Thanksgiving in July: 7-22-10
A leader rethinks church: 7-24/25-10

Toward interfaith hospitals: 7-23-10

Perhaps because my wife used to work at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, I've been pretty aware of the incredible diversity of patients at most hospitals.


Among the many things that means is that hospital chaplains and chapels must meet the needs of a wide variety of people of faith. If you think this is a Christian nation, drop by a hospital chapel or meditation room some day.

So I was intrigued by this Religion News Service piece taking note of the fact that there's a move among American hospitals to create not just the old model of faith-specific chapels but, rather, meditation rooms that are welcoming to people of any and all faiths -- and of none.

This is just one more example of the ways in which Americans are negotiating life in a new and changing religious landscape. It's happening in various venues in the U.S., from hospitals to many offices, in which managers must be more aware of the variety of religions practiced by employees and to be sensitive to their needs.

The goal of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council is to make the KC area the most welcoming of all religions and traditions of any community in the U.S. The hospital story to which I've linked you today is one more way to do that, and I hope communities all over the country compete for the title that KC is striving to achieve.

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Ah, yes. Nuance. Gray vs. black and white. That's the reality of much of life, and it's exactly what a pollster has found in California when asking people about gay marriage. Even people of faith, the poll shows, are divided on this question, it turns out. Why doesn't that shock me?

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P.S.: Cheers and best wishes to Sister Rosemary Flanigan, who is retiring from the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City after 24 years. Well done, Sister.


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