The Human Journey
A New Small Group Course in the Parish of St. Laurence, Hawkhurst
Starting in November 2023
We all have questions about health: Will my child be healthy? What if I get cancer? Why do I sometimes feel so down? What about dementia in my later years?
Today we see the health needs of different countries in more details than ever before. How are we to be good neighbours in the global community? Almost every day brings reports of new advances in medical technology. But how can we decide whether it’s right to use them?
The Human Journey sets out a framework for thinking about these issues biblically. In an ever-changing world, the Bible’s timeless truths offer a firm foundation to engage with health-related questions. Above all, our questions about health and wellbeing need to be seen in the greater context of God’s design for humanity, the universe and everything – God’s plan to unite all things under Jesus Christ.
The book issued accompanies an eight-part course which aims to equip Christians to think biblically and theologically about health and to encourage better incorporation of healthcare expertise into church life and ministry. It can be read alone, but will be most useful explored and discussed in the context of the course.
The Course is put together by the Christian Medical Fellowship.
St. Laurence Hawkhurst – a new course starting in the autumn – The Human Journey
- HUMANITY – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN?
Humans share common DNA with many members of the animal kingdom. Does that mean we are just animals? The Bible teaches that human beings are stamped with the likeness of our creator. It is vital that we correctly understand humanity before we can begin to look at how we should live.
- START OF LIFE – WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN?
Throughout the Bible we see that human life is precious because we are made in God’s image. But from what point does this value exist? This question is crucially important because medical decisions affecting so many of us depend on the answer.
- MARRIAGE & SEXUALITY – WHAT IS MARRIAGE FOR?
The Bible teaches that God created marriage and set out principles for how it should work. It provides companionship, the context for sexual pleasure, a stable platform for reproduction, a nourishing environment for child rearing, and security for marriage partners and family members. All of these are either health-related or have some bearing on health. What then of same-sex relationships?
- PHYSICAL HEALTH – HOW SHOULD I LIVE?
Many of the factors that affect our health are things over which we have little control. However, we have a lot of control over our lifestyle choices. Changes to the way we live can make a huge difference to our health. The Bible is not a health manual but it contains valuable advice on personal and public health.
- MENTAL HEALTH – AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL LIKE THIS?
We now know much more about mental health than at any time before, and there have been huge advances in the treatments available. In many cases specialist help is needed, something non-professionals simply cannot provide. Prayer, a godly lifestyle, and a loving supportive Christian community can be a wonderful help to people who are living with and overcoming mental illness, but they are very seldom the whole answer.
- END OF LIFE – HOW SHOULD LIFE END?
People react to the prospect of death in several ways. Some live in denial, some try to fight it. Others simply give up, or may even be tempted to try to end it. Others accept it and face it with courage. The Bible expressly forbids the taking of human life and implores us to stand up for and protect those that may be vulnerable or under pressure to take their own lives. We need to remind ourselves that heaven and hell put earthly suffering into their true perspective.
- NEW TECHNOLOGIES – ARE WE PLAYING GOD?
Immortality and the elimination of disease appear to be goals the human race should aspire to. While Christians value the many blessings of scientific discovery, there will always be limits to what new medical technologies can contribute to wellbeing. We need to be good stewards of technology, but also be careful not to play God or expect that technology can somehow produce a perfect humanity.
- GLOBAL HEALTH – WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
The huge gulf between rich and poor countries is having a massive impact on health and access to healthcare. In high-income countries most live beyond the age of 70 in relatively ‘comfortable’ lifestyles. In low-income countries, fewer than one in five people reach the age of 70 and a third of all deaths are children under 15. How should Christians respond to these needs?