Friday, March 2, 2018

Healing Conversations

“Here is the Church”
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (MSG)

Ray Downing, Greg Boyle and Michael Battle/Desmond Tutu all have messages to share about how we are to live in this world.  These authors help us to see a vision of community and healing.  They all have helped me see my life and experiences in a larger context.

What would they say to each other if we got them to sit down together?  I think they would confess their Christian faith, grieve our separations, celebrate forgiveness and call for new communities of healing.  I would love to hear how they understand and see the scripture passage at the beginning of this post.

Can we find voices that together will bring healing to this broken and suffering world?  I have found some.  Will you join the choir?  Will you bring others with you?  Will you share your healing stories?

  in Kenya


Downing, R. (2018). Global Health Means Listening (1 ed.). Manqa Books.

Boyle, G. (2017). Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. Simon & Schuster.

Battle, Michael (2009) Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me Seabury Books, New York
Tutu, D Speech delivered at Duke Chapel by Bishop Desmond Tutu (1986)

Hage, M. L. (2013). Global Health.

Hage, M. L. (2013). Reconciliation and Healing.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
    each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
    I compose songs on your wonders.
Psalm 145:4-5 (MSG)

It all started about 5 years ago, when the oldest of my grandchildren announced she had read  a book, “Wonder”.  Since that time, I received the sequel, “Auggie, and Me” as a Christmas gift from another grandchild and then saw the movie.  When I asked a younger grandchild what was the best part of the movie,  she said “It was“when Auggie made his first friend at school”,  These series of events with grandchildren has lead me to think more about how we see each other.  What is most important?  What binds us together?  Is it about our abilities and competencies?

There are many modern voices, Hans Reinders, Jean Vanier, Stanley Hauerwas, and John Swinton, that have addressed and worked to answer these existential questions.  Another experience just published was from a parent’s perspective -“I am that Parent”.  This is worth a careful read.

For me,  this is a question of being a grandparent and the creation of spaces where we learn and live together; like reading books together.  And maybe an answer is found in the “wonder/mystery” of how we live into the reality of our limited abilities and understanding.  “Friendship” looks like a good place to begin as my grandchild understands.



Palacio, R. J. (2012). Wonder (1 ed.). Knopf Books for Young Readers

Palacio, R. J. (2015). Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories (7th ed.). Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Rule, A., I am that parent.
JAMA. 2018;319(5):445. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.21048

Hage, M. L. (2012). Awaiting “Good News”

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Healing Together

Healing Together at Tenwek Hospital, Kenya

There have been two remarkable recent reports of healing agents:
These reports remind me of a wonder filled life in medical care.  What is usually the focus of a medical care commentary is physician-patient relationships.  What we read in both of these reports is the beauty and complexity of a healing communities. 

For me, the environment that best represents healing together is found at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.  I have had the opportunity to see it grow and expand its influence locally and internationally.  People from around the world show up to be part of that community.

Thanks be to God for transformative healing communities.



Tenwek Hospital

Hage, M. L. (2010). The “Telos” for Christian Healing Agents.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Healing Kinships


There are mixed responses when you announce that you will be attending a reunion.  Popular forms are family and educational reunions.  For some it is just a nostalgic extravagance.  For others it is a chance to hear both old and new stories that you have shared.  I prefer to see reunions as the later.

This reunion may stretch the definition - It was attending a presentation supporting prison ministry in Grand Haven, Michigan (10/12/17).  The reunion part was hearing Father Gregory Boyle recount many of the stories I first heard in 2012 while reading Tattoos on the heart: The power of boundless compassion.  It was a great reunion.  It was at that reunion I heard an announcement of new stories that will appear this month Barking to the choir: The power of radical kinship.

A more classic reunion, 50 years since medical school graduation, actually began before the formal event with the collection and distribution of a brief histories.  I was impressed with the stories of mission and community involvement.  Even better was their love of their vocation.  When the reunion occurred (October 26-28, 2017) it was a great cerebration.   We are “kin” who shared a common beginning and remain connected to a common purpose of healing.



Humanity for Prisoners

Boyle, G. (2011). Tattoos on the heart: The power of boundless compassion. Simon and Schuster.

Hage, M. L. (2012). Techniques and Transformation.

Boyle, G. (2017). Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. Simon & Schuster.

Hage, M.L. (2017) Healing Covenant

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Healing History

"Singing is praying twice”*
Chance the Rapper

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Psalm 95:1 (NIV)

Many of us have just finished watching the 10 part documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on the history of the Viet Nam War.  For me, the big question was “what was I doing during those years?”.   It is hard to remember the emotions surrounding that time, but it is easy to recall the music.

So beside telling the horrible facts, I was moved by the music.  The music was for me the key to the healing that is possible.  Maybe that has always been true.  The question for us is what are the songs that you are singing today and will they be a part of your life’s story.

For me the answer came October 1. 2017 at a celebration of the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation.  This was a small local effort in Holland, Michigan.  The community came to a beautiful concert hall and sang songs of the church.  The voices may have been older but we sang of healing and life.   This experience demonstrated again the power of the music we have learned and are still learning.



*Quote also attributed to St. Augustine

Hage, M. L. (2013). Healing Music 

Hymnody: The Voice of Christian Unity A festival of hymns old and new that are common to all Christian traditions.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Healing Covenant

Oldest Fragment of the Hippocratic Oath

“I do solemnly swear by that which I hold most sacred:”

This fall I will attend my 50th Medical School Graduation Reunion.  I was able to retrieve the Aequanimitas 1967 yearbook and the graduation program.  Central to that graduation ceremony was the Hippocratic Oath that was printed on the inside cover of the program.  

The context of the oath begins by the swearing “by that which I hold most sacred” and goes  on to describe our behaviors in relationship to patients and colleagues.  How should we understand that oath today and how it was applied in our professional lives in the last 50 years?

There are overarching descriptions that could be used to describe the changes in medicine during this era: Moving from art to technology; from compassion to contract; and from sacred to secular.  The oath itself has changed as well as its use.  What I believe is central to healing  is the idea of covenant as the first line is sometimes translated .  The covenant between individuals is sworn before God as an oath and that makes it much more than a contract.  That sacred context has been the missing ingredient for many in the healing professions, but there are exceptions as reported in this blog.

In anticipation of the reunion, I am looking forward to hearing the stories of healing that began by taking that covenant oath 50 years ago.



First line of The Hippocratic Oath as printed in the 1967 Class Day Ceremony and Honors Convocation

Hage, M. L. (2011). Healing Agent Education.

Hage, M. L. (2014). Healing Ebola.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“Who tells your story?”

Zion Canyon 

Petroglyphs in Zion National Park

So God created mankind in his own image, 
in the image of God he created them; 
Genesis 1:27a (NIV)

We just returned from a family trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.   It was an amazing trip where millions of years of creation are on display.  Less obvious to most visitors are the presence of human art and stories on the walls of the canyon.  

I was awed by the sense of time that was visible in the layers of rock and the forces that created these vistas, canyons and mesas.  These vistas have been experienced by millions of people.  We stood as witnesses to a God of creation and the generations before us.  We were also treated to some wonderfully clear night skies that allowed us to see the other worlds around us…small and large displays of God’s creation.

What stories would we want to tell to the ages?  What art would capture the purpose of our lives and place?  For me, the greatest story and art are found in healing relationships that begin with the great stories of creation.



Last line of the song Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? in the musical Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Hage, M. L. (2009). God’s Creation

Hage, M. L. (2012). “Green” Healing Agents