Friday, July 12, 2013

A Theology of Medicine

There was a celebration of the life and work of Dr. Albert Schweitzer this last week (July 6 & 7, 2013) in Gabon, West Africa.  His name and work are still recognized around the world and medical students continue to be inspired by experiences at sites named for him. 

His religious philosophy was summarized by the phrase, “Reverence for Life.”  His religious history is that of a Lutheran but his life was his theological argument!  So the question today is where do we see a theological and a life argument in the practice of medicine?

Mission medicine continues to respond in providing service to the poor.   Here is an example from Duke University...Duke Global Health.   But what about the larger questions and a “life argument”?  Here is another response from that same institution:

“The Christian tradition also is very clear that physicians are not in medicine alone but, like all Christians, are part of a larger body, the church, which has as its mission the reconciliation of the world to God. And so the question is how to help congregations to own that and to support physicians and to sustain medicine as a practice.”   Dr. Warren Kinghorn, Duke University

What is amazing is that we have not put a name on this body of knowledge that makes the argument about the relationship between theology and medicine. Maybe it is still captured in the phrase, “Reverence for Life”.



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