Monday, May 19, 2014

Healing Reports

Sharing Healing News in Kenya*

I just finished two wonderful but very different books about healing described in very different ways and environments.  Both relate to the nature of chaplaincy.  What can be seen in both reports is the critical nature of healing in these different environments.   The first (Cadge, 2013) reports the many faces of chaplaincy in secular academic hospitals and the other (Braestrup, 2008) in the life and story of a chaplain to game wardens in Maine.   The first is an analytical report by a sociologist and the second is a memoir by the author/chaplain.

For me these two reports are helpful to see both the depth, breadth and power of these healing professions.  It is inspiring to hear the impact of these healing agents and the resonance with my experiences is reassuring.

What is clear is that there continues to be a deep need for the integration of our faith and knowledge in the care of those who face the crises of life and death.




Cadge, W. (2013). Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine (1 ed.). University Of Chicago Press.

Braestrup, K. (2008). Here If You Need Me: A True Story (Reprint ed.). Back Bay Books. 

Hage, M. L., Tetel-Hanks, J., & Bushyhead, A. (1992). When the Bough Breaks--the Blalock’s Story. Duke University Medical Center. 

Hage, M. L. (2012). God’s Grace. Retrieved from

Hage, M.L. (2013). God’s Grace Revisited.  Retrieved from 

* The story behind the photo.  Mzungu-nyanya Retrieved from

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting Here

Gare du Nord Train Station, Paris, France

Retirement gives you an opportunity to try and understand the “journey/course” of your life.  Generally, it is not possible without some expert assistance.  We are so “close” to our own stories that understanding is difficult.   

George Marsden’s recent book The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief chronicles the larger story of American life and the course of my life.  His thesis is that the exclusion of religious perspectives from dominant scientific/technologic perspectives left a void in the meaning and purpose in American life. 

My argument, in brief, is that the culture wars broke out and persisted in part because the dominant principles of the American heritage did not adequately provide for how to deal with substantive religious differences as they relate to the public domain.

The task for much of my life was holding onto both a sense of meaning and purpose within the context of the science and technology of medicine.  Fortunately, I received the gifts of community and faith that occurred in both the worlds of faith and science.  

As we all know, the struggle has not ended for our society.  The book ends with an alternative historical perspective from the works of Abraham Kuyper.

Kuyper, by way of contrast, worked from a principle enunciated by St. Augustine: “I believe in order to understand.” Faith preceded understanding, and so faith informed and shaped understanding. Working from this principle, Kuyper insisted that reason, natural science, and methodological naturalism were not ideologically neutral. Even the most technical of natural sciences, he observed, operated within the framework of the faith, or higher commitments, of the practitioner. 

The challenge is to use this “big picture” perspective to continue to live into those higher commitments.  



Marsden, G. (2014). The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief. Basic Books. 

Ibid, p. 165

Hage, M. L. (2013). Seniors. Retrieved from

Hage, M. L. (2012). Thoughts. Retrieved from