Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Who gets to decide whether my daughter's life is worth fighting for?

I heard some alarming but empowering news last week during a meeting of the Twin Cities Disability Ministry Connection. Prenatal Partners for Life founder Mary Kellett explained the dangers and opportunities involved with healthcare policies that threaten the very lives of people like my daughter Carly.

You see, Carly has Angelman Syndrome so some people believe her to be a burden on society. Because she is cognitively and developmentally challenged, her life is considered by some to have less value than mine. While I've been well aware of this fact, I was rather naive about how that could impact the care she receives when she is hospitalized. But then I read Bella's Gift by Rick and Karen Santorum earlier this year. And then I heard Mary Kellett talk about how her son died. And WHY he died. Bear with me while I try to explain the issue here.

Many hospitals have policies granting themselves rights to decide when it is time to discontinue all treatments and “allow” a patient to die. Regardless of a patient or family’s right to make their own healthcare decisions, physicians and hospitals are being given the right to make “medical futility” decisions based on their own judgments about the value or quality of patients’ lives rather than the efficacy of specific treatments or therapies available. “These policies and laws have been crafted to shield physicians and hospitals from legal liability for hastening patients’ deaths,” according to the Human Life Alliance (HLA).

It is not just people with disabilities or special needs who are at risk.  Patients who have experienced serious medical crisis after things like gunshot wounds or motor vehicle accidents have also become vulnerable to the dangers of these policies. There are numerous cases reported where medical staff focused on the quality of a patient's life if he/she did recover instead of focusing on treatments and surgeries that would foster healing and recovery.

The HLA cautions, “before you or a loved one are admitted to any hospital, ask for a copy of the hospital’s ‘medical futility policy’” so that you are not caught unaware and unprepared.

Mary Kellett shares her powerful personal story about how these policies tragically impacted her family. You can read Mary’s testimony before the Minnesota legislature about Minnesota Senate bill SF2238, titled “Hospital Futility Policy Disclosure.” Although the bill passed the house and senate in 2012, it was voted down by the Governor at that time.

Let’s pray that bill will be successfully reintroduced in a future session!

In addition to asking to see a provider's policy, Mary encourages families, "you can invite your pastor or priest to attend a Care Coordination Meeting when significant life and care decisions are in the balance." Their presence gives a family comfort and confidence while conveying a powerful message about how the family values life as they advocate for a loved one.

To learn more about prolife healthcare issues, look for more information at the Human Life Alliance  and Hope Network.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Inclusion at Church Makes News in Minnesota

A news story aired last week under the headline: "St. Paul church designed to welcome those with disabilities."  This was a very important story that Walk Right In Ministries had the privilege to participate in along with the Twin Cities Disability Ministry Connection. FOX9 News dedicated just shy of 6 minutes for this feature story reported by Amy Hockert. Folks, SIX MINUTES of air time is a huge investment and this was not a simple story to tell. 

If you haven't seen it yet, please watch now then share this link on Facebook and Twitter: http://www.fox9.com/news/99791845-story 


This story has stirred conversation and passion. Over the last week since it aired, I've watched Facebook and my email light up about the tremendous needs, opportunities, failures and successes of the Church as it relates to special needs ministry. It is tremendously gratifying to see progress! Nonetheless, typical churches struggle to serve those leading atypical lives. Typical churches are scared, intimidated or apathetic and making very little effort at all. Though some churches try to be kind to people with special needs, the typical church today is still not engagingly inclusive. As our friend John Knight of Desiring God exhorted the church in his blog last week, "Let's not be typical!"  

What can YOU do?
Watch this news story.
SEE with new eyes and ENGAGE with the people around you who live with challenges.
PRAY that the heart and response of God's Church will radically change — embracing and including all those who have disabilities.
TALK to your pastors; help others see how very highly God values the "weaker" parts of his Body and expects us to engage their gifts in the life of the church just as we do with any other member.
POST this video link on Facebook with your personal note of encouragement to watch it: http://www.fox9.com/news/99791845-story 
WRITE to Amy Hockert at programming9@foxtv.com and thank her for telling stories that help people with disabilities!


Let our enduring message be hope. Let our eyes remain fixed on Christ. Let us not grow weary doing good.

Thank you for letting your own life speak and display the Gospel today.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Worship Like the First Time (Part 2)

One definition of worship is “to express reverence or adoration of someone or some thing.” By this definition we have all been guilty, at one time or another, of showing more affection, appreciation and priority for other people, places, objects and activities in our lives than we have shown toward God Himself.

Jesus knew that true children of God would make it their priority to follow Him into the world proclaiming the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:57-62). People who are awakened to the joy of their salvation want everything about their lives to reflect the One who has rescued them.

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:7-14
Jesus Himself often told people to go tell their friends and family what God had done for them (Mark 5:18-20, Luke 8:39). But there were also many times when Jesus didn’t specifically instruct someone to go and tell. They just did. They did because they were so moved by Jesus’ compassion toward them and His power of transformation in their lives that they couldn’t stop talking about Him! And the passion of their testimony paired with the evidence seen in their renovated lives caused people to be amazed and worship God (Mark 2:11-12).

Oh, that our enthusiasm and gratitude would overflow as worship (Psalm 23:5, Romans 15:13, 2 Corinthians 4:15, 2 Corinthians 8:2, 2 Corinthians 9:12, Colossians 2:7)!

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9
Lifting our eyes to see God and then giving voice to what we see is worship. What we see and say about God will also lead other people to worship.

This reflection on worship is excerpted from "Living Your Glory Story" available at Amazon and the Walk Right In Ministries store.  Copyright © 2013 Walk Right In Ministries. All rights reserved.


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