Archbishop Jonathan Blake

The Most Reverend Jonathan Blake, Presiding Archbishop of the Open Episcopal Church B.A. (Hons), Dip. Pastoral Studies. Bishop's Haven, 105 Danson Crescent Welling DA16 2AS U.K. Mobile: 07767 687711 www.bishopjonathanblake.com bishopjonathanblake@ntlworld.com www.openepiscopalchurch.org www.twitter.com/bishopjonathan The Church is a member of The International Council of Community churches and the World Council of Churches. Married and a proud Dad.

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Location: London, Kent, United Kingdom

Gassed in Tehran, seized in Kabul, helped Mother Teresa, almost murdered, raised £300,000, ordained 1981, street sleeper, pilgrim to Auschwitz, Kenya + Pakistan 4 peace, began 1st inter-faith NHS chapel, wrote text on Parliament, arrested, relinquished his 12 year Anglican post 2 be independent, baptised 1000's in homes, on Mt Snowdon + in circus ring, did wedding underwater, wrote ‘For God’s Sake Don’t Go To Church’, nailed 95 Theses to Canterbury cathedral, arrested, co-founded the Society for Independent Ministry, was consecrated a bishop, co-founded the Open Episcopal Church, did 1st gay wedding on prime time TV, sued Associated Newspapers 4 defamation, co-consecrated 1st women bishops 4 England. Wales + Scotland, accommodated the homeless, took Mass 2 sex workers + posted it, elected Archbishop, arrested 4 taking kids on roof, not charged, founded ‘When No One’s Watching', became an ICV, did Jade Goody's wedding , invited 2 Downing St, wrote 'That Old Devil Called God Again', arrested 4 times campaigning against child abuse, had harassment conviction quashed on appeal, appealing a conviction for breaches of restraining order 2 stop a paedophile

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

DIGNITY CLINICS

Keir Starmer's announcement today does not go far enough.

Assisted suicide still remains a criminal offence with the danger of prosecution lurking to deter and haunt loved ones. The consideration of financial gain excludes every potential benefactor of a will - that would normally encompass all loved ones. Additionally, the criteria for suffering would not have included the tragedy of Daniel James's situation.

However, all of these matters play around the foothills of the Everestian challenge society faces in having to tackle the issue that lies ahead.

Nanotechnology according to Ray Kurzweil will make us 'immortal' in twenty years. Whether this is an inflated claim or not, the fact is we are living longer, with hopes that our longevity will only improve. The problems of an overpopulated planet will only increase and if scientific advances hold the promise of our regeneration then the issue of our organised termination will become essential.

This is no surprise to me as I predicted the same over 15 years ago.

Put clearly, the planet will not allow for our immortality, so if the gift of a healthy passage in this world becomes commonplace, governments will have to decide how many years a person can sojourn here.

Then at the required age of 75, 105, 135 whatever, people will have to plan their chosen and manner of exiting this life.

Meanwhile, we have intervened comprehensively in the natural process from birth to death already and are now petitioned to do so more thoroughly around death itself, particularly for those who are infirm or suffering a terminal or unchangeable state of acute physical or mental trauma.

At the moment we have to suffer the indignity of a cruel and humiliating degeneration into infirmity and incapacity in old age or illness and see our loved ones tortured in their grief at our demise. We show much greater compassion and consideration in relation to animals and their owners in such a situation, but not to our own.

This final taboo must be broken and we must come of age and take responsibility for the manner of our dying.

Society must facilitate the provision of a variety of clinics that offer an access to death in an aesthetic and spiritually comforting way for the person dying and their loved ones.

The Christian moralists who keep the keys to death close to their chests peddle a 'God of the gaps' theology. As the gaps grow narrower they claim that we can't interfere with the time of our death. They have conceded intervention in all other areas but not this last holy place. There is no logic or rationale to justify this approach, only the conservatism that regards all development as suspect.

In contrast, let me proclaim the resurrection belief that this world is just the beginning and that death provides a door way to the next experience of life.

As God has required us to be wise stewards of creation so we must proceed now to venture into the mystery of this interface between worlds and make the crossing one filled with hope, joy and dignity.

The medical profession also act as guards to the gates, relying upon their interpretation of the Hippocratic oath. In truth they practice an undisclosed form of euthanasia in their administration of morphine already. However, they have no right to usurp our own right to choose to die.

The Nanny State too polices the gates, denying the public access to the necessary drugs for a pain free and dignified end. This intrusion of government into our personal lives may seem benign, but not when you witness the grotesque degradation a loved one has to suffer through age or illness into death. What right have politicians to torture us in this way?

We are not babes in arms nor infants and should not shirk the challenge of a mature engagement with the immense matter of death.

Allow us to find a way of happily saying our goodbyes and then lying on a bed, in a boat, on a rollercoaster, in a bath, listening to a symphony, on a mountain top, at home, in a dignity clinic - wherever, drinking the anti-emetic and then the elixir of life (Sodium Pentobarbital) and moving on happily and peacefully to the paradise beyond and the adventures that lie ahead.

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