Archive for Morals and Ethics

A Christian perspective on Aged Care in 2012

Posted in Musings with tags , , on October 14, 2012 by johnfom

In recent times there has been a great deal of attention on how Australia is going to cope with the ever increasing burden of caring for our older generation.  It strikes me that before we discuss how we will care for the older generation it may be wise to first say something about why we need to care for them.  Now, while we may be able to identify several reasons why we should care for our aged I want to focus on what I consider to the fundamental ‘theological’ reason we should care for them.

The primary Bible verses I have in mind are Genesis 1:26-27 where humanity is said to be created in the image of God.  Now, scholars are not sure what constitutes the ‘image of God’.  That is, we do not really know exactly what being made in the image of God involves (the ability to think and reason like God, or the human spirit, or having a conscious??).  However, we do know that being made in the image of God means that humans are unique amongst God’s creation.  No other creature is said to have been created in this way, and this appears to be why humans are given dominion over the rest of creation.  Being made in God’s image makes each and every human intrinsically important.  This intrinsic importance is seen in Genesis 9:6 where the murder of one human by another is punishable by death.

The main point I want to make is that we are all precious to God, not because of what we do, but because who we are.  I work in aged care in Australia and I have been urged to give high quality care because the older generation deserve our respect for the way they built our country during and after the turbulent wartime eras of our history.  While I feel this is a worthy reason for providing high quality care I worry that it does not provide a solid foundation for our thinking on aged care because it is based on what people did.  What happens when it comes to caring for those who did not contribute all that much to our society?  Should we give a higher level of care to those who contributed more to our society while leaving others behind?   I would suggest that any emphasis on giving quality care to our aged must be based on the idea that they are intrinsically important.  This conviction drives me to treat each and every older person in aged care with respect and dignity.  I make an effort to be patient when someone is trying my patience.  I am determined to keep my calm when someone gets angry.  I will always provide the best care even if someone is a complete ‘bastard.’

This perspective will provide us with an enduring reason for caring for the aged with respect and dignity no matter their status or achievements in our society.  It is my hope that this perspective will facilitate the kind of care of the aged that we can all be proud of far into the future.  But, I would hope that it would also drive church congregations to become more active in the care of their older people rather than leaving it all to the government and aged care facilities (there is plenty that volunteers can do!).

Darren J. Clark


Meritocracy -v- Grace

Posted in Soundbite Philosophy with tags , , on July 18, 2009 by johnfom

Meritocracy Dad: If you pass your exams, we’ll take you on a holiday.

Grace Dad: When you finish your exams, we’ll go on a holiday.

Inspired by a reading in ‘Savage Shepherds’ by Adam Harbinson

Lord, Save us from legislation

Posted in From others..., Rants with tags , , , , on January 14, 2009 by johnfom


iMonk has reviewed and recommended a movie called ‘Lord, Save us from your followers.

The link to the preview of the movie is here

I haven’t seen the movie, only the ten minute preview, but I’m looking forward to seeing it when I have the money to buy it.

It seems to be mainly abot the culture wars in the US, which I don’t see as such a great problem in UK, but it does seem to fit in some way into my own view of how to conduct a ‘culture war’ as a Christian.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Bono, but his comment in the preview is something I can agree with.   He says that he was cynical, not about God, but abaout God’s politics (3:00 in the preview).  I’d say that it is the politics of the church that is at fault, not God himself, but the thought is still a good one.

When God created, he created everything necessary for life.  As part of that, he created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then told Adam and Eve not to eat of it.  What has facinated me for a long while now is that God, omniscient being that he is, knew the potential for Adam and Eve to eat that fruit.  He knew it would happen, and still He left the tree there.

He  didn’t rip the tree up. He didn’t put it in an unaccessable place.  In His infinite wisdom, he didn’t remove the thing that was going to drive a wedge between Him and his creation.  There’s no sarcasm in that statement.  God, who is all-knowing, all-wise, DID NOT make it impossible or even make it hard for the peak of his creation to sin.

Why then is it that we, of limited knowledge and questionable wisdom, see fit to attempt to censor others through legislation, seeking to impose our wisdom of what is wrong and dangerous on others?  How do we come to the conclusion that we should make laws that force others to conform to a Christian lifestyle?

Sure, God has used laws in the past (see Exodus, Leviticus and Deusteronomy in the bible), but even then it was in the contxt of his own people.  He didn’t extend those laws to the nations that were not in conscious relationship with Him.  He didn’t command, implore or otherwise encourage the Israelites to get those laws accepted by the nations they came in contact with.

In the time after Jesus’ physical time on Earth, Paul writes:

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? (1 Cor 5:12)

What business is it of our’s, as the church today, to impose our way of life on others? For instance, people in the US recently waged a campaign against homosexual marriage.  I suspect church people involved are the same people who would wage a campaign against a secular government’s attempts to force churches to marry homosexuals or even employ them in a church.  It’s ok to force others to live our way of life, to impose our morality on them, but if they try to modify ours…

Our ‘business’ is to share what we know, and to make disciples. Not to conscript disciples and force others to live as we think they should.  That would be my confession (like the confessional in the movie 6:20).  That I, and the people I identify myself with, have overstepped the bounds of our authority, replaced our wisdom for the wisdom the god we are supposed to be serving.  That we have replace the rule of God with the rule of Law and tried to impose regulation rather than treating others as God treated Adam and Eve by leaving them to make thier own choices in the light of what they know and believe.

What’s your Economy?

Posted in Musings with tags , , , on January 10, 2009 by johnfom
Image from

Image from

Economy can be defined as “Careful, thrifty management of resources, such as money, materials, or labor” or “A specific type of economic system (an industrial economy; a planned economy)”.

With the ongoing financial turmoil there’s some talk of a ‘new world’ and ‘new ways of thinking’.  I noticed even my favourite bit of monthly escapist reading, Top Gear magazine, has a bit in the editorials about it.

The editor, Michael Harvey, writes”…what I’m hearing are predictions that it will never be the same again.” … “Along with the realignment that’s required to get the financial sector working again, there’s a moral realignment that goes hand in hand with it. We are all going to feel differently about money when this is all over.’

Most of it is, of course, merely rhetoric designed to sell papers and get some sort of news story. Trying to whip up a bit of a collective ‘OMG’ in other words.  But I think there is a true observation at the base of it.  For all our (in the west) consumerism there seems to be a change in the attitudes of many I speak with.

There is a sort of ambivalence growing towards the new big TV, the latest technology, the bigger house, the newer car.  Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be an increasing desire for ‘the good life’ and the good life doesn’t include chasing the dollar/pound.

For myself, I have long viewed my paid work as an exchange of my time for enough money to ‘do’ the things I want: have a place to live, gain access to reading material, go on drives around Scotland and see this country I’ve temporarily adopted as my home, have people over for dinner or meet them at the pub for a chat.  My economy runs on the collection and creation of stories.  I work just enough to pay the bills and do those things I just listed.  If the price of fuel goes down, I work less.  If the price of a pint goes up, I work more.   I try to work just enough to sustain that lifestyle and gain the stories that go with it.  If the stories stopped comming, there’d be no point in working, or in going out of whatever wee hovel I was living in at all for that matter.

So, has there been a change in your view of what the ‘good life’ is?  I’m interested in how and if people’s view of what they are pursuing in life has changed.  What is your economy?

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