Author: Patrick Clark

Force-feeding and the Question of Common Hope

A colleague recently brought to my attention this unfolding case in New Jersey: the state’s Department of Human Services is seeking  a court order to prevent the death of a 29-year-old woman with severe anorexia nervosa who wishes to starve herself to death.  The young woman, identified only as A.G., has received the full gamut of professional treatment both for this condition and for her severe alcoholism and depression. She now wishes only to be left alone; her mother and court-appointed guardian now fully support her in this decision. She has made it clear both in word and in act that the only way...

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time- Our Best Laid Plans

Lectionary: 129 Wisdom 9:13-18b Psalm 90 Philemon 9-10, 12-17 Luke 14:25-33 Beavers are amazing creatures. On a walk around a local reservoir with a few of my kids, I saw the traces of their work all around us: the tell-tale conical-topped stumps and the occasional triangular dent in a tree that turned out to be too big for them to bring down. Their energy must be endless; the marks of their activity were everywhere. We saw the same thing when we were exploring the Snake River a couple summers ago, except then we were actually able to see and...

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Stop Lying- 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

A clear center of gravity stands out among this week’s lectionaries readings: “stop lying to one another.” How simple, uncontroversial, and almost uninformative this exhortation is, at least from a moral perspective! Putting to one side the perennial debates from Ethics 101 over whether and when it may be permissible to lie, I can think of no claim less contested than that lying is blameworthy and should be discouraged within human communities. To prescribe or accept lying as a general course of action would be to invite social breakdown, since   it would inevitably lead to the widespread assumption...

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The Open Door- 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  Isaiah 66:10—14 Psalm 66 Galatians 6:14-18 Luke 10:1-12, 17-20   The climactic image of the Christian faith is an open entryway. The women who seek to care for Jesus’ body after his death encounter an open tomb, with its stone seal rolled away; and upon crossing the threshold they behold the key circumstance upon which the power of the gospel rests: “He is not here.” The whole of our salvation is in some sense encapsulated by that open entryway: the death which separates us from this world and those we love is unable to separate us from the...

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