Rev. Steven E. Thomas, Pastor
Pastor Steven Thomas was born in Houston, Texas. He graduated from New Mexico Tech with a BS in Chemistry. He was working as a chemist in Baltimore for a few years, and then decided to pursue the dream of being a pastor. In 1993, Pastor Steve graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He is married to Pastor LaDonna Thomas who serves at St. David Lutheran Church in Hanover, PA. They have one daughter, Rebekah.
Pastor Steve enjoys kayaking, reading, and motorcycling. Pastor Steve’s passion is always looking for greater understanding - especially in how our expanding scientific knowledge reveals additional wonders of God.
Some of his favorite books are The Bible (of course), Awareness by Anthony DeMello, The Shack by William P. Young, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, E=mc2 by David Bodanis, and the Tolkein trilogy.
In his book, Being Mortal, Atul Gawande examines many of the difficult aspects of growing older in the United States. Dr. Gawande is a surgeon and so, he is able to address the medical details of growing older.
In the beginning of the book, Dr. Gawande gives several examples of how doctors regularly treat the illnesses that their aging patients are dealing with. And he shows how the primary purpose of most doctors and most medical procedures – the primary purpose is to lengthen life. However, what often happens is that people trade quality of life for length of life. That is, sometimes doctors and patients agree to do procedures that are going to significantly reduce their quality of life (like doing extreme surgery or extreme chemotherapy) that can actually reduce the health of the patient, sometimes with almost no benefit.
It is hard to believe that a person would choose to do such things. However, Dr. Gawande gives several instances where people are grasping at straws trying to increase how long they are going to live – but then they end up spending their few remaining weeks or months extremely tired or painfully recovering from surgeries. The patient or their family often make these decisions assuming that length of life is all that matters.
Dr. Gawande makes an excellent case that we should be more concerned about the quality of the end of our days.
He also gives an excellent discussion of the philosophy of different kinds of nursing homes – with lots of practical examples. He discusses how home health care can often be an excellent alternative. He even gives an excellent discussion of the purpose and benefits of hospice care. Sometimes hospice can help enable people at the end of their lives – to enjoy seeing their friends and family without being dragged down by so much pain. Not drugged into a stupor, just reduced pain to enable interaction.
All of these subjects are presented with many examples of real people and real families and the choices that they have had to make.... and the outcome of those choices.
The book is very well written and I highly recommend it for everyone. Everyone is a part of a family and, at some point, you or your family is going to need these insights. Dr. Gawande provides all of the right questions to ask.
On the other hand, Being Mortal is also difficult to read because it is so real. If you can start it, do not give up on it. Read it to the end. At the end, he gives a very good case study of his own father (who is also a surgeon) having to deal with his end of life issues.
May Jesus guide your reading and help you to become an advocate for all of the right care for the aging members of our society.- Pastor Steve
Pastor Messages of Special Interest
Suicide - Surviving Life’s Darkest Moments
Video of Archived Sermons
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