How working as a hospital chaplain shapes the way one writer approaches the Biblical text. (Hermeneutics)
As a pastor then, as a chaplain now, I often navigate in a space bounded by positional obligations and patient (and family) expectations, and God’s invitation. So in that space, when it occurs in hospitals (or other places of pastoral care), what does it look like to talk to God on behalf of and in the presence of other people? And, perhaps, to talk to people on behalf of, and in the presence, of God.
Because I see a lot of death as a hospital chaplain, it makes sense for me to look for ways to help people think about how to make decisions about medical and other interventions near the end of life. How to understand what is going on in the hospital and in the body. How to work within a framework to make decisions. This is a review of books I've been reading.
How can I get better at pastoral care? I can pay attention to my own practice, my own interactions with husbands and wives, parents and children, moments of excruciating difficulty. In each of those moments (or immediately after) I can ask myself, "What am I learning that will help me with the next one of those moments. What questions can I ask myself and others? What can I learn about attending to bits of information and infusing them back into the care all of us provide?"
I think they were nine and twelve. But I’m terrible with figuring out the ages of kids, and I’ve decided that asking isn’t helpful. Instead, I start listening and start talking and calibrate my vocabulary and concepts to the responses I’m getting. Thirty feet away, through an open door, a public hallway, and a closed … Continue reading A conversation with kids about death.
Here are the words I use every time I begin a funeral service. We don’t want to be here. Just so that’s clear. We’re here because when God made us, he built us to respect lives, and to acknowledge that when an earthly life ends, something significant changes. There is something that is right about … Continue reading How to start a funeral service
Some of us are squeamish about blood, especially in the hospital. So when we need to visit a friend, family member, or someone from church, especially after a trauma, we're afraid that we'll be distracted, that we'll feel faint. Here's a simple tip: look them in the eyes. https://youtu.be/znZ28-76z88
In the last hours and minutes of people's lives, laying in hospital and hospice beds, we often hear the question, "Can they hear us?" Chaplains and nurses often say, "Yes. Of course. The hearing is the last thing to go." But I think there may be a more important question to ask. And that is, … Continue reading Can my loved one hear me?
People often say, "I wish I had told them I loved them" the last time they spoke with their loved one. Instead of worrying about the last conversation, consider remembering the best conversation. https://youtu.be/mTelNU4nz30