The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

What is our responsibility to define “faith?” in the medical community?

Methodist puts faith in health © Copyright Morningstar, Inc. Hospital makes official its plans to research power of faith in medicine By Daniel Connolly April 25, 2007 Methodist Le Bonheur Health Care formally announced its plans to open its Center of Excellence in Faith and Health, but the hospital group is still looking for suggestions on how to form the new research and clinical center. Toward the end of a ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Methodist workers passed out business reply cards that asked people to write down what they believe the center should offer. "We want to understand what they think would be significant and powerful in terms of an experience that links spirituality and health," Methodist president and CEO Gary Shorb said. The broad outlines are already clear. The center will take up a physical space within Methodist University hospital and a nearby courtyard. It will serve as a location to train clergy and health care workers, as a multifaith place of worship, as a counseling center, and as a symbol of Methodist’s

As more studies come out stating that faith can impact health in incredible ways, I anticpate that spirituality and hospital programs will continue to grow. This can be a good thing. . . but it can also be a “scary” thing.
As a Christian, I’ve seen first hand how easily the lines blur between all the different kinds and practices of this word “faith.” Christians are often excited to have the word “faith” mentioned in any setting and have it be considered politically correct and something to celebrate, so we sit back and allow all the other faiths to be not only included, but to take the lead. When a person seeks medical treatment and is in great pain, it can be easy to listen to whoever or whatever “faith” seems to offer the best “deal” for one’s recovery or pain relief.
I am reminded of scripture my pastor spoke on last week. In Paul’s last words to Timothy he said, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) One simply has to walk into a bookstore today to see The Secret, book is one of the best-sellers. The movie web site says, “This is The Secret to everything – the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted.”
The Secret is just the latest way of attempting to merge faith and health, as well as he latest way that men, “to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” After all, we all want to hear that we are all-powerful, all-mighty, and able to control our own destiny.
We should take Paul’s commands and warning to Timothy to heart. One, he says, “keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). In other words, don’t listen to the crowd! Don’t get caught up in it! Don’t lose your cool! And… expect hardship, because regardless of your calling to be a disciple of the Lord, you will endure it.”
He also advises, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:1,2).
The article above says, “the hospital group is still looking for suggestions on how to form the new research and clinical center.” Christians need to get involved put forth ideas. I will be sending them some resources as well. As you read about these kinds of things in your local paper, don’t be afraid to PREACH THE WORD… and be ready in season (when you feel like it) and out of season (when you’d rather just go to bed.)
Nothing worth accomplishing ever comes easily. Together we can make a difference and make sure that Jesus is represented when the word “faith” is used as a politically correct term.

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