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On the Side: April 2021

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | April 8, 2021

The call came maybe five months after we moved into the house I had dreamed of my whole life. Big front porch. Two porch swings. Rockers. And the icing on the cake—azalea bushes circling the big huge trees in my new front yard. I was anticipating the first of many, many years of Easter photo sessions in front of those bushes. But for that phone call.

The Incredible Impact of a Humble Man of Faith

By Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics) | April 8, 2021

In a previous blog, I recommended John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center, and BreakPoint, his daily blog. The Colson Center has several formats for outreach including the Colson Fellow program, weekly podcasts, daily email briefings and Wilberforce Weekend. The Colson Center takes on many of the most pressing issues of the day and thoughtfully discusses ways in which we as Christians can engage our culture. As I said in that earlier blog, if you stop reading this right now and explore the Colson Center options, I will have succeeded in pointing you to a good path for improving your Christian walk.

Seeking That Which Strikes You

By Al Weir, MD | April 6, 2021

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, perseverance; and to your perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV).

The Equality Act Targets the Faith and Medical Communities for Ideology-Based Prosecution

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | April 1, 2021

The Washington Examiner recently published my op-ed on the radical Equality Act. This ideologically coercive and discriminatory bill, which has already passed the House and now is on the Senate calendar, will radically impact your professional career and your ability to live out your faith.

The commentary is below, followed by excerpts of a CMDA letter to U.S. Senators and of written testimony submitted by several CMDA members.

Bananas

By Al Weir, MD | March 30, 2021

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” (1 Timothy 6:12, ESV).

I’m a Slow Reader (Here’s Why), and Living on Borrowed Time

By Amy Givler, MD | March 25, 2021

I’ve read novels ever since my youth, and I’ve had an enduring fascination with the side character of the rich elderly female relative who “took to bed” decades earlier. Even before I was a doctor I wondered, “What illness caused her to ‘take to bed’?” There are seldom enough clues to unlock the mystery of which exact medical diagnosis she had that kept her in her bedroom. Writers of novels one to two centuries ago didn’t focus on those clues. She was, after all, a side character.

Another House Call

By Al Weir, MD | March 23, 2021

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

On Faith and Freedom

By Autumn Dawn Galbreath, MD, MBA | March 18, 2021

Freedom. It’s an important word to us in the United States—arguably the most important word to the founding of our country.

Journeying Toward a Life of Significance

By Krystal Mattox, DDS | March 16, 2021

“You want to be a dentist?! Ohhkayyy Doc, you’re going to be so successful!” I heard some variation of this comment countless times while pursuing my studies of becoming a dentist. Today when I introduce myself in a non-medical setting, I casually say I work in dentistry. If the conversation progresses further, the individual may learn I am a dentist. Then they are wowed by the fact that I am so young to be a doctor, they assume I am successful and often comment on how proud my family must be given my success. Of course, the inevitable question of, “When are you going to open your practice?” comes along, as if to suggest there is yet another layer of success to be attained.

A Friend Who Prays

By Al Weir, MD | March 16, 2021

“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NIV).

A Word About Persistence

By Ken Jones | March 11, 2021

I have discovered one of the great joys in life, I think: the joy of watching my grandkids grow up. My wife and I have six, four girls and two boys. Seems like I never get tired of hearing about their latest accomplishments or adventures. And this week, as one of them started high school, I remembered a scene I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

Human Bioengineering: Made in the Image of Whom?

By David Prentice, PhD | March 11, 2021

While COVID-19 has consumed the attention and energies of the world for the last year, other bioethical and scientific challenges have not gone away and are set to burst back to the forefront this year. Significant advances were made in 2020 to move away from the antiquated science using human fetal tissue from abortion and toward development of modern techniques and biological models that do not use fetal tissue. However, a resurgence of research using trafficked aborted fetal body parts is likely with the new White House Administration. Calls have already been made to gut the current ethical regulations on federal funding of fetal tissue research. The drumbeat for taxpayer dollars to pay for experiments using fetal organs and tissues from abortion continues, trying to make use of the crisis to justify unethical research, e.g., making humanized “lung-only mice” to investigate COVID-19. In the meantime, adult stem cells have made “mini-lungs” in the lab that faithfully model normal lungs, and they are already being used to study COVID-19 infections and therapies.

Tell Him to Come!

By Al Weir, MD | March 9, 2021

My three-and-half-year-old grandson in Alabama was just released from the hospital after four days of misery. Forgive the picture, but he was so constipated that he was throwing up.

Serious Concerns Regarding Our Medications in the United States

By Sam Molind, DMD | March 8, 2021

When mission teams were going to China, it was always important for us to understand the cultural, political and power structures in the countries we were serving.

Three Questions to Help You W.I.N. in Life

By Ken Jones | March 4, 2021

How’s it going? How did you “do” today at navigating the, no doubt, dozens of things you had to do? Those generic, innocent questions we use in everyday life as we interact with others rarely invite deeper reflection in those we might be asking. “Fine,” is probably the most common response we get when we ask someone else how they’re doing.

Seeing the Purpose Behind the Virus featuring Drs. Greg and Ali Tsai

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | March 4, 2021

CMDA members Drs. Greg and Ali Tsai live and practice medicine in Manhattan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis when the pandemic initially broke out in the United States. Greg is an ENT physician, while Ali is an OB/Gyn who works part-time with a homeless shelter.

The “Equality Act” will erase your religious freedom and medical judgment

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | March 4, 2021

The U.S. Congress has taken one step closer to ending religious protections—and medical judgment for health professionals—on gender issues, by passing the Equality Act by a largely partisan vote in the House of 224 – 206.

On the Side: March 2021

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | March 2, 2021

The season of Lent has begun. Raised in the Baptist church, Lent wasn’t something that we celebrated, but I have always thought it was a beautiful way to prepare for Good Friday and Easter.

Our Greatest Adventure

By Al Weir, MD | March 2, 2021

“…for death is the destiny of everyone…” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, NIV).

Therapy Bans, APA Talking Points and Counseling Choice

By Andrè Van Mol, MD | February 25, 2021

A multitude of states, counties and cities have banned “conversion therapy,” usually for minors only, with efforts underway to issue a national ban for all through the so-called “Equality Act” (HR 5). Yet, “conversion therapy” is a misrepresentative, maligning and summarily ill-defined term employed as a jamming tactic to capitalize on an allusion to implicitly forced religious conversion while stigmatizing and intimidating any therapist who would engage in change-allowing therapy. It implies coercion and suffering, neither of which are true of modern change-allowing therapy (aka SOCE for sexual orientation change efforts). Modern SOCE therapists uniformly view old aversive techniques (think shaming, electric shocks, etc.) as unethical and ineffective. Tellingly, no state or municipality enacting a therapy prohibition has yet to ban aversive practices, only counseling that allows clients to explore their potential for change of SOGI (sexual orientation, gender identity). Why not ban aversive measures too, if abuse is really the issue?

Better Tomorrow than Today

By Steve Cartin, MDiv | February 24, 2021

“Preach the gospel at all times, using words when necessary.” We’ve probably heard this adage before. As Christian healthcare professionals, we may wonder and self-reflect how we’re sharing the Good News in this way. If our actions speak more loudly than our words, how are our day-to-day actions preaching the gospel to those around us?

When Will I Learn?

By Al Weir, MD | February 23, 2021

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, perseverance; and to your perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV).

Christians and Conspiracy Theories

By Steven Willing, MD | February 18, 2021

“You can’t handle the truth!”

That classic line from A Few Good Men from Colonel Jessup in the witness stand became a waving flag for many. It is enticing to think we own the truth, and that those who can’t “handle” it are naïve, weak or cowardly. Delivered to perfection by Jack Nicholson, Jessup hammered a wedge between truth and fantasy, and of course we all know which side we’re on, don’t we?

COVID-19 Fact or Fiction?

By Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Bioethics) | February 17, 2021

A growing proliferation of blog posts, podcasts and online videos presenting confusing information regarding COVID-19 has increased over recent months. Many of these controversies are propagated by physicians speaking to large church audiences. In this blog post, I will address the most common disputes.

God Jobs

By Al Weir, MD | February 16, 2021

“No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds” (1 Timothy 5:9-10, NIV).

He was recovering from an unexpected severe toxicity from a new cancer treatment. Just beginning to make urine and platelets again. We talked about his illness and then talked about his life. “I’ve got this neighbor,” he told me, “who cuts my yard. My yard is twice as big as his, but he cuts it. And he doesn’t just cut it, he manicures it and mows it twice a week—for a year now. He began back when I first got real sick. When I got better, I told him I could take over, but he wouldn’t let me. ‘God told me to do this, so it’s mine,’ he said. Before I got sick, we hardly knew each other.”

Let Us Be Healers

By Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics) | February 11, 2021

n the process of these elections—national, state, county, city—people who used to treat others civilly have forgotten how to do so. Politics has torn families apart, severed relationships and caused some people to say and do things that can never be unsaid or undone. In their efforts to obtain elected office, politicians and their support teams in both parties perpetrated rumors, lies and innuendo regarding opposition candidates. Some of these actions have destroyed reputations. Social media has helped to perpetrate the spread of misinformation.

You Could Help Reverse an Abortion!

By Eric F. Hussar, MD | February 10, 2021

Like me, you probably entered the medical field because you wanted to help people who were in significant need, facing challenges, and for whom you could have a substantial positive impact. You may have gone in with the goal to save lives. In healthcare, we have the privilege of helping people at some of their most vulnerable points, while also being a light shining into their darkness. For many women, that moment arrives for them after they have taken mifepristone (RU-486) with the intention of ending their pregnancy.

Earning the Right to Be Heard

By Tracy Liang | February 9, 2021

“Preach the gospel at all times, using words when necessary.” We’ve probably heard this adage before. As Christian healthcare professionals, we may wonder and self-reflect how we’re sharing the Good News in this way. If our actions speak more loudly than our words, how are our day-to-day actions preaching the gospel to those around us?

A Buddhist Funeral

By Al Weir, MD | February 9, 2021

“And whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:26a, NIV).

I had never been to a Buddhist funeral. The deceased was the father of one of my new fellows. When I arrived, my fellow greeted me and asked if I wanted to light some incense for her father. I said I would, out of respect for him and love for her. I placed the first incense before a picture of young Buddha. I did not bow to him as those before me but placed a burning stick into the small gravel bowl in respect for a great philosopher. The second incense I placed before a picture of the deceased and bowed my head asking God for blessings on his family.

Federal Court Strikes Down Transgender Mandate, Protects Medical Judgment and Conscience

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | February 4, 2021

A federal court has provided protections for physicians committed to following medical evidence and conscience convictions regarding the transgender and gender-questioning patients for whom they care.

“The Race Marked Out for Us…”

By Al Weir, MD | February 3, 2021

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV 1984).

On the Side: February 2021

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | February 2, 2021

As I have said in the past, “As wives of doctors, we are the people, who take care of the people, who take care of everyone else.” Since 2020 has now mercifully drawn to a close, I think it’s okay for us to take a moment to look back and take stock of how we are doing and think about what we need to do going forward to help take care of ourselves.

The Purpose in Pain

By Amy Givler, MD | January 28, 2021

When my husband and I worked at a mission hospital in Kenya for six weeks in 2013, we ate dinner every evening with another volunteer doctor, an orthopedic surgeon. We often discussed the use of opioids, or rather, the seldom-use of opioids in Kenya. After a U.S. surgery, he said his patients would receive opioids round the clock in the hospital, and they’d go home with a prescription for 30 to 60 pills. Yet here, patients’ pain was managed with non-opioid pain medications, and nobody was prescribed opioids after discharge.

Sunday Shopping

By Al Weir, MD | January 26, 2021

But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB).

A Word About…Remembering

By Ken Jones | January 25, 2021

A few years ago now, our youngest son Simeon left home to attend Seattle Pacific University (SPU). Like countless parents who watch their kids step into the world and out from under wings of mom and dad, we had some not-too-uncommon concerns, I suppose.

Policy Versus Politics: A Retrospect and Prognosis

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | January 25, 2021

A physician member of CMDA recently asked me for a perspective on the tragic temporary takeover of the U.S. Capitol and the role of politicians before and after that tumultuous event. The physician’s email began, “I’m so saddened by this incident and so appalled….”

I’ve been asked to share the response to that physician more widely, so my edited response is below, followed by some thoughts on public policy ministry, the last four years and the next four years.

Upside-Down-and-Backwards: Reflection and Challenge on Inauguration Day

By Autumn Dawn Galbreath, MD, MBA | January 21, 2021

My grandfather was a deeply gracious man. A Southern gentleman to the core and pastor of a large church, he was loving and compassionate toward everyone he met, and he was also uniquely talented at making each and every person with whom he interacted feel loved and heard. He truly cared, and he had an amazing ability to communicate the depth of that concern. In the 40 years I knew him, I never heard him raise his voice or speak a harsh word, with one dramatic exception. So it’s no surprise that the story of Granddaddy, hospitalized and delirious after major surgery, raising his voice at Gran has gone down in family lore. His agitation at her that day was so great, and so perplexing. He was intensely frustrated with her driving, despite the fact that he been in the hospital and nowhere near a car for days. He finally burst out, in his resonant Southern voice, “You insist on driving upside down and backwards just to irritate me!” Needless to say, it did not ease his distress when the entire family burst into laughter. But some things are just so funny you can’t control yourself.

Convicted of Apathy

By Jennifer Wade, DDS | January 19, 2021

Have you been frustrated or angry with anything in the last year? Maybe a better question would be, “How many times have you been frustrated or angry in the last year,” because it was a doozy. Over the course of 2020, God helped me wrestle through a lot of those frustrating things. I thought I’d grown past the point of letting the continued craziness get to me. I recently realized, however, that though I have grown spiritually this year through handling difficulties in my life and the world around me, I have also become apathetic at times as well. I realized my decreased response to bad news wasn’t necessarily maturity but born apathy of being tired of it all. God convicted me of this reality when someone was giving me a news update last week. I just nodded and tuned them out, because in my mind it was just more bad news, and I didn’t want to know more because I didn’t want to have to think about it.

It’s Not the Same

By Al Weir, MD | January 19, 2021

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8, NIV).

On the Side: January 2021

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | January 12, 2021

The May Day pictures from my daughter’s fourth grade moving up ceremony are some of my favorites. The girls are dressed in matching white dresses with ribbons around their waists and flower crowns in their hair. Those flower crowns alone made them appear angelic. But the fact that those little friends had skin tone ranging in every color made the photos seem like a little slice of what heaven will be. In hindsight, I was feeling pride about that. I thought we had found the way to move race relations forward in this next generation. I thought we had reached a better place—these girls cared far more about what they had in common than the skin tone that might otherwise separate them. Oh, what I was feeling was definitely pride bordering on smugness in the ease with which this could be “fixed.”

Poblano Pepper Pork

By Al Weir, MD | January 12, 2021

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

Yesterday was unusual for me in a good way. It was Saturday, a day I usually catch up with charts, or complete work for board meetings, or visit friends who need companionship. But yesterday, after my morning run, I spent the entire day at home with my wife. She wore me out digging up bush stumps in the backyard. And then we decided to cook together. I found a recipe for Poblano pepper pork chops, and she found a recipe for a mushroom antipasto. I asked her to show me how to do it right. We shopped together, prepared and cooked, and then we eventually invited her older sister to join us for the experimental meal. When I lay down to sleep last night, my body was tired. I had worked hard that day, but my spirit was rested and refreshed.

CMDA Statement on Capitol Violence

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | January 7, 2021

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations was shocked and appalled on January 6th by the rioters who attacked and invaded our nation’s Capitol while Congress was in session. We strongly condemn these acts of violence and lawlessness, specifically under the pretense of any righteous endeavor or the banner of Christ’s cross.

Eternal Eyes

By Tyrous David Ward, DDS | January 7, 2021

“…Fear God and keep his commandments…” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, NIV).

Navigating Vaccine Ethics

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | January 7, 2021

CMDA Senior Vice President for Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeff Barrows and I recently wrote a piece for The Public Discourse, “Is Receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Ethical?” that suggested principles to consider as we navigate ethical issues related to COVID-19 vaccines. I’ve included brief highlights below; more from the original article and also new observations will be published in an upcoming edition of CMDA Today (previously known as Today’s Christian Doctor).

Already Won

By Al Weir, MD | January 5, 2021

“If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one…” (Hebrews 11:15-16, NIV 1984).

Our Duty to COVID-19 Patients

By Eric F. Hussar, MD | December 30, 2020

You see a 68-year-old male with diabetes and hypertension in the office for coughing, body aches and recent loss of taste and smell, whose symptoms started about three days ago. His pulse oximetry is 95 percent, and the lungs are clear. A COVID-19 test is run and comes back positive. He asks what can be done to decrease his risk for going to the hospital or even death. Unfortunately, you tell him, there are no easily accessible outpatient treatments for COVID-19, and you recommend he use over-the-counter treatments to help his symptoms and to let you know if he is getting significantly short of breath. There are times like this when we in the primary care realm can feel helpless or like there’s not much we have to offer for patients. But is this truly the case for COVID-19?

“Even If He Does Not…”

By Al Weir, MD | December 29, 2020

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your Gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV 1984).

As program director for an oncology fellowship, this week I welcomed five new fellows into their three-year training program. Two weeks before they started, one of the new fellows was Facetiming his 36-year-old brother in India. While they were speaking, his brother suffered a heart attack and died. This Friday I received word from another starting fellow. Her previously healthy father had suffered a brain hemorrhage and would be hemiplegic and aphasic forever, if he lived. (He did not.) And, as a backdrop to these tragedies, the 19-year-old son of a local pastor dove into a shallow pool last week and is now paralyzed.

Spiritual Warfare

By Sam Molind, DMD | December 28, 2020

The problem for many Christians is that they have no concept they are living in a war zone. Too many Christians trudge half numb through this life oblivious to the perils all around them.

UK High Court Rules Puberty Blockers Experimental, Minors Cannot Consent

By Andrè Van Mol, MD | December 23, 2020

In a stunning decision with international implications, the United Kingdom’s High Court ruled December 12 in Bell vs. Tavistock that puberty blockers (PB) and cross-sex hormone (CSH) use in gender dysphoric minors was experimental and should not, in most cases, be given to children under 16 without court order, adding that such petitioning was also advisable for 16 to 17 year olds. They clarified that the consent issue was not about the breadth and depth of information the minors were given, but that “There is no age appropriate way to explain to many of these children what losing their fertility or full sexual function may mean to them in later years.”

A Home to Get To

By Al Weir, MD | December 22, 2020

“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’” (John 14:23, NIV 1984).

It was a one-half mile walk from clinic to car. Halfway there in the 95-degree heat, I passed an elderly man moving slowly on a walker in the opposite direction. Unkempt and unclean, he asked me how far it was to the emergency room. I pointed the quarter-mile direction and he responded, “I didn’t know it was that far.” I told him I could get my car and take him if he would wait, and he agreed. When I helped him out at the ER, I offered him $20. “You can use this for a taxi to get you back home.”

Marriage: Past, Present and Future

By Steven Willing, MD | December 17, 2020

What is the state of marriage in Western society? How did we get there? What are the implications for the worldwide body of believers?

We began this series in June discussing a report from a study committee of the Presbyterian Church in America calling for a biblically based and scientifically valid sexual apologetic. Across a vast range of hot-button issues, beliefs about human sexuality create the greatest divide between Christianity and the secular community. Within the church there is persuasive evidence that sexual issues are a major contributing factor to declining church participation and membership. Let’s turn our attention now to the issue of marriage.

It Don’t Matter

By Al Weir, MD | December 15, 2020

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV 1984).

Recently returned from a doctor’s vacation, all my kids and grandkids in a beach house on the Gulf Coast. Had a wonderful time. In the old days, one-week vacations were really rough, requiring two days to wind down, two days of relaxation and then the three days of growing stress, looking toward all the work pile-up I would face when I returned. I do it differently now and take about one hour each day on my computer to keep up, thus relieving the pressure of being so far behind when I resume my work. I’m not recommending my solution to anyone, but on the drive back from Florida, we passed the sign of a dining facility named “It Don’t Matter.” I thought about my workload in the week ahead and felt relaxed enough for the sign to describe my future.

Christmas Light for the Darkness

By Steve Cartin, MDiv | December 13, 2020

2020 will go down as a year to remember, a year many want to forget. But this Christmas season, let’s commit to renewed adoration of our Savior.

My Continued Education in American Racism

By Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics) | December 10, 2020

In my most recent blog, I wrote of some of my personal efforts to educate myself about racism in America, as well as improve my service for Christ to His world. While I do not ascribe to the tenets of critical theory, and I believe America has made significant progress in combatting its racist tendencies, I affirm the work of Dr. Omari Hodge and the new R2ED Committee he is leading for CMDA. I think it is important and necessary for our moral growth as a nation and our spiritual growth as Christians that we examine these issues and act appropriately.

Leading a Normal Life

By Ken Jones | December 8, 2020

One of the most frequently asked questions from people considering coaching is about the “process,” or about what it looks like to work with a coach. Because thousands of individuals have decided they are coaches because they have a particular expertise or experience in a specific area (i.e. sports coaches, writing coaches, even life coaches), it can be difficult to know how to choose a coach or even whether coaching is the right choice.

On the Side: December 2020

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | December 3, 2020

We don’t watch It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas—it is always on our must-watch list, but I am pretty sure that is because it is my favorite and so the family tries to appease me. But trust me, if schedules are too busy, and we don’t get through our entire Christmas list, this is definitely the one that doesn’t get watched.

New Religious Freedom Survey Provides Encouragement

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | December 3, 2020

An encouraging new nationwide poll reveals that Americans see religion as a core part of who they are and how they navigate trials, that they feel the faith community should play an even greater role in social justice and that elected officials should protect religious freedom.

Those are the key findings of my valued friends at Becket, the phenomenal public interest legal institute that has represented Little Sisters of the Poor, the Christian Medical Association and individuals of all kinds of religious persuasions from Anglicans to Zoroastrians.

The LORD is My Shepherd

By Caren Abraham, DDS | December 3, 2020

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11, KJV).

Stoic Expectation

By Al Weir, MD | December 1, 2020

“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ …From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:60-66, NIV 1984).

First Do No Harm

By Autumn Dawn Galbreath, MD, MBA | November 24, 2020

I got to hear Philip Yancey, one of my long-standing heroes of faith, speak in person a few weeks ago. My college-age daughter and I attended a conference (which, lest you are concerned, was sparsely attended, socially distanced and masked) where he spoke to a group of about 100 people. The minute I received the invitation, I knew I was going to attend if humanly possible. I am a huge fan of Philip Yancey, have read all his books and find him to be one of the most simultaneously encouraging and convicting Christian authors out there. I certainly was not going to miss the chance to hear him speak in person in a small group! I spent the intervening weeks in eager anticipation.

Hard Teaching

By Al Weir, MD | November 24, 2020

“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ …From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:60-66, NIV 1984).

A Plea to Our Churches

By Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Bioethics) | November 19, 2020

The daily rendering of the news informs us that the rate of COVID-19 infections is skyrocketing. The time it takes for the U.S. to accumulate one million cases has dropped from 44 days to just seven days. The pandemic has not only arrived; it is hitting with hurricane force and has reached a crisis point.

A Gospel Rhythm

By Al Weir, MD | November 17, 2020

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11-12, NIV 1984).

Ethical Science at Warp Speed

By David Prentice, PhD | November 16, 2020

COVID-19 has brought many challenges to us all—medical, ethical, societal. It has also intensified and sharpened the focus of some ongoing bioethical challenges, especially regarding fetal tissue research and the related topic of abortion-derived cell lines and vaccine production. We looked at both of these issues in the spring of 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Time for some updates, new information and analysis.

The Method Behind the Madness

By Ken Jones | November 16, 2020

One of the most frequently asked questions from people considering coaching is about the “process,” or about what it looks like to work with a coach. Because thousands of individuals have decided they are coaches because they have a particular expertise or experience in a specific area (i.e. sports coaches, writing coaches, even life coaches), it can be difficult to know how to choose a coach or even whether coaching is the right choice.

Another in the Fire1: Addendum

By Al Weir, MD | November 10, 2020

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not…” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV 1984).

U.S. Sends Shot Across Bow of UN, WHO with Multilateral, Pro-Life Health Declaration

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | November 5, 2020

“At stake in this battle is the funding and prevalence of abortion, influencing societal views on abortion and securing or losing conscience freedom for pro-life healthcare professionals.”

At a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar laid out a multilateral agreement that sends a clear message to the United Nations and the World Health Organization: Stop pressuring countries to submit to a radical abortion agenda and focus instead on consensus global health issues.

On the Side: November 2020

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | November 4, 2020

In a few days, we will be voting on who will be the President and Vice President for the coming four years. To say that this is important to us all is an understatement. It is not only important to the United States of America, but it is also important to the entire world, especially in light of COVID-19 and its subsequent fallout. Countries all over the world have been affected by the pandemic and by the economic consequences of it as well.

Another in the Fire

By Al Weir, MD | November 3, 2020

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not…” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV 1984).

Go to God First

By Jennifer Wade, DDS | November 3, 2020

To reduce no-shows and late cancellations by getting three critical matters right from the start and to get them in the appropriate order.  Otherwise, who knows what will happen. 

The Filter of Human Rights

By Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Bioethics) | October 29, 2020

As the 2020 election draws near, I’ve been contemplating the underlying reasons some of my family members will likely vote differently than me in this election. They believe the core Christian doctrines and affirm the Bible as the Word of God. They passionately seek to follow after the Lord in all they do. Yet, when they cast their ballot this year, their choice for President will probably differ from mine. It isn’t that they disagree with me on the abhorrence of abortion or the importance of conscience rights. Factors not yet understood by me are causing them to support the alternate candidate. It seems we are viewing political issues through different filters. After musing on this question for several months, I’ve concluded that one of those filters is human rights.

Getting Out of Purgatory

By Al Weir, MD | October 27, 2020

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV 1984).

Overcoming the Bombardment of COVID-19

By Doug Lindberg, MD | October 22, 2020

Carpet bombing, also known as saturation bombing, is a large area bombardment done in a progressive manner to inflict damage in every part of a selected area of land. The phrase evokes the image of explosions completely covering an area, in the same way a carpet covers a floor.

Ministry and Dentistry: No-Shows and Late Cancellations

By Steve Cartin, MDiv | October 20, 2020

To reduce no-shows and late cancellations by getting three critical matters right from the start and to get them in the appropriate order.  Otherwise, who knows what will happen. 

Seven to Two

By Al Weir, MD | October 20, 2020

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand” (Psalm 31:14-15, ESV).

It is always nice to see God’s successes when you’re an oncologist. On his recent evaluation, Rob Fortner demonstrated no trace of myeloma. We had treated him with standard chemotherapy followed by an autologous stem cell transplant. After completing his exam, I asked him, “How long has it been since your transplant, two years?” He smiled, “No, it was 2013 (seven years).” I sat there stunned that time and life had passed so quickly. Nine years with all of the intense moments, all the life stories, all the joy, all the tears. Gone in a blink.

A Word About Blessed Events

By Ken Jones | October 19, 2020

Because October is Down Syndrome Month …

A Word About Blessed Events

Everyone knows that phrase: A Blessed Event.

         A blessed event is what happens when a baby is born.

        A blessed event occurs when that familiar sound splits the air,

                And a neonate cries for the very first time,

And an heir is born who can help carry on the family name and lineage.

Victims of the Sexual Revolution

By Steven Willing, MD | October 15, 2020

Too often, it seems, Christians engaged in culture are fighting yesterday’s battle. Probably, most who are engaged in apologetics still believe the worldview of secular culture is premised upon values of tolerance and moral relativism. We are way beyond that. Having emerged victorious (according to some) in the “culture wars,” tolerance and “rights-speak” are no longer useful to sexual revolutionaries. Their narrative has shifted. Opponents of Christian morality now assert far more than equivalence. They claim moral superiority, along with intolerant disdain for traditionally-minded folk of most religious or conservative persuasions. The prideful often fall by overreaching, as Napoleon did by invading Russia. Opponents of Christian sexuality have badly overreached. It is a battle they cannot win.

Jars of Clay

By Al Weir, MD | October 13, 2020

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV 1984).

He walked into the room with a smell that preceded him. Short, thin, with a scraggly gray beard, he looked like a homeless addict who had neglected his health until it was almost too late. But he was not intimidated by the large tumor on his forehead. He spoke clearly and intelligently as I recorded his medical history. When I began to discuss therapy for his cancer, he said, “I’ll try the treatment, but I’m not afraid of this. I’m a Christian.” I told him I was as well. As he left, I placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed for him. He then said, “Let me pray for you.” He placed his hand on my shoulder and lifted me to the Lord. My nurse sprayed the room for the odor after he had gone.

Brief Reflections on My Recent Education in American Racism

By Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics) | October 8, 2020

CMDA’s Board of Trustees recently created the R2ED Team, which is a taskforce focused on racism and reconciliation, equality and diversity. As followers of Christ, we want to see persons of all colors and ethnicities blessed by the gospel of Christ and involved in the work and ministry of CMDA as much as possible.

Skin Color

By Al Weir, MD | October 6, 2020

“The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9, NIV 1984).

This was not the first time I’d felt the anger of racial injustice, but it was the most surprising. Lorenzo had been my patient for 20 years. He was doing better and living longer with his myeloma than anyone I had ever treated. He and I are friends.

The Dealer

By David Beyda, MD | October 5, 2020

She wasn’t sure how it happened, but it happened. The sun had set, the rain had started, and the roads were slick, with cars moving slower than usual and drivers being vigilant. She didn’t see it but felt it as her car was hit. The night was going to be a long one.

On the Side: October 2020

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | October 5, 2020

I once finished the Chicago Marathon. I ran right through the city uninhibited by the two million people who lived there. It was really something. I ran freely through a maze of normally congested streets. There were people pressing in on every side, yet I was unrestrained to work toward my goal. Do you know why? 

Presidential Executive Order Protects Vulnerable Newborns

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | October 1, 2020

A Presidential Executive Order (EO) signed on September 25, 2020 by President Trump recently mandated care for vulnerable newborns while highlighting the need to enforce protections to prevent the intentional neglect of babies born with significant challenges.

Back to Basics: Laying a Strong Foundation

By Krystal Mattox, DDS | September 29, 2020

“We need to get back to the basics of life, a heart that is pure and a love that is blind, a faith that is fervently grounded in Christ, the hope that endures for all times. These are the basics, we need to get back to the basics of life.”

Multiplied Compassion

By Al Weir, MD | September 29, 2020

“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them…” (Mark 2:3, NIV 1984).

I was over working at my computer when my clinical secretary called, “Guess who’s here?” No idea. “Mrs. Kushman. You took care of her husband.” I drug myself away from sterile technology and went to greet her. It had been four years, and now she was in our oncology clinic with her father. She told me her mother had cancer as well. I greeted her with an elbow bump and lowered my mask where she could see me. “How are you doing?” I asked. “Okay,” she said with her words, but not her eyes. “Do you have anyone to support you while you are going through this? Do you have a church?” She stood solidly on her faith in Christ and told me her pastor and church members were standing with her through the struggle.

A Vaccine Trial is Not a Trial: What Participating Looks Like

By Amy Givler, MD | September 24, 2020

I love vaccines. To those of you who have read my other articles on the subject (available here and here), this comes as no surprise. But, you may rightly say, “love” is an awfully strong word. Shouldn’t I only love people, not things?

I love vaccines because I love people. Millions of people are alive today only because they were vaccinated. Who are these people? Nobody knows, because the vaccine kept them from getting sick and dying. One of them could very well be me. Or you.

Does the Bible Endorse Racism and Slavery?

By Jerek B. Petrous, DDS, MS | September 24, 2020

The topic of slavery and racism couldn’t be more relevant in this age of social justice we are in right now. It goes without saying that racism is evil. Genesis 1:27 makes very clear that all are created in the image of God. The image of God, or Imago Dei in Latin, refers to the fact that humans were made uniquely and separately from all the rest of creation in a way that reflects God’s image in our moral, spiritual and intellectual essence. It means that in certain aspects, and in an imperfect sense, we resemble God. It is because we are image bearers of God that our lives have intrinsic worth, and this of course goes for all humans. It is precisely because we are made in God’s image that racism is evil. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about this frequently as the basis for civil rights. He argued that the brotherhood of man is dependent upon the fatherhood of God. Reject the latter and you erode the foundation of the former.

My Momma Was Mean

By Al Weir, MD | September 22, 2020

“If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there… even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast…even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:8-12, NIV 1984).

Living in the Household of God

By Autumn Dawn Galbreath, MD, MBA | September 17, 2020

Our family has an unofficial mascot—a little bendable Gumby doll. I have no idea where Gumby came from or how exactly we acquired him. He started out as a little game in which various family members move Gumby to different places around the house. When you find Gumby, you move him somewhere else where he awaits discovery by another family member. Over the years, we have adopted an unofficial motto that goes with our unofficial mascot: “Semper Gumby” (always flexible). As is true of numerous other healthcare professionals, flexibility is not my strong suit. I am really good at focus, goals, determination and persistence. Flexibility, not so much. So “Semper Gumby” is a motto for me as much as anyone else in the house. A reminder that flexibility is a necessary part of doing life with other people.

Purple Heart

By Al Weir, MD | September 15, 2020

“…There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24, NIV 1984).

The Control Panel of Life

By Ken Jones | September 14, 2020

“Control” is a word we use all the time, have you noticed? In science, every researcher insists on the careful documentation of experiments and the importance of control groups for accuracy in successful drug development. Television studios all have some control room, where people sit staring at monitors to determine which camera angle best captures the story that is unfolding. Every large airport in the world has a control tower, rising several stories above the surrounding runways. Men and women sit in those high control towers looking out on the horizon, while simultaneously watching monitors that display the exact location of airplanes wanting to land or waiting for permission to take off. The pilots are certainly flying the planes, but the controllers are in…control.

A Christian Perspective on Antidepressants

By Jennifer Huang Harris MD | September 10, 2020

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV

The Power of Suffering

By Al Weir, MD | September 8, 2020

“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10, ESV).

Amanda has been a dear friend for many years. She’s been a Christian all the years I have known her, but she had drifted from her devotion to God. Her sister-in-law is a Catholic Christian dedicated to Christ. Not long ago, Amanda watched her sister-in-law carry the staggering weight of her husband’s death with an unwavering trust in God. Amanda has now returned to a close walk with God and has found Him best within the Catholic Church. It is beautiful to see. What is more, Amanda’s son, a recalcitrant drug user, has followed her to faith in Christ, and he has been drug free for four years. Last weekend, we met Amanda and her husband in New Orleans for a short escape and attended the 9 a.m. mass at St. Louis Cathedral. The priest’s prayer for the suffering that morning included, “May they join their suffering with the suffering of Christ.”

Communist Repression, a Secret Vatican Compact and the Universality of Religious Freedom

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | September 3, 2020

If religious organizations kowtow to tyrants at the peril of religious freedom, why should the nonreligious even care?

On the Side: September 2020

By Christian Medical & Dental Associations® | September 2, 2020

The meeting with my co-leader was held two weeks before the start of the new Side By Side session. I had my planner, my Bible and the study book. She had the same. But Deb also had a box of organized, color-coded, individually-bagged Scripture reminders for each student, for every week of the semester. On top of all of this, she also had already written meticulous notes on each lesson in her beautiful penmanship.

Covid Lessons

By Jennifer Wade, DDS | September 1, 2020

This new Covid world has taught us things. We’ve learned more about ourselves, our families, our country, and the world as a whole and how connected it really is.  Have you had a chance to be still and reflect on what you have learned during this tumultuous time?  I’ve had a little time, but I’d like to take more and really sit and thank God for what He’s done in the midst of the brokenness.  Once you do get a chance to reflect, write those thoughts down and share them with someone and then ask them to tell you about what they have learned. The more you share and hear, the bigger and more beautiful the picture will be of what God is doing.  I’ll share with y’all a little of what I’ve learned.

Uber Questions

By Al Weir, MD | September 1, 2020

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, NIV 1984).

AJP Issues Correction: No Mental Health Gain from Gender-Affirming Surgery

By Andrè Van Mol, MD | August 27, 2020

The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) printed a rare and important correction this month. A study claiming to be the “first total population study of transgender individuals with a gender incongruence diagnosis” was published in the October 2019 AJP titled “Reduction in mental health treatment utilization among transgender individuals after gender-affirming surgeries: a total population study.” Seven letters to the editor from 12 authors, myself included, resulted in a data reanalysis and subsequent correction statement that no improvement was demonstrated with surgical treatment. Now for the setting and major points of my team’s published letter.

Breath into Bones

By Al Weir, MD | August 25, 2020

Many thoughts flashed through my brain and heart with this surprise email from 20 years ago: beautiful memories of a patient I loved, the awesome value of my wife’s act of stuffed-dog love, the tragedy of life, the hope of Christ.

Was Jesus a Proponent of Critical Theory?

By Robert E. Cranston, MD, MA (Ethics) | August 24, 2020

With recent discussions about allocation of scarce resources with the COVID-19 pandemic, concern has been raised about ensuring justice across all ethnic and political lines in caring for our patients. If allocation is determined based on anticipated quality life years based on treatment, then an inherent bias is baked in against the elderly. If likelihood of good outcome is a major criterion, then patients with higher levels of pre-existing disease will lose out. An example of this would be that among certain ethnic/racial populations there is at baseline a higher proportion of people with underlying heart, lung, metabolic or environmental disease. The African American population, in general, has a lower life expectancy, based on these factors, so if one weighs the allocation models to provide support for healthier patients, they will disadvantage people of color in distribution of ventilators, ICU beds and hospital admissions. Similar claims are made regarding people from other minority groups based on religion, gender, socio-economic class, educational attainment, etc.