Friday, 31 July 2009

Thank God for music

This lad has talent!



Sunday, 26 July 2009

Assisted dying

Yesterday the Times lead with the emotive headline, Huge public support to allow right to die, based upon the findings of a new Populus poll. It was dishonest since in the body of the text the author states, 'the poll found only 13 percent of the public supported a blanket right to assisted suicide regardless of the individual's health.


There is much to be worried about by our media's stance on assisted dying and the pressure growing to change the law to make all forms of euthanasia permissible in law. This article illustrates just one of the concerns that doctors like me have about the issue; for human beings are inclined to twist the truth and fundamentallly are not to be trusted. Alas that's the whole basis of laws-for if trust were endemic lawyers would be largely redundant. In the matter of euthanasia I fear we just cannot trust each other enough for it to be permissible. It's too open to abuse, even with legal restraints.

'Preaching is easy talking is hard'

Yet again I've found good old John Newton really helpful. For the last couple of weeks I've been reading from his 365 days with John Newton compiled so well by Marylyn Rouse.

Taken from a sermon about Abraham, 'is anything too hard for the Lord?' he comments that, 'in some measure I am fruitful to you, at least in public. Yet alas I come short: I ought to follow you to your houses, to stop you in the street, to break in upon you in those places and at those seasons when you would least choose to see me, and to entreat you with the affection of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1.8) to consider what you are doing-to ask you, where is the blessedness you once spoke of? There is something in my temper that makes this hard, an almost impossible service....but is anything too hard for the Lord?

He shows remarkable honesty and self awareness. I think for those of us who are elders/leaders in Christian churches, it is all to easy (relatively speaking) to speak from the pulpit when we really should be having one-to-ones with our folk. A booklet which helped me a lot about this kind of thing is by Wallace Benn called the Baxter model, based on the pastoral visiting of Richard Baxter in 17th century Kidderminster.



Thursday, 9 July 2009

Is faith delusion?

Is faith delusion? Why religion is good for your health is a fascinating book written by Andrew Sims, former Professor of Psychiatry in the University of Leeds and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Having read it once I'm going to try to blog my way through its 10 chapters with some brief comments. Although not written as a specific response to The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, he certainly takes Dawkins to task for using what is essentially a technical, psychiatric word ('delusion') inappropriately.





Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Declaration of Geneva

Today I attended my daughter Hannah's graduation ceremony with my wife Liz and eldest daughter Sarah. It was lovely and very special.

At the close of the ceremony all the medical graduates stood and read the Geneva declaration together. A document which was produced in 1948 and adopted by the World Medical Association as something of an updating of the Hippocratic oath. It was very moving and I hope that the graduates are able to uphold its high principles.

They mostly used the original version (there have been 5 revisions since)-the differences from that original document are in red.

  • I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity :
  • I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due;
  • I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity;
  • The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration;
  • I will respect the secrets which are confided in me; even after the patient has died
  • I will maintain by all means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
  • My colleagues will be my brothers and my sisters
  • I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;
  • I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its beginning, even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;
  • I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

Pick up a penguin

I've just so enjoyed reading The Penguin Lessons by Tim Michell. It really is a lovely read. Whilst travelling to Argentina to teach i...