Advance Directives : Christianity Today: While I Was Sleeping...
Posted by Chapster on Feb-08-2004 (2032 reads)

Christianity Today - In an important article in Christianity Today, author Lindsey O'Connor tells of her Terry Schiavo-like experience of being in a coma, and relates her gratitude for her husband not discontinuing the agressive treatments she was receiving, so that she could come out of that coma.

ElderHope has always taken a position in favor of advance directives and generally sees the value of letting life end naturally (as opposed to ending it, as in euthanasia). It seems important to us, though, to offer reasoned viewpoints that differ from our own. What is important about this article is that, first, it illustrates the very personal nature of these kinds of decisions. It is one thing to talk about these kinds of decisions from an intellectual perspective; it is another thing entirely to encounter them as a first-hand participant.

Second, it reminds us of the cornerstone nature of faith values in making and, later evaluating, our decisions. In perhaps the most telling two sentences in the essay, O'Connor states, "If I had predetermined no life support (or only short-duration support), as some have in advance directives, I'd be dead. I'd also perhaps have missed the greatest opportunity of my life to bring God glory, because he can use us for his purposes in any bodily state—even while we're sleeping." For her, the summation of the argument seems to be in the purpose she finds in bringing glory to God.

Finally, the essay reminds us that there is a wide berth in legitimate opinions. In view of the sentences quoted above, it must seem barbarian to even imagine that there might have been another outcome, her death, not to mention the idea that God might receive glory in that eventuality as well. Would that outcome have crippled God's glory? Her view causes me to rerun my views through the sieve, as it sounds like she has done with her views. This is what we all must do. I suppose that most of that sieve ends up being the experiences that we call our own. And, knowing this, we might ask if our experiences, whatever they are, constitute an adequate sieve.

To read this excellent essay, Go HERE. Also, we might add that there are numerous other considerations that might be raised about her experience versus that of Terry Schiavo.

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