Well, it’s finally happened!
Well it’s finally happened. After months of uncertainty, lots of rumours, some sounding official, and attempts by many to prevent it, I have finally received an official letter. The Joint Replacement Assessment Clinic, or JRAC, is closing and we, its staff, are now without a home and really a job at the end of June 2015.
Due to financial pressures, changes in the way health care is seen in this State and the reconfiguration of RPH, services which have been productive, helped patients and been involved in clinical research are now deemed too expensive to maintain.
So here I am at a crossroads in life at 54! Not that RPH was my only job. For many years I have balanced numerous jobs, linked to my aversion to becoming too specialised. Over the years I have continued to teach anatomy at UWA, and for the past 5 I have worked at Wembley Downs Uniting Church as a pastor. This has not really been in a traditional sense, because Wembley Downs is not a traditional church. How could it be, letting a scientist with progressive liberal tendencies take the pulpit! But still I have been active in the life of the church.
So while I have been busy, some would say too busy, the combination seemed to work really well until quite recently, when all 3 jobs grew larger and more demanding. Yet there was something in the combination which raised each one higher than if it was on its own.
I have always enjoyed the combination of science and theology, for it reminds me that theology or the study of God is a life time and full time job. God is not found in churches only, and sometimes not at all. God or what we call God, that spirit or energy that enriches and drives us to be better than we all, is found everywhere in the midst of all of life. The good and bad, pain and anguish, in the mundane and in the spectacular, in the 9 to 5 day in, day out working lives we all lead, and in those special moments when what we are doing seems inspired. We encounter God in life, not just some aspects of it.
So I encounter God in science and in doing science.
Science is a beautiful subject, full of mysteries that we mere mortals have trouble comprehending, and profound and incredible discoveries. It is full of the beauty of the universe, and our home the earth, and all the creatures that live on or in it. Including ourselves.
It is also full of outstanding and astounding people. People who will not let the unknown perturb them but seek answers to questions that are yet to be asked. Who drive themselves to improve something that already exists or bring into being something that does not yet exist. Who seek to explain ourselves and our world better, so that we may become better people. Science is a home for dreamers and for those who can take those dreams and make them a reality. And who will persist often against incredible odds.
I wish I had been one of those scientists. Scientists who win Nobel prizes, who change the nature of the world and how we see it. But that was not to be.
As Isaac Newton said famously….
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
While we may not be able to save the world on our own, we can make our contribution. In my own little area, we take all the advances that have come before us and tweak them, trying to make that little bit of difference. What I have added isn’t much, but it is something that goes on the scientific pile, mulch for those coming after. And hopefully it has helped a few people.
So I feel sad that my scientific research days appear numbered. It seemed to make me a better minister. A more realistic, life giving minister. A better seeker of God.
For as Einstein said…
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”.
So as one door shuts another might open. We shall see, but I never will give up the idea that science and faith are roommates, actually bedfellows. Science reveals God just as much as the church does. In what it discovers and in the people doing the discovering. And we are blind if we do not see it.