Faithful presence

The CBHD conference last week was one of the best since I began attending in 2007.  One of the things that has stuck with me and that I am continuing to think about is Dennis Hollinger’s thoughts about living in the world in faithful presence, an idea he attributed to James Davison Hunter and his recent book, To Change the World. Hollinger said that the foundation of Christian bioethics is our Christian worldview which many in our society do not share and will not accept.  When we look at how we can try to translate the bioethical good that we are able to understand from our Christian worldview into a world that does not accept that starting point he suggested living in the world in faithful presence.

He indicated that there would be several characteristics of that approach.  We would focus on honoring God and loving our neighbor.  We would have modest expectations of our impact on our culture consistent with the Biblical metaphors of salt, light and leaven.  We would need to be bilingual, speaking in a thick fuller language to those who will accept God’s truth and a thin less complete language to those who will not.

I have been thinking about what it means to live in faithful presence in relation to bioethics in our society.  For me it includes caring for my patients compassionately and trying to be better at preparing them for the difficult places in life.  It includes helping my online bioethics students understand what a Christian worldview is and how it applies to the issues they will face in life.  It includes helping students on the Taylor campus see how their faith and how they live fit together.

What does it mean for you?

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