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Steve Ivy

The spiritual, somatic, psychological, mental and social being we call “human” experiences all of life as a whole. When one dimension of personhood changes, all other dimensions of personhood change. No condition demonstrates this truth more clearly than does Alzheimer’s disease. It is certainly true that much that can be said about persons with Alzheimer’s […] Read More

The church’s ministry to persons who are hospitalized has just become more difficult. As hospitals have worked to shorten stays, visitation of the sick has shifted increasingly to home settings. But new regulations have made another dramatic change. While the details of how hospital ministry will be affected will vary between hospitals and communities, the […] Read More

The most public debate in bioethics today centers on the technology of cloning. Scientists can now reproductively clone some mammals with a modicum of reliability. Scientists also believe that cloning can expand and enhance medical interventions beyond those already based upon cell-line interventions. The New York Times reported March 16 that lawmakers in at least […] Read More

No aspect of medical practice has stirred more vigorous debate than interventions at the beginning of life. The vigor of the debate has stirred intellect, emotion, violence and prayer. People taking diametrically opposing positions have evoked God on: how to prevent egg and sperm from successfully mating (birth control) when clusters of cells become people […] Read More

Playing God at the End of Life

When death approaches, what does it mean to “play God”? Usually “playing God” is used as a pejorative critique of a choice to take more authority than is any human’s to take. Usually the emotive expression “playing God” occurs when a physician or scientist intervenes in “natural” processes. The line may be difficult to draw. […] Read More

While most would recognize that the charge of “playing God” is usually more of an emotive than reflective response to boundary situations, it is still a powerful expression in public religious discourse. This phrase, usually spoken more emotionally than rationally, expresses a core conviction of Jewish and Christian traditions that there is a clear line […] Read More

Access to health-care providers is a matter of justice. Justice is a core Christian value and the cornerstone of the United States’ political system. Yet, it is clear that whatever measures of justice in health-care one claims, our system is not meeting those standards. Recent Institute of Medicine reports have documented that quality is sometimes […] Read More

A Time to Assist in Dying?

This column explores the ethics of taking actions which may hasten death for a person who is in the last stage of a terminal illness, or whose suffering cannot be ameliorated by physical, emotional or spiritual means. Said bluntly, is the decision to assist a suffering person to die ethical? Consider the following cases: John […] Read More

A Time to Die

A deep tragedy is that congregations seldom offer opportunities for people to declare the values they intend to guide their end-of-life choices. Classes that help people understand the difficult decisions they may make for themselves and their loved ones are seldom offered. Betty is 83 years old. She has lived a generally healthy life, although […] Read More

Allow this formulation of spirituality: an individual and corporate journey for life’s meaning and purpose, for coherence between inner and outer perspectives, and for a sense of well-being. Spirituality in the health-care arena does not refer only to patient-focused concerns. It also refers to the medical care providers’ concerns for their own spirituality and for […] Read More