The Hospice Chaplaincy Podcast is committed to promoting excellence in spiritual care at the end of life. That’s why they had me back to talk about the We Honor Veterans Program. Listen here:
I wrote another piece for the United Church of Christ’s Center for Analytics, Research & Development, and Data (CARDD). This one is on the intersection of church and military ministry. I hope you can find some benefit in engaging veterans in your church.
Today is the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech.” It rings especially loud again in 2020 with the death of George Floyd and just days ago the shooting of Jacob Blake. This year it’s not the mole hill vision than stands out to me, but the continued challenge that MLK makes so clear:
“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”I Have a Dream delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
I joined Saul on the Hospice Chaplaincy Show to talk about the intersection of hospice chaplaincy and military ministry.
As a hospice chaplain I know that Karl Marx was perfectly right when he described religion as “opium for the masses.” With the end of life approaching, I find patients and families seeking comfort in religion. For the person on hospice care that is perfectly appropriate. They receive all kinds of medications for pain-relief. They may also use religion for pain-relief. Similar to the opioid crisis with pills, America is suffering from an opioid crisis with religion. A faith that is supposed to make the individual feel better, does not represent the wholeness of biblical witness, missing out on prophetic challenges. Spiritual Comfort Care in extremely high doses needs to be reserved for those who have absolutely no prospect of change in condition. Too often, healthy grownups get drunk on religion. That can be detrimental when they care for a family member on hospice care and religiosity is really a mode of denial. Religious sweetness can be lavished upon the dying as generously as they need and want it. As with any intervention the maxim is: the right dose at the right time.