Recently by John Little
The interfaith blog roundup spotlights uplifting and thought-provoking posts from a variety of religious bloggers.
Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good
Luciano Pavarotti, you have left us all a dazzling legacy. Your memory will not fade as long as anyone listens to your music, and we will be listening to your music as long as we have ears. And because you were fortunate and happy, you have taught us that it is not necessary to suffer to produce great art, that art can also bloom from love and joy.
At a distance I've been witness to such courage, and faith in action. Qualities I'd wish to emulate, ones we would all no doubt wish to emulate. And if any should doubt in the merit of sustained practice that doubt can be dissolved in the light of these past months. Let us bow in gratitude to the highest Truth.
Care of the Soul
Art is but one form of spiritual expression. Art, such as painting, sculpture, and poetry, are a way to express one's soul. Artists often state that they "created" whatever because "it was in them and they needed to get it out". To express the essence of what was in their soul. One of the artists stated that we find a need to organize things to make sense of them, but just because you find a system that works for you, doesn't mean that you can/should impose on the world as the only way that works .I guess this can apply to the variety of artforms. What appeals to one may not appeal to another, hence the statement "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
A Christian Perspective
Folks, if you are suffering from depression, I have good news for you: Jesus Christ is the answer. He has promised that He would not leave you comforftless, that He will comfort you. He has promised that he will sustain you in your trials and will make a way out of every situation you find yourself in, no matter how dark. He has provided mankind with a remedy for depression that brings a peace which surpasses all understanding.
Readers not-so-familiar with Hinduism might be wondering - how come almost every other week Hindus have a celebration !! There was Rakshabandhan, and then Janmashtami and now Ganesh Chaturthi (which will be celebrated this Saturday --September 15, 2007). Oh well, we must tell you, there is lots more to come in the near future, in fact the Fall-festival season is only just beginning !! and really speaking almost every day is auspicious in some way or other for the Hindu..
The Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside
Some 26 years ago, in my first Clinical Pastoral Education residency, one of my periodic responsibilities was orientation of new nurses to working with chaplains. It was usually a straightforward process - some description of the work, of policies and practices, and how to access us, followed by a few questions, and then a pleasant farewell until we met on the floors.
Need some extra inspiration during what would have been your lunch hour? Or do you simply want to learn more about Ramadan? Check out Muslim American Society Youth's daily episode of "In the Shade of Ramadan - Season 2." Tune in daily as different speakers share their reflections during the holy month.
It has been quite the year. My husband has been gone the entire time, either preparing for mobilization, or actually deployed to Afghanistan with the US Army Reserves. Meanwhile, I completed the first six weeks of the Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Jackson and I'm starting my third semester of seminary. I think this might have been a tad bit easier if my husband were home. Maybe that's why I said the last part of the oath…“So help me God."
The Muslim Voice
It's amazing to me that the water sinks right before the waves come crashing, or that the fish swim so close to my feet in the shallow water, and the seagulls are able to swoop down with razor precision grabbing bread from my hands. Those moments of solitude, floating in the sea, helped me to reconnect with my Creator. Reflecting upon all that I saw, from the bubbles in the water to the sand on the shore gave me a greater appreciation of His design.
It is the day which will become the eve of Rosh Hashanah. My mother and I are cooking together, a rare occurrence; I had little interest in cooking until after I had left home, so we never did this when I was growing up. I shape loaves of challah, round like the cycle of the year. She slices zucchini, minces parsley and mint, and tells stories about my grandparents. When we gather family around the long table, set with the silver my mother chose in 1954, she lights candles and I make kiddush and together we all sing blessings over bread and over the first fruits of local apple trees.
Lois Ramondetta, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Gynecologic Oncology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, as well as Associate Professor and Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She has written and spoken extensively on the topic of spirituality and health; most recently focusing on the topic of cancer survivorship and spirituality.
What motivated you to enter medicine as a career?
Initially, I was intrigued by the workings of the human body. Later I was intrigued by the workings of the human mind in the face of life stress. I have wanted to help people in their time of need. Recognizing the tremendous impact of a physician's words or lack of words on the anguish of a patient continues to motivate me to be present and attentive.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Recognizing what is in my control and what is not. Helping people to also recognize what is in their control and what is not - deciding between further treatment and quality of life.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Helping people to get the best treatment possible, helping them to have peace of mind about their decisions…and meeting wonderful people who share their wisdom and give me strength through their strength in touch situations.
How does spirituality inform your practice of medicine?
Spirituality to me is about a relationship beyond the banalities of life that occurs in the face of terminal illness or cancer. It helps me to reach that level of meaningful interaction that is imperative for good decision making, informed decision making, peace of mind, and existential growth.
What spiritual and/or religious resources do you find most personally helpful?
Many of the different religious traditions influence my thinking. Again, however, it is more for me about recognizing what gives life meaning for any individual that I meet.
Are there particular spiritual/religious topics you personally wrestle with?
I like to think about what happens after we pass but I know that one can never know the answer except through perhaps one’s faith…however…I like to focus on the value of life as we are living it today.
What would you like cancer patients and their families to know about M. D. Anderson Cancer Center?
Everyone here tries to help cancer patients in the best way they know how. Sometimes, we don't always know exactly what you need without you asking ….please always ask if you have concerns or questions!
You may find this recent interview with Lifeline Chaplaincy Coordinator and author, Dr. Virgil Fry informative. Virgil has been an important pastoral presence at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and a colleague of our Chaplaincy Department.
When did you decide to make a career out of hospital chaplaincy?
My experience in Abilene kind of planted the seed. From there, when I finished my degree, I went to Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and spent a year in a clinical pastoral education program — a post-graduate work if you want to go into professional chaplaincy. So I had that under my belt. Then I was with the Pipeline Road church in Hurst, Texas, as an associate minister for youth and education for about eight years. While I was in Hurst, the churches in Houston began their search for a chaplain, and I was one of the few who had any clinical pastoral education. So, that’s how I ended up here.
You can read the entire interview at The Christian Chronicle.
Firstly, let my heart communicate that I believe that you all at M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital are angels of God. I believe that God has chosen all of you from the lowest position to highest position to use as His (God) hands of labor for the caring, nurturing, and healing of those afflicted with debilitating diseases.
My name is Faye E. Bynum. My story is one of pain, joy and triumph. I was given an assignment by God to take care of my dear Mother from August 28, 1995 to September 12, 1997. My sweet Mother were diagnosed with fourth stage cervical cancer even though she complied with physicals and checkups routinely. My five siblings and I asked numerous unanswered questions of physicians and other medical professionals.
We researched and sought out as much medical-oncology care possible as this cancer monster continued to ravage throughout our Mom's entire body. During this time I took on the undaunted task of caring for my mother everyday. I quit my job with no thought to money and material loss. God had already granted me a loving, caring and wonderfully understanding, as well as supportive husband. My other sisters and brothers were extremely supportive, nurturing and loving during this very difficult and painful time.
Although my dear mother succumbed to the ravages of this cancer monster; God healed her spiritually and delivered her into the arms of His loving son, Jesus. Her face became sweet with peace as she closed her eyes and whispered "I love you".
I, on the other hand had anything but peace. I missed mama terribly. My grief turned into anger directed straight at God. I wanted him to heal my mother. I wanted her to live and not die. He had other plans for this beautiful rare and golden rose. He apparently had other plans for my life as well. I know all bout grief and bereavement counseling. I was at the time a Licensed Psychiatric Technician nurse out of San Francisco, California and had witnessed, felt, and ministered to numerous hurting people.
All of my professional training, counseling skills, ministering techniques went out of my mind. I needed help! God provided this help for me from the angels at Baptist Memorial Hospice Aftercare in Memphis, TN. I attended their 30 day bereavement support group and were inspired to train to become a hospice volunteer.
My continuing career plans were to enter nursing school and become a psychiatric RN. The hospice volunteer work as well as taking care of my mother led me to enter Jacksonville Theological Seminary in 1997 to 2001 to receive a Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Psychology.
As my heart began to heal from the residue of pain and anguish left by the scars and memories of seeing my mother battle this cancer monster; God granted me to be the recipient of "A Mother's Touch Ministry". Through this ministry God has allowed me and my precious husband to touch not only the sufferers of these debilitating diseases, but their suffering family and friends as well.
We moved from Memphis, TN to Bessemer City, NC in the summer of 2004. Recently, we visited our family members residing in the outskirts of Houston, TX and were afforded the privilege to visit M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital. I am so inspired and impressed with what you do for hurting people. My desire is to become gainfully employed in some needed capacity at MD Anderson. Our plans are to move to Houston, TX very soon.
Thanks so much for allowing me to share "My Story". It continues to be a healing tool for me and others.
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