The Doc and the Deacon: Science, Faith
and Ice-Cold Beer
One in an ongoing series.
After playing basketball one night in 2018, Christopher Drumm, MD, and a friend who’s a church deacon went out for wings and beer and exchanged their usual irreverent banter about science and faith.
Drumm is a family physician with Einstein Healthcare Network and Peter McKenney is a lay leader at a Free Methodist evangelical church. The customers who overheard them were so entertained by their cheeky commentary that one of them said: “Hey, you ought to record this.”
“We looked at each other and said, ‘A doc and a deacon walk into a bar. . . ,’” Drumm recalled. And thus a podcast, “The Doc and The Deacon,” was born: “Your health can be overwhelming. Your salvation can be confusing. We will treat you with prayer, penicillin and puns.”
Dr. Drumm, 40, who’s affiliated with Einstein’s Norristown Family Practice, and McKenney, 43, who’s affiliated with the Storehouse Church in Plymouth Meeting, have recorded two seasons of 10 episodes each. They’re currently on their third season.
They convene every other week in Drumm’s basement in front of a $25 microphone and lightheartedly free-associate about everything: The bible. Tattoos. Diarrhea. Ringworm. The plague. The best antacids to take during a close football game. In other words, they banter about anything from “poop to the Pope,” according to the podcast theme song, written by a rap artist who’s married to a nurse in Drumm’s practice.
“One of us believes in the power of science,” they say in the description. “One of us believes in the power of Jesus. Both of us believe in the power of an ice cold beer.”
The episodes have been streamed or downloaded more than 5,000 times. And, incredibly, another person who overheard the doc and the deacon in a bar has arranged for them to be flown to Hollywood in May to create a pilot for a reality show that will be shopped to cable TV.
Drumm also has been invited to audition for EM:RAP, a monthly podcast about medicine that provides Continuing Medical Education credits, “all in a fun-filled, tongue-in-cheek format,” according to the website.
And it all started as a lark.
“It’s so much fun for us to be able to come up with topics that show the synergy between medicine and faith,” said McKenney, the deacon. He noted that science-based medicine and faith-based religion “can often be combative. But our goal is, no matter how you look at things, you can come together over an ice cold beer, have a great chat and maybe learn something.”
Drumm has been in family medicine in Norristown for 10 years, and he’s as serious about his work as he isn’t about everything else. He was named a top doc in family medicine in 2019 by Philadelphia Magazine. He graduated from Drexel School of Medicine and loves being a doctor: “It’s the stories of patients’ lives, and you become part of it,” he said.
Drumm, who’s 6 feet 5 inches tall and played basketball in high school, said he chose medicine over basketball “because I looked better in a white coat than short shorts.”
And he pointed out that he wears a medium, not a “smedium; that’s a guy who lifts weights and should wear a medium but wears a small so you can see his muscles.”
Drumm and his wife met in high school and dated for two weeks. “Then we took an eight-year-break and got married,” he said. What happened in between? “You’re going to find this hard to believe. . .but I matured,” he said.
He has two children, including a not-quite-potty-trained 3-year-old daughter “who loves me, but not enough to stop pooping behind her Barbie Playhouse.”
Drumm mentioned that he has a patient who’s 103 years old. “Do you know what I do for her?” he said. “Nothing. I just keep telling her to let everyone know I’m her doctor.”
Perhaps soon to be a famous one, too.