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ss nucleus - spring 1997,  Editorial


'The world is not black and white. More like black and grey.' So said Graham Greene, the novelist. Nucleus has been accused of a tendency to 'black and white' thinking; 'dogmatic' hard-line ethics removed from reality. Hard experience, doctors tell us, teaches a greyer shade of pale. Once in practice, we may have to cast caution to the winds and 'sin bravely'.

Grey uncertainty- and grey cases- are indeed inherent in life; and medicine. Difficulties abound in diagnosis and prognosis; decisions are forced on the basis of incomplete information. As Janet Goodall outlines in 'Ethics in Paediatrics' we face dilemmas of life and death; and of conflicting interests. So often, we lack the resources to offer the perfect solution Jesus would have found. As Christians and doctors, we must accept our own limitations; failure to do so is dangerous. Though Spirit-led and with renewed minds, even believers' wisdom is imperfect; 'what is twisted cannot be straightened' (Ec 1:15). We don't hold all the answers (Dt 29:29). Now, we see but dimly- then, we shall see face to face (1 Cor 13:12).

Creeping greyness, however, can be a symptom of compromise. Lest we become like WB Yeats, 'old and grey, and full of sleep'; it is time to search our hearts. God's Spirit is holy; therefore our grasp of his truth relates to our own obedience (Mt 5:8). Biblical principles are sufficent to equip us for every good work (see Dionysius); if decisions seem too confused or complex, it may indicate we haven't studied diligently, or humbly, enough. We need to seek God's will on issues before we face them. One day, we will all give account for the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:10).

Yet, amidst uncertainty, without sacrificing caution (1 Cor 4:6) we cannot ultimately avoid action. As James Burton demonstrates (p14) walking by faith into darkness carries an element of risk (Is 50:10). Balance and perfection, compassion without compromise. This is my last editorial; soon I too will face the pressures of qualification. The more conscious we become of our own failings, the more awesome is the beauty of Jesus' sinless perfection- and the taller grows the cross. Christ is our wisdom and our righteousness (1 Cor 1:30). Let us press on, knowing his grace powerfully at work in us- to know more of God, more of scripture; and to live up to what we have already attained:

'Not that I have already... been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me... All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.' (Phil 3:12-16)

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