Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Daughter’s Beauty

This is something I have been thinking about recently. Brandon Barker asks, and then attempts to answer his great question:

"How do I raise my daughter to know the true definition of beauty in a culture such as ours? How do I cultivate an image in her that is rooted in the beauty of Jesus and not the allure of a distorted sexuality?"

He then answers:

"Here are three points that I have found helpful in my journey:

Our Culture’s Definition of Beauty

In most societies, feminine worth is determined by how you live up to the cultural definition of “real womanhood.” In Dallas real womanhood is largely defined by physical beauty, and beauty is determined by which men find you attractive, which means feminine worth is defined by the ability to attract men. This is a heartbreaking perversion of why God created two sexes that leaves insecurity and broken marriages in its wake.

The Biblical Foundation of Beauty

God is the definition of beauty because He is absolute holiness, which is why scriptures like 1 Samuel 16:7 and Proverbs 31:30 define beauty internally and teach that God is after our hearts. Our definition of beauty should then begin with godly character flowing from the purity of heart.

We also know from Song of Solomon that God created men to find women attractive, serving as a physical representation of how the Church finds Christ desirable above all things. Thus, any exploitation of women’s bodies for the attraction or the lust of man is a distortion of God’s created intent and a product of the Fall.

Practical Steps for Shepherding

Abandoning our city to avoid the realities of a fallen world won’t reverse the effects of sin in our families. The only solution is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But how do we pursue this? Here are a few practical ways:
  • Teach your daughter early and often that God loves her. The Lord designed her exactly as He wanted her. Speak truth to her before she hears the lie.
  • Affirm this truth. Tell your daughter she is beautiful and that you love being her father or mother. I cannot say this enough to my daughter, Eisley, and I’m determined by the grace of God to not have her grow up searching for the affirmation she was designed to get from her father.
  • Teach her early that sexuality is designed by God and meant to flourish inside of marriage.
  • Guard her environment. You cannot avoid all images, but don’t be foolish in what you let your daughter see.
  • Take her on dates. Model the unconditional love of the Father through uninterrupted time with her father.
  • Develop a family mantra about beauty: “Where does beauty come from? The heart. Why? Because God looks there.”
  • Be aware of the schemes of Satan in your daughter’s life. Ex: The mall is not evil in and of itself, but there is a strong pull there to worldly passions. When we leave the mall, I want to tell Eisley repeatedly that I love her, she is beautiful, I love being her daddy and that Jesus loves her.
  • Be aware of the schemes of Satan in your life. Satan hates your daughter and wants her worship and destruction. The best way to get to her is through her headship. For the sake of God’s glory in the joy of your children, pursue holiness.
  • Pray, beg, plead. Our best laid plans are feeble compared to the craftiness of Satan, and we are desperately dependent on the Spirit to do what only the Spirit can do: open her eyes to Jesus.
As a father with many parenting mistakes in my future, I am still learning. And I know that, more than anything, I need the grace of God as I seek to raise up my daughter in the ways of the Lord."

(Read the original article at The Village blog)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Nativity Story

One of the best Christmas movies I have ever seen, The Nativity Story really brought home to me the raw emotions and real mess that Jesus' birth actually brought into the lives of Mary and Joseph, and the heroic choices they made.

Thanks Jeff and Janet Leman for introducing this movie to us at Herbertpur 5 years ago. I remember today the joy we experienced in watching this together (in the RCH building class room), and the great discussions that followed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Some 'Christmas' hilarity from around the blogosphere

Carol of the Bells like you've never seen it before!

(HT: JT)

Dashing through the snow in a new BMW

(HT: 22Words)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Do I Exist?

(click on the picture for a larger view)

Jokes aside, Calvin asks a great question. "What do you think we are put on earth to do? What's our purpose in life? Why are we here?"

I believe I have been created by God for a purpose. I believe the Bible is clear about why God has created me.

1) I have been created to enter into a relationship with God as my Father, and, consequently, with others who are also part of God’s family and are therefore my brothers and sisters.
John 1:12: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.
1 John 3:1: See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.
Since God has adopted me into His family as His son, I have also become related to others in God’s family, who have now become my brothers and sisters.

2) I have been created to display God’s divine nature to the world around me.
Romans 8:29: For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.
2 Peter 1:4: For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Just as children become more and more like their parents, I, too, should be becoming more and more like my heavenly Father.

3) I have been created to perform a specific task that only I can accomplish.
Ephesians 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Recently, I was very happy to hear Dr Santhosh Mathew share these same truths at a meeting. He expressed it more poetically, like this:
We have been created to:
i) Belong to God (by entering into a relationship with Him)
ii) Become like God (by becoming transformed into His likeness)
iii) Build God’s Kingdom (by fulfilling the good works that God has already planned for me)
Let me commend the EHA motto as an easy tool we could use to remember why we exist. The Emmanuel Hospital Association motto is "Fellowship for Transformation through Caring"

We exist to be a Fellowship (because of our relationship with God and each other)
We exist to be Transformed (individually and collectively into His likeness)
We exist to Care (by performing the specific task God has planned for us)

This is crucial stuff! If we have been created for this, but spend our lives accomplishing so much else, we may find when it is our time for assessment at the Judgement Day, that our life has been wasted.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter of the day

Justice Markandey Katju's reply to two students who want to sue him for saying that 90% (but not all!) Indians are idiots!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Personal Mission Statement Version 2

I have re-tweaked my previous mission statement.

My New Mission Statement can be accessed here.

I'd love to continue to get feedback on this, so that I may be able to not only articulate myself better, but also accomplish God's plan for my life.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Raising Children the world will Hate

"I realized that if God answers my prayer for my son to be a follower of Christ, people will hate him. People will absolutely, unquestionably be repulsed by my son.
"If God graciously saves my Oscar, people will call him a bigot and a homophobe. Some will ridicule him as a male chauvinist as they scorn his “sexist” beliefs. He’ll be despised as closed-minded for saying that Jesus Christ is not only God but the only God. He will probably meet a girl who insults his manhood or considers him old fashioned for waiting until marriage to have sex. His peers will think him a prude. Bullies will call him a coward. His integrity will draw insults like “goody two shoes” (I don’t even know what that means).
"Teachers will think that that my son ignores scientific facts about our origins, prompting his classmates to mark him an idiot. People will tell him he has been led astray by his parents down an ancient path of misguided morality masked as a relationship with God. Financial advisors will think he’s irresponsibly generous. When he takes a stand, there will be those who will not tolerate his intolerance. He will be judged as judgmental. He will have enemies, and I’ll be asking him to love them, and even for that he’ll look foolish.
"If you’re like me and hope for your kids to be fully devoted followers of Christ, then we need to be raising up a generation who is ready to be distinctly different from their peers. In a lot of ways, that’s the opposite of my natural inclination in how to raise my son. Raising kids who are ready to be hated means raising kids who unashamedly love God even in the face of loathing and alienation. Regardless if the insults of the world are naive or legitimate, I pray our children will be ready to stand firm in the midst of a world that hates them."
(HT: Trevin Wax)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A shout-out to India's Generalists

A few years ago, the President of India’s National Board of Examinations went on record as saying that about 90 percent of India’s health needs could be managed by doctors trained in Family Medicine. About 5-7 percent could be managed by doctors trained in Rural Surgery. Only about 2-3 percent of India’s sick needed to see a specialist!

The trend, however, is for doctors to get more and more specialised. Many students begin training for the postgraduate entrance examination even while still studying for their MBBS. The message is passed on to them that even an MD or an MS is not enough these days. The buzzword is Super-specialisation.

As a result, the health-care delivery system in India has become dangerously inverted.

Ideally, India needs plenty of Family physicians and Rural surgeons. These are Specialised Generalists. They are equipped to handle most health problems. They are also trained to identify problems that need more specialised care, and refer patients accordingly.

Often, these Generalists have been specially trained in general care. The National Board awards DipNB degrees in Family Medicine and Rural Surgery. Sadly, these two courses have not yet gained the popularity they deserve.

It is also possible to choose to practice Generalist care even after specialisation. For example, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work as a Rural Surgeon even after specialising in General Surgery. In addition to performing surgery I was trained to do (for example, open and laparascopic operations on the abdomen, surgery on the head and neck, thyroid, breast, etc), I had to do (because I was the only surgeon available) Urology (operations for kidney, ureter and bladder stones, intra-corporeal lithotripsy, PUJ obstruction, open prostatectomies, TURPs, etc), Pediatric Surgery (colostomies, neonatal intestinal obstruction, paediatric hernias and circumcisions, undescended testis, etc), Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Caesarians, abdominal and vaginal hysterectomies, surgery for rupture uterus, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, etc), Orthopaedics (open and closed reduction of fractures, amputations), ENT (tonsillectomies), and so on.

I have had to learn to do ultrasounds, and do simple ultrasound guided procedures like putting drains into liver abscesses, intra-abdominal collections and so on.

I have removed foreign bodies from the esophagus, ears, nose and even vagina.

I have had to give my own anaesthesia on occasion.

During some Caesarian sections, I have played the role of anaesthetist, obstetrician and neonatologist. I have given spinal anaesthesia, instructed a nurse to monitor the patient, started the Caesarian, opened the uterus, delivered the baby, put Green-Armitage clamps on the uterus to stop bleeding, and run with the baby to a side table where the baby could be resuscitated, then handed the baby to the nurses while I returned to close the uterus and complete the Caesarian.

Was that ideal? Hardly!

But under the circumstances, it was the highest quality of care available, because I was the only doctor around!

 As I watch medical education become more and more specialised, I cannot help being concerned. I realise that I too am contributing to the problem, and feel myself being forced down a path of further specialisation.

I am reminded of the old adage, “A Specialist is somebody who learns more and more about less and less, until he knows everything about nothing!”

I wonder if we are becoming more and more irrelevant to the real health needs in India.

Perhaps some amount of specialisation is needed in larger medical colleges, and in the cities. However, these are also the very places where young doctors are being trained. They learn a system of medicine which makes them irrelevant to the rest of Bharat, and fall into their place on the conveyor belt to specialisation.

I wonder if we are contributing to the vicious cycle that is tragically ruining the health ‘industry’ in India. As doctors become more specialised, we send a message to our patients that it would be better for them to see a specialist for their basic health problems. As a result, they insist on seeing specialists. Specialists are an expensive option! We have become experts at seeing health dangers when there are none. As a result, we over-investigate and over-prescribe. We are so afraid of litigation that we are unwilling to take risks, but quick to refer. We have developed tunnel vision, and see only the patient’s problem in our own field of specialisation. As a result, a patient has to see a large number of specialists for his various health problems. Investigations are repeated a number of times, many drugs are prescribed which interact with each other, and often, patients only get worse (and poorer!).

Perhaps, together with campaigning against medical corruption, we should campaign for specialised Generalists. We should appreciate them, honour them, and give them a high place in our medical fraternity. They are facing greater challenges and adapting better than many of us safely ensconced in our comfort zones.

Perhaps they should receive better incentives and rewards for the work they do.

Perhaps they should be offered special opportunities to keep abreast with developments in medicine, and to learn new skills.

Perhaps more specialists should spend time on a regular basis in generalist situations, keeping abreast of the real health needs of the country.

Perhaps some specialists should move permanently to rural India, to help address the inequality in distribution of health resources.

And, most importantly, perhaps we should allow Family physicians and Rural surgeons to play a greater role in training and impacting our young graduates and post-graduates. Would it not be wonderful if our students should spend a sizeable part of their training period working alongside these heroes?