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I think one of the big problems with this whole area of concern is that most of us are not adequately prepared to deal with serious illness or psychological upset. We need to be better catechized, preached to, discussed with on issues of health and illness, feelings, life and death. I think it a failure of good pastoral practice that so many of us end up having to make up the theology of life-or-die at the last minute, instead of being inducted into the mysteries of life in which much of the "discernment" has already been done.

For me, reading Stanley Hauerwas has placed suicide in the context of faith, whereas no Lutheran pastor has ever done so for me. (That's probably because most Lutherans have no notion of suicide as a moral issue -- it's all psychology.) I think more advanced instruction (not into the fine points of advanced illness or moralizing about how bad it is to kill oneself, but in the way that how treats ones body is wrapped up in what one believes God is about) would definitely help us all who must face these crises.

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