As a kid, I was interested in understanding people, especially how and why they made their decisions. I wanted to become a psychiatrist, but I found that the Christian community frowned on psychiatry and was grossly unaware of psychological and emotional processes, addictions, and psychotropic medications. Yet Christians struggled with these issues just as others did. With my background in biomedical engineering, medicine, and psychiatry, God equipped me to start Lighthouse Network, a nonprofit ministry, integrating the three spheres of spirit, mind, and body in a way that would be scientifically cutting edge and biblically accurate.
My goals were to help people: 1) understand and be better at daily decision-making; 2) obtain better access to Christian treatment for behavioral health issues; and, 3) understand how to advocate for a biblical worldview within the context of understanding sound psychological and biological science. Sometimes I felt very frustrated when Christians spoke in the media, as they often failed to articulate the psychological aspects of the particular issue, often focusing only on spiritual factors. I would exhort these spokespersons, in my mind, but despite my good background in the sciences, I was not a gifted speaker. God had a plan to provide for me.
In 2004, I helped a CMDA internist from the Midwest find a Christian treatment program for one of his addiction patients. Several months later, he was asked through CMDA to respond to an interview request about marijuana potency and increased use. He remembered how I helped him navigate the addiction treatment options, so he consulted my expertise on marijuana. This time, after we spoke, he passed my name on to the CMDA Media Training ministry to consider for future training.
In 2005, Margie Shealy invited me to come to the CMDA headquarters in Bristol, Tennessee, for the Media Training program. What a fantastic opportunity! CMDA staffers Cathy and Joel Newton volunteered to be my hosts (ministry finances were tight), enabling me to afford to attend. Through the tutelage and teachings of Drs. David Stevens and Gene Rudd, and CMDA VPs Margie Shealy and Jonathan Imbody, I learned more in a short time than I had expected. The didactic trainings were fantastic. The mock interviews and pointed feedback equipped me to more effectively advocate for kingdom truths in a secular setting. The experience was encouraging and inspirational, and I returned home excited, less nervous than before, anticipating the various opportunities that might arise.
Since then, I’ve been asked by Margie and CMDA to present in many different settings in my arenas of expertise including medical, brain chemistry, psychological, sociological, and spiritual aspects all at once. I have debated Kevorkian’s lawyer on TV. I’ve addressed many issues, including sexual abuse, depression, addictions, suicide, HIV education to kindergartners, the effect of violent video games on future behavior, and various other topics.
The most impactful opportunity came in June 2007, after Margie connected me to a Focus on the Family legal advocacy ministry in my home state of Pennsylvania. A state congressman had fast-tracked a bill that would mandate all hospitals in the state to provide information and access to the “Plan B” emergency contraceptive to every rape victim. Even though we got involved “late in the game,” our protest hearing was granted. With little hope of turning the presiding opinion of “Why shouldn’t we help a rape victim erase any evidence of the rape?” I was given five minutes, and I had to prepare quickly.
So I contacted Gene Rudd, an OB/Gyn, to get a sex-ed primer and “Plan B” in-service training. Gene connected me to an OB/Gyn in Kentucky who had recently been interviewed on the “Plan B” issue, and he gave me some research studies and reproductive science. With this foundation and my background articulating the non-medical issues, I addressed the ramifications of decision-making of this importance on brain chemistry, personality, and future functioning. After that, I briefly broached the spiritual and moral slippery slopes related to the question, as a result of which the better-informed congressmen defeated the bill. There was even a Q&A afterward, after which one congressman said, “All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”
I am so thankful to CMDA for equipping me to be a good steward of my education and faith and for giving me the opportunity to speak boldly for my Lord. I offered up my meager loaves and fish and He multiplied my offering immensely. If I can do such a thing, anyone can. So I would encourage you to search your heart and see if God wants to use what you may have to offer.