On the Real Division in Play
One of the missionaries of the church I grew up in was a medical doctor practicing in an impoverished African country. Those who came to his clinic for treatment were also given the gospel. While he did not emphasize it in his reports to the anti-Catholic congregation, he made no bones about the fact that while in the field he would meet regularly with a group of nuns from a nearby convent to pray—thus acknowledging not only their Christianity, but also the possibility of an active, vital fellowship with them.
He was a canny man who knew his M.D. made him a member of the closest thing America has to nobility, which distinction carried exemptions from prosecutions that commoners would have to face for such departures, at least in our denomination. Because he was a missionary who could have been rich and influential in the United States—when on furlough Dr. Slater was in demand as a professor of surgery—his African work had a visible price tag on it in excess of $100,000 per annum that people could understand.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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