Saturday, August 12, 2006

Axe to Grind Series № 3

Fetter Lane presents you yet another entry into the Axe to Grind Series. Today Wesley, in his characteristic plain speaking, tells of his disdain for physicians who aren't qualified to heal. From his Journal entry on May 12, 1759, we read the following:

"Reflecting today on the case of a poor woman who had continual pain in her stomach, I could not but remark the inexcusable negligence of most physicians in cases of this nature. They prescribe drug upon drug without knowing a jot of the matter concerning the root of the disorder. And without knowing this, they cannot cure, though they can murder, the patient. Whence came this woman's pain? (which she would never have told, had she never been questioned about it) from fretting for the death of her son. And what availed medicines while that fretting continued? Why then do not all physicians consider how far bodily disorders are caused or influenced by the mind, and in those cases, which are utterly out of their sphere, call in the assistance of a minister; as ministers, when they find the mind disordered by the body, call in the assistance of a physician? But why are these cases out of their sphere? Because they know not God. It follows, no man can be a thorough physician without being an experienced Christian."

This post resonates with me; I believe that psycho-somatic illness is quite real; the spiritual should be addressed as well as the physical. Obviously medicine has grown by leaps and bounds since Wesley's day but the best doctors still will be ones who treat both body and soul.