Interview on Christian spirituality in the Marketplace with Grace Emilia

Grace: Could you share your daily life routine and busyness as an MD?

Alex: Life as an MD is busy. I practice in a private hospital which is part of a public listed healthcare chain. The hospital has 400 beds and is a tertiary private referral hospital for the southern part of Peninsula Malaysia. I am a paediatrician or child specialist. My working day starts at 7am when I do a ward round; reviewing all my patients in the ward. Then I start my clinic at 8am. If busy, I will work through lunch. My clinic ends at 5pm. Then I will do l another ward round, reviewing the treatment of the patients in the ward. If I am not on call, my workday will end about 7pm. If I am on call, I will have to deal with sick children coming through the Emergency Department and those in the wards until 7am the next day. Then I will continue and start my day. I have clinic six days a week and are on call frequently, also on weekends (Saturday and Sunday)

Grace: How do you integrate Christian spirituality and your work as an MD?

Alex: My first calling is to God and to grow into Christ-likeness. My second calling is to be an MD. I see no dichotomy between the two. I am called to grow to become like the Son through my services to help and treating sick children. I pray a lot in my daily work because I believe healing comes from the Lord. I believe that God will use his human agents, like me, to effect this healing. I am a witness for the Lord to my patients, their parents and family, and to the rest of the world. My workplace becomes my mission field. My witness is that those who come into contact with me see Christ.

Grace: What’s your definition and understanding of Christian spirituality (in connection with question no. 2)?

Alex: Christian spirituality is living out a life glorifying the Father through the work of the Son and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It means that everything I do is Christian spirituality. Everything I do is sacred, not secular, because of Christ in me.

Grace: Why Christian in the marketplace should also learn theology like what you did?

Alex: Theology helps us to know more about God. Our God is a self-revealing God who wants us to know him and love him. It is not enough just to know about him. We must develop a personal relationship with him through the application of theology and Christian living.

Grace: How many books have you written on Christian spirituality, especially in its integration with life in the marketplace?

Alex: All my books deal with Christian spirituality in the marketplace. Only I do not approach it directly but indirectly. Emily Dickerson in a poem wrote, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant…”. What she meant was that sometimes it is easier for people to receive the truth indirectly. My books deal with the integration of Christian living as a medical doctor: Random Musing from a Doctor’s Chair; A Good Day to Die and Live and Let Live deals with euthanasia and biomedical technology from a Christian perspective; Tales from the Monastery, Spiritual Formation on the Run, and Into the Depths of Living Water is all about developing an integrated spiritual life in wherever you find yourself to be-be it marketplace, homemaking, or ministry work.