“In a word, we are created to be doxologists….” Jimmy Lin, The Rare Genomics Institute
For Robert Coles, it was a day spent with Ruby Bridges—and his life was different for the rest of his life. For me, it was an evening with the leaders of the Tiananmen Square protest—and my life is different and always will be. For Jimmy Lin, it was watching a little boy walk away from a consult at the Johns-Hopkins University Medical Center– knowing that he and his colleagues had no answer to the unknown disease that was so painfully disabling the child.
Yesterday afternoon Jimmy joined our cohort at Covenant Theological Seminary, offering us a window into his own vocation. When he and I first met, he was a busy man: in the midst of a joint M.D./Ph.D. program at Hopkins, he was also doing a masters in theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington—and was newly married. But with those responsibilities as the contours of his life, he was surprisingly passionate about life; not in a imposing or intimidating way, but with unusual humility and eagerness, wanting to care widely and deeply about things that matter to all of us.
Much could be said about Jimmy, but here I will only say that he is becoming a friend whose vision I respect. His meeting with the little boy in Baltimore, watching him and his parents walk down the hall in disappointment at the world-class medical center’s inability to help, has moved him to create the Rare Genomics Institute. The remarkably innovative ways that Jimmy and his colleagues have worked has already won international acclaim, and for Jimmy an invitation to become a TED Fellow. You can google around and see his work, which is now located at the Washington University School of Medicine.
Threaded through everything though, is Jimmy’s understanding of the meaning of his life and labor. He sees himself as called to this work as a medical researcher in service of the common good to the glory of God, what he writes of as “everyday doxology.” And for the sake of all, he believes that we all are called in the same way, “In a word, we are created to be doxologists…. At the League of Everyday Doxologists, we wish to highlight the multitude of ways people combined their vocation and their doxology.”
Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the missio Dei.