Reflection on Hospital Chaplaincy

Hospital chaplaincy is centrally purposed and focused at ministering to diverse populations taking into account the religious affiliations of each patient ministered to in the hospital settings; in this light, hospital chaplaincy accepts religious pluralisms or multi-faiths endorsement without imposing the theological beliefs on the patients involved with respect to the orientation of the chaplain religious background. It is a public ministry utilized by the Christian chaplain to minister health to patients; however, the Christian faith does not only minister health to patients as the public ministry is concerned, but it is also interested in the man’s salvation, justification, and sanctification as well.

In general by faith tradition, the Judean-Christian faith tradition believes that health is the gift of God and it is part of its creation and faith and trust in the goodness of creation enhances health. Based on this religious philosophy, the Christian chaplain in the hospital setting ministers to all people from diverse religious groups and atheists using his or her religious beliefs to minister to people via counseling and prayer approaches with relative to specific situations prevailing at the time. For instance, the situation concerning Margret resonates with counseling or intervention according to the article. Margret is from a different faith tradition that believes that sickness or suffering is an acceptable standard for God when it comes; therefore, there is no need to seek intervention or medical treatment. Margret’s religious belief has affected the way she interacts with the medical team and the manner she relates to treatment options. Based on her beliefs and responses, the medical team assumes that Margret may be suffering from cognitive deficiency and her ability to reason and to follow direction in taking the medications that will be offered to her after surgery is unpredictable; therefore, the medical team decides unanimously not to do the surgical procedure because Margret will not take the medication after surgery. Margret is categorized and labeled in the hospital. This decides the fate of Margret medically and predicts her death. Chaplain Carr, who has interacted with Margret and her family, diagnoses that Margret is from a faith tradition that preaches a wrong theology concerning health; therefore, he intervenes by taking Margret into the scriptures concerning this theological teaching that she has gotten that affects her belief. The chaplain teaches the word of God concerning the situation that confronts Margret based on her belief. Margret learns the truth and responds to the medical team’s decision and treatments. In response to Margret’s acceptance to take treatment, Chaplain Carr meets and convinces the medical team that Margret is not cognitive impaired and she will respond to the treatment after surgery. In this situation, the hospital chaplain stands as the negotiator, facilitator, and advocate between the patients, patients’ family, and the medical team. While Chaplain Car plays the above roles mentioned, he serves also as the servant of health, cultural anthropologist, negotiator of the world view, stimulator of ethical deliberation, and spiritual growth to Margret’s dilemmas. In chaplaincy ministry, the chaplain informs and directs with regards to people’s beliefs in God’s providence that contradicts theological principles and among others such as in Margret’s situation as deliberated in the article.

In hospital chaplaincy, the Christian hospital chaplain believes that patients have the fundamental level of faith and trust whether they acknowledge that Jesus or the Christian God is the source and the object of this trust. The chaplain also believes that the affirmation of God’s general concern with creation, its fulfillment, and its health constitutes the theological grounds of the Christian chaplains to minister to a pluralistic patient population. It is based on these ideologies that the hospital Christian chaplain performs public ministry to the service of health, addresses the issue of health and loss of health in the light of Christian faith addressed in the context of health, studies the world view of patients, family members, and medical staff as addressed in the larger purpose of health, mediates conflicts between staff or family with relative to religious situations, facilitates and simulates religious ethical dialogue about the goals of treatment for the patient, and helps deepen the faith and enrich the spiritual growth of patient though health is the main issue.

As a hospital Christian chaplain, what makes me most excited is that, in hospital chaplaincy, the chaplain is a spiritual healer and what makes me most anxious is that, in hospital chaplaincy, I am professionally obligated to recognize and to accept all faiths in regardless of my religious orientations or backgrounds; however, ethically and religiously speaking based on my orientation, I must be passive in some situations that compromise my faith and belief in God. My philosophy theologically in ministry will guide me in these situations with respect to ethical dilemmas in the hospital such as the end of life situations and among others.