return to religion-onlineIlness and Handicapped
Many believe that an early miscarriage is not a real loss.
For the church to ignore the needs of the victims of AIDS, to fail to express itself redemptively, and to abandon a group of people who have almost no one to cry out in their behalf for justice and mercy, would constitute a failure in Christian discipleship.
The author says: "I do not ask that public policy enforce biblical sexual norms, but I do ask that public policy not undermine them." Can the church muster the obedience and courage to embody its teaching that all human life is sacred even in the midst of the racing panic and plague time?
Problems formerly considered sins to be dealt with by church authorities are now medical concerns to be cured by the scientific community.
Physicians are asking if there should be one last act of care – to bring on death.
The darkness of tragic deaths may tempt us toward agnosticism or atheism. But in the midst of such darkness, the Word embodied in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth enables us to give voice to the silences.
While the church universal idealistically proclaims that people with special needs have a special place within the community of faith, individual churches give limited attention to the complex needs of the handicapped. Church must be a place where the handicapped can confront the reality of their situation and vent their accompanying anger creatively, without guilt.
How ought one to pray for healing, anyway?
The author addresses the question of genetic influence in moderating environmental influence on antisocial or criminal behavior and how medication might help.
The primary aim of hospice is to help patients die with dignity. And one of the ways that is achieved is by allowing patients, whenever possible, to make choices about their treatment. Pain control is one of the most important services hospice provides, for a patient ravaged by pain has no dignity, and very often would prefer to have no life.
More and more people suffer from the little understood immune system dysregulation. For some, the health hazard of attending a worship service in a sanctuary may put everything associated with the church under a cloud. If the church family can support and encourage the chemically sensitive and can help them find ways to serve, it will make a human investment that will be well repaid.
For those who are going through the experience of illness, those who face difficult disease and suffering and for their caregivers, and, indeed, for those who have not faced serious infirmities and sorrows, this short work can transform lives or at least ways of thinking about living. The ultimate value of illness is that it teaches us the value of being alive; this is why the ill are not just charity cases, but a presence to be valued.
Unless changes in physicians’ attitudes and behavior are modified, most of us will experience death in a hospital or a nursing home. We can only pray that our last words will not be: "Why hast thou forsaken me?"
Reliance on a pill spares us from the messy business of having to think about and make sense of our experience, but the conviction is spreading as though the pill were the Good News itself.
Sapp addresses the issue of memory loss in Alzheimer's sufferers as a sign that when the memory is lost, the essential part of what makes one a person is lost. He challenges this soul/body dualism by reaffirming the Christian theological position that body and soul are inextricably connected and that our memory, as Christians, is communally connected to one another and to God whose memory is unfailing.
Why go on when things are very bad? Because we need to, simply that.
A probe of the nature of grief and the disrespect some people show toward grievers by one who was widowed at age 35. The intolerance of family and friends for those grieving a deceased spouse -- even for those who have lost their spouse in the first years of marriage -- is more the rule than the exception.
Parents responsible for children with disabilities are the subjects of four books reviewed by the author. Challenges facing the parents are acute in a culture eager for efficient, calculable results. Perhaps, then, it should come as no surprise that nine out of every ten women who discover that their fetus has Down syndrome choose to abort.
Rather than embracing depression, we must look past suffering and even happiness and consciously, willfully love others, even at great cost to ourselves. Rather than trying to feel well, we are to try to love well.
Too often churches and church organizations overlook basic truisms: that the human impulse is to achieve; that children, like septuagenarians, respond to need more quickly than to praise; and that do-gooders all too often are egotists seeking applause rather than results.
Sound, practical advice to pastors about how to care for persons with AIDS.
We should recognize depression, not as a stigma, but as an illness entailing specific spiritual and psychological needs, and requiring specific treatments. One great need of depressed people is for human contact, whether through greeting cards or visits. To the depressed person, the well of human kindness seems to have hit dry rocks; there never seems to be enough love available.
Self-help philosophies not only fall silent in the face of white hot pain but refuse to hear the cries of pain uttered. On such terms, sunny styles of religion cannot serve as a basis for any solidarity of experience with those whose horizon excludes God. On that horizon, nevertheless, is a faithful reporting of the human condition.
Raines exposes the often forgotten positive aspects of grief and the benefits of the grieving process, reminding us that good grieving rescues us from self-pity and other life-denying attitudes by enabling us to preserve our past with solidity and depth, by opening us to new meanings in the future beyond anger and regret, and by building compassion into our lives for all who struggle to make their grieving selves a friend of life.
We need to reconsider our attitudes toward dying, death and funeral. It is time to create rich rites of passage which give God and the community and the mourners and the one who has died their dues.
The author relates his visit in the hospital to Birtis, a small boy with a lethal disease: “I leave the hospital: back among the germs, back to my everyday life of compromises, relative failures. Here’s to it, then. And to Science. And to friendship with a person whose struggle makes our lives a little nobler: Birtis the true revolutionary, Birtis the hero.”
However much one may talk about life as a gift from the beyond, which, nevertheless, has to be lived in the here-and-now, any attempt to brush aside a debate on the responsibility of church and society using so-called “moral” categories in a narrow and restrictive sense would be irresponsible.
The ill of mind represent the alienation of all of humanity, symbolizing the human condition in its fundamental need for redemption. The condition of such illness could be instructive to "healthy" minds, reminding them of the precarious complexity of inner selfhood.
A feminist recovery program would find God’s power evident in the relationships between caring people in a supportive community.
We have come to understand ourselves as a church with AIDS, which helps us to see how fragile and important every moment is. This doesn’t mean that our church will soon be dead and gone. No, in fact it means that we live more deeply. The whole gay male community is undergoing a parallel transformation.