Learning to Number Our Days Class

In our current culture the prospect of aging, illness, and dying are unpleasant mysteries that have been sentimentalized or humorously sanitized. For the Christian, death is as natural and inevitable as birth. Making wise decisions about aging that will honor God and care for those around us is a “Christian thing to do.” This class looks at a biblical/ethical way to make decisions as we plan for the future.

Those who present the topics we’ll be covering have either professional expertise or the practical life experience to address subjects such as: the theology of living and dying; financial stewardship; wills, trusts, and estate planning; dealing with long-term illness; ministering to the grieving; hospice care; and burial costs and options.

1. Introduction – Jack Smith

Jan 21
An overview of what this class will entail, as well as who is presenting and why.

 

2. A Christian View of Life and Death – Marcus Serven

Jan 28
What does the Bible say about life and death? How do we view these topics from a Christian standpoint when society has very different ideas?

Resources for this Class:
Handout: Biblical Passages and Analyses on Life and Death

 

3. What’s the Christian Thing to Do? – Bryce Waller

Feb 4
What should a Christian take into considerations when thinking about end-of-life ethics? Is euthanasia ever a legitimate path for a Christian? Must Christians take every option possible to preserve our lives?

Resources for this Class:
Handout: Difficult Decisions Biblical Wisdom for Making End-of-Life Decisions

Recommended Reading:
Bioethics: A Primer for Christians by Gilbert Meilaender ($11.00 on the book table in the Narthex)
Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions by David VanDrunen ($20.00 on the book table in the Narthex)
Why Does It Have to Hurt? The Meaning of Christian Suffering by Dan G. McCartney (free on the book table in the Narthex)

 

4. Caring for Parents – Joel and Janet Chapman

Feb 11

What are the struggles and joys of caring for a parent at home? What should we expect when our parents reach the end of their lives?

Resources for this Class:
Handout: Caring for Parents
Joel’s graph

Caregiver education: AGE of Central Texas
Joel and Janet’s recommended hospice: Hospice Austin

Recommended reading:
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller ($11.00 on the book table in the Narthex)

 

5. Caring for a Spouse – Faith Perry and Lynn Coats

Feb 18

How do you deal with the struggles of caring for a spouse? What are unexpected things that come up when you are suddenly the caregiver for your spouse?

Resources for this class:
Handout: Life Comes at you Fast (Lynn’s handout)

 

6. Ministering to the Body – Redeemer Crisis Care Team

Feb 25

What is the Crisis Care Team? What have they done, and how have people benefited from their help?

If you are interested in joining the Crisis Care Team, or if you have a need for their help and compassion, please contact:

Faith Perry (leader): de-perry@swbell.net
Janet Chapman (interim leader): chapmanjanet@att.net
Cathy Collier (church office) : ccollier@redeemerpres.org

 

7. Heal the Brokenhearted – Rev. Bryce Waller

Mar 4

How do we deal with grief? What can we, as Christians, expect to experience when we lose someone close to us?

Resources for this class:
Handout: Grief Handout

Recommended Reading:
A Grief Sanctified by J.I. Packer
Good Grief by Granger E. Westberg
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff

8. The Cost of Living and Dying – Lucy Sayles

Mar 25

How do we plan financially for our final years? What are the things we need to know and the situations we need to prepare for?

Resources for this class:
Financial Planning – End of Life Issues
Please view the above slideshow to supplement audio recording

Recommended Reading:
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

9. Hospice and Palliative Care – Sandy Yaklin

Apr 8

What is hospice and palliative care, and when do we need to use them? What decisions should we make regarding these kinds of care?

Recommended Reading:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff
When People Grieve by Paula D’Arcy
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (novel)
Every Riven Thing by Christian Wiman (poems)

10. Food and Water at the End of Life – Sandy Yaklin

Apr 15

When should we stop giving a loved one food and water? What is the most compassionate thing to do regarding these?

Resources for this class:
How much water is in the human body

Recommended Reading:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff
When People Grieve by Paula D’Arcy
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (novel)
Every Riven Thing by Christian Wiman (poems)

11. You Can’t Take It With You… So Where Does “It” Go? – Candice Bocock

Apr 23

What is the legal side of disability, long-term care, and dying? What are the common mistakes people make when planning for these things?

 

12. Who is the Funeral For? – Rev. Jack Smith & Jill Essex

Apr 29

Who is the funeral for, and how should we approach this important service as Christians? What are some of the options for a Christian funeral and end-of-life services?

Resources for this class:
Who is the Funeral For – What the Bible Says
Home Funeral Info

Recommended reading:
Heaven on Earth: What the Bible Teaches about Life to Come by Derek Thomas

13. Funeral Options – Brock Bonheim and Mark Ramsey, Ramsey Funeral Home

May 6

What are some of the options for funeral services? What can I expect when a loved one dies, and what should I prepare for beforehand?

Resources for this class:
Ramsey Funeral Home website
Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery website
Texas Funeral Service Commission “Facts About Funerals” brochure
Appointment for Disposition of Remains form