Thursday, February 23, 2006

Power, Agitation and Change

Yesterday during lunch time, I spoke to a small group of very bright medical students at the University of North Texas' College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth.

I love medical students.

They are so bright, focused and generally wide-eyed to their ever expanding world of learning and work, at least the ones who ask me to speak fit such a description.

After every meeting like the one I enjoyed yesterday, I come away feeling so encouraged about the level of care that will be available in the coming years.

I am also impressed with the social conscience of the students with whom I meet. Again this may be a function of the groups who invite me to meet with them.

Whatever the case, these young people (forgive me, I almost said "kids") care about justice, compassion and equity when it comes to their chosen field of work.

It is clear these young doctors aren't on their chosen path primarily for the money. They want to be healers and they want to see healing extended to everyone in as equal a fashion as possible.

They worry about health care and health outcomes disparities.

They are concerned to live sound, just lives. They want their medical practices to be built and conducted with these values in full view.

They are wide open to a single-payer, national health care plan because they understand that extending better health to more Americans, even to all Americans, benefits everyone.

They aren't phased by lobbyists. They want to see the nation do what is right by its weakest and poorest citizens.

They also see that doing what is right for more people also makes good sense economically in our exploding, never-to-go-back, one-world economy.

I keep hoping that these young doctors will step up, take the wheel and guide our nation into a better way of doing health promotion, health care and disease control for everyone, regardless of income levels or ability to pay.

I'll confess, I'm trying to encourage every last one of them to become agitators!

This calls to mind something Frederick Douglass, ex-slave and Abolitionist, once wrote:

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without plowing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."


krister said...

This reminds me of the quote by Martin Luther King Jr.:

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

Thanks for keeping us honest.

Brian Slusser said...

interesting insights Larry, I especially like to hear encouraging, hopeful comments about this young generation..what are we...generation X or next??? anywho 20-somthings that are increasingly growing disenfranchised with the status quo. And are interested in ideas of social justice, equality, redemption, grace, mercy, love, hope.

It goes along with the whole emergent church crowd.

Will this searching and longing and desiring for more then what the current culture, lifestyles, and marketplace translate into action and increased Shalom??? I hope so.

being a 20-somthing, i've not observed other generations "come into their own" and make the transition from teens to young adults to contributing members of societies.. So I have to say unabashedly I have alot of hope for my generation. and i'm curious and excited to see what happens.

But when it comes down to it I don't have a lot of faith in people, or people-groups, or "generations" or presidential administrations, or policies, or bills ect. But I do have faith in the one that can breathe life into the dust of the ground and make man. And create all the beauty and glory we see around us.

So yeah my prayer is that he teaches us to be a people, and church of agitators no longer satisfied with the false gods of materialism, consumerism, efficiency ect. that do not satisfy. To no longer let people slip through the cracks in the name of profits. I know as someone myself..without health care..that I long for justice in this area... God Speed these young medical students...and preserve them and their idealism amidst the cynical "real" world.

Charles Senteio said...

Thanks for sharing and providing some needed balance to a curriculum that in my view largely ignores the very important non-clinical aspects of providing care, especially to those whose environments are not conducive to annual PCP and 6 month dental visits.

Amber G. Lehmann said...

Thanks for coming out to TCOM. I'm glad you were encouraged by us, as we certainly were by you. Without ministries such as CDM manifesting a different way of doing life together, especially the medical aspects, I fear that our ideals and hopes could easily be eaten up by the mammoth medical industry. Please pray that we will be wise and creative, relying on imagination and hope insted of the status quo, as we plunge head first into becoming healers.
-Amber, TCOM Class of 2009