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“Caring for Souls at - The Other End Of Life”. Theological and Practical Aspects of End-of-Life Issues. “The Other End Of Life”. Theological God-given Value of Life Christian View of Death Christian View of Suffering Christian’s Tension. “The Other End Of Life”. Practical

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caring for souls at the other end of life

“Caring for Souls at - The Other End Of Life”

Theological and Practical Aspects of End-of-Life Issues

the other end of life

“The Other End Of Life”

Theological

God-given Value of Life

Christian View of Death

Christian View of Suffering

Christian’s Tension

the other end of life1

“The Other End Of Life”

Practical

Making Decisions

Christian Compassion

Making Decisions in Advance

theological aspects
Theological Aspects

The God-given Value of Human Life

“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4)

“Just a bit of slime on the planet.”

Peter Otkins, Oxford

“A curious accident in a backwater.”

Bertrand Russell

“You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

(Ps. 8:5)

“A fortuitous cosmic after thought, a tiny little twig on the enormously aborescent bush of life.”

Stephen Jay Could (Harvard)

slide5

Theological Aspects

The God-given Value of Human Life

Created

Redeemed

Called

slide6

Theological Aspects

The Christian View of Death

“The death of a man is, however, an infinite and eternal misery and wrath.”

“We should be happy to die and desire death. Death is only the narrow gate and the small way to life.”

slide7

Theological Aspects

The Christian View of Death

1. Death as Law

“Our death is a more terrible thing than all death not only of other living beings, but also than the troubles and death of other men. What of it when Epicurus dies? He not only does not know that there is a God, but even fails to understand his own misery and recognize the disaster which he is experiencing. Christians, however, and God-fearing men know that their death, together with all the other miseries of this life, is to be equated with God’s wrath.” (Martin Luther LW, 13, 112)

slide8

Theological Aspects

The Christian View of Death

2. Death as Gospel

“Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

“In the midst of life, we are in death. In the midst of death, we are in life.”(Luther LW 13,83)

slide9

Theological Aspects

The Christian’s View of Suffering

“God shows that He is God precisely in the fact that He is mighty in weakness, glorious in lowliness, living and life-giving in death.”

(Paul Althaus. Theology of Martin Luther p. 34)

slide10

Theological Aspects

The Christian’s View of Suffering

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

(Romans 8:28)

slide11

Theological Aspects

The Christian’s View of Suffering

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

(Romans 8:32)

slide12

Theological Aspects

The Christian View of Suffering

God not only blesses, He decides what blessings are.

Paul said – “I rejoice in my _____________”

Paul said – “I rejoice in my sufferings.”

Luther said – “ ___________ is the best book in my library.”

Luther said – “Affliction is the best book in my library.”

C.H. Spurgeon said – “I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness.”

C.H. Spurgeon said – “I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health,

slide13

Theological Aspects

The Christian’s View of Suffering

“The well organized campaign for legalized euthanasia cruelly exploits the fear of suffering and the frustration felt when we cannot restore to health those whom we love. Such fear and frustration is genuine and deeply felt, especially with respect to the aging. But to deal with suffering by eliminating those who suffer is an evasion of moral duty and a great wrong.” (Always to Care, Never to Kill)

slide14

Theological Aspects

The Christian’s Tension

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; (Philippians 1:23)

better by far

but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (24)

more necessary

the other end of life2

“The Other End Of Life”

Theological

God-given Value of Life

Christian View of Death

Christian View of Suffering

Christian’s Tension

slide16

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions

  • Right to refuse treatment
  • Does not sustain life,

but prolongs the dying process

  • Discuss if treatment is a burden
  • “Right to die” – patient is a burden
slide17

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions

“Once we have transgressed and blurred the line between

killing and allowing to die, it will be exceedingly difficult—

in logic, law, and practice—to limit the license to kill.

Once the judgment is not about the worth of specific

treatments but about the worth of specific lives,

our nursing homes and other institutions will present us

with countless candidates for elimination who would

‘be better off dead.’” Always to Care, Never to Kill: A Declaration on Euthanasia by the Ramsey Colloquium as published in First Things February 1992:45-47

Terri Schiavo

slide18

Practical Aspects

Dr. Gilbert Meilaender – member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and Professor of ethics at Valparaiso University.

Making Decisions

“If she is a living human being, albeit a severely disabled one, then our responsibility was to ask what we can do to benefit the life she had. It’s not within the scope of our authority to ask whether it’s a benefit to have her life.”

Terri Schiavo was not dying. Removing her feeding tube did not allow her to die. It caused her to die.

slide19

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions

We can and we should allow the dying to die. We must never intend for the death of the living.

As long as God gives life, He gives life meaning and purpose.

slide20

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions

Focus on the treatment

  • Is it useless?
  • Is it excessively burdensome?

Focus on the person

  • Is he/she useless?

Is he/she dying?

  • Is he/she burdensome?
the slippery slope
The Slippery Slope

Right to refuse treatment

“Right to die”

Right to assisted death

(physician-assisted suicide)

“Duty to die”

Euthanasia

(“Right to kill”)

a glimpse of the future
A Glimpse of the Future:

“The Netherlands has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia for people who are terminally ill to euthanasia for those who are chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress, and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia (called ‘termination of the patient without explicit request.’) There is no way to stop the slide once a society steps onto the slippery slope by legalizing physician-assisted suicide.” (Dr. Herbert Hendin, 1996 report to Judiciary Committee of House)

slide23

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions

What if we make wrong decisions?

We live in grace !

slide24

Practical Aspects

Christian Compassion

Compassion: suffer with

Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

slide25

Practical Aspects

Christian Compassion

Compassion: suffer with

“I have participated in the intensely human drama that surrounds dying. I’ve witnessed the difficulties, I’ve smelled the odors, I’ve seen the unpleasant liquids which assisted suicide advocates claim make life at the end inherently undignified, horrific, and hence worthy of a death sentence. Yet, such conditions need not diminish the inherent value of human life. Dying people remain people, and when properly treated, they usually transcend the limitations of their physical conditions—especially if they know they are cared for and about.” (Hospice Worker)

Martha Gunderson

slide26

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions in Advance

Can Christians do this?

be careful of what you say
Be Careful of What You Say!

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slide28

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions in Advance

Living Will

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

slide29

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions in Advance

The Euthanasia Society of America (1938) hoped to “eventually legalize the putting to death of non-volunteers beyond the help of medical science.”

slide30

Practical Aspects

Making Decisions in Advance

“If we can get people to accept the removal of all treatment and care, especially the removal of food and fluids, they will see what a painful way this is to die, and then, in the patient’s best interest, they will accept the lethal injection.” (Dr. Helga Kuhse at a world conference of Right to Die Societies)

living wills example 1
Living Wills Example 1
  • “If I should have an incurable or irreversible condition that will cause my death in a relatively short time…”

arthritis

mental illness

days, weeks, months, or year

living wills example 2
Living Wills Example 2
  • “I direct my attending physician…”

whoever happens to be near…

Removes medical decisions from your family

living wills example 3
Living Wills Example 3
  • “Withhold or withdraw medical treatment that only prolongs the dying process…”

food and fluids

health care power of attorney
Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Designate someone you trust
    • More than one person
  • Share values about the sanctity of life
  • Discuss your wishes
  • Do not be too specific
health care power of attorney1
Health Care Power of Attorney
  • What if you have a living will?
  • Do you know what it says?
  • They are revocable
  • Start over
concluding parable
Concluding Parable

There was an old woman

who lived in the woods.

the other end of life3

“The Other End Of Life”

Theological

God-given Value of Life

Christian View of Death

Christian View of Suffering

Christian’s Tension

the other end of life4

“The Other End Of Life”

Practical

Making Decisions

Christian Compassion

Making Decisions in Advance

recommend resources
Recommend Resources
  • Durable Power of Attorney:

Christian Version

(Christian Life Resources0

brochures from lfl
Brochures from LFL
  • God’s Love in Human Suffering
  • Euthanasia and the Christian
  • A Guide for Christians

in Ethical Decision-Making at

the End of Life

brochures from lfl1
Brochures from LFL
  • God’s Love in Human Suffering
  • Euthanasia and the Christian
  • A Guide for Christians

in Ethical Decision-Making at

the End of Life

  • The Right to Die:

Rhetoric, Reality, Response

questions
Questions

? ? ? ? ?

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