Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Can you Google troth?

I read an interesting blog post on the NYTimes today by Haider Javed Warraich titled When Doctors ‘Google’ Their Patients. As I was reading it I started to wonder what would happen if we replaced doctors with pastors and patients with parishioners. I can imagine that this is happening already in the world already, although I have a feeling that pastors might not be as willing to discuss it as this doctor was. For some reason it seems like an even larger violation of trust in my eyes.

In his book "To know as we are known : a spirituality of education"Parker Palmer talks about truth which comes from relationships and a deeper knowing that we can attain when we really enter into an understanding with a subject. This deep relationship leads to "troth" between the two subjects, which is a covenant that binds the two together. This relationship is possible because God knows us first.

When pastors enter a relationship with members of their congregation there should be intent to build those relationships to the point of gaining this kind of troth. Part of this relationship should include an honesty and openness on both sides which I think should mean we don't have to Google in order to know. Dr. Warraich is saying the same thing about the doctor patient relationship, I think. Doctors should be speaking with their patients and asking the right kinds of questions and patients should be answering truthfully and not holding anything back. This is the only way that trust can be gained between both parties and truth can be learned which leads to troth.


Kerri Clark said...

What a great line - "we don't have to Google in order to know." Thanks for this reflection!

Mary Hess said...

This is an interesting question which I think is more complex than this -- because, for instance, what about congregants' facebook accounts? Should you accept congregants' friend requests, or not? What about their blogs? What about the blogs/facebook news of synodical officials (speaking in terms of people above and below pastors in institutional power systems)? We should talk about this in class!

Nicole Roop said...

What a fascinating article! And you are right on target with extending this to our pastoral world. In working with youth, this may not assist as (hopefully) they may not have a history to Google, and with an older congregation, they have a very limited presence on the web, if at all. I agree with Dr. Hess as this is a great talking point in class!

Unknown said...

Nice links! I think you are correct, we should be personally getting to know each other not just Googling information, not to mention that what we post about ourselves is not always the truth or all there is to us thus making it more important to really personally get to know each other preferably in person I feel.

ihakk said...

Thanks for the article, Chuck. I'll probably add it to the list of ones that I share with my medical professionals. (I do admit that I've googled my doctors.)

It seems to me the ending applies to a variety of situations. "He the proceeded to do what has worked for physicians for eons. He sat down next to the patient and asked."

Social media allows us to gather information ahead of time before our encounter with another person... we have the capability to do that --- but should we?

Unknown said...

this block given a very useful message for everyone. the way they express the relationship it was totally great.