PUTTING doctors and ministers together in the grand work of saving souls is not impossible as in the case of Humpty Dumpty, who couldn't be put together again. Proof? Let's turn time back to the week of January 28 to February 3 at Union College and see what two doctors and a minister tried to do for the students at a spiritual emphasis week. Whether the students and faculty were blessed we cannot say (many said they were), but the medical ministerial trio were surely blessed by the experience.
Union College President Robert Brown, well over a year ago, invited me to conduct a Week of Prayer. I suggested that we try an experiment using the right arm along with the rest of the body as an approach. He agreed. J. Wayne McFarland, M.D., and I started off together, dividing the time for six meetings. Then Cyril Hardy, M.D., chief psychiatrist at the Washington Adventist Hospital, joined me for three meetings. Instead of our dividing time, we used a dialog format.
At the beginning of the week heavy emphasis was given to the physical aspects of man and the importance of maintaining good health habits in order to have not only a healthy body but also a healthy mind, so that the Spirit of God can more effectively reach a man's spiritual nature. Constant stress was laid on the fact that man is an indivisible creature. When one part of man's nature suffers, the rest of his being also suffers. In order to have the happiest, most satisfying life possible, all phases of a man's life must be properly cared for. What affects the mind affects the body, and what affects the body affects the mind.
If anyone needs this health instruction, surely students in our colleges do. Many are under heavy study loads that all too often result in negative attitudes and depressed feelings. Such things as a daily physical exercise program are omitted. Irregularity of eating habits, failure to start the day off right with a good breakfast, plus other poor health habits con tributes to a frustrating experience for more than a few of our youth.
So we started off by announcing a physical fitness program beginning at 6:15 A.M. How pleasantly surprised we were to see that more than 100 students were interested in coming out morning after morning to take certain tests and learn new ways and means of keeping physically fit.
The latter part of the week was spent in discussing the mental and emotional aspects of man, especially as they relate to conversion. To hear a Christian psychiatrist unequivocally state that a man is either under the control of the Spirit of God or the spirit of Satan is indeed refreshing! We discussed practical subjects such as how to control the will, how to overcome temptations, what to do with depression, and proper attitudes toward sex and marriage. All discussions were based on the Bible and the divine commentary, the Spirit of Prophecy.
An overhead projector and screen were used throughout the meetings. Even though none of us were artists, the points made by simple drawings and lists of terms not only polarized the audience but made a deeper impression on minds, because we used both the ear and the eye avenues for reach ing those in attendance.
This was a new experience for the speakers, and certain improvements will be in order for next time. Yet we felt that this approach yielded certain benefits. For instance, the reception by the students appeared far more open and friendly than when I conducted Weeks of Prayer alone. Using the health approach enabled us to reach hearts much more quickly. If we can gauge success by certain responses, we believe we achieved our objectives. For example, when the importance of breakfast was stressed, someone stated that three times as many students as usual turned up for breakfast. One thing certain, we all had to wait longer to get through the line! We asked for a show of hands as to which students were breathing deeply, drinking more water, and so on, and by far the majority indicated that they were participating actively in the health program. Since we directly tied the health and the spiritual avenues, we have reason to believe that many had a similar increased activity in spiritual things. And our assumptions were confirmed by the comments of several students.
Much more could be said, but as a member of the team and one who can compare this particular spiritual emphasis week with those I have conducted in the past, I can state quite frankly that I felt that this type of program is far more beneficial than just presenting a spiritual message without touching the other areas of man's life.
The spirit at Union College was excellent. This is a tribute to the president and to his faculty, who are doing everything possible to help these young people find real meaning in life.