The Ethics, Professionalism, and Human Rights Committee of the ACP recently published a position paper in Annals of Internal Medicine establishing the organization’s stance against assisted suicide. However, the ACP recognizes that its members may participate in assisted suicide where it is legal, and they “should ensure that all patients can rely on high-quality care through to the end of life, with prevention or relief of suffering insofar as possible, a commitment to human dignity and management of pain and other symptoms, and support for families.” How can the ACP expect to preserve or change practice patterns without actually standing against the practice of assisted suicide itself?
“The problem, of course, is that labor and entertainment may fill the time vacuum, but they will not fill the meaning vacuum. Culture is not inherently a moral good. But in its absence, less wholesome touchstones, like ethno-nationalism or political ideology, can supplant it as a source of shared memory.” How can Christians make meaningful, creative things – for the Church and from the Church?
Seventeen years ago, Richard Neuhaus meditated on his brush with mortality. “There is a time simply to be present to death—whether one’s own or that of others—without any felt urgencies about doing something about it or getting over it.” He ultimately died in 2009.
Promises of health, wealth, and prosperity have adorned many a televangelist’s sermon and best-selling book. This phenomenon has been the subject of some inquiry. It also has another, more insidious form: “Many of us have been unwittingly lulled to sleep by prosperity thinking. In its subtlety, the soft prosperity gospel wears the uniform of honor, happiness, and achievement. These are all good things but not necessarily implications of the gospel.”
“It is not uncommon these days for clinicians to prescribe antidepressants and leave the personal meanings of presenting distress unattended. The reigning assumption is that depression and anxiety are meaningless. Suffering of all sorts is implicitly considered useless. Our culture seems not to know what to do with invisible suffering—how it might be transduced into fuller aliveness.
The arts constitute such a modality. Making a poem shapes meanings to say what one would otherwise harbor silently. It is a weaving of selfhood.”
Irvin Yalom, Love’s Executioner:
The answer to the why questions (Why do I live?) supplies an answer to how questions (How do I live).