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Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 | 1 comment

Do Doctors Need Consciences?

Do Doctors Need Consciences?

Should medical professionals have consciences? A recent statement by a group of bioethicists suggests we might be better off if they didn’t. In their words, “The status quo regarding conscientious objection in healthcare in the UK and several other modern Western countries is indefensible.”[1] Instead, the bioethicists recommend 10 ethical guidelines for conscientious objection, including the following: Healthcare practitioners’ primary obligations are towards their patients, not towards their own personal conscience. When the patient’s wellbeing (or best interest, or health) is at stake, healthcare practitioners’ professional obligations should normally take priority over their personal moral or religious views. In the event of a conflict between practitioners’ conscience and a patient’s desire for a legal, professionally sanctioned medical service, healthcare practitioners should always ensure that patients receive timely medical care. … In emergency situations, when referral is not possible, or when it poses too great a burden on patients or on the healthcare system, health practitioners should perform the treatment themselves. Although it is short and underdeveloped, the statement contains...

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Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 | 0 comments

Planting: a millennial’s guide to motherhood.

Planting: a millennial’s guide to motherhood.

I’m a millennial to my core. I fall in the correct age range. I took a year off after college to accumulate “experiences.” I completed a degree in theology which, as my grandmother keeps reminding me, will never come to any practical use or gainful employment. Like every 18-35 year old with their parents’ Netflix password, I binge-watched Stranger Things. (It was rad.) Vocationally unmoored, prone to frequent brunches, convinced I have a unique creative talent of which the wider world should not be deprived, I’ve fit the criteria a little too closely until now. But now, all of a sudden, my life is merged with a tiny dependent I’ve never met but am bound to in every way. The first month I stopped taking my birth control, every day was an adventure. I bought a 25-pack of cheap pregnancy tests on Amazon prime and took one nearly every morning. I came to expect it. The one dark red line, clear as a stop sign on the road. Not...

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Posted by on Aug 12, 2016 | 0 comments

The Feast of Thanksgiving

The Feast of Thanksgiving

And be thankful. Col. 3:15b Growing up I didn’t really know what communion meant. When I was a kid I was taught that the proper way to take communion in my church was to hold the cup and wafer with stillness and solemnity while confessing my sins. Then, following the words of the preacher, I would eat the wafer and drink the cup in unison with the whole of the congregation. Communion was a time to remember that Jesus died for us to take away our sins, and proper etiquette was required for that moment once a month when we passed along the trays full of grape juice.This was really hard for a kid who didn’t know how to stop wiggling.  In high school I was instructed that to not properly confess my sins before taking communion was risking calling God’s wrath down upon me, for this is the obvious and clear meaning of 1 Cor. 11:29-30. It has taken me a long time to break away from this habit of internal...

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Posted by on Jul 4, 2016 | 2 comments

The Nicene Creed: “…to judge the quick and the dead…”

The Nicene Creed: “…to judge the quick and the dead…”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >> From thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. The Creed has it all. The key topics of systematic theology, whether written by the deeply conservative or the modern German liberal, are all found in the creed. Theology proper—the study of God, as Rachel wrote about. Christology—the study of Christ—and soteriology— “for us and for our salvation.” Thursday’s blog post will feature the first post on pneumatology, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and today is our first taste of eschatology: the study of death, judgment, and our final destiny. The notion of a final judgment has captured the imagination of Christians for many centuries. Countless paintings and altarpieces are devoted to the topic; today’s chosen image is one such altarpiece created in the 15th century by Hans Memling. That the end times remain of interest can be...

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Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 | 0 comments

The Nicene Creed: “…for us and for our salvation…”

The Nicene Creed: “…for us and for our salvation…”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >> “Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man” But did God become human only for our salvation? Would Jesus have been born even if we hadn’t sinned? Although it seems like an irrelevant question, far from a believer’s practical concerns, the answer carries unexpectedly important consequences. The Western Church has been divided on this issue for hundreds of years. The Franciscan John Duns Scotus (1266–1308) argued that the incarnation would have happened anyway (called the supralapsarian position). Human beings are chosen by God for eternal bliss, before there was any sin to save them from. But Jesus was also chosen by God (Luke 9:35), and God’s choice of Jesus precedes his choice of humans. So it follows that God chose Jesus before there was any sin.[1] The Dominican Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274),...

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Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 | 1 comment

Can Hermeneutics be Ethical? Ricoeur and the War

Can Hermeneutics be Ethical? Ricoeur and the War

A few weeks ago, Barney wrote a post about Ricoeur and his mistaken pacifism.[1] Barney’s article left me with questions that led me to do some research. This research, in turn, led me beyond the specific issue of Ricoeur’s change of heart to the broader question of the relationship between his philosophy and politics. I found two pertinent articles: David Kaplan’s “Paul Ricoeur and the Nazis,” a response to “Paul Ricoeur as Another” by Richard Wolin, in which Wolin questions the political implications of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics, and relationship between his philosophy and ethics.[2] That Ricoeur changed his mind on a political issue in interesting; what is more interesting is the question of whether his passivity and (as Wolin sees it) pro-Vichy politics are the result of his philosophical views. Pacifism in the inter-war years in France, John Taylor explains, stemmed from the French view of war—that another was likely.[3] Ricoeur’s pre-war pacifism arose from his doubt regarding the expansionism of European democracies (especially France and Britain) and from his...

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