Tuesday, February 22, 2005

237 Death with Ignominy--ours

"Terri is not kept alive by machines. She breathes on her own, and has ever since her incident in 1990. Being paralyzed, she does need help to eat. She is fed through a tube, although her parents believe she might be able to eat normally if given a chance.

The plan is to starve her to death by removing her tube and refusing to allow others feed her. This is supposed to allow her to "die with dignity." A woman in Prince William County, Virginia, just got jail time for starving her dogs. But our judicial system thinks starving is an appropriate end for Terri. Withholding food and water from terrorists is considered torture, but starving the disabled is how we "respect life."

One side of this story can be found at www.terrisfight.org. Terri did not sign a form saying she would want to die. If she had I would disagree with her, but at least it would be her decision. Her husband insists she would want to die, and her parents say she doesn't. There are doctors on both sides. There was a time when the benefit of the doubt would dictate that she be fed, but not today. The concept of "quality of life" as an excuse to end life is a product of the age we live in, to our detriment.

The idea of "death with dignity" is meaningless in this case. If Terri is brain-dead, she has no way to experience "dignity" or anything else. If on the other hand she is still cognitive, as the evidence shows, there is no excuse to starve her to death simply because she can't communicate.

Sarah Scantlin is a young woman who has been in a state similar to Terri's for the past 20 years¯unable to speak or move, and fed through a tube. But to the surprise of her doctors she just started talking again. She is thankful to be alive. It is possible Terri could have the same miracle, if given a chance and the appropriate treatment."

Full essay here.

236 Too bad we missed this one

A Lutheran pastor is on sabbatical and writing about it. As I read his past blogs I came across this artist, whose paintings were affordable 6 months ago (he reports) but are now in the thousands. Our Visual Arts ministry arranges shows for our multi-campused church, but when we have a budget, we also buy it (and move it around in the buildings so it looks fresh). We try to buy art that has a spiritual message. Here is the web page of the artist, He Qi.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

235 Loved by God

If your women's group is looking for a good Bible study for the spring months, I'd like to recommend Liz Curtis Higgs' "Loved by God; trusting his promises and experiencing his blessings." It is a 7 week study (workbook, DVD) of Genesis 25 and 27-29 using the lives of Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel, to help you see God's plans for your own life. Mrs. Higgs has a delightful sense of humor but never strays from the basic text.

The recorded presentations are shorter than some we've used, and the workbooks only require about 20 minutes a day--also shorter than others we've used (and which I skip through a lot). So this gives your group plenty of time for discussion, sharing and prayer.

Liz is an "encourager" and a self-described "prodigal."

From her bio: "Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines across the country, and she has been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MSNBC, NPR, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Focus on the Family, and Janet Parshall's America.

A member of Novelists, Inc., Liz's primary writing focus now is historical fiction, in particular novels set in eighteenth-century Scotland. To aid in her research, she has visited the U.K. on nine occasions, including an extensive "Heart for Scotland" 12-city book tour in October 2003. She is a member of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society, and supports the National Museums of Scotland, Historic Scotland, and the National Trust for Scotland.

Liz is the author of twenty-two books, with more than three million copies in print. Her fiction includes three historical novels and two contemporary novels . . ."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

234 Two services, one faith

Faith Christian near my brother's home in Bradenton, FL, has recently started a Saturday evening service. Although we were prepared for loud music when seeing the stage set up, it was really pretty mellow with Vineyard-type praise songs, and my niece's husband played the soprano sax. It was quite pleasant. What was really casual was the dress code. No bikinis, but I think I saw just about anything else, and I think Saturday night services are fairly casual around the country.

To borrow a phrase from Dr. Phil, "Is it working for you?" I think the intention of informal services is to make the visitor feel welcome and comfortable, but we were visitors and it didn't feel particularly worshipful or spiritual to me. If I'm camping in the woods and we have a campfire and sing some quiet hymns, toss wood chips into the fire and comment on various insights, that's spiritual and appropriate.

On Sunday we attended Cortez Road Baptist Church. It was also informal because the pastor was ill and the lay people filled in and a visiting missionary preached. At one point, one layman sang the Ohio State fight song when we visitors introduced ourselves during the pre-worship time as Columbus residents. We visitors were able to sing all the hymns, even those we didn't know, because hymn books were provided instead of words on a screen. It helped us feel like part of the group. "Amens" were heard from the pews when the congregation agreed with the speaker, and prayers were lifted for the ill and shut-ins. Both churches preached the gospel and God was glorified.