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Ethical & Social Issues Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide

Questions and Answers on Euthanasia

QUESTION: What’s the difference between voluntary euthanasia and non-voluntary euthanasia? ANSWER: Voluntary euthanasia involves a competent and stated desire of someone to have his or her life terminated. Non-voluntary euthanasia pertains to the termination of someone’s life by another without…

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Making the Most of Time in End-of-Life Matters

It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, and the temperature is in the upper sixties. Spring in Wisconsin can be unpredictable. Today’s taste of summer might be followed by a reminder that winter is still visible in the rear…

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The Impression You Leave – A Look at Suffering and Burden Sharing

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources When abortion became legal in 1973, many called it the beginning of the slippery slope. In the middle 1980s then-U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop spoke at a Christian Life Resources convention…

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Facing Eternity

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Although a first impression is certainly important, it is the last impression that sticks! Without a doubt, the first impression is important –in this world. Mind you, I said, “in this world.”…

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Learning to Face Death

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources We are victims of our culture. Despite knowing better from God’s Word, we find ourselves sucked into the thoughts and practices of the world. This is evident when discussing death. On the…

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Facing Eternity – Ready and Willing

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Ellen began to experience the slow passing of a generation. Her father died when all three of her children were in high school. It was sudden – a heart attack while he…

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Facing Eternity – Saying Good-Bye

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Clarence had been married 51 years when he lost his dear wife, Clarice. “It was cancer that took her,” he said, as he clenched his jaw and tears filled his eyes. Like…

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Revisiting Terri Schiavo

Professor John D. Schuetze, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI Professor John D. Schuetze, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI The news has just been announced. After years of legal battles and power plays, the struggle between parents and husband has ended….

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Lost in the Fog of ‘Rights’

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources To the frustration of the Clearly Caring editor I did not write this article on deadline – partially because I am particularly busy at the moment. Despite all the things on my…

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Q&A on Terminal Sedation

Question: What is terminal sedation? Is it the same as physician-assisted suicide? Answer: Physician-assisted suicide is defined as a physician’s act that is meant to intentionally end the life of a patient. Terminal sedation is practiced when a patient is…

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Q&A on ‘Pulling the Plug’

QUESTION: Do you really consider “pulling the plug” to be euthanasia? ANSWER: Deuteronomy 32:39 tells us that God alone has the right to begin or end life. Exodus 20:13 and Genesis 9:5-6 command that we preserve and protect human life….

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Care, Not Suicide: Choosing a Medical Directive That Witnesses to Your Faith

You can choose a medical directive statement that will witness to your faith. Sooner or later you will face the question, “Do you have a medical directive statement?” Or more specifically, “Do you have a living will?” These are routine…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Practical Matters in Counseling on Death

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann IX. Practical Matters In Counseling on Death I have outlined for you some of the basic principles that have helped me address death with fellow Christians. I believe…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Begin with Faith

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann II. Begin with Faith The challenge of training fellow Christians in the way they should go is a life-long endeavor to create the Christian mindset. This mindset includes…

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Dealing with a Euthanasia-Minded Friend

How do you deal with a euthanasia-minded friend of acquaintance? The issues are so emotional, and the arguments sound compassionate. Nevertheless, we are considering ending a person’s life. Obviously, it is critical that you know the issues and how to…

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Does the Bible Ever Speak of Euthanasia?

Euthanasia means “good death.” It has meant different things to different people at different times in history. There are some who felt it meant we are to make the last moments of a person’s life comfortable. Today the term almost…

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Don’t Underestimate an Unpopular Idea

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Several years ago Derek Humphry was asked to comment on the anticipated failure of a proposed referendum to legalize assisted suicide. Humphry, of course, had a great interest in such legislation. He…

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Bible Study: Issues of Life and Death

Issues of life and death are often consumed with discussions and decisions involved with making correct medical decisions near the end of life. Amidst the confusion of tube feeding, ventilators, dialysis and a host of other medical care mechanisms we…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues

Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Introduction The Christian Foundation for Life Decision-Making Begin with Faith Establish God’s Authority Over Life and Death Facing the Changed Quality of Life Understanding the Purpose of Life Facing the Fear…

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Suffering at the End of Life

Many fear the unknown, especially at the end of life. We do not know when the end will come. We will not know what loved ones will do without us. We so not know if we will suffer or not….

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Living Wills vs. Medical Directive Statements: There Is A Difference

A great emphasis has been recently placed on the need for medical directive statements. Yet, there is also a great deal of confusion regarding these legal documents. Here is a short summary to explain the roles of these documents and…

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Living Choices: Alternatives to Euthanasia

Life is full of choices that range from the trivial to the critical. Every day one must choose such things as what clothes to wear; or whether to buy the 87 octane or the super-charged gasoline. Is tartar control toothpaste…

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Q&A on Medical Decision-Making

QUESTION: I am nervous about people making medical decisions for me. What are your thoughts? ANSWER: The need for medical directives is greater than many people realize in managing your health and making healthcare decisions. To answer your question, you…

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End of Life Terminology

Christian ethics: The only value system in which motive rooted in the Christian faith is the first determinant of right and wrong. Christian medical/ethical decision making: A way of approaching tough decisions with the question: is God still holding out…

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What About the Terminally Ill?

Burke J. Balch, Director of the Dept. of Medical Ethics, and Randall K. O’Bannon, Director of the Educational Trust Fund; National Right to Life Committee Proponents of physician-assisted suicide frequently begin by advocating its legalization for those who are terminally…

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My Life: Not My Own But God’s

Rev. Michael Plagenz Physician assisted suicide is a controversial topic today. I once saw a report stating 66% of 998 people surveyed favored “closely regulated doctor-assisted suicide.” As confessional Lutheran Christians, we know that any kind of suicide or mercy…

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Nutrition and Hydration (Food and Water)

Intravenous Feeding How feeding is provided Needle is inserted into a vein, usually in the hand or forearm, allowing the person to be nourished through the circulatory system. General use of this type of feeding Generally used to provide fluid…

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Who Will Take Care of Mother?

Rev., Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources In 1907 Anna Jarvis began a nationwide campaign for the observance of Mother’s Day. In 1908 it began with a service at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, honoring the…

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‘With Friends Like These’ – A Look at Comforting Others in Crisis

Pastor Jon D. Buchholz When you are called upon to touch someone’s life with comfort, share the genuine comfort of the cross. “When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the…

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Terri Schiavo and Us

Pastor Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Background: On February 25, 1990, Terri Schiavo collapsed in her home. Doctors believe a potassium imbalance caused her heart to stop and restricted oxygen flow to her brain. She suffered serious brain…

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Americans Support Patient Choice for Life Over ‘Quality of Life’ Ethic

A February Wirthlin Worldwide notion that patients who have a so-called low “quality of life” should be denied life-saving medical care. By clear majorities — 79 percent to 19 percent — of Americans feel that patients or their families should…

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Euthanasia — Hardly a Happy Issue

Rev. John Schuetze The term “euthanasia” literally means “easy” or “happy death.” This definition is deceiving, for euthanasia is hardly an issue we Christians can be happy about. It refers to shortening the life of a terminally ill or hopelessly…

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Suicide Facts and Statistics

Most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to compile the following list of suicide facts: General Statistics (USA) Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)…

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They Shoot Horses… – A Look at Compassion at the End of Life

Rev. Mark Braun True Confessions: Forty years ago I took a first date to see the movie, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Based on a 1930s novel, the movie was technically well done and received nine Academy Award nominations, but…

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Suicide Clinics for the Mentally Ill

Wesley J. Smith, J.D. There is an ongoing pretense in assisted suicide advocacy the euthanasia/assisted suicide is merely a medical matter of “last resort” that is to be reserved only for dying people when nothing else can be done to…

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The Dying Need TLC, Not Rulings – Legalizing Assisted Suicide Would Be Very Risky Decision

Wesley J. Smith, NOTE: Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a lawyer for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His Web…

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Key Points for Debating Assisted Suicide

1. A request for assisted suicide is typically a cry for help. It is in reality a call for counseling, assistance, and positive alternatives as solutions for very real problems. 2. Suicidal intent is typically transient. Of those who attempt…

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Publicity’s Role in Promoting Assisted Suicide

Experts on suicide have long known about the “copycat” phenomenon: One widely publicized suicide may touch off similar acts among other impressionable people. Recently four researchers at the University of California tried to answer the question: Does the same phenomenon…

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When Assisted Suicide Becomes Legal

Mr. Brian Johnston It will be a day just like today. It will seem like many should notice, but most will not. There will be a sort of conspiracy of silence and suddenly those lives that we were compelled to…

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A Dignified Death for the Suicide Agenda?

Richard M. Doerflinger The image of physician-assisted suicide providing a “humane and dignified death” has suffered major setbacks lately. New revelations show that the so-called “right to die” movement has misrepresented the facts and suppressed the truth to promote its…

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May A Person Who Commits Suicide Receive Christian Burial?

Rev. Armin Schuetze A reader asks:Why is it we so completely condemn a Christian when he has committed suicide? Doesn’t Matthew 7:1 say: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”? The Significance of Christian Burial What is the…

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Who Is At Risk for Suicide?

Unemployed A longitudinal study presented in the British Medical Journal shows a correlation between suicide, unemployment and chronic illness. The study found that “there was a strong independent association between suicide and individuals who were unemployed…and permanently sick…Those without access…

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Controlling Death: Examining Society’s Rush to a ‘Final Exit’

Amy M. Schultz Today we can seemingly have everything that technology affords us in the name of medicine to control and sustain our lives. Yet society is still perplexed by controlling the way we die. In the rush to unfold…

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A Double Standard on Suicide?

Richard M. Doerflinger, Associate Director for Policy Development at the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, National Conference of Catholic Bishops When fellow students had subdued 15-year-old Kipland Kinkel after he shot two dozen people at his high school in Springfield, Oregon,…

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Searching for a Reason to Live

Kenneth A. Cherney In God’s eyes there is no such thing as an insignificant human What will be the next major public health crisis? Many people say it won’t be a new killer virus or environmental toxin. It will be…

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Standing Between Life and Death

John C. Johnson, Ph.D. A Gospel-Law-Gospel Approach to Helping Christians Who Are Suicidal Introduction (1 Cor. 13) If I speak in the tongues of man and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a…

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Q&A on Young People and Suicide

QUESTION: It seems that an increasing number of our young people see nothing wrong with suicide. What can we tell them? ANSWER: We can tell them the truth. Suicide is murder; “and you know that no murderer has eternal life…

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Bible Passages Regarding Assisted Suicide

Acts 17:25: “…[He) himself [God] gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Deuteronomy 32:39: “There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life…” 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has seized you except…

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Does the Right to Life Include the Right to Die?

I recently saw Ted Koppel on a Nightline program dedicated to the subject of assisted suicide. The program included an interview with Noel Earley who was dying and was going to take his own life. Many newspaper articles also have…

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A Culture of Caring | A Look at Teaching Children to Care for Others

Tim Snyder, Media Services Coordinator, Wisconsin Lutheran College It’s been more than one year since “Mrs. Marge” sold her home and moved in with her son. “Mrs. Marge,” an elderly widow who lived alone, used to be our next-door neighbor….

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God’s Word on Life

The Bible teaches that life is a gift from God, our Creator. For example, Job says to God, “Your hands shaped me and made me…Remember that you molded me…Did you not…clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together…

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The Value of Human Life

Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources It is becoming more difficult to know what to do in life and death situations. Advancements in medicine, challenges in the court, and changing opinions have raised questions about when life…

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Resurrecting Good Science: What’s Wrong With Human Cloning

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., is a member of the Center for Bioethics and Culture executive committee, editor of the journal Ethics & Medicine, and teaches bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois….

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Leading Cause of Death?

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources We tend to think biologically when it comes to death. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the top five leading causes of death in the United States are: Heart disease: 647,457…

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Burdens and Christian Optimism

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, CLR National Director Despairing elders may come to the conclusion to terminate their own lives. Their acts of self-killing are often shrouded in euphemisms about wishing to “die with dignity” and “ceasing to be a burden” on…

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Christian Life Resources’ Euthanasia Position Statement

This Christian Life Resources Position Statement on Euthanasia was adopted by the organization’s National Congress to state its position on issues that are addressed by CLR, in this case, on the subject of euthanasia. Christian Life Resources Position Statement on Euthanasia PREAMBLE…

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Life Worth Living

By Ben Berger On June 22, 2015, Simona De Moor of Belgium was euthanized. She was a healthy 85  year old who saw her death as her only reprieve from the grief of losing her daughter several months before.[i] On…

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Q&A on Suffering

  QUESTION: My mother has multiple sclerosis and has been given only a few years to live. Our family is concerned about Mom spending the last few years of her life suffering. What can we do? ANSWER: The fear of…

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HIPAA and Your Power of Attorney for Health Care Document

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA took effect in April 2003 and includes detailed privacy rules regarding your health information. Medical and legal professionals are very concerned about these rules and are also uncertain as to…

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Historical Look at Euthanasia

Professor em. James Westendorf Definition: Euthanasia is a term derived from a Greek word meaning “happy or fortunate in death.” It is most commonly used today to denote the “merciful” infliction of death [either actively or passively] to avoid torment…

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Hospital Devotions

HOSPITAL DEVOTIONS: A compilation of 27 devotions for use in the hospital or related setting from the Health and Wellness Committee, WELS Commission on Special Ministries. Devotion #1 Luke 2:29-31 – Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss…

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The Great Physician at My Bed // Devotions

Devotions: The Great Physician at My Bed On Entry “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) We go to doctors because we need help. Our bodies hurt. In our…

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Carrying Burdens and Euthanasia // Bible Study

Rock of Ages Lutheran Branch, Madison, TN Importance of This Bible Study 1) Life issues are broadening or shifting to each end of the life spectrum: beginning of life through end of life. 2) Personally we are not victims of…

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Transformed

By Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources “I sure miss kindergarten.” I know you have heard or read these words from me before. The older I get the more I miss the simplicity of life that I enjoyed…

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Q&A on Euthanasia

QUESTION: What’s the difference between voluntary euthanasia and non-voluntary euthanasia? ANSWER: Voluntary euthanasia involves a competent and stated desire for someone to have his or her life terminated. Non-voluntary euthanasia pertains to the termination of someone’s life by another without…

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Don’t Just Sit There!

By Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources The legalized killing of unborn children through abortion has been a part of the American landscape since January 22, 1973. The death toll has surpassed 60 million babies. Now you know….

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What Should I Do?

By Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources As life and family issues continue to expand, it’s often difficult to sort them out. Even church bodies differ on a particular issue though they claim to have the same Bible….

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When God Is Calling

By Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Margaret entered the intensive care unit by way of the hospital’s emergency room. For over two decades, Margaret, or “Maggie” as her friends call her, wrestled with cancer. It began as…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Introduction

Presented by Rev. Robert F. Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources In the early 1980s, I ran across an editorial cartoon depicting a minister standing in the pulpit of the Church of the Lukewarm. The caption read, “There is no the Christian position,…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: The Christian Foundation for Life Decision-Making

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann I. The Christian Foundation for Life Decision-Making When we pastors are called upon to guide a family in making critical medical decisions, we must not desert our own…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Establish God’s Authority Over Life and Death

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann III. Establish God’s Authority Over Life and Death In Deuteronomy 32:39 God says this about himself: “See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Facing the Changed Quality of Life

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann IV. Facing the Changed Quality of Life Perhaps the most challenging issue to face when counseling on end-of-life issues is the changed quality of life. It seems characteristic…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Understanding the Purpose of Life

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann V. Understanding the Purpose of Life When counseling a family at a time of crisis a certain amount of spiritual building takes place. A challenge I face in…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Facing the Fear of Death

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann VI. Facing the Fear of Death It is a reality that as death near, fear increases for many people. When Barbara Walters hosted that edition of Nightline I…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Facing the Challenge of Suffering

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann VII. Facing the Challenge of Suffering Suffering, or the fear of suffering, is one important reason people have advocated the early termination of life. When I speak of…

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A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Anxious for Death

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann VIII. Anxious for Death We live in a time where society seems almost anxious to terminate the life of anyone who does not seem valuable or needed. In…

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The Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: Conclusion

A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann X. Conclusion End-of-life issues are complex in that they often call for the application of many different biblical principles complicated by the addition of strong and sentimental emotions….

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Q&A on a Christian’s Concern about the End of Life

QUESTION: What is the God-pleasing attitude I should have as I approach the final days of my life or that of a loved one? ANSWER: You have asked the right question when you ask about attitude. Even though God reveals…

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Myths and Wisdom About End-of-Life Decisions

Sue Fink, Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator for HFM Hospice, Manitowoc, WI Have you discussed your end-of-life preferences with your loved ones yet? A blessing that came from the Terri Schiavo tragedy is that end-of-life issues have led to better planning…

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Depression That Leads to Death

True or False? 1) Most people trying to cope with depression simply don’t have strong enough faith. FALSE. People in the church may jump to this conclusion because many depressed people push God away. They really suffer from a treatable…

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On Assisted Suicide and Abortion Laws – What You Can Do to Be Pro-Life

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it did not find a constitutional right to assisted suicide. This ruling sharply contrasted the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. In 1973 the Court…

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The Shape of the Lutheran Ethic – A Look at Life Issues Decision-Making

Rev. Wayne D. Mueller Gone are the days when your pastor’s toughest medical counseling was talking to grandma about entering the nursing home. The advance of technology, the growth of the health care industry and the huge investment of the…

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Q&A on Abortion, Euthanasia Position Terminology

QUESTION: I’ve heard many different terms describing the positions of those who either oppose or favor abortion and euthanasia (pro-life, pro-choice, anti-abortion, death with dignity, etc.). What is CLR’s position on all of these terms? ANSWER: The position of CLR…

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Pro-Life Bible References

God is the creator of life Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” Job 33:4 – “The Spirit of God has made me;…

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A Primer on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

QUESTION: What’s the difference between voluntary euthanasia and non-voluntary euthanasia? ANSWER: Voluntary euthanasia involves a competent and stated desire of someone to terminate his or her life. Non-voluntary euthanasia pertains to the termination of someone’s life by another without the patient’s…

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Who Assists with Suicide

By Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director of Christian Life Resources The exhausting effort to legalize assisted suicide is like so many other ill-conceived notions of our times. The persuasive forces of video and social media advocates for “aid in dying”…

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Trained to Live Forever: End-of-Life Resuscitation Orders

People don’t want to talk about dying. In 2015, according to the Funeral and Memorial Information Council, 69% of adults over the age of 40 indicated they would prefer to pre-arrange their funeral but only 17% actually did so. Conversely,…

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CLR’s Official Positions and Thoughts to Ponder on Life and Family Issues

Abortion Human life exists already at conception. It is a gift from God. He also reserves for himself the authority to take human life. Aborting an unborn child for any reason, other than to preserve a human life, is a…

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Whose Pain Is It Anyway? – A Look at Pain Management

Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources A while back I attended an ethics seminar in which the speaker said that 50% of pain medication requests come from family members, not the patient. In another survey, nurses estimate…

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The Conscience Side of Life

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources Simply speaking, Christian Life Resources divides its work into two areas – service and conscience. The service area involves the work we do in our care centers, the presentations we give, and…

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