Priests and Doctors

When I was a kid, priests had a lot of clout. You were rude if you questioned them. (Isn’t this original sin thing a bit negative? A bit manipulative? How does saying 29 Hail Marys absolve me of the sins I just made up at confession? Why did I make them up? Because I’m ten years old, for god’s sake, I don’t remember what I’ve done, and i’m basically good.) You obeyed them. Their word was law. If they were angry, it was because you’d done something to deserve it.

They had more to do with the slippery slope to hell than with love or compassion or peace.

And my experience was nothing like my dad’s, when the priest was the absolute gatekeeper to your happiness and wellbeing on earth, not to mention the key to whether or not you’d burn for eternity or just land in Purgatory, where you’d work your face off for an improbable shot at heaven.

This all seems absurd to me now. A priest is a guy (always a guy, which is also a bit strange), who should have been humbly serving the Catholic crowd by offering his thoughts on god and heaven and what it all means. For our consideration.

Instead the priesthood is overflowing with sex offenders, financial offenders, and other emperors who will keep the church itself busy apologizing and compensating for generations.

And we co-created it all by placing such authority in someone else’s hands.

I wonder if we’re doing the same thing, now, with doctors. In my city, there are lineups to get into clinics. Many people don’t have doctors. We feel unsafe without one. We feel they are the gatekeepers to our wellbeing. We feel that what they offer is so essential to our health that we now take for granted the questionable care too often offered: one complaint per visit, do what I suggest or leave my care, 3-hour waits in waiting rooms, an increased focus on pharmaceuticals, which require less time than investigative conversation, etc.

This is not the offering of intelligence and skill for our consideration. This is holier than thou.

It is based more on the slippery slope to disease than on anything to do with exploring what makes each of us well.

And we co-create it every day.

There are great priests out there. And great doctors. But there is a symptomatic similarity between these institutions that makes me wonder whether we’re just caught in the same thing again, a generation later.

And we think the solution is more doctors.

Does that look strange to anyone else?

This is not, by the way, any statement of victimhood or blame.  We create what works for us.  I wonder if what works best for us is changing.

I think we can do better than this, and I’ll bet that a generation from now, we’ll look back and laugh, realizing all the emperors were naked.

Thanks for the conversation,


(Who by the way is a chiropractor, and is in no way suggesting that my profession is any healthier in its approach.)

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