Inside Out 284: Pro-Life to the End

08.14.13 | Martha Manikas-Foster

God created us in His image and somehow, in some way, we reflect that image. Because of this, every person has value, regardless of what they produce or create.

What seems straightforward in some ways, however, isn’t quite as clear as we watch more Americans slide into dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. No one questions Grandpa’s value when he needs help to get up and out of an upholstered chair; it may be more difficult to appreciate the dignity of his life when he confuses you with his mother or needs to be spoon fed every meal by a nurse’s aide.

“From a pragmatic level, it doesn’t make sense to affirm life when people are losing their mental capacities,” says today’s guest, writer and book editor Stephanie Rische. “It only makes sense when we recognize that we’re made in the image of God--whether we’re at the beginning of life or the end of life or somewhere in between.”

The numbers of people losing their mental capabilities is staggering. It’s possible that today as many as 35 million Americans now wrestle with dementia, including five million with Alzheimer’s disease.

“And what that means is that Alzheimer’s has touched almost all of us in some way, and it’s a personal thing. When it’s someone you love who’s slowly slipping away from you, it’s not just a statistic or a medical issue. Dementia has a face.”

That face, for Stephanie, is her grandfather. For you it might be your mother or your father—and if this is not true for you today, it may be next year. In light of the growing number of people with memory-related illnesses, our guest encourages people of faith to think through what they believe and to then claim what she calls “a theology that affirms life.”

“It’s only when we look through God’s eyes that we can see a person’s inherent value beyond what they can contribute,” she says.

Join us for our recorded Inside Out conversation with Stephanie Rische by clicking on either the Listen or the Download icon above. We talk about discussing the hard things, finding ways to honor and value people with memory loss, and supporting the caregivers among us.

To read Stephanie’s her.meneutics blog post “'Imago Dei' in a Nursing Home,” click here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2013/march/imago-dei-in-nursing-home.html

You can also follow Stephanie blog, "Stubbing My Toe on Grace," by clicking here: stephanierische.wordpress.com.

Comments

Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 08.20.13 Donna Hillard commented

I recently heard your talk on the struggles care givers go through, and wanted to let you know that the Elks Club in Horseheads is hosting a one time, but possibly to become annual (secular, but) free event to pamper caregivers. We are currently working on a golf tournament as a fund raiser for the event, as well as getting sponsors for both the golf tournament and the Caregivers Retreat. I have a flyer I scan and send to you with full details that you can put on the community bulletin board to help us advertise. I would love to see Christian care-givers come and possibly help those who are dealing with this without Christ, as friendships are built.

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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