Sunday 18 August 2013

Christian Reflection on Death

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is now available, this one devoted to ‘Death’. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:

Robert B. Kruschwitz
Our contributors explore how to provide better care for the dying, remember the dead rightly, and prepare for our own deaths – for these, they explain, respond to dimensions of the same problem, our avoidance of death.

Eric Howell
How the Tomb Becomes a Womb
By baptism “you died and were born,” a fourth-century catechism teaches. “The saving water was your tomb and at the same time a womb.” When we are born to new life in those ‘maternal waters,’ we celebrate and receive grace that shapes how we live and die.

Paul J. Griffiths
Defending Life by Embracing Death
In a Christian equipoise between death-seeking and death-avoidance, we would not be especially disposed to postpone our deaths; neither would we be disposed to seek them. We would want to continue to give our lives away as we have received them, as sheer gift. But can we be disposed to equipoise in an immortalist culture?

Brett McCarty and Allen Verhey
The Virtues for Dying Well
With the Ars Moriendi tradition, we should focus on the paradigmatic significance of the death of Jesus in order to learn how to die well. We would learn faith, hope, patient love, humility, serenity, and courage as we commend our lives and our deaths into the hands of a living God.

Regina Easley-Young
Remembering the Dead Rightly
We can over-identify with powerful emotions that accompany grieving, make an idol of the deceased, or harbor the poison of estranged or hostile relationships with them. Remembering the dead rightly – with love that is undistorted by our passions – is a difficult spiritual discipline.

Heidi J. Hornik
All My Life Is Vanity

Heidi J. Hornik
The Grim Reaper

When Life Well Lived Is at an End
David W. Music

Eric L. Mathis
Worship Service

Other Voices

Terry T. Lester
It’s Time to Get Up!
The raising of Lazarus is a preview that prompts us to trust and to glorify God. For in a few short days Jesus too will face his dying and death. But on Easter morn the voice of God echoes into the mystery and darkness of death, “It’s time to get up!” And Jesus, the risen Christ, comes forth.

Glenn E. Sanders
What My Students Teach Me about Death
The class lesson on the practice of dying well is mainly about how a community can comfort the dying and react in spiritually positive ways to death. But the discussion always turns to the students’ experiences of death. One should never assume that young adults know little about death.

Joel Shuman
Dying Well
We most often die as we have lived, and the hope for a “good” death demands a faithful life. The authors of the four books reviewed here make this point, arguing that preparation for death is an essential aspect of Christian discipleship and that the “art of dying” is a skill requiring lifelong cultivation.

Todd Buras
Loving Our Last Enemy
Unaided human reason may teach us to face death fearlessly, but it can do no more. To make peace with death – to embrace our end – we need more by way of wisdom. This is part of what the Church claims to have in Christ.

Charles W. Christian
Restoring the Christian Funeral
Futile attempts to deny death and escape from dying pervade our society. The two books reviewed here seek to restore a distinctively Christian voice to how we understand the dying process and death, and how we articulate their meaning in the funeral service.

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