Rev. G. Scott Morris, MD, a leading voice in the field of faith and health, is the founder and chief executive officer of Church Health in Memphis, Tennessee, which opened in 1987 to provide quality, affordable health care for working, uninsured people and their families and has grown into the largest charitably funded faith-based health care ministry of its type. Thanks to a broad base of financial support from the faith community, and the volunteer help of doctors, nurses, dentists and others, Church Health provides tens of thousands of patient visits each year. An active family practice physician, Dr. Morris also is ordained in the United Methodist Church. He holds an MDiv from Yale Divinity School and an MD from Emory School of Medicine. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

“This is a powerful indictment of America’s profit-obsessed, red-tape-riddled healthcare industry.” Publishers Weekly

Conversations about health and health care are increasingly complex to sustain across ideological lines, including in the church. Yet Christians read the Bible and see that healing of both body and spirit are bound up in the message of salvation. What would Jesus, who reached out to heal so many people, do if he lived in the twenty-first century? How do we sort out a biblical response to the fault lines in the American health care system not along partisan lines but because, like Jesus, we want to help people know the fullness of life God created them for? The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic was one shared national experience that shed light on injustices and gaping holes in health care for underserved and vulnerable groups of people, but this has been the reality for decades. All across the country, faith-based groups have been rising up in their communities to give healing and real hope to people left in the margins. 

Just as the overarching story of the Bible unfolds God’s heart of love, connecting humans to God, stories are an unrivaled way to connect humans to humans. This book is chock full of stories that put names and faces on people who are too often “othered” statistics of people marginalized by the health care system. But it also puts the names and faces on people answering the gospel’s call to provide healing ministry in the name of Jesus to those who have no one else to depend on for quality care. The stories featured here highlight pervasive issues that don’t have easy answers. Health issues intertwined with social and economic issues illustrate both the complexity of the challenges and the creativity of the solutions—and the determination of followers of Jesus to find them. 

Patient stories are matched with faithful ministry profiles that inspire readers to awareness, action, and advocacy in local communities around issues of health care justice rooted in faith.

TALKING POINTS

  • Lower-income Americans face obstacles to getting health care, and over life spans, we see that income influences health.
  • Factors other than the doctor affect health outcomes, such as quality of education, income, available nutritious food, safe housing, reliable transportation, and health insurance.
  • Our broken health system must address primary care, medication affordability, and rising chronic diseases for our uninsured population.
  • Good quality care for the whole person includes mental and behavioral health. 
  • Seeing the dignity and image of God in all people calls us to help change inequities that lead to disparities.
  • Faith-based medical care is an expression of our fundamental belief that all people are created in the image of God and loved by God.
  • Disparities in health care are not because resources do not exist. Where are the resources, and where do they need to be?
  • What does it look like to have a healing ministry in today’s world? This is still the question we must be actively answering as people of faith because this question comes from both our own history and our own sacred texts.
  • Church Health has helped dozens of clinics replicate a faith-based whole-person model of primary care.