Friday, May 5, 2017

CMDS National Conference 2017: "Singing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land".

Dr. Anna Borowska encouraged me to attend my first CMDS, Christian Medical and Dental Society,  meeting in Vancouver.  Something about her genius, beauty and extraordinary operatic voice made me happy to be her church friend. Admittedly she also encouraged me to sing Handel’s Messiah which was utterly beyond my vocal chords. I did buy roller blades and give it a go for a while since she seemed to make it look far easier than it was.
I preferred much better cross country skiing with Dr. Lam.  Dr. Lam was more involved with EMAS the missionary wing at the time of CMDS and was so kind to share his testimony with me.  Truly inspiring, he   had a painting of Jesus he’d made when he was young and felt moved to express his devotion in just this way. When times are tough I  can still see that picture in my mind’s eye and remember Dr. Lam’s kindness and wisdom. I had attended fellowship meetings at Dr. Robin and Margaret Cottle’s home, singing praise with students long before I heard them the lead the whole of CMDS in hymns and worship.
Dr. Willie and Anita Gutowski invited me to join them at my first CMDS meeting in Gimli Manitoba.  Growing up in Winnipeg I enjoyed the opportunity to visit Mom and Dad and then spend spiritual time with Willie and Anita. They were my closest connection to Dr. Albert Schweitzer’ whose moving story had contributed to my  entering medicine. Anita, a nurse, and Willie a  physician had done missionary work in Africa for years.  He and his family are living Bibles to me personally.  Later. Dr. Phillip Ney, the most extraordinary sailor, physician, psychiatrist, founder of Mount Joy College,pro life advocate and creator of  Hope Alive Group Therapy would be another mentor who encouraged me to attend CMDS, this time in Edmonton.  We call him a prophet as he rails against the growing lust for killing in Canadian society. If he were here today he'd be lamenting the motherless child and talking of the slippery slope. One step ahead of the crowd you're a leader. Two steps ahead, you're a martyr.
I am blessed to be in communion with such remarkable Christians. They live their faith and so many are evangelicals who do missionary work as well.   I’ve also been amazed at the quality of CME.  Dr. Allan Ronald, microbiologist and Order of Canada recipient presented one memorable year on his work fighting AIDS in Africa.  It shouldn’t surprise me.  The most read daily reflections of Christians is “My Utmost for His Highest”.  We’re not  known as slackers. Christians physicians have been and continue to be the foremost leaders of clinical and research medicine.   They are  the salt of the earth.
In Edmonton I enjoyed that the conference was in combination with Catholics. I am an ecumenical Christian an Anglican but only loosely denominational. The physician who sat next to me told me she’d attended Methodist and United Church but was now a member of a Mennonite congregation.    I enjoyed most hearing and sharing with Dr. Abdul Majid Katme, a renowned British pro life Muslim physician when he joined with Dr. Ney in Azerbaijan to discuss Post Abortion Syndrome.   Another time I was honoured to attend an Addiction Medicine conference with Dr. Twerki, the famed Rabbi Psychiatrist and author.   In Malaysia I travelled on a train with another theist clinician and discussed how often patients come to us having had horrible experiences with atheist clinicians. I feel a kinship in general with spiritual people.  
I am enjoying this year’s conference at the Double Tree by Hilton in Downtown Toronto. Next year’s will be in Halifax, again a  combination of Catholic and Christian doctors.   I really hope to attend if only because I truly love Halifax as one of Canada’s foremost little cities.  It has been a while since I had Lobster too. The last time  was the year I attended an Addiction Medicine Conference at Harvard and rented a Harley Davidson after to tour the New England coast.  I’m due for more lobster.  I can always benefit from the CME and Christian fellowship at CMDS.
This year the ethical issue of Conscience Protection is uppermost.  More and more Canadians feel the government and it’s totalitarian smitten beurocracies are turning the majority of Canadians into aliens in their only home.  Christians need not apply.  Quit medicine and leave Canada if you don’t like it, we hear.  Shut up and do as you’re told.  It’s policy. It’s protocol. Don’t think for yourself. We’ll tell you what is right.  All the while the fallacy of the ‘ends against the middle’ rules and ’straw man’ arguments proliferate.  The verbal abuse I’ve heard before by officials is shocking.  At CMDS I’ve sat with doctors crying as they shared they were leaving clinical practice or going away from Canada because they didn’t feel wanted.  Last night I sat with a young compassionate Ontario phsycian who had moved to Alberta because she couldn’t in good faith practice in Ontario. She grew up there, studied there, her mother and father and family reside there but the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario doesn’t want her kind of physician. Their ‘diversity’ excludes Christians.
“I don’t want to kill. I didn’t become a physician to be a part of killing,” another young woman physician told me. Her eyes were glistening..  A grey haired clinician shared that a senior beurocrat had positively gloated when he told him to leave family medicine and go into pathology if he didn’t like killing.  The irony is ever lost on the intellectuals. The death culture grows in the consumer society.  I walk among them in the DTES where drugs kill hopes and hide the soul.  The light goes out. Increasingly no one "really" cares.  The patient now a customer is increasingly a commodity.  It's not like any of these strangers are Jesus to those who themselves deny the soul.    CMDS is always a good reminder for me.  I remember one year Dr. Margaret Cottle said at a presentation, "It may seem like we're losing but  I read a good book that says we win in the end."  I loved the applause that day Today there was laughter too and we all applauded and stood for speakers and gathered together for prayer.

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