Archive for February, 2016

What holds them up?

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

The Chinese church was supposed to die out in 1949.

An atheist communist government took power.  Taking away power from the church meant in essence – no meetings, no books, no unregulated worship (a three self church movement which was to regulate the church arose which was looked on as government puppet).

So things went underground, house churches sprung up and the church began to flourish in the midst of suffering – a topic that I am currently researching for some in our church.

Recently a Chinese church leader outlined to Francis Chan “The Five Pillars of the Underground Church” (a group of 100 million believers with no megachurches, or celebrity pastors)?

David Timms reports on the answers in his latest blog posting:

  1. Read the Bible, deeply and constantly
  2. Pray a lot, personally and collectively
  3. Be a missionary; everyone shares their faith
  4. Expect the miraculous; know that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead abides with us today
  5. Embrace suffering, for the glory of God

The fifth "Pillar" surprised Chan the most.  In a culture that quits all too easily and that whines all too frequently, the idea of celebrating or embracing suffering seems very foreign.

Small things seem to distract us. Big things prove utterly daunting. But brothers and sisters in China embrace their suffering, knowing that this converts into eternal reward (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Perhaps we fail to suffer well because we embraced a gospel of prosperity and favor. When tough times come, when people resist or reject our faith, when things turn sideways in our congregations, we cut and run.

Or perhaps we fail to embrace suffering, because the other four pillars are so pencil-thin in our lives. God’s Word is not planted deeply in our souls, we pray little, we share our faith with nobody, and we have ceased to expect miracles.

What pillars guide our lives and our churches?

Perfume as poison–incense as a killer

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Life is so much easier when there are no allergies.

These last few years I’ve run across a number of people who are scent-sitive.  One of the worst is a lady who cannot sit next to a perfumed person without her throat seizing up.

While I try not to wear perfumes, a scent is sure to sneak in.

Anti-histamines are only a partial answer for the victim. 

Around our house we try to shower with scent free soap.  Our laundry is done in “free” detergent – devoid of scents.  Deodorant is unscented wherever possible.

These are conscious choices.

Now imagine if someone were to say to you, “you smell good.” 

Nothing to it!!

Pun intended.

Physician assisted death–right not to refer?

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Have you heard a physician say, “I prefer not to refer.”

Physician assisted death is marching forward.  If the Supreme Court, in the next short while, rules in favour of assisted death, a patient may initiate the process. 

However, an online Canadian Medical Association (CMA) member survey (1407 responses) presented at the  CMA General Council in Halifax on August 25, 2015, showed that 63% of members polled would refuse outright to assist in a patient’s death.

This is not an insignificant number.  The Canadian Medical Association had been considering recommending for statutory and regulatory  frameworks that those physicians not wishing to participate in assisted death must refer their patients to someone who would. 

Regardless of whether this would violate the conscience of the physician.

The Canadian Medical Association certainly received feedback from their members, and has updated the recommendation.  While allowing for assisted death, they no longer suggest that physicians must refer patients for death.

The January 2016 paper on the CMA site – Principles Based Recommendations for a Canadian Approach to Dying – provides in their recommendations, in section 5.2: Conscientious Objection by a Physician, the following statement:

Physicians are not obligated to fulfill requests for assisted dying. This means that physicians who choose not to provide or participate in assisted dying are not required to provide it or to participate in it or to refer the patient to a physician or a medical administrator who will provide assisted dying to the patient. There should be no discrimination against a physician who chooses not to provide or participate in assisted dying.

A small victory for conscientious objectors, but I suspect they have more battles yet to fight.

A wise word on death and dying

Monday, February 1st, 2016

One of my friends made an observation about death and dying.  I’m starting to gather some of these thoughts as I prepare a novel with a funeral director as the main character.

“It’s not the idea of dying – it’s the idea of leaving.”

When you examine the Christian doctrine of death and resurrection, there is no room for doubt.  Death is swallowed up in victory.  The victory is that Christians will be resurrected to a new life, with new bodies and an eternity with God.

That part makes the idea of dying a joyous thing.

When you examine your day-to-day relationships, the leaving is difficult.  You know that a spouse will suffer a disrupted routine – a new normal will take time and effort to form.  You know that children and close loved ones will miss your advice and encouragement.  You know that your community, whoever they may be, will find a hole that they will need to fill.

That part makes the idea of leaving a sad thing.