August 2014 Samaritan newsletter links

Samaritan Ministries Christian Health

The August 2014 Samaritan Ministries Christian Health Care Newsletter includes these features:

  • What’s the separation of church and state coming to mean in our country, especially in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision? We reprinted a blog entry by Jennifer Roback Morse.
  • Rob Slane asks who we want watching over us: the government or Jesus?
  • Robert and Kay Camenisch, profiled in this month’s Member Spotlight, talk about Kay’s eight-week Bible study Uprooting Anger: Destroying the Monster Within. The Camenisches also explain why they stay with Samaritan Ministries.
  • Fecal transplant isn’t pleasant to talk about, but it’s a vital weapon against C. diff and other intestinal ailments. One woman is trying to make it more widely available, despite recent Food and Drug Administration actions.
  • Sooner or later, all of us will die. We reprinted a classic teaching by J.C. Ryle called “Christ in the Sick Room.”
  • Is antibacterial soap really necessary? Short answer: No.
  • The Doorpost encourages us that Jesus bears our burdens.

Who do you want watching over you?

Who do you want watching  you- (1)

“We must realize that the Reformation world view leads in the direction of government freedom. But the humanist world view with inevitable certainty leads in the direction of statism. This is so because humanists, having no god, must put something at the center, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state.”

Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, p. 114

By Rob Slane

The late Christopher Hitchens once described religion as “the desire for a tyrannical authority who can, indeed must, subject you to total surveillance around the clock … and even worse, and where the fun really begins, after you’re dead—a celestial North Korea.” He clearly had a desire to be free of control by anyone—to be completely independent, left entirely alone, free from any “surveillance” where anyone—especially God—was watching his every move.

But are the choices he presents actually available? Must we choose between a “religiously” imposed servile surveillance on the one hand, and complete secular freedom from surveillance on the other? Or are our choices actually very different than that—an overbearing, controlling state watching over us because it suspects us, or a loving God watching over us because He loves us and cares for us?

Hitchens died back in 2011, two years before Edward Snowden began revealing to the world the extent of the surveillance on people by the National Security Agency (NSA). His revelations have been breathtaking. They reveal an organization that has intercepted the communications of more than a billion people worldwide; that monitors the movements of millions of people through their cellphones; and that collects the phone records of every American citizen. Quite simply the NSA has been operating the most gigantic prying and spying network the world has ever known. All this through a secret court and without warrants.

Read the rest of this article…

robert and kay camenisch pic blog

By Michael Miller

Robert and Kay Camenisch needed some answers to anger.

The couple was counseling young men at a residential treatment center near Tulsa, Oklahoma, several years ago and asked the parents to visit for a week so they could discover the barriers between parents and sons.

What they found shocked them.

“We found terrible anger in the parents,” Robert says. “The parents were so angry at each other and their kids.”

Read the rest of this article…

Robert and Kay Camenisch joined Samaritan Ministries for a practical reason: less expensive health care. But they soon experienced the best reason to be a part of the ministry: bearing one another’s burdens.

The Camenisches would have had to pay $900 a month for just themselves in health insurance premiums through the denomination in which Robert was a pastor. And that was in 2001.

“With Samaritan it was less,” Robert says. Plus, he said, there was “the blessing of fulfilling the Christian mandate to bear one another’s burdens.”

“That was a huge deal,” he says.

Now eligible for Medicare, Robert and Kay are trying to budget so they can stay with Samaritan, “even though we can get by with less through other means.”

In the Camenisches’ time as Samaritan members, Robert has had two heart attacks, bypass surgery, and a hernia surgery, while Kay has had numerous tests, surgery on a finger, and also suffers from fibromyalgia.

Samaritan members have come through every time.

“We’ve had several needs,” Kay says. “Some of them not small. It’s a joy to get letters and cards and notes and family pictures and prayers from other people. And it’s a joy to be able to send that to an individual instead of an impersonal letter to a moneymaking organization.”

A yucky treatment that works for C. diff

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By Michael Miller

A simple and effective procedure for a life-threatening illness has become more difficult to obtain.

The illness is clostridium difficile, or C. diff for short. It’s a debilitating intestinal disease in which the C. diff bacterium takes over a person’s intestinal tract when good bacteria are killed off. The results are extreme diarrhea, dehydration, cramping, weight loss and nausea, among other symptoms. C. diff cases in the U.S. are believed to be about 500,000 per year, with between 14,000 and 30,000 deaths, compared to 15,529 annual AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. in 2010.

Its main causes are use of wide-spectrum antibiotics that kill the good bacteria and community contamination, particularly in hospitals and nursing homes.

The procedure is one that’s basic, but not that pleasant to contemplate: fecal microbiota transplant.

Fecal transplants have been used for years in Europe and Australia, but only recently in the U.S., to treat hard-to-cure intestinal ailments, mainly C. diff. There was no regulation of the procedure in the U.S. until 2013. That’s when the Food and Drug Administration classified fecal donations as an unapproved drug that could only be used in approved trial situations.

It modified that decision later in the year, but the regulation still has made fecal transplants less available than before and led to some confusion in the process.

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