Monday, August 31, 2009

Death counseling 3

What could be some of the dangers in end of life counseling?

People's value may be reduced to simply a money value. How much does it cost to keep you alive? The elderly may be counseled to refuse treatment simply because it costs too much money. And we need to note that within our society we have money - after all we spend millions and millions on things like plastic surgery.
If end of life counseling is done poorly people may feel that they are simply a burden. Each person is precious and has something significant to offer.
Life is gift from God. And death is truly an enemy. When a loved one dies we suffer a great loss - even if the death is expected. End of life counseling may take death too lightly.

Life and death should never be treated as just a rational problem to be solved. Death and life are realities that we experience not solve. The questions that they bring are not questions we give absolute and final answers to, rather they are questions we live in.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Death counseling 2

Last time I asked if there are times when end of life counseling could be a good thing. Here are a couple of thoughts on why end of life counseling could be a helpful.
  1. Death is not the end. As a believer in Jesus, who was raised from the dead, I don't believe that death in the final chapter in my life. C.S. Lewis pointed out that death is not the end but is the beginning. The apostle Paul states "for living is Christ and dying is gain". This does not mean that we pursue death. It means we do not need to fear it. I have a feeling that some of attempts to prolong life at all costs has a lot more to do with fear than with a desire to live.
  2. Death is inevitable. Everyone who is alive now, will one day die (unless Jesus returns first). End of life counseling may help a person prepare for death. May help a person face death. Many spend most of their life pretending that they are not going to die that they have never prepared for death.
  3. End of life counseling may also be helpful for families. There are times when families artificially keep a loved alive because they cannot say good-bye.
  4. There are times when the person who is dying wants to talk about it. However their family and friends are not prepared to discuss death.
There are some concerns about end of life counseling that I will talk about next time. But the question I would to ask is have you thought about your death? Are you prepared to face it?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Death counseling

Not sure if you have heard about the health care reform that Barack Obama is suggesting in the US. I haven't been following very closely but one thing has caught my attention.
There is a lot of discussion about end of life issues. There is a concern that this new health care program would force elderly people to attend end of life counseling. Counseling that may recommend that the patient chose not to extend their life through medical intervention.

Could there be any value in such counseling? Or should life be extended at all costs.
Could there be some dangers with the type of counseling?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Love and Grace

Love and grace, the way God moves toward us.
At least according to Ephesians 1-2.

In Ephesians 2 Paul says "when we were dead through our trespasses" - which is a really nice way to say when we were in absolute stubborn rebellion to God, hating his guts and wishing that he would just bugger off and leave us alone - God "loved us" with a "great love".

And when we respond to this "great love" God responds with more love and grace. Paul lists some of the ways that God lavishes his love and grace on us: blessing us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, chose us, adopted us as children, forgives our sins, gives us an inheritance, gives us the Holy Spirit, opens our eyes, empower our lives (with the same power that raised Christ from the dead), seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms, brought peace to our lives and communities.

Every move that I make God moves with love and grace. Father, please open my eyes to see your grace and love. Amen.