According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Right to Die - Fighting Death On Its Own Terms


Brittany Maynard with her Great Dane, Charlie | Courtesy Dan Diaz



Brittany Maynard with terminal cancer fights for right to Die




Terminally Ill 29-Year-Old Woman: Why I'm Choosing to Die on My Own Terms
http://www.people.com/article/Brittany-Maynard-death-with-dignity-compassion-choices

by Nicole Weisensee Egan
October 6, 2014

For the past 29 years, Brittany Maynard has lived a fearless life – running half marathons, traveling through Southeast Asia for a year and even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. 

So, it's no surprise she is facing her death the same way.

On Monday, Maynard will launch an online video campaign with the nonprofit Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization, to fight for expanding death-with-dignity laws nationwide.

And on Nov. 1, Maynard, who in April was given six months to live, intends to end her own life with medication prescribed to her by her doctor – and she wants to make it clear it is NOT suicide.

"There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die," she tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. "I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there's not." 

Maynard has a stage 4 glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor.

"My glioblastoma is going to kill me, and that's out of my control," she says. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it, and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying."

The campaign's six-minute video includes interviews with Brittany as well as her mother, Debbie Ziegler, and husband, Dan Diaz, 42.

"My entire family has gone through a cycle of devastation," she says. "I'm an only child – this is going to make tears come to my eyes. For my mother, it's really difficult, and for my husband as well, but they've all supported me because they've stood in hospital rooms and heard what would happen to me."

Maynard was a newlywed when she started having debilitating headaches last January. That's when she learned she had brain cancer.

"My husband and I were actively trying for a family, which is heartbreaking for us," she says in the video. 

Three months later, after undergoing surgery, she found out the tumor had grown even larger and was told she had, at best, six months to live.

After researching all her options after her diagnosis, Maynard, who was living in San Francisco at the time, decided aid in dying was her best option.

Her entire family moved with her to Portland earlier this year so she could have access to Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, which has been in place since late 1997. Since then, 1,173 people have had prescriptions written under the act, and 752 have used them to die.

Brittany Maynard and husband Dan Diaz,
Courtesy Tara Arrowood

Four other states – Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico – have authorized aid in dying. Compassion & Choices has campaigns in place in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

In mid-October, Maynard will videotape testimony to be played for California lawmakers and voters at the appropriate time.

"Right now it's a choice that's only available to some Americans, which is really unethical," she says.

"The amount of sacrifice and change my family had to go through in order to get me to legal access to death with dignity – changing our residency, establishing a team of doctors, having a place to live – was profound," she says.

"There's tons of Americans who don’t have time or the ability or finances," she says, "and I don't think that's right or fair."

This is why she's using the precious time she has left to advocate for everyone to have the same choice she does.

"I believe this choice is ethical, and what makes it ethical is it is a choice," she says. "The patient can change their mind right up to the last minute. I feel very protected here in Oregon."

But Maynard doesn't think she will change her mind. The date she picked was carefully chosen.

"I really wanted to celebrate my husband's birthday, which is October 30," she says. "I'm getting sicker, dealing with more pain and seizures and difficulties so I just selected it."

Maynard says her exhaustion has "increased a lot" recently.

"I still get out and take a walk with my family everyday," she says. "I try not to hold onto the dogs anymore because the past few weeks I've fallen a few times."

Her pain has increased, too, but so far she's been managing it with medications from her doctors.

"I was in the hospital two weeks ago after two seizures," she says. "Immediately after, I lost my ability to speak for a few hours. So it's scary, very frightening."

Which is why she knows she's making the right decision.

When Maynard passes on Nov. 1, she will do so in the bedroom she shares with her husband. By her side will be her mother, stepfather, husband and best friend (who is also a physician).

"I'm dying, but I'm choosing to suffer less," she says, "to put myself through less physical and emotional pain and my family as well."


CNN Report: Terminally ill 29-year-old to end her life






Is "Left Behind" Really A Christian Movie? (podcast)






Rapture Rhapsody: Is 'Left Behind' Really A Christian Movie? (PODCAST)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/03/all-together-left-behind-_n_5926750.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000051

Huffington Post | By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
October 3, 2014



Welcome to the HuffPost Religion Podcast All Together hosted by Executive Religion Editor Rev. Paul Raushenbush. All Together offers a unique perspective into spiritual and religious individuals, communities and ideas that are shaping our world.

This week’s show is called Rapture Rhapsody and examines the 31 million dollar blockbuster movie ‘Left Behind’, staring Nicolas Cage, that will hit 1,750 theaters across the country. The film is based on the 'Left Behind' books by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim Lahye, who made millions on this apocalyptic story.

In addition to making money, the hope of the producers is that the film will be an opportunity for people to be introduced to Christianity, with the potential for conversions. As "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson declared in a promotional video about the film, "Opening the door to unbelievers has never been this much fun."

But (1) how do the ideas behind the Left Behind franchise square with mainstream Christian theology and (2) what influence do popular movies like Left Behind have on the way the wider public – both Christian and non-Christians - understands the Christian religion?

Raushenbush speaks with Princeton University religion professor Elaine Pagels, Biblical Scholar Craig Keener, and Film and Religion expert Prof. John Lyden who explain where the ‘Left Behind’ ideas came from and why they might be leading viewers of the new film astray.


RAPTURE RHAPSODY: IS LEFT BEHIND REALLY A CHRISTIAN MOVIE?
LISTEN TO EARLIER ALL TOGETHER SEGMENTS BELOW
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT MEDITATION?
GREEN SPIRIT vs CLIMATE CHANGE