Charles Whatley: Nov. 24, 2018

Published 1:04 pm Saturday, November 24, 2018

I found a new app for my iPad this past summer; it’s the “visible body.” I’ve enjoyed going back to some of the anatomy I learned as a medical chemist and exploring the human body again. The “visible body” also sends me questions, most of which I answer incorrectly. The latest one was, “What is the circle of Willis?” It actually gave me a portion of the human anatomy and wanted me to click on the correct part. After a half dozen incorrect tries, I gave up and clicked on “show answer.” The embarrassing part is that even when it highlighted the correct answer, I still had no idea where it was, what it was, or what it did.
So, I looked it up and found the circle of Willis or Willis’ circle or the loop of Willis or the cerebral arterial circle or Willis polygon is a “circulatory anastomosis supplying blood to the brain. It’s named after Thomas Willis who was an English physician in the 17th Century (Wikipedia). In “country boy language,” it’s the nine arteries supplying blood to your brain.
Then, having completely blown the first question, I decide to redeem myself by asking for another question, “What is the conus arteriosus?” The app gave me a picture of the heart and I clicked on what looked like a cone. I was right, but it was absolutely a guess. And I still had no idea what the “conus arteriosus” was or did.
So once again, I looked it up. It’s “a conical pouch, also called the “infundibulum,” formed from the upper and left angle of the right ventricle in the chordate heart, from which the pulmonary trunk arises.” That didn’t help much so I looked it up in the dictionary and it’s “the upper front part of the right ventricle of the heart.” That I understood …
The one thing I’ve learned is the body is a delicate and detailed creation; I don’t think it evolved or just happened to put itself together … not in a billion years. The more I learn, the more faith I have in a God who created everything, including the body I call home!
Paul wrote about the church, “[12] Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. [14] Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many … [27] Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12)
Paul goes on to compare the body of Jesus Christ, the church, to the human body. It’s a complex system of parts all working together and no one part is any more important than any other part. If only we could learn that in our churches and our families… and politics? What might happen if our political leaders quit fighting and began working together to improve our lives? That would be something to celebrate during this Thanksgiving weekend!

Charles “Buddy” Whatley is a retired United Methodist pastor serving Woodland and Bold Springs UMC and, with Mary Ella, is a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.