WE MADE an odd couple. When we first met, I was a punk in my mid-20s with bushy Art Garfunkel hair. Dr. Brand was a dignified, silver-haired surgeon characterized by proper British reserve. We went on to write three books together, and I now view the ten years I worked with him as an important chrysalis stage of my faith.
Wounded by the church, plagued by doubts, I had neither the confidence nor the ability to write about my own faith. Yet I could write with utter confidence and integrity about Dr. Brand's faith, and through that process his words and thoughts became mine too. As I helped him find his voice, he helped me find my faith.
In the movie Manhattan, Woody Allen tells a woman, "You're God's answer to Job." He explains that when Job complained about how awful the world was, God could say, "But I can still make one of these." Paul Brand served that role for me. As I struggled with the injustices of this world and the imponderables of theology, I could look to him as a shining example of what God had in mind with the human experiment.
Our conversations knew no limits. Dr. Brand quoted long passages from Shakespeare, exegeted Greek and Hebrew phrases from the Bible, discussed thrilling new discoveries about DNA, pointed out with childlike excitement birds and plants in India or the bayous of Louisiana where he practiced medicine. He had known and consulted with some of the great figures of the last century: Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi. He had received prestigious medical awards and been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
Dr. Brand said he felt guilty because he merely answered my questions and a few years later a book would emerge. I responded that all I did ...1