1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jeff McKenney, MD: A Doctor Rich in Patients (Patience) and Wit But Poor in Dilatory Time

Slow...No Wake

How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou knowest we work by wit, and not by witchcraft,
And wit depends on dilatory time...

(Shakespeare's Othello, II, iii, 376-379)

Some years ago, SAM and I attended a small country church near Paducah, Kentucky, and became acquainted with the sister of a missionary in Honduras. She--the sister--spoke of and presented a slideshow of the incredible work that her brother, Dr. Jeff McKenney, and his wife had begun some years earlier in a remote area on the northern coast of Honduras. It wasn't the impressive presentation or the engaging personality of the sister that convinced us to support the Cornerstone Foundation. I must admit it was reading Dr. McKenney's fascinating account of his tribulations and triumphs that convinced me (and then us) to help fund this medical mission. Dr. Jeff has a penchant (read here) for penetrating the mysteries (to me) of missionary work.

Oh, sure, I understand the basic concept. How can you expect people to understand and accept the Gospel unless you first minister to their most urgent needs? Kindness and good intentions are all fine and good, but when a belly is either empty or split open by bandits wielding machetes, critical attention must be paid to feeding or fixing the belly before the soul.

The main thing I don't understand about mission work is how missionaries like Dr. Jeff and his wife can so easily put aside their own lives to save other lives? Well, maybe not easily, but willingly. It must have something to do with dilatory time or the lack thereof. Such a thing does not exist in such a man's vocabulary or thought process. Time is of the essence there and here. Okay, so maybe I'm beginning to comprehend. I owe, I owe. It's off to work I go...

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane ["olive press"], and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me..." 

Then he returned to the disciples [after how many times of waking them??!!] and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go!"

(Matthew 26: 36-46)


  1. Oh, man! I've thought this so many times. I have a good friend, and she and her husband with their small children moved to Africa to dig wells as part of a missionary team from their church. I see their FB posts, and I often wonder what that must be like. And we were all so much alike in college. It makes me wonder what changed. Or didn't. Hmm... :o) <3

  2. I know what you mean, Leigh. I've witnessed friends' lives transformed by the good work that they do while I still plod along at a snail's pace. But then we can't all be missionaries. Some of us just need to support their work. I guess it's mostly priorities that need re-examining from time to time. Time, indeed.

  3. Dear Walk2write,
    I admire people who do this kind of work - or better: follow their calling. Our neighbours went as medical doctors to Africa - I admire that. I am too selfish for that - but at the moment I just think about something to do voluntary - in the area I am good at, like fighting for people to get their right out of bureaucracy - for those people who can't do that.

  4. Hello Walk2write

    Your friend at Cornerstone is obviously doing a great job..This post was a very different one, it mixed the literature religion and mens good works together

  5. Britta, I think your idea for volunteering is a good one. There need to be more people in the world with your spirit.

    Tomz, I believe he is doing a great job. You know how I like to mix things up in a post. A little of this, a little of that.

  6. I've always admired people who give so much of themselves to others. It is not an easy thing I am sure.

    Thanks for your very nice comment on the blog!

  7. I'm so glad I got to meet you as I still value that day in October exploring with you and SAM. As does Rog and Jimmy.

  8. I also admire those who devote themselves to doing great causes. However I don't think they are doing from heroism of a "do--or-die" nature. I believe they find it happy and rewarded themselves to do the job.
    I have a friend who has been a good influence on me (hopefully), she says our consciousness can grow and according to the growth of the soul, the deep inner self leads us to what to do. A key criterion is you can find love in it, says she.

  9. Tina, we have wonderful memories too of meeting you and your family. I wish we could magically shrink the distance between TN and FL and get together more often. You're a great friend. Thanks!

    Cosmos, I think your friend is very wise. I believe that Dr. Jeff is inspired to do what he does from someone greater than himself yet an integral part of himself. I've always thought that the soul is intact and complete from the time we are formed. As we get older we simply discover more about it, the deepest part of ourselves--peel back the layers, so to speak.

  10. It does boggle the mind. My son and wife went to Haiti after the earthquake to help, came back with a girl crushed under the collapsed orphanage. They have also adopted children from Ethiopia and Rwanda... As a boy I taught him to go fishing with me in grizzly bear country. He seems to have expanded on the concept... :)

  11. Great post to bring light to the situation and BTW, Dr. Jeff's writing is wonderful. Great newsletter. I pray they can get more teachers and doctors over there. Maybe I can send some bandages!!! God bless you!

  12. I so admire people like this who are willing to sacrifice their time to help others. I'm especially happy that today's missionaries realize the importance of tending to people's basic needs first. Dr. Jeff sounds like a wonderful man.

  13. Some people are always there to help others and it somehow forms into a habit for them.
    But selfless dedicated people are very few.

  14. Amazing feats indeed. Comparing myself to such folk can be rough, so I try to focus on using my talents and gifts in my own unique way.