Party Animal

Category: , By Christian
Over the past few months Stacy has be doing rotations at different hospitals in the KC metro area. As her heart is with indigent and underserved populations, our conversation the other day focused on that topic. She was sharing with me her observations on how different indigent populations demonstrate noncompliance in different ways. For those of you who aren't married to a med student, I should probably flesh that idea out a little more.

Typically, poor people are not the easiest patients for doctors. For various reasons, they do not follow the instructions that doctors give them very well. Whenever a patient does this, regardless of socio-economic standing, they are considered "noncompliant". Not all poor people are noncompliant, but usually a large portion of them are.

What Stacy has seem is that reasons for noncompliance are in large part different depending on the ethnicity of the patient. For instance, a lot of the Hispanic patients are noncompliant because of language barriers. To the doctor's face they are very polite and incredibly grateful for any type of help or hope the doctors offer. White patients are the opposite, however. They tend to come to the doctor with a sense of entitlement, and are quite argumentative. They also tend to reject solutions that cause them to take responsibility for their health (i.e. diet etc.).

The attitude and behavior of black patients often reflect a general anxiety for fairness. These patients tend to be sceptical of authority figures due to the way those figures have taken advantage of and neglected the black community in America in the past. Thus, they tend to be wary in an effort to keep from being treated unfairly. They tend to fight for what they perceive to be right and just, even when they don't need to.

All that to say that the other night I saw the amazing things that can happen when people are shown the love of Christ, and are treated with grace and dignity. This amazing experience happened at the Christmas Party that the Hope Center holds every year for the neighborhood. Quite honestly, it was one of the most vivid tastes of what the Kingdom of Heaven is going to be like that I have ever experienced before.

First of all, there were so many people there. All of the families that we are connected with are invited, and that night over 350 people showed up. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, cousins, everyone. It was totally packed. What is amazing about this fact is that if you talk to teachers in this neighborhood, they usually struggle to get more than two or three parents to parent teacher conferences. And yet, on this night we had fantastic parental support. Not only that, but they were completely supportive of what we were doing and totally quiet during the 90-minute Christmas program.

The most amazing part came when it was finally time for dinner. We were behind schedule, so we didn't eat until 8pm. And yet, everyone was totally chill about the whole thing. The lines were orderly, they went smoothly, and there was not one issue with getting everyone enough to eat. It was so awesome.

It is simply humbling to see how stereotypes can break down when you treat people with grace and dignity. Now, the Hope Center has built up a lot of social capital. This ministry has been going on for 9 years, but it is nice to see that it has been so effective as to inspire people to trust that Hope Center is doing what is in the best interest of their families. I've heard stories about days where there were many difficulties, and I'm sure I'll experience some during my time here. And yet, it's totally worth it when you get to taste the Kingdom.

Fair Dinkum

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