Nashville eye surgeon Dr. Ming Wang shared with students the importance of making connections between their faith and science and how he has used health care as a ministry during convocation Thursday in the Neely Dining Hall.
“We have to confront the controversies of faith and science. It is one of the most important questions in this age of society … so we can move forward in good conscience and with peace of mind when faced with issues society is trying to figure out the answers to,” Wang said.
He told the story of the successes of his amniotic membrane contact lens, for which he has two U.S. patents. Using tissue from fetuses to prevent scarring of the corneas, he has successfully restored eyesight to several people. The procedure is covered by Medicare and insurance companies and has been performed by more than 500 doctors in the United States, he said.
“No matter how difficult things are in our lives, God has a plan for us. He wants us to conduct research to advance medicine and improve the quality of human lives,” Wang said. “But he wants us to do it his way.”
Wang also told students how his adolescence was interrupted by the Chinese Cultural Revolution, during which time many middle and high school students were forced to leave because Chinese colleges closed. Fourteen-year-old Wang stayed in China, studied illegally at a medical school and unsuccessfully tried to make a living as a composer and musician. In 1982, he arrived in the United States with only $50 and a Chinese-American dictionary. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a doctorate in laser physics. Today, Wang is director of the Wang Vision 3D Cataract and LASIK Center and has received international attention for his path-breaking eye surgeries. His nonprofit organization Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration has provided free surgeries for patients from 40 states and 55 countries, and he recently founded the Wang Foundation for Christian Outreach to China.
The School of Occupational Therapy and the Asian Studies Program co-sponsored the convocation lecture.
As his first semester of college drew to a close, Guy Chmieleski opened the spring course catalog and had an unexpected experience.
“I flipped right past the science classes and straight to the religion classes. As I sat down with that catalog, it was like God was in my dorm room. He was guiding me,” said Chmieleski, who originally planned to major in chemistry. That semester, he took a large number of religion courses. “In a moment of weakness, I forged the signature of my chemistry adviser. I was terrified of what they would say.”
What initially began as interest in religion became a career, and Belmont University Minister Chmieleski has never looked back. He shared his personal experiences with faith and mentoring throughout college and discussed his new book Shaping Their Futures during a Wednesday convocation lecture.
Chmieleksi began by reading the parable of the sower from the book of Matthew. For him, the first seeds were planted in high school. However, it wasn’t until he reached college that the seeds began to grow. After changing his major, Chmieleski met a professor who would become one of the most influential people in his life.
“She blew up my world spiritually. She planted the seed in me,” he said emphasizing the importance she played as a mentor in his life.
She suggested Chmieleski consider working with college students. He took her advice and now shares her passion for mentorship.
“I sensed God making me available to college students,” he said. (more…)
Sophomore songwriting major MacKenzie Wilson is taking a stand against human trafficking—and dozens of Belmont students are standing with her.
From March 5-15, International Justice Mission’s (IJM) Stand for Freedom, a national anti-slavery movement, is encouraging colleges and communities across the nation to help bring awareness to human trafficking. Wilson has answered the call along with fellow students who are members in the Belmont chapter of IJM, and the students even created a YouTube video to help promote their efforts.
Beginning last night at 7 p.m., Belmont students stood in either the University Ministries area in Gabhart or outside in the Belltower amphitheatre for 27 consecutive hours in order to raise both money and awareness for the 27 million people currently affected by human trafficking. The effort has already raised more than $1,500; the group hopes to raise $2,700 before the donation campaign concludes on March 31. All money raised will go to International Justice Mission, an international human rights agency whose founder and president, Gary Haugen, spoke on campus last fall.
Over the course of the “Stand for Freedom,” a number of events were held in order to bring further awareness to human trafficking, including a kick-off concert Thursday night and a talk from Wayne Barnard, the national director of student ministries for IJM. (more…)
Approximately 100 Belmont students, faculty and staff are spending their Spring Breaks next week on University-sponsored missions and service trips to sites across the U.S. and overseas. More than half of that number will be participating in Immersion 2013, a variety of Spring Break trips coordinated by University Ministries.
Director of Outreach Micah Weedman said, “University Ministries hopes to expose students, first, to the variety of injustices people of all backgrounds face in our country, and alongside that, the kind of work God is doing to combat that injustice in particular places. This means that students have the opportunities to be immersed in local cultures and places, and to be immersed in the struggles and joys of particular peoples’ lives—hopefully, then, spending their Spring Breaks immersed in love, of God and neighbor.”
This year groups of students, faculty and staff will be traveling all over the country, exploring border issues in Las Cruces, examining creation in Cumberland Island, Ga., assisting with disaster aftermath in New Orleans and working in the inner cities of Chicago, New York and San Francisco, among other excursions. To follow blog entries from al of this semester’s immersion trips, click here.
In addition, the Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing will be sending two teams of students overseas next week to practice their healthcare skills in areas of great need. Assistant Professor of Nursing Robin Cobb and another faculty member will be leading eight students to provide nursing care to the people of Grand Goave, Haiti. Also, a team of about 20 physical therapy and occupational therapy students and faculty will head for the seventh year to Guatemala for a Christian service project. Click here to read the blog entries from these two trips next week.
Finally, the Office of Residence Life is again offering a service trip over Spring Break as well, this time taking five students to family-owned Agata Mountain Organic Ranch (A.M.O.R.) in Tellico Plains, Tenn., to learn about organic and simple living. Maddox Hall Resident Director and team co-leader Alex Snow said, “Students will have the opportunity to live in community with the family, eat and learn about self-sustainable/organic living, and go out into the community to help where needed. Projects will range from helping at local farms, doing arts and crafts that will be sold to raise funds for a battered women’s shelter and helping develop the farm’s ability to support groups.”
Brown University Professor Glenn Loury condemned comparisons between two-term U.S. President Barack Obama and slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday in the Massey Performing Arts Center during the pinnacle of Belmont’s MLK Week 2013.
During his keynote address, “Obama is No King: On the Fracturing of the Black Prophetic Tradition,” Loury emphasized Obama’s presidential election is not the fulfillment of King’s dream, despite its historical significance, because of the men’s contradicting agendas, actions and beliefs.
Loury juxtaposed the president’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech with King’s 1967 speech against the Vietnam War. In his speech, Obama acknowledged force must be used, and such an acknowledgment is “not a call to cynicism.” On the other hand, King continuously advocated for nonviolence.
Politics prevent Obama from acting as a champion of issues directly affecting African-Americans and fully acting to provide solutions for the numerous race-related issues that continue to plague the United States, he said, highlighting critic’s responses to Obama’s comments on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates in his home and the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Travon Martin. Instead, Obama focuses on rights for gays, women and illegal immigrants because advocating for African-Americans would make him appear as perusing his personal agenda, Loury said. Meanwhile, African-Americans continue to have higher incarceration rates, lower incomes and lower levels of education compared to their American counterparts. (more…)