Chapter two raised many thoughts that I have learned though my own spiritual growth and my caring for people. In particular the way “religion” impacts people in healthy and unhealthy ways. A few statements from chapter two stand out for me.
“Standing together, both the minister and the doctor can more adequately stand by the patient and take him more seriously” (p.24)
“The problem of the idolatry of the self is that of accepting ourselves as human.” (p.44)
“The minister’s primary responsibility is to know God and to speak frankly and without glibness of him.” … “I, when I am introduced to the patient as a pastor or a minister, always represent God.” … “The God I represent to the patient is the patient’s God, and there are many. My first task is to discover who and of what nature is his God.” (p.48)
The Doctor’s statement, “The doctor’s job is to help people see straight, and the minister’s job is to see to it that they are looking at the right God when they seek to be religious.” (p.49) I do not know if the doctor who said this was meaning the “right God” to be his God, but in light of Oates response, “My first task in to discover who and what nature is his God” I agree that as a Chaplain, I meet the patient where he is and explore who his “god” is and go from there to see how that is impacting him in the circumstance in which he finds himself. This is a time of exploring, affirming, maybe redefining a person’s “god” and his relationship with his “god”.
Patient’s statement, “God easy on how you tell us that God cares. Show us that you care and we’ll decide for ourselves whether God cares on the basis of what your do.” (p.50) Oates says, “I, when I am introduced to the patient as a pastor or a minister, always represent God.” In Genesis chapter two God says, “It is not good for the human to be alone.” Jesus told his disciple, “Where two or three are gathered … there I am.” God makes his presence know though people. As Chaplain I bring the presence of God and God works through me however defined.
This has been a busy day. I wanted to get something out there and hope to reflect and respond soon.