Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blood in the Water...and Plasma too!

Oh yeah. My first tendency is to be conflict averse. I'm getting over that. I've got good medicine.

It's called the Gospel.

I've been watching information and misinformation about the current health care reform debate. And I've watched the pithy status lines and polls on facebook, sound bites that sometimes wound. It would pain me less to see actual honest debate without spin. My first tendency is to not wade into these waters.

But I'm reminded that at the Pool, the way to be healed was to wade least until Jesus showed up! But it's not just a superstition that we deal with by the water's edge. Jesus asks, "Do you want to be healed?"

Do we want to be healed?

I think we'd rather fear. Because fear is easier. It isolates us. It means we maintain control, or at least the illusion of control. It means we don't have to untidy our lives or entangle them with the lives of others. It means we can continue to feel more worthy.

It also means that we can go on fearing death in secret, though we proclaim that we are living even now our eternal life.

This caveat--I deeply desire to read information from each side of the debate. I also deeply desire to NOT read anything that can be said in 30 seconds or less. This reform is far too complex for 30 seconds or less. It's far too complex for single anecdotal evidence. I don't feel I yet know enough about this to comment specifically on what plan would be best for us to adopt. I am predisposed to have a desire that all people might have access to health care because I believe that the Gospel mandates that we care for each other, including the sojourner and the stranger. I don't know the optimal way to do it.

But I do know that this debate is currently more about our fear than it is our faith. And when we spend more time wounding each other than praying and discussing what it means to be people of faith in the midst of a time when we could influence the care of millions of people, it makes me wonder what is at the root of our fear. The wounds have left blood in the water and those who feed on our fears have sensed that we are much easier to manipulate.

I want to be healed. I desire healing for all. The vision of Isaiah 65 stands in my mind: "No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed." We cannot abandon the wealthy. We cannot abandon the poor. We cannot abandon children. We cannot abandon the elderly.

I know this may mean I have to sacrifice more. I may end up with less so that others might have enough.

I also believe that is the kingdom. I am ashamed that I might have to be "forced" into that. Maybe the time to start is now.


Anonymous said...

Cynthia: I like this very much, particularly the way in which you approach the whole issue from a theological point of view, reminding the readers that our faith calls upon us to take care of one another. You might remind any medicare recipients that they are already receiving government health care,that is less retrictive in choice of doctors, hospitals, etc. than most provate plans. Even now it is likely that if you need to see a specialist, you will have to wait a month or so.
I would encourage you to go ahead and publish this. Dad

Anonymous said...

Cynthia, I read your blog last evening and appreciated your thoughts. I also appreciated that you have a dad who encourages his daughter and trust's in the Spirit's leading. When I awoke this morning, I remembered a crucial vote on the Conference floor. It concerned extending medical coverage to those who took on the ministry of Evangelist rather than serve in the pulpit of appointed churches. I along with many others listened and prayed. We voted against that coverage. the presented argument being "what if everybody struck out on their own and the conference was expected to pick up the bill". That made economical sense at the time since we were not flourishing in operating funds. My friend,one of the evangelists was seated nearby in a seat behind me. He witnessed my vote. For years I felt I had done "the right thing". Looking back I see another story. The economical sense we talked about was lined with fear. I lost my dear friend. Oh yes, we were social, but it was never again the same. And why couldn't God, the One we serve, send out many in different circumstances to minister to others and it be supported by the church. Isn't that what church is all about? In hind sight, I along with the majority missed the boat as far as I am concerned. I cannot undo what has been done, but I can use that experience to help make decisions today. If I knew the uninsured person by name or face, it would be much more difficult to cast a vote to leave them uninsured. Every Sunday on my way to worships services, I witness people along the streets of our city selling newspapers - no matter if the temp. is 104F, they stand, walk and try to earn a living while I drive to my destination in my air-condiditoned car. I think of the Good Samaritan story in the bible, and wonder if I might be missing my opportunity to love my neighbor. Some of those folks are placed where there are no restrooms, water or shade from the scorching sun. I ask myself how many of these folks might have health insurance? What if they became ill while working their corner? What if they were ill before they came to work their corner that day? God help me, I don't want to unintentionally be the Levite who passed by others I see and go on my way ignoring their needs. As you said, by me getting a little less, will my neighbor be blessed. John Wesley said to "do no harm". Without knowing it, my original vote at conference hurt others. I certainly don't want to repeat those actions so I pray and weigh and look for the statements that might just be lined with the spirit of fear so I can cross them off my list for consideration. Pastor Sharon