Ever since I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, my head has been full of thoughts and questions. I was fascinated by the story and shamed by the disparate treatment of people in medicine. Thursday I headed down to the Clendening Library at Kansas University Medical Center in hopes of resolving some of my angst. Dr. Terry Rosell hosted the Midrash and Meal at the university’s library of Medical History. Our discussion of the book took place surrounded by medical implements dating back to early Egypt BCE. The tools looked dated; some looked barbaric; all told hauntingly fascinating stories of human procedures. It served as a fascinating and thought-provoking venue for the discussion of the ethical, racial, and medical problems the story of Henrietta produced.
Our discussion was everything I had hoped a Midrash and Meal would entail. Ethicists, doctors and seminary alumni/ae gathered to discuss the book and hear facts about inequities in our American healthcare system. The discussion was lively at times, our group spanned profession, age, gender, and ethnicity. We did not solve the problems of American healthcare. We did not answer the why questions I had regarding inequities in our medical system. Yet, with all the questions left unanswered, there was one nagging question Terry proposed, and it continues to echo in my soul. What is your church doing about these things??
We closed our day with a tour of the library. We saw historic medical paraphernalia and texts. We heard stories of medicine of days gone by. I left with my mind spinning as fast as when I pulled into the parking garage. Terry’s question lingers: What will I do? How will I lead my congregation into action? The inability to answer the hard questions cannot lull me into inactivity. Now my mind is spinning toward action: What will we do?
I am currently in my second year in Brite Divinity School’s Ph.D. program in Pastoral Theology. The program is enriching and challenging, and is allowing me to explore research questions that have deep implications for me both vocationally and personally. Little did I know at the time of my matriculation, Central’s create program was preparing me for this unique experience. The curriculum of create, and the culture of Central, nurtured my deep interests in theological education, and equipped me for meaningful ministerial engagement. Because of create’s focus on praxis and innovative ministry involvement, I found myself uniquely positioned for various levels of engagement with the Church, communities, and the wider global context.