Christian doctors. A resident said she didn't want to become like her teachers who seemed so bitter with daily fight of doctors these days with so many competing agencies. A doctor shared how he was 10 years in practice and found himself feeling hopeless at the end of each day. Testimonies were shared. The bookstore was a great place for discussion.
I was uplifted. There's another day tomorrow. I'm looking forward to Dr. John Stackhouse talking about God in post modern history. Dr. Ronald shared that he asked Jesus what he wanted of him today. I met other Christian men and doctors. I laughed so heartily with a couple from Saskatchewan. It's good I came. Thank you, Jesus.