Pastoral Care Week

PASTORAL CARE WEEK 2013

PROPHETIC VOICE

PASTORAL CARE WEEK RESOURCES

"The Prophetic Voice calls us to reach for action and peace - to sustain that which brings us hope, well-being, dreams, and renewal.  Prophecy goes hand and hand with team work, respect, and understanding of the situations in which we find ourselves.  In times of change, we are called to be prophetic, least of all in our manner of presence, ina a way that involves trust, peace, and collaboration, saying, "Yes, this, too, is possible," there is hope.  This hopeful, trustful presence taps into the strength beyound our knowing and endures changing seasons to prove to that which will sustain us. When acknowledged, it grows into a wise tree to shelter, nourish and teach us.” 

 

Pastoral Care Week 2013 – Prophetic Voice

Resources

 

“There never was a great soul that did not have some divine inspiration.”

     - Marcus Tullius Cicero, first century B.C. philosopher and statesman

 

 

prophetic [pruh-fet-ik] adjective

     1. of or pertaining to a message of divine truth revealing God's will

     2. visionary; filled with divine inspiration.

 

Voice [vois] noun, verb

     1. the faculty or power of uttering sounds through the mouth by the controlled

         of air; speech.

 

Panomphean: Uttering ominous or prophetic voices; divining.

 


*****


The Prophetic Role of Chaplains

 

The Prophet and Reformer

As long as there is a contradiction between the absolute standard of righteousness and the corrupt and evil ways or worldly society, there will be those righteous people who will rise up and call society and their rulers to account.

 

These are the prophets and reformers who put their lives at risk to speak out for the welfare of the community. We do not refer to those specially chosen to bring the revelation of God into the world – those rare founders of religions – but to the much larger group of people who arise in every age to call society to practice truth and justice.

 

The prophetic mission in its broadest sense includes all those saints and righteous people who struggle to remind the rulers of their day of the eternal divine message which was first spoken long before. Often they must recast that message into terms with contemporary relevance.  The company of those who call for justice includes the prophets of the Old Testament and the Qur’an, the Confucian and Hindu sages, and all those who have followed their examples.

 

In this latter group are many reformers and leaders of moral vision whose righteousness is not recorded in scripture because they came long after the scriptures were written; we might include such people as Martin Luther, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Iqbal, and Mother Theresa, to name a few. But a prophetic ministry is not limited to a few saints; in various ways, large and small, it is required of us all.

– Adapted from World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Text., edited by

Andrew Wilson; published by Paragon House, St. Paul, MN.

 

 

 

Thoughts – What is your thought on “Prophetic Voice”?

(Send it to us. – revlindawalsh@yahoo.com)

 

I wonder if prophecy could sometimes call out a sense of trust and well-being even amid

uncertain times. There are also an array of things that I imagine come to people's minds when we think of prophecy, but perhaps this could be a message, too - prophecy that calls us to reach for peace, to sustain that which brings us hope, well-being, dreams, and renewal in our daily lives. – Elizabeth Morse

 

This one is both easy and hard at the same time. Raising a prophetic voice is what Chaplains do right before they get fired. This may sound like a joke but it is a reality that we will need to be mindful of as we help interpret this theme. The task with most of the themes we have addressed in the past has involved explaining the wonderful things we do that people may have not thought much about but appreciate it once it is brought to light. Speaking the truth to the agencies that hire us about any injustices in the systems they create is a risky thing. How do we do the right thing and manage to stay around to continue to make a difference? That is the question. – Stephen Hall

 

Finally, the theme of Prophetic Voice, it seems to me, assumes the significant presence of a personal God in the life of our patients, whether acknowledged or not. This is more than a vague “spirituality” that cannot decide whether God is personal, present and near or impersonal, absent and distant. With every encounter, the prophetic chaplain hopes to represent that compassionate, healing, integrating, ever-mysterious Presence to her patient.

– Ken Bartsch

 

 

Reflection on the theme for Pastoral Care Week: Prophetic Voice.

(in the words of Jeffrey R. Funk)

 

As a healthcare chaplain, there is a time to be quiet and listen, but there is also a time to speak up (Ecclesiastes 3:7). In chaplaincy care we tend to minimize having an agenda (a voice) and prefer to emphasize pastoral presence (being all ears). Yet chaplaincy care is not only about listening; it is also about having a voice (for example, a spiritual care plan).

 

The prophet Elisha and his servant were in a difficult, even life-threatening, situation. You can read about this story in 2 Kings 6:13-17 in the Bible. The king of Aram had sent a great army to surround the city where they were staying. Elisha's servant saw the troops and panicked, saying "What will we do now?" Elisha responded by saying, "Don't be afraid!" and then he prayed, "LORD, open his [spiritual] eyes." When the servant now looked around him, he saw the hillside filled with horses and chariots of fire. They were not alone. The LORD was there with them.

 

Notice that Elisha didn't simply sit by quietly offering his prophetic presence. He spoke up and he prayed. And his prophetic voice (pastoral intervention) helped his servant see the spiritual resources that stood ready to assist them.

 

That's what we often do as chaplains. Our "prophetic voice," that uses words aptly fitting the situation because we have taken the time to listen, helps our clients see their spiritual resources (that they may have missed in the midst of their battle) and gives encouragement to them to draw upon these resources in order to find strength and salvation for their souls.

 

In the process of providing pastoral presence, may we also speak up and let our prophetic voices be heard for the comfort of the hurting.

 

 

Reflections and Discussion for Prophetic Voice

(in the words of Ken Bartsch)

 

Three thoughts for this discussion on the 2013 theme, Prophetic Voice:

1. The prophet speaks in the name of God and represents God’s emotional response to

our human behavior; and

2. The prophet recognizes the hand of God in human affairs and creates a narrative of

God’s interventions; and

3. The prophet represents the patient to God.

 

In The Prophets, by Abraham Heschl:

Indeed, the sort of crimes and even the amount of delinquency that fill the

prophets of Israel with dismay do not go beyond that which we regard as normal, as typical ingredients of social dynamics. To us a single act of injustice—cheating in business, exploitation of the poor--is slight; to the prophets, a disaster. To us injustice is injurious to the welfare of the people; to the prophets it is a deathblow to existence: to us, an episode; to them, a catastrophe, a threat to the world."

 

As hospital chaplains we bring that prophetic naiveté to the plight of our world-weary

patients. But, rather than anger over injustice, we express God’s sadness. We hear the same story in its outline over and over, encountering the suffering and disappointment again on the faces of strangers. We feel both grief for their suffering and gratitude for their courage.

 

When I make a cold call with a new patient and discover one who is willing to open her heart and speak to me, I may be initially delighted to meet another saint in the community of saints. Here is a person who knows the Lord! But often I encounter frustration and grief, perhaps even bitter sorrow.

How many people are afflicted by betrayal, divorce and abandonment! Many suffer substance abuse. Many have become inured to pain; they are hardly aware of it! It’s taken for granted that their first marriage fell apart, that their children are estranged, and their only assistance is a care-worn sister or niece.

 

As prophets, it may not be the chaplain’s role to protest injustice to the Church at large or to the whole society. We cannot put on goatskin and go down to the Jordan, nor can we go into the marketplace and preach from a soapbox. But we meet injustice and its consequences daily.  Our response is both sadness and compassion. We dare not judge the patient. We can neither condemn nor vindicate, but we respond to their pain. We know they are victims of violence – their own, or of others or the world in general -- and we feel for them.

 

Secondly, the prophet sees what others overlook, especially the Hand of God working through human events. Even when the careful chaplain makes no direct reference to God, her ministry signifies that presence.

 

The chaplain has seen God’s hand in her own story. The Christian may refer to her curriculum vitae as a gospel, “This is what the Lord has done for me.” And, like every gospel it will have a passion narrative; there must be a chapter of profound confusion and deep suffering. I often tell the Veterans, “If you get to be forty years old and haven’t yet screwed up big time, you’re not even trying!” The chaplain can bring hope to the patient’s story because she finds hope in her own. This too is the prophet’s work.

 

Working as I do with military Veterans, I hear of much PTSD. They grew up in American

homes and then were transported to a faraway country with an alien culture where they saw and did and suffered horrifying things. And then they were dumped back into their American homes with their bewildered parents and spouses, lovers and children. How does one integrate that bizarre adventure into an integrated story so as to reclaim one’s integrity?

 

I believe the evangelists addressed the same challenge. Some of them – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – got it right; many others failed. The successful evangelists cited the right Hebrew Scriptures and invoked the same Holy Spirit who had called Abraham, anointed David, inspired Isaiah and drove Jesus from Bethlehem to Calvary. Knowing how hard I have struggled for a measure of integrity, I am awed by the four gospels; they got it right!

 

Can that Spirit help our patients reintegrate a disjointed life experience into a harmonious story? What do they make of this latest medical adventure?

 

 

Finally, the chaplain as prophet speaks to God and says, “Show us your mercy! We have heard of your mighty deeds of the past but we need and want a sign of your present compassion.” When many patients fear to pray for themselves, the chaplain steps right in and speaks boldly to God, “Okay, we need a sign here if we’re to believe in you!”

 

Many people fear to express such a prayer.

1. They ask, “What if God doesn’t answer?” (So what? We must still pray! God cannot

answer us if we do not pray.)

2. They think such a prayer is too bold. (This is no time for phony humility.)

3. Or worse, they think they should defend God’s position. (The chaplain must take her

stand on the side of the patient, not on that of God. God has too many friends already! Jesus chose to stand with us before the Face of God, guilty with the guilty despite his innocence. He was never ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.)

 

 

For DISCUSSION – From where does the Prophetic Voice emerge?

 

As published on Children’s National Medical Center website:

www.childrensnational.org/files/PDF/visiting/.../Spiritual--‐Development.pdf

 

FAITH AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN --‐ BIRTH TO PRESCHOOL

As human beings, one of our first tasks is to trust and to explore who we are in relationship to those we trust. The child who goes to sleep in a crib, in a dark room, is not only expressing trust in his parent, but also communicating a basic trust in the Creation. “I am safe” “Living is good” “I am cared for”

 

Awe is a primary response of children in this stage of development—so much is wonderful, beautiful. There are so many “wows” in the world. Creation is experienced as magnificent, and the Creator (while not conceptualized at this age, but felt in the experiences of wonder and amazement) must be magnificent as well…

 

SOME OTHER PARADIGMS OF FAITH/SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

David Hay and Rebecca Nye are British researchers, respectively a zoologist/theologian and a psychologist/theologian, who began to study the spirituality of children in the 1990s. They call this a geography of the spirit. Awareness--‐sensing: Here--‐and--‐now, Tuning, Flow, Focusing Mystery--‐sensing: Wonder and awe, Imagination Value--‐sensing: Delight and despair, Ultimate goodness, Meaning

 

By awareness they are talking about paying attention, staying alert. Children have a deep connection to the here and now and can be amazed by the simplicity of grass growing. This vividness is a spiritual realm for children. Tuning is a raised awareness that we sometimes link to aesthetic experiences. Tobin Hart tells this story of Mark and his eight--‐year--‐old daughter Miranda in his Book The Secret Spiritual World of Children. They were at a quiet beach and Miranda went to stand about waist deep in the waves, gently moving back and forth with the water. Mark watched her for her for a quarter of an hour, a half an hour, an hour, and nearly an hour and a half. He wondered if he should check on her, disturb her. But he continued to sit and watch. After that hour and a half Miranda came up to him and sat down. She said nothing but was obvious calm and happy. Waiting a few minutes Mark asked her what she had been doing. “I was the water,” she said softly. “It was amazing. I was the water. I love it and it loves me.  I  do not know how else to say it.”

 

MERCER: in the Journal of Pastoral Psychology, May 2006, Dr. Joyce Ann Mercer (Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Education at the Graduate Theological Union at San Francisco Theological Seminary) wrote about understanding the spirituality of children and its significance for clinical work.

 

She uses the descriptors Mystics, Activists, Sages and Holy Fools:

 

The Mystic carries the idea of being in touch with mystery. It is part of their sense of limitlessness, ultimacy, and the cosmic. It is everywhere and nowhere, cannot be described very well, but known and felt and very, very real.

 

The Activist is her metaphor for children who live out their spirituality –what they believe is right and good. Their experience is that the practice is the value,  he truth, they believe and which they believe is the proper one for them. This is so whether the “activity” is saving pennies for the local homeless shelter or playing soccer with all one’s “heart.” 

 

The Sage is talking about that dimension of a child, which we have experienced as wisdom far beyond the child’s age or experience. Their awareness of the feelings of others –  especially those who are somehow “fragile” – elders, peers with special needs. They have insight that is intuitive even if not well developed and can often reach out to others dramatically.

 

The Holy Fool is the prophetic voice, the truth teller who softens the sting with humor – or not. Unfortunately too many adults think the child who is the holy fool is merely cute and miss the power in the truth telling.

 

 

Martin Luther King – Aug. 28, 1963

I Have a Dream Speech (excerpt)

 

“ . . . I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the

moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

 

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its

creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

 

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and

the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of

brotherhood.

 

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering

with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom

and justice.

 

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not

be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

 

I have a dream today.

 

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently

dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a

situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little

white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

 

I have a dream today.

 

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain

shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be

made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it

together . . .”

 

 

Selected Readings from Sacred Texts

 

Then the LORD replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable.” – Judaism and Christianity. Deuteronomy 18:17-19

 

Every nation has its messenger. Once their messenger comes, judgment will be passed upon them in all fairness and they will not be wronged. They will say, “When will this promise be, if you have been telling the truth?” Say, “I possess no harm nor any advantage by myself, except concerning whatever God may wish. Every nation has a term; whenever their term comes, they will not postpone if for an hour nor advance it.” -- Islam. Qur’an 10:.47-49

 

Our hope is that the world’s religious leaders and the rulers thereof will unitedly arise for the reformation of this age and the rehabilitation of its fortunes. Let them, after meditating on its needs, take counsel together and, through anxious and full deliberation, administer to a diseased and sorely afflicted world the remedy it requires. – Baha’i Faith. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah 110

 

Confucius said, “How can he be said truly to love, who exacts no effort from the objects of his love? How can he be said to be truly loyal, who refrains from admonishing the object of his loyalty?” -- Confucianism. Analects 14.8

 

He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief. – Christianity. Matthew 13:54-58

 

Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in from of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” ……. He said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go home.” Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God.” - Christianity. Luke 5:18-25

 

 

QUOTES:

 

“I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of

instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.” – Socrates

 

“Ragamuffins are simple, direct and honest. Their speech is unaffected. They are slow to claim, "God told me..." As they make their way through the world, they bear wordless,

prophetic witness.” – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beaten Up and Burnt Out.

 

"The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out

peaceful tomorrows." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Isaiah 41:1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.”

― Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version

 

“The industrial towns were far away, a smudge of smoke and misery hidden by the curve of the earth's surface. Down here it was still the England I had known in my childhood: the railway-cuttings smothered in wild flowers, the deep meadows where the great shining horses browse and meditate, the slow-moving streams bordered by willows, the green bosoms of the elms, the larkspurs in the cottage gardens; and then the huge peaceful wilderness of outer London, the barges on the miry river, the familiar streets, the posters telling of cricket matches and Royal weddings, the men in bowler hats, the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, the red buses, the blue policemen—all sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs.”  ― George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

 

“It was from the artists and poets that the pertinent answers came, and I know that panic would have broken loose had they been able to compare notes.” ― H.P. Lovecraft

 

We are prophetic interrogators. Why are so many people hungry? Why are so many people and families in our shelters? Why do we have one of six of our children poor, and one of three of these are children of color? 'Why?' is the prophetic question.

– Jim Wallis

 

For Discussion – from contemporary resources in music:

 

Man In Black - lyrics by Johnny Cash, 1971

 

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,

Why you never see bright colors on my back,

And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.

Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

 

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,

Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,

I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,

But is there because he's a victim of the times.

 

I wear the black for those who never read,

Or listened to the words that Jesus said,

About the road to happiness through love and charity,

Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

 

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,

In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,

But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,

Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

 

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,

For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,

I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,

Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

 

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,

Believen' that the Lord was on their side,

I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,

Believen' that we all were on their side.

 

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,

And things need changin' everywhere you go,

But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,

You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

 

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,

And tell the world that everything's OK,

But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,

'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black



Pastoral Care Week: October 21-25, 2013


The Prophetic Voice calls us to reach for action and peace - to sustain that which brings us hope, well-being, dreams, and renewal.  Prophecy goes hand and hand with team work, respect, and understanding of the situations in which we find ourselves.  In times of change, we are called to be prophetic, least of all in our manner of presence, in a a way that involves trust, peace, and collaboration, saying, "Yes, this, too, is possible," there is hope.  This hopeful, trustful presence taps into the strength beyond our knowing and endures changing seasons to prove to that which will sustain us. When acknowledged, it grows into a wise tree to shelter, nourish and teach us.”

What:

A week/month to highlight the work of Healthcare Chaplains in the VA.

Create awareness of the interdisciplinary team regarding the role and gifts of chaplains.

Create avenues of communication, contact and utilization of VA Chaplains on the Healthcare Team.

 

Objectives

Possible ways to interpret

Requirements

Objective 1:  To celebrate the education for and practice of Spiritual care:

  • Messages in the Round Up
  • Messages in My Healthy Vet
  • Meet and greet with patients and their families
  • Telehealth
  • Visioning the future of Chaplaincy on the healthcare team.
  • Promo materials
  • Additional supportive materials according to the themes of the events…(Pairs, EOL, Mental Health, Moral Injury)
  • Room and refreshments for meet and great
  • Press releases?

 

Objective 2:  To interpret and promote pastoral care.

  • Demonstration events
  • Lectures for staff, to chaplains etc…
  • Meet with the different services/possible lunch and learn with different services?

Rooms

Schedule of activities

Schedule with different services

 

 

Objective 3:  To honor and celebrate all practitioners of pastoral care.

Party? With speaker?

Thank you to “Friends or Supporters” of Pastoral Care

 

 

 

Create an event in the Memorial Garden.  Do we have musical options?  Speaker options?

Objective 4:   To express appreciation to institutions and their staff who support pastoral care ministries.

 

 

Objective 5:   To publicize the work of pastoral care organizations affiliated with the COMISS network.

 

 

 

 

Objective 6:  To promote continued

education for clergy, laity and institutional employees regarding the value of pastoral care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MERCER: in the Journal of Pastoral Psychology, May 2006, Dr. Joyce Ann Mercer (Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Education at the Graduate Theological Union at San Francisco Theological Seminary) wrote about understanding the spirituality of children and its significance for clinical work.
 

She uses the descriptors Mystics, Activists, Sages and Holy Fools:

The Mystic carries the idea of being in touch with mystery. It is part of their sense of limitlessness, ultimacy, and the cosmic. It is everywhere and nowhere, cannot be described very well, but known and felt and very, very real.

The Activist is her metaphor for children who live out their spirituality –what they believe is right and good. Their experience is that the practice is the value,  he truth, they believe and which they believe is the proper one for them. This is so whether the “activity” is saving pennies for the local homeless shelter or playing soccer with all one’s “heart.”
 

The Sage is talking about that dimension of a child, which we have experienced as wisdom far beyond the child’s age or experience. Their awareness of the feelings of others –  especially those who are somehow “fragile” – elders, peers with special needs. They have insight that is intuitive even if not well developed and can often reach out to others dramatically.
 

The Holy Fool is the prophetic voice, the truth teller who softens the sting with humor – or not. Unfortunately too many adults think the child who is the holy fool is merely cute and miss the power in the truth telling.