My ‘Patch Adams’

Last night for church we watched Patch Adams, the brilliant story of a man with imagination, initiative and the ability to see what others couldn’t.

He just wanted to ‘help people’ – to be a doctor – someone who ‘improves the health of others rather than simply prevents their death’. He dared to challenge a deeply entrenched medical system – a system that was doing both good and ill – and in the process inspired many others to think differently.

He and many of the staff in the existing hospitals both wanted the same thing, but the powerbrokers and stakeholders seemed more preoccupied with maintaining the status quo unaware that it was losing ground and not doing its job.

In the beauracracy that institutions inevitably become, people eventually become less important than outcomes and sooner or later somebody says ‘enough’.

I think there are many in our churches at the moment who share the dream of ‘making disciples’ and seeing the kingdom of God come in our communities, but who have been taught to tow the line by those who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo – those who have lost their vision but still want to keep their jobs.

I thank God for the ‘Patch Adams’ I have met who have called me out of that kind of ministry based on position, power and maintenance into a world where the institutional rules no longer dictate the playing field and where there is freedom of expression.

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