Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Doctor from Community

Not everyone can become a "doctor." It takes years and in some cases decades to become a medical doctor. I will never become an M.D. It just is not in me. I'm not the kind of "doctor" who can help anyone physically. This past weekend I received my diploma for having completed my doctorate in ministry and spirituality. No, I cannot serve in the ER nor can I prescribe any medicine (well, I am now prescribing Tylenol and all forms of over the counter cough medicine . . . but no one is paying me for that).

Whatever one does, it cannot be done alone. It always takes a community of people. I was blessed this weekend that all of my immediate extended family on both sides (except for my grandparents) traveled to Pasadena for my commencement. While I actually finished my degree in March, the ceremony was in June and became the excuse for a huge vacation to Southern California.

It was a great trip at every turn - days at Disneyland, afternoon at Huntington Library Gardens, day at the beach, Price is Right, Jay Leno, dinners, lunches, 15 passenger van rides through LA, Dallas Willard speaking at the hooding, Richard Mouw speaking at commencement, having all my family together - it was all great. It made me realize over and over again that I could never do this alone. We are not self-made people. We are a community. Even if I had no wife, kids, parents or family, I could not "educate myself." It takes a community of students and professors and administrators to make that happen. Life is community even among the most reclusive of individuals.

I thank my wife and kids who were my immediate community. I thank my parents and sister who were my first community. I thank my in laws who adopted me into their community. I thank my brother in laws who are brothers in love. I thank my niece and nephews who show me that community keeps going beyond us. I thank the one whose echo invigorates the human soul. Doctors are doctors of nothing without a community of people to serve and be served by.