November 22, 2008
The Assisted Suicide bill passed in Washington State. Last night I was with 8 women. When asked how many voted pro and how many against it was equally divided, 4-pro, 4-against. A discussion ensued as to why we voted the way we did. I thought a lot about the bill before I voted “against” and thinking more about it this morning. I think this is a very complex issue but for me boils down to some issues I can’t resolve. The main issues being my belief that God is the giver and sustainer of life. I consider the sacredness of human life in all of life; i.e., war, violence, the death penalty, abortion, euthanasia and biotechnology. My fundamental belief as a follower of Christ is that the kingdom of God consists of peace with justice, of life unmarred by killing. (Kingdom Ethics, pg. 147). The good news of the gospel brings life and invites us to participate in bringing life and resisting death. Simply put, (even though without a doubt these are very complex issues) kingdom ethics resists killing, as Jesus did, and strongly affirms the value of human persons, as Jesus did.
When we talk about assisted suicide or euthanasia, I believe we are talking about the difference between “killing” and “letting die.” I believe the role of the health care professional is to cure if possible, and to care always and to never harm or hasten death. The way to meet the legitimate needs of the suffering and dying is through enhanced pain management (palliative care), hospice care and other efforts to assure, as far as possible, a good process of dying.
The fear of dying a long, agonizing death is perhaps the fundamental driving force behind the drive for euthanasia. This seems to disregard the advanced pain management treatments that help to allow a person to die well.
As a Christ follower, I believe that until Jesus returns and brings an end to illness and death at last, God’s will is that every sick human being be treated with dignity and compassion, receive needed curative treatments, benefit from pain relief and die only when their time has really come. The need to offer compassionate care that meets the need of the ill and dying, and their families is what our society needs to focus on. My conclusion is that “letting die” is the correct response, “killing” in the name of “my right” or “compassion” is the wrong response.
November 12, 2008
Holiness isn’t a word I use often and honestly not a word I think of often because something in me could not resonate with holiness being defined only in terms of morality. The following explanation from Brueggemann’s An Introduction to the Old Testament of “holiness” from a biblical viewpoint makes much more sense to me:
Speaking of the Book of Leviticus Mary Douglas has proposed that chapters 18 and 20 provide a deliberate framework for chapter 19 so that the whole is arranged to show that love of neighbor has become the key component of a vision of holiness. Pg. 72
…in Douglas’s interpretation, the arrangement of the materials serves to subordinate holiness and purity to justice. Pg. 73
This view of biblical holiness makes sense to me as I reflect on the overarching Story of Scripture.
November 6, 2008
would really like to know your thoughts because this kind of stuff confounds me.
This from Sojourners
This election has shown that thtch e era of single-issue voting is over and a broader moral agenda that seeks common ground on moral issues has begun. Members of Black churches, Catholics, evangelicals, Latinos, and mainline Protestants are acting on a broad set of biblical values. I look forward to the day when both poverty reduction and abortion reduction become nonpartisan issues and bipartisan causes.
Please join me in offering President-elect Obama our prayers and our actions as he assumes the responsibility of leading our nation in a very challenging time.
And then this from Dutch Sheets who represents the very Right/Charismatic stream of the Church.
How does the Church witness to Christ in the world? First and foremost by giving visibility to Jesus’ love for the poor and the weak. In a world so hungry for healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and most of all unconditional love, the Church must alleviate that hunger through its ministry. Wherever we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the lonely, listen to those who are rejected, and bring unity and peace to those who are divided, we proclaim the living Christ, whether we speak about him or not.
It is important that whatever we do and wherever we go, we remain in the Name of Jesus, who sent us. Outside his Name our ministry will lose its divine energy. – Henri Nouwen
I think Henri Nouwen may have been meditating on Matthew 25 when he wrote this.
November 5, 2008
Black and white, all people of color, young and old celebrating in the streets, young people activated, John McCain giving a gracious, generative concession speech–what an historical moment we are living in. I pray we will take the hope ignited and in God’s hands make the most of this moment for our world. I bet those great cloud of witnesses are cheering:
“If this work can contribute in any way toward proving this, and at the same time arouse the conscience of the American people to a demand for justice to every citizen, and punishment by law for the lawless, I shall feel I have done my race a service.” Ida B. Wells
“I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.” Harriet Tubman
“I have a dream” “Let Justice Roll” Martin Luther King Jr.
November 4, 2008
I think the majority of us would agree that today is historic in so many ways for the United States. Even so, I can’t put all my eggs for “peace and Kingdom living” into the basket of who becomes the next president. What has been amazing (and sad) to me is how divisive for Christ followers this election has been. The one thing that I hope is that however you vote (or not vote) you would be respectful of everyone’s right to their decision. Honestly I don’t think Jesus is for one side or the other. I hope you vote your values and your conscience and are not in the fray causing division. As exciting as this day is, I am looking forward to tomorrow.
October 20, 2008
Rich and I are leaving before light tomorrow morning to go on retreat with the Regional Leadership Team. We are going to Victoria and staying here. I am looking forward to our time away and hoping I can get somewhat caught up on my studies…I am going to really try Winn:)
I think in this season of life one of my favorite things to do is go on retreat. I am hoping I can do a semi-silent retreat in November and then our annual women’s retreat in May. I think 2 or 3 retreats a year is what helps me recharge my batteries and empty my soul of all the clutter that seems to gather in all my busyness.
That’s about it for now.
October 17, 2008
Yesterday was my 52nd birthday. I actually love to celebrate birthdays, including mine:) It is a natural time for me to take some time and reflect on my life. My birthday began the night before when I got a bunch of Facebook birthday wishes and then an 11:00 p.m. phone call that our daughter-in-law, Hyemin was in labor. I knew there would be a good chance that our 12th grandchild would be born on my birthday. I thought, “what a beautiful gift” the gift of life, another person to welcome to our family and add to our ongoing story. I was in and out of sleep and prayer for Ben and Hyemin all night long. In the morning I woke up to Rich and Alex’s happy faces giving me a whole bunch of kisses and love. Then got to the office and I was greeted by Myra and Max with happy birthday wishes. On Thursday mornings I pray with a group of women. They brought a cake, coffee, cards, gifts and we had a fun little party and a good time of prayer. We found out on the way to the office, via a text from Ben that Daniel Haesung Cho Swetman was born around 7:00 a.m. We met him in the afternoon, he is gorgeous! I received lots of phone calls, texts, email and FB birthday wishes throughout the day. We went to dinner with some of our kids and grand-children. Then home exhausted and to bed.
Today as I take a few moments to reflect on my life at age 52 I sit in amazement and gratitude. Here are the words that come to mind:
There is of course sadness that has to do with broken relationships. In the sadness I find great comfort that at some point, maybe not even in this life “all matter of things will be well.”
I am one very grateful person. I could not have imagined the gifts that are given to me daily and for which I am most thankful!
October 15, 2008
I so try not to care about this…but then something like this happens and it makes me want to scream…
October 8, 2008
It’s no secret that I have decided I am voting for Obama. The one question that most Christians ask me is how I can be a follower of Jesus and vote for someone that is not pro-life. I am pro-life and I believe that being pro-life is bigger than “one” issue. Here is where I reach back to my Roman Catholic roots and lean into a the overarching reality of what pro-life means and meant before the 1980’s Moral Majority campaign (and others) redefined pro-life around one issue. Here is what I am talking about. So, I consider myself Pro-life and pro-Obama.