I have friends and family who are in the medical field. Some have been trained in Western medicine. Western medicine is concerned with treating symptoms. If a particular medicine fails to remove a symptom, then “cut the thing out” becomes the favored next step.
Eastern medicine understands the body in ways that Western medics shake their heads and say with measured arrogance, “you gotta be kidding me!”
Eastern medicine focuses on prevention. It sees the body in a holistic way instead of in fragmentary bit. It focuses more on the use of natural remedies than man-invented ones.
Now I’m not speaking out of school when I say the following, because again, I have family and friends who are in the medical field. But if the truth be told, most Western medics have an elitist and condescending attitude toward those who practice Eastern medicine.
In short, they think the whole Eastern paradigm is “odd” and “peculiar” at best. It’s “dangerous” at worst.
Because Western medics don’t have the same training or understanding of the human body as Eastern medics, their brain moves to “tilt” whenever they hear about the treatments used by Eastern practitioners.
And yet, Eastern medicine is older, and in many cases, more effective.
Part of what further muddies the waters is that there are bonifide, certifiable, Grade-A “quacks” and “nutcases” who dabble in Eastern medicine. And such people give Eastern medics a bad name.
I personally know a doctor who was trained in Western medicine. He’s a friend of mine. He has more degrees than a thermometer. He practiced as an MD for many years. What’s he doing now? He has a clinic where he treats patients with Eastern “alternative” medicine and treatments. He combines both Eastern and Western treatments.
I can tell you this: The man is brilliant. And according to his own testimony, he has seen more success in treating patients now than he has in all the years he was sitting on the high hill of Western medicine.
Many of his friends who exclusively practice Western medicine think he’s lost a marble or two. But I’ve got money hidden in my raincoat that says he has helped far more people than they have. In fact, I can name seven people that I know personally who were greatly helped by him when other doctors came up short.
It’s not my purpose to discuss medicine. I’m rather using this as an analogy.
You see, there’s a striking parallel between the tension that exists between Western vs. Eastern medicine and the issue of ecclesiology in the Christian world today.
The paradigms are completely different. The mindsets and experiences are profoundly different. And there’s a certain amount of elitism and arrogance that comes from many who are academically trained to defend the status quo. It’s strikingly similar to the way that Western medics feel about Eastern medics.
Personally, I think that the best way forward is for the Western medics to be a bit more humble and open to the idea that they just may be able to learn a thing or two from the Eastern medics. And for the Eastern medics to resist the temptation of becoming bitter and reactionary toward those who believe that anything but Western medicine is valid.
The same can be said about ecclesiology and the practice of the church. So it seems to me.