Wednesday, 22 January 2014

"A Culture of Life"

By Patrick J. Deneen,

Imagine that today’s March changed the mind of one or two justices and as a result the Court were to overturn its 1973 holding as poorly reasoned and wrongly decided (both true). This would have the effect of allowing states once again to set up their own laws governing abortion. Some states would quickly enact a series of prohibitions or limitations, from outright banning of abortion to severe restrictions on its practice. Other states, one supposes, including some of the most populous such as California and New York, would almost certainly maintain near-limitless permission to abort children. It’s quite possible that the number of abortions would be reduced as the practice was outright banned or severely restricted in some parts of the country, but it’s also likely that those with means would simply travel where abortion would be legal, and even possible that the pro-choice movement would provide funding to pregnant women of limited means. One certainly can’t predict in advance what would happen, but it’s at least conceivable that as long as some states permitted abortion on demand, that the number of abortions would hardly drop.
On the other hand, imagine that seven (or even just four) justices remained convinced that Roe v. Wade should remain the law of the land, but that American people’s view of abortion was transformed—that it came to be widely accepted that abortion was simply wrong, that it came to be widely held that it was the taking of an innocent human life, the brutal murder of the weakest and most needy among us. Abortion would remain officially legal but increasingly unpracticed—indeed, unthinkable as something a civilized person would do.
These are not necessarily mutually exclusive scenarios, but given a choice between the two, I’d hastily accept the latter. 
Read the full article here:

Monday, 20 January 2014

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

-Jennifer Derwey 

"Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (source:

Friday, 17 January 2014

Western Retreat wrap-up

-Jennifer Derwey

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the 16th Annual Western Canada Student Retreat, "Conscience and the Practice of Dentistry & Medicine: Your Right? Your Duty?". We had an amazing turn-out (registration SOLD OUT), and the speakers really made an impact on the students. You can check out the photos from the retreat here and on our Twitter feed @CMDSCanada.

We're looking forward to the Eastern Retreat that starts tomorrow! 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Healing Patients as Whole People


Dr. Robert "Bob" Cutillo lives with his family in Denver, Colorado, where he practices medicine at the Inner City Health Center and the Colorado Coalition for the Homelessteaches at Denver Seminary, and contributes to various medical journals. [...]
What has been your biggest professional challenge?
Medicine is a powerful industry that has become increasingly successful in its ability to deal with sickness and death. This, however, has come at a cost—the disintegration of the person. The medical field wants to dissect people into their component parts. In this model, the patient is the object, and the doctor is the subject.
One of my patients, for example, was pregnant with a fetus diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality, and all of her doctors told her to have an abortion. They were operating under a reductionist model, separating her life from the life of her baby and her faith. She came to me, and I listened to her. She kept saying, "The baby was given to me by God. How can I abort it?" When the baby was born, she was given a name and baptized. In a few hours, as expected, the baby died. Her parents mourned deeply, but in a way that was possible only because they loved deeply.
When I study the healings of Jesus, I see an alternative to the medical model. He saw people as whole people, physically and spiritually. They were made in his image, and their sicknesses caused him pain. As a doctor, I know this is how my patients want me to see them. They are not objects, but subjects. They are not problems to be solved, but people who can act on me as much as I can act on them. There is reciprocity of relationship. I have to be willing to build relationships with them. 
read more at:  

Sunday, 12 January 2014

As the new year begins

-Lester Liao

With 2014 here, just like everybody else I ask myself about New Year resolutions. What am I going to accomplish this year? What is going to change? If you’re like me, you know the thought progression. It’s inspiring in its infantile stage, but soon after it becomes a task, laborious and tedious. As I began to reflect on the whole process, I began to realize that I was neglecting a deeper question. After all, our culture defines us by our external achievements and attributes – it is of course natural for me to consider resolutions from this angle. But the real question I need to consider is, who am I?
Maybe that sounds dramatic, but on closer examination I think the question makes sense.  Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount tells us that diseased trees bear bad fruit and healthy trees bear good fruit (Mt 7:17-19). Trees can only bear fruit that is consistent with their nature; diseased trees can’t bear good fruit.  We are the same way. If I am unhealthy, I can't really produce good fruit. If I am a follower of Christ and I abide in the true vine, fruit will follow (Jn 15:1-11). How much simpler would it be to have my very being changed to see external growth instead of simply trying to fabricate change! I need to abide in Jesus so I can be a healthy branch.
This brings me to medicine and the identity challenges that come with it. What is our life source? What are we plugged in to? Are we first and foremost doctors and then Christians, or vice versa?  
This question is so important is because the fruit we bear is related to what we trust in and dwell in. If my primary identity is physician, my goals will be drawn from that. I will not be a healthy tree because I am not abiding in the source of life Himself; I will abide in medicine. I will fellowship with other believers when it does not conflict with my work schedule. Church life will be dispensable and nurturing my family in the faith will be secondary. Of course in reality things may not be so black and white, but general trends would likely be telling. Physicians are particularly vulnerable to this type of idolatry simply because of the nature of the job. And what is at stake is being a branch that is alive at all. If I find my ultimate hope in medicine, I will die, and consequently I will be cut off (Jn 15:2, 6). 
On the other hand, when we are abiding in Christ, we naturally produce love for Jesus and others that will affect all our patients and colleagues. We will be salt and light (Mt 5:13-16). Our Christianity will not be an isolated component of our practice. Rather, the love of Christ will pervade our practice, driving us to care better for our patients and to be good physicians following the ultimate physician. We will not look back and lament the years we have spent only on trying to build ourselves or on the tolls that medicine have had on our family and social lives.  With confidence we will see how in attending to the physical and mental health of others we have also aided in their spiritual health. And that impact goes into eternity.
If we want to consider this year how to be better physicians, better colleagues, and better family members, we must build our identity on the rock that can support them all, Christ. We cannot think to ourselves we must just try harder or do this or that better. We must consider the core issue of where our nourishment comes from, and if we find it is medicine, let us be concerned.  It will not ultimately satisfy, it will not ultimately keep us healthy, and it will lead to being cut off.  May we simply abide in the true vine and see the organic consequence of fruit bearing in our lives.

Friday, 10 January 2014

2014 Western Canada Student Retreat

-Jennifer Derwey

Our 2014 (16th Annual) Western Canada Student Retreat "Conscience and the Practice of Dentistry & Medicine: Your Right? Your Duty?" kicks off today. If you're a conference speaker or attendee, we encourage you to share your photos and thoughts on the conference via the CMDS Twitter feed by tweeting to @CMDSCanada. If you don't have a Twitter account, you can still share your feedback and inspirational moments with us on Facebook here. Not connected with us on Facebook? Not to worry, just email your comments and photos to We'll do the social media posting for you.

Thank you for your input, and enjoy the conference!

2014 (16th Annual) Western Canada Student Retreat
Conscience and the Practice of Dentistry & Medicine: Your Right? Your Duty?

Location:           Shekinah Retreat Centre, north of Saskatoon, SK                 

Date:                  January 10-12, 2014
Speakers:           Dr. Farr Curlin, University of Chicago
                            (Go to Youtube and search Farr Curlin)
                            Larry Worthen BA, MA (Th.), LLB
                            Executive Director, CMDS Canada
Dr. Curlin first spoke at the WSR in 2009, to rave reviews. He is an internist with a cross appointment at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

Friday, 3 January 2014

ASDA's Student Ethics Video Contest

Check out the 2013 winners of the American Student Dental Association's Ethics in Dentistry video contest here. To obtain information about the 2014 Student Ethics Video Contest, contact