Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Death by House

Alison highlights a great quote on death by House:
Patient: I just wanna die with a little dignity

House: There’s no such thing! Our bodies break down, sometimes when we’re 90, sometimes before we’re even born, but it always happens and there’s never any dignity in it. I don’t care if you can walk, see, wipe your own ass, it’s always ugly, always.
We can live with dignity, we can’t die with it.
And then in my 'Historical Theology' reading on Monday (in 'On the Incarnation'):
Athanasius: "A very strong proof of this destruction of death and its conquest by the cross is supplied by a present fact, namely this. All the disciples of Christ despise death; they take the offensive against it and, instead of fearing it, by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ trample on it as on something dead."
Whereas, I can't help but think, Christians don't always take that view. We brush death off as easily as everyone else - until it happens nearby. We need to mingle it with dying is gain but that doesn't make it light and dignified. If we can feel more of the horror of death might we also know more of the joy of life?


  1. Thanks for the post. I love the quotes. I am not sure I agree with your conclusions though. I am not really wanting to dwell on the horror of death so I can appreciate life. Not that this holds true, but thats like dwelling on sin so that I can know what God looks like. Its beneficial to an extent but ultimately holds within it a defeater. We cannot look beyond death... Lets dwell on the dignity of life and creation, while expecting sanctification and glorification and trying to articulate what that looks like, without forgetting the very real horror of death.

  2. Lauri - that's not quite what I'm meaning. Its when we see the value of life and it's dignity that we see the horror of death as it violates life, destroys it, defiles it...

    ..likewise, we bring people to know God by looking at Jesus and then the horror of sin is shown up.

  3. An afterthought of my post was that I didn't want to come across as saying that we shouldn't treat people's lives with dignity (having worked in a nursing home for a year caring for the dying, i have seen the dying process up close, and treating people with dignity in it is SO important) but I agree with Bish that it is LIFE that deserves dignity, not death. Lets not try and make death into something nice and managable so we can cope with it. Lets not try and tame it. Death is horrible because it steals dignity from life. It steals life itself! Only when we think of death in terms of both its horror AND its defeat by our Saviour can we face it in a healthy way. And I think we can do this without being morbid.