1. I just spent a month working on the inpatient neurology service at the hospital, taking care of mostly stroke patients, seizure patients and a random assortment of other neurological disorders. Even with some very long hours at times it was an enjoyable month which makes me realize I'm finally settling into this doctor thing a little bit. I got to do another lumbar puncture which ended up going very well - I got a "champagne tap" which means there were no red blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples I collected. Frequently you will nick a small blood vessel as you insert the needle deep into the patient's back, thus contaminating your sample with a small amount of blood. I was able to avoid this complication and received the traditional gift of a bottle of white wine - CSF (without blood in it) is clear - from my attending. Technically the traditional gift is a bottle of champagne but the colonel reasoned that no one really drinks champagne. Unfortunately I'm not much of a wine drinker either.
2. Today I started working in the Nephrology clinic and that's where I'll be for the next month except for a week of leave I'm taking starting on the 18th.
3. I've occasionally been able to read a few pages of the Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. It's an amazing work of history and of literature. Two men about whom I knew little were St. Augustine of Canterbury (d. AD 604) (not to be confused with "of Hippo") and Pope Gregory the Great (AD 540 - 604). Both of these men played a great role in the evangelization of my ancestors and the formation of the English Church. For that I am grateful to them and more so to God who chooses such sinners for tasks so great.
|A snowy drive to work|
5. While I haven't been writing on my blog I have gotten myself involved in a facebook debate about baptism with a bunch of Lutherans (with whom I mostly agree) and Baptists (with whom I mostly disagree). And by Baptist I mean "Non-denominational," "Charismatic," "Pentecostal," and also all those with the honesty just to call themselves "Baptist." With that said I know a lot of great Christians who are Baptists (heck, just look at my favorite Christians blogs on the right-hand of your screen - 4 out of the 7 are Baptists). But the debate I've been in has made me examine my own thoughts on baptism, and to be honest it's something I've probably tried not to think too much about in order to avoid debates with a good percentage of my Christian friends. A friend challenged me on a statement I made denying the intrinsic efficacy of baptism as a means of grace. He confronted me not with some systematic theology and not with some sappy platitude but with a fairly clear and plain-sounding statement from God's word: "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience." Hmm... Doesn't really seem to fit with what I had written.
6. St. Augustine wrote: "For whatever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism." (City of God, Book XIII, chapter 7.)
|"Baptism of St. Augustine" (of Hippo) - Troyes|
8. On the subject of Baptists and scriptural fidelity, I recently visited a nearby "Non-denominational" (read Baptist) church because they had a Saturday night service and it was my only chance to go to church that week. It was a pretty hip place, lots of 20-somethings with cool-looking clothes and the very latest in praise music. But I was thoroughly unimpressed by the preaching, which was topical and during which a very few Bible verses were used (likely misused) in making the preacher's somewhat questionable points. And then I started thinking about how the Lutheran church I sometimes attend when I'm in the Portland area and the Anglican church I like to worship at in Olympia have sermons that are absolutely saturated with Scripture. I can also think of quite a few other Non-denominational churches I've been to where very little Scripture is read during the service. The thing that gets me is that it's often these same people who will accuse Lutherans and Anglicans of being too beholden to "tradition" while they supposedly simply follow the Word of God.
9. Much of the best, most Scripture-saturated and Christ-centered preaching I've ever heard was at Cornerstone Bible Church (Baptistic in theology) in Riverside, California during medical school. It's a complicated world we live in.