Archive for June, 2011

One down (one to go…)

I need to stop making that joke, or Wylie will hurt me. More than she has already.

A year ago we were here

enjoying the beautiful Co. Down weather (technically we were in Co. Down, just over the river at Moyallon School)

This year we were here

Now I don’t want you to view these 2 photos as in some way symbolic of the state of our marriage.

Perhaps this would be more appropriate

Kidding… honestly…


A year in we went away to stay in a house that used to be a stable, surrounded by other houses that wouldn’t pass any modern day building codes. But hey it’s all very nice.

We climbed hills

And got photos to prove we did it

And when not enjoying “happy monk” related delicacies

we entered into the Wylie family tradition

Yes I know. We can really party…

Marriage is a little bit like being beaten with a bag of door knobs. It’s not exactly easy but it has deep and long lasting effects on your life.

I have been more deeply changed in the last year than I perhaps ever have in my life before. Not all of those changes have been good I’m sure but I am grateful for them. Most of this comes from being married to a person who knows the importance of honesty, integrity and the fact that neither one of us is enough. Amen to that.

Here’s to a few more is all I can say


A community of character

Just started reading this (though it was first published the year I was born…) and right there paragraph 1 page 1 is this:

though this book touches on on many issues it is dominated by one concern: to reestablish the social significance of the church as distinct society with an integrity peculiar to itself. My wish is that this book will help Christians that their most important social task is nothing less than to be a community capable of hearing the story of God we find in the scripture and living in a manner that is faithful to that story. The church is too often justified by believers, and tolerated by non-believers, as a potential agent for justice or some other good effect. In contrast, I contend that the only reason for being Christian (which may well have results that in a society’s terms seem less than “good”) is because Christian convictions are true; and the only reason for participation in the church is that it is the community that pledges to form its life by that truth.

Medicine as virtue formation

[cross posted from over there…]

Did you see this? Atul Gawande’s speech at commencement at Harvard Medical school a few weeks back.

If you want something to go well with it then read this by David Brooks in the NY Times.

If you want something heavier than that then read this or even this but then it starts getting really dense.

Let me give you a few starters from Gawande:

The doctors of former generations lament what medicine has become. If they could start over, the surveys tell us, they wouldn’t choose the profession today. They recall a simpler past without insurance-company hassles, government regulations, malpractice litigation, not to mention nurses and doctors bearing tattoos and talking of wanting “balance” in their lives. These are not the cause of their unease, however. They are symptoms of a deeper condition—which is the reality that medicine’s complexity has exceeded our individual capabilities as doctors

His advice:

  • measure where you succeed and fail; become interested in data (see his book Better)
  • develop abilities to provide solutions for systems problems that come from the data (he quotes the check list idea)
  • be able to get colleagues to work like a “pit-crew” for patients; he mentions humility, team work and  discipline
These values are the opposite of autonomy, independency, self-sufficiency.
Which leads me to David Brooks:
If you sample some of the commencement addresses being broadcast on C-Span these days, you see that many graduates are told to: Follow your passion, chart your own course, march to the beat of your own drummer, follow your dreams and find yourself. This is the litany of expressive individualism, which is still the dominant note in American culture.
and my favourite:
Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.
Stanley Hauerwas, who is the major reason I’m studying for a theology masters talks a lot about the practice of medicine as being a much better place for moral formation than seminary. Health care in its very existence is a moral practice that is a bridge between the healthy and sick so that the sick are not alone; that the sick know that they are still part of their community of fellow humans. In order to maintain medicine as a morally significant practice; as a deeply human process, and not descend to become a group of “technicians” requires many of the navigational skills (or as I’d prefer – virtues) that both Brooks and Gawande suggest.


June 2011