Do I believe that most mosques today would let recovering alcoholics and drug addicts speak to their congregations? Probably not. Do I think there is a problem with that? Yes, definitely. Our failure to engage diversity in our communities, inclusive of diversity in terms of life experience, leaves us potentially stunted in our individual and communal growth.
For those who missed my last reflection, I had started to discuss the profound impact the 100th chapter of the Quran, Al 'Adiyat, had on me. At a time when I felt quite isolated and confused, I found solace in it like I had never found in the Qur'an before and it helped me to read the Quran in an entirely different way. It helped me to understand the human condition, my own condition, in a deeper way.
This past week, I joined 11 other medical students from the University of Chicago in volunteering at a Lakota Native American reservation in South Dakota. The experience was a great opportunity to not only learn about health care challenges on reservations, but also to reflect on the intersections between religion, service, and medicine.