Duke Divinity School Announces New Fellowship Program

With the goal to equip Christians to faithfully engage their vocations in health care, Duke Divinity School has announced the creation of a new fellowship program open to students and practitioners in health professions.


Dr. Farr Curlin, a long-time friend of Siloam and a regular speaker at the Christian Community Health Fellowship conferences, is leading this initiative and we invite you to consider their announcement below:

Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellowship Announced

The Theology, Medicine, and Culture (TMC) initiative at Duke Divinity School is pleased to announce the creation of a new fellowship program for Fall 2015.

We invite students and practitioners in health professions, as well as others with full-time vocations to health-related contexts, to participate in a program of theological formation that will equip them for faithful, disciplined, and creative engagement with contemporary practices of health care.

TMC Fellows will study in one of the residential master’s degree programs of Duke Divinity School (MACS, MTS, MDiv, ThM), and will combine this academic study with structured mentorship, retreats and seminars, and church and community-based practica.  Through special grant support, the Fellowship will offer students tuition grants of at least 50 percent for the first year of study with additional scholarship support available on a competitive basis.

Current applicants to any of the degree programs at Duke Divinity School are eligible for the fellowship.  To apply, please:

1.)    Indicate your interest in the fellowship in the personal statement that is submitted with the degree program application

2.)    Submit a separate 1-2 page Statement of Interest in the fellowship to DukeTMC@div.duke.edu.

The applications for this fellowship will be considered on a rolling basis.  We strongly encourage applications be submitted by March 1.  For more information please see: http://sites.duke.edu/tmcfellowship/

Our vision is that the TMC Fellowship will equip the Church’s ministers and its healers with an imagination for faithfully engaging their vocations with respect to health and medicine—that they would be salt and light in the varied contexts and communities they inhabit.

For more information about the TMC initiative, see http://divinity.duke.edu/tmc

Lunch Discussions at Siloam

Whole-person care is a word that gets thrown around inside the walls of our clinic daily.  Inspired by the way that Jesus healed in the Gospels, we recognize that when a person is ill, more is ill than only the physical denominators of their health, but their feelings, emotions, heart and spirit also play a part.

Dan Fountain illustrated this brilliantly in an address he gave to the World Congress of the ICMDA in Durban in July 1998, drawing from a case study found in Mark 5: 25-34 – the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage.

Considered unclean by the social structure that surrounded her, her daily condition was one of abandonment, rejection, and despair.  Her life became defined by her illness and her hope for a cure had long been extinguished.  Yet hope was awakened the day that she heard stories about this man named Jesus and the accounts of the way He healed people.  With no other direction out, she knew that she needed to somehow encounter this man for her healing.

One day she hears that He’s passing through her town and she steps outside of the boundaries of what was allowed by her society.  She, unclean, reaches out as Jesus walks by and touches the hem of His garment, instantly healed.

Painting by Howard Lyon

Painting by Howard Lyon

Dan Fountain continues the narrative: “He [Jesus] knew she had been physically healed. We doctors are usually delighted when we have healed someone physically. Could Jesus not be content with that? No, because the woman herself had not been healed; her life had not yet been restored. Jesus wanted to heal her as a whole person, so he called her back to him. As she lay prostrate on the ground before Jesus, waiting to hear words of condemnation, she heard instead two absolutely incredible words [“My daughter…”], and these two words healed her.

… What heals the broken heart and the wounded spirit? What heals the heart is simply a word spoken to the depths of the spirit of the sick person. It is a word that is understood by the spirit of the person in such a way as to resolve the psycho-spiritual pathology – the fear, the conflicts, the anxiety, the guilt, the despair. When this word heals the inner pathology, the whole person can be healed.”

The question is: Is it possible for us to heal our patients in this way?  And if so, how?

Beginning November 18th, Siloam Family Health Center will be featuring a lunch discussion on whole-person care every 3rd Tuesday of the month.  All members of Siloam staff, volunteers, trainees and members of the Nashville medical community are welcome to attend.

An article will be selected that focuses on what it means to offer whole-person care with Dr. Morgan Wills facilitating a discussion around the topic presented.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to me at Rachel.lantz@siloamhealth.org to receive the reading for the discussion and bring your lunch to join us while we discuss what it means to offer whole-person care.

This week we will be spending time discussing “The Healing Team” from Dan Fountain’s book God, Medicine, and Miracles.

If you would like to read the full length of his 1998 address, we encourage you to read the article here: http://www.cmf.org.uk/publications/content.asp?context=article&id=694

Joseph Pearce: Healing through a Fairy-tale

Those who work in healthcare are no strangers to the struggles their patients face in the areas of suffering and addiction. As ones whose work is to heal, we are brushing against the hurt underlying the physical symptoms we diagnose, but how do we navigate the messy waters of another person’s suffering and their methods of coping?

It was G.K. Chesterton who once wrote, “The more truly we can see life as a fairy-tale, the more clearly the tale resolves itself into war with the dragon who is wasting fairyland.” Through the lens of a story, we are often provided an understanding to our own human psychology that provides unprecedented value to our approach to healing.


Joseph Pearce, writer of the recent book, “Bilbo’s Pilgrimage” and Director of the Aquinas Center for Faith and Culture, will be speaking on the connection between Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and its way of imaginatively reflecting on reality in a lecture titled, “Suffering, Addiction and Healing in The Lord of the Rings.” This lecture, presented by St. Thomas Health, will be held on October 21st at Saint Cecilia Academy on the Dominican Campus.

If you live in the Nashville area, we encourage you to consider attending Joseph Pearce’s lecture and to be inspired to see the struggles & addictions that you and your patients face in a whole new light.

Please view this flyer for more information about the event and the availability of CME.

Contact mdreger@sth.org for more information and to RSVP.

Upcoming Event – Grace Prescriptions

save the date website version

As a Christian medical professional, treading the waters where faith and medicine intersect can seem murky with the feeling of being ill-equipped to approach the topic of faith with patients.  Yet it is this patient–provider relationship that provides such rich ground to plant seeds of spiritual hope in patients as they face their hours of deepest hurt and fear.

On the weekend of February 6-7th, Siloam will host Grace Prescriptions – a conference designed specifically for Christian medical practitioners to become equipped to integrate their faith with their practice.  Formerly known as “The Saline Solution,” Grace Prescriptions is a training paradigm pioneered by the Christian Medical and Dental Association.  Written by Bill Peel and Dr. Walt Larimore, the curriculum is designed to explore the topic of spirituality in healthcare and equip those of us in the medical profession to integrate faith into our practice.

We invite you to come and be a part of this weekend of gathering with other Christian healthcare practitioners and their teams from around the Nashville region.  For more information, please visit our Events page as we announce further updates.

Registration opens October 6th.

Upcoming Event – C3: Courageous Conversations

On March 6th– the 8th, St. George’s Episcopal Church will be hosting its 4th Annual C3: Christ | Church | Culture event in Nashville —an event to engage courageous conversation within the Christian community.


This 3-day event will feature renowned speakers and musical artists such as Phil Keaggy, Rachel Held Evans, and more.  Over 1000 people will gather from across the country to learn and discuss ways to create courageous conversations that do not ruin relationships.  The conference is for church leaders, students, artists, pastors, professors, lay people and anyone who wants to engage the culture around them with the Gospel. For more information, please see the event’s website here.

Are we merely machines?

This upcoming talk, “Äre We Merely Machines?”, by MIT Professor Rosalind Picard, Sc.D, as part of the Veritas Forum  will feature her work on affective computing, how her work and her faith mutually inform each other, and how they inspire her to use her technical expertise to help those with autism.

To give some background on Dr. Picard’s perspective on faith and work, here are some clippings from an essay* she wrote discussing her hardest trial – her faith.  She writes…

The hardest tests are those that I put faith through before being willing to accept that Christian faith was reasonable.Rosalind Picard, Sc.D.

I used to be a staunch atheist, in part because of living fourteen years in the South, in the so-called “Bible belt.” I assumed that those who believed in a God had thrown reason to the wind. I could look around and see all kinds of uneducated people who were believers, and I thought the two went hand in hand. I believed religion was a creation of man, contrived by people who weren’t strong enough to handle death. I assumed that faith was not intellectual or based on evidence, that religious people were not real thinkers, and that if they only thought hard enough, then they would see that their religion was unnecessary, invented to help themselves cope better.

The crux of my “hardest test”, in deciding to believe in a God, was (and remains) pride. I never liked “religious people,” still abhor religiosity, and did not want to be associated with such people or their beliefs, with any religious beliefs. …

I remember being annoyed when I learned that my atheism was also a “religion,” and that there is really no such thing as not being religious, unless perhaps you’re inanimate or turn off your brain totally when it comes to the great questions in life. Take the question of the existence of God. How could I confidently deny it, declare God couldn’t exist, unless I was omniscient? But only God, if God exists, is omniscient. … So, if I claim God does not exist, then I am claiming to be omniscient, and then I am making myself into God. This is a problem. Denying God’s existence is not rational.

The non-existence of God cannot be proven. If God is indeed Author of the whole universe, including time and space, science, reason, and experience, then all of our abilities fall short when trying to comprehend God. …

My change from an Atheist to a Christian is not to deny that there is also a lot of crap associated with religion, including with many ways fallible humans practice Christianity. …

In brief, the hardest trials have been those of confronting my own pride, and my unwillingness to examine anything other than the materialist assumptions made (unthinkingly) by so many of us.”

Dr. Picard will be the featured speaker at the Veritas Forum to be held at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at 8:00 p.m.  For more information, click here.

* http://web.media.mit.edu/~picard/personal.php

Living Out A Grander Story

Claire Johnson - CHI 2013 participant

I’m going to be honest: I am one of the least qualified candidates for the position of CHI intern. Perhaps it’s due to the myriad of paradoxes in my life–I’m an English major studying medicine, for example–but I don’t often feel as if I have a comfortable niche in this life. I am a storyteller, interested in the lives of those around me and how I can glorify the Lord through creating happier endings. Far from hindering me, I view this discomfort as a great blessing because it serves to keep me humble, knowing that no good thing comes to me from personal merit, but solely from above.

I applied for the CHI internship several months ago prayerfully, realizing that the pool of qualified, 4.0 GPA applicants filled a wide hoop that I did not fit into. Although I knew acceptance was a stretch, when I came across the program something deep inside my heart whispered go. The opportunity seemed to speak to the hidden part of my passion that longs to live in this worldly culture but not of it, to be a part in a grander story. In Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles In a Thousand Years, he describes story as “any character that wants something and overcomes conflict to get it”, which brings me to ask myself what kinds of conflict define my day-to-day life? Petty arguments with my friends? Stress over grades/relationships/desires? Reading Miller’s novel brought to my attention that I was created for conflicts bigger than the ones I’ve been living. I’ve been living a story focused on the mundane details of my own life, when I’m called towards a story that encompasses the breadth of humanity.

Acceptance into the CHI program caused conflict in my home: my wonderful parents could not understand what part of me felt the need to intern 9 hours away from home, to work without pay, to uproot myself the summer before my senior year at Hope College. Surely these opportunities are everywhere, they said; however, after hearing my excitement and watching the CHI video, they quickly were sold to the eternal impact of the opportunity with the Siloam Institute. My sweet mother gave me the best commendation when she mentioned that the CHI internship seemed like something my favorite author, Bob Goff, would endorse: a summer spent loving others and loving God by doing. By being present. By writing a greater story.

As I write this I’m sitting at my home in rural Michigan. My brother sits across from me watching the movie A Knight’s Tale, and I’m realizing that like the movie’s protagonist I hope that I, too, can “change the stars”; both the stars of my own monotonous existence and the stars of worldwide healthcare. With the Lord beside me I look forward to the upcoming summer to help me understand my role in that change, and to beckon me onward to adventure. Onward to a bigger story. Onward to a love that does.

Editor’s note: Claire is one of six pre-medical students from across the country who will spend the summer in Nashville in a Community Health Immersion.

Following Jesus

This week, we Taylor University students had the pleasure of having Carl Medearis come to campus and share about his life as a follower of Jesus. In chapel, he briefly spoke about his time as a “missionary” in the Middle East, whichDoezal, James- CHI 2013 began some 20 years ago; with an amused smirk, he remarked that, to his surprise, the Muslims he had initially gone to witness to didn’t have any interest in signing up for a new religion. After a month of failing to “Christianize the Muslims,” he came to the conclusion that he simply wasn’t communicating what he intended to; when he identified as “Christian,” his Muslim neighbors assumed he also meant American, Westernized, and sadly enough, immoral. One person actually responded to Carl’s invitation to become a Christian with shocking refusal: “I couldn’t do that,” he had said, “I love my family too much.” Sadly, in some parts of the world, the label “Christian” has become unassailably associated with hypocrisy and immorality.

Carl continued by telling us how he eventually learned to let go of the title “Christian” (while not, by any means, dissociating from ekklesia, which is central to an identity in Christ). Rather than focusing on religious identity, he discovered that as long as he focused on the person and work of Jesus, people were much more receptive to hearing the Gospel; incredibly more so, in fact. In a quick-and-dirty survey done in Boulder Creek, CO, Carl’s team discovered that when fifty people were asked about how they felt about “Christianity,” fifty responded negatively. Another fifty were asked how they felt about “Jesus of Nazareth,” and this time, all fifty responded positively. Over the next few months, as he shifted his outward identity from “Christian” to “Follower of Jesus,” he found that he was able to more easily able to share about what was at the heart of Christianity anyway: Jesus of Nazareth.

As I reflect on what Carl learned from his engagement with Muslims, I am realizing that the same must be true of my life.  It is not my desire to merely be a “Christian” in some nebulously, perhaps nominally, religious sense; rather, my aim is to follow Jesus. But what does that look like? How do I follow a man who reigns in heaven? In his book Speaking of Jesus, Carl describes the typically Christian lifestyle many people find themselves trapped in as a soccer match. We’re in it to win – to worship God well, to score some converts, and to beat Team Atheism or Team Islam. But if Jesus were to walk in his dusty sandals across the grassy field right in the middle of our game, would I recognize Him? If he looked straight at me and said “Follow me,” would I have the courage to drop what I’m doing and follow Him?

It is my prayer that this summer, the CHI program will help me discover how Jesus is calling me to do precisely this: drop everything to follow Him. I anxiously await the good things He has in store for this team. Please join us in praying for the courage and faith to follow Him in whatever contexts He calls us.

Editor’s note: James is one of six pre-medical students from across the country who will spend the summer in Nashville in a Community Health Immersion.

Wow, This is Real!

Madison Brown - CHI 2013 participantI can’t believe it was only two months ago that I first heard about CHI and now I am writing the first blog that marks the beginning of my journey.  Roughly two weeks ago, we had our first conference call and I got to talk to the amazing people who will be with me on this exciting (but nerve-racking) adventure.  I truly can’t wait to meet Jane, Claire, Caleb, and James.

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to share with my church about my summer plans in Nashville, Tennessee!  It couldn’t have gone any better.  I had so many people come up to me afterwards telling me that this is the perfect fit for me.  It was an enormous  confirmation that this is where God wants me to be this summer.

Trust in God and fear Nothing!