Friday, September 04, 2009

NHS advertises for ‘Faith & Spirituality Coordinators’

Chaplains are out: too narrow-minded; too insular; too discriminatory; too Christian.

‘Spiritual’ people are in: multi-faith, new-age, karmic, tree-hugging, crystal-gazing, divinity-worshipping-in-a-Buddhist-kind-of-way.

Against a backdrop of NHS cut-backs with threats of the decimation of front-line services, Cranmer has received a most interesting missive from a reader about this vacancy within the NHS. She writes:

‘I have been a silent reader and appreciator of your blog for several months.

‘I wanted to draw your attention to a job advert I have just come across which has really astounded me. I receive the NHS jobs bulletin by email every day – as my current job (in the mental health sector) is under threat due to NHS funding cuts. I was amazed to see an advertisement for a job Faith and Spirituality Trustwide Coordinator – which carries a salary of £29k-£39k (far more than I can ever hope to receive). Upon reading the job description I was even more amazed, and my first reaction was why is the NHS pouring funds into an area of work which is rightly that of the church, the mosque, the synagogue etc? Their job is to treat people who are physically or mentally ill – not to provide “spiritual services”. Upon reading the lengthy job description I found I could not find anything concrete in what the post holder is actually supposed to do to “carry forward our spiritual support agenda” and “Faith and Spirituality Action Plan”. Indeed, it has been made clear within the NHS that it is not the job of employees to pray for the patients, or to manifest any personal adherence to a faith e.g. by wearing a cross. So it seems paradoxical that there is a whole department (under the Equalities and Diversity Team and Faith and Spirituality Implementation Group) which is meant to supply “faith support”, “spiritual support” and “faith visitor provision” to service users (i.e. patients).

‘I also had a look at the NHS Faith and Spirituality Action Plan as it is implemented in the various NHS trusts – and realise that virtually all trusts are devoting large sums of money, staff and resources into a spiritual support bureaucracy – which as ever must be multi-faith, multi-ethnic, non-specific, covering all religions and none. The reasoning behind all this they say is a growing awareness of the importance spirituality can play in a patient’s recovery. Fair enough. By this logic we would need spirituality action plans in all government departments as faith permeates all areas of life, and is as important in prevention of illness as in recovery.

‘But we are increasingly taught to separate our personal beliefs from our work. I do not now wear my cross to work for fear of offending someone and in order to keep separate my faith from the practice of my work. I am exceedingly careful in what I say – not to ever be judgmental, and not to bring up issues relating to faith unless it comes from the client. I work with people with mental health problems who are in crisis – some are suicidal – many self harm. For almost all, issues of what life is for and its meaning are pertinent. The most I can do is pray for them silently, which I do (but would not dare admit to).

‘So what is this spiritual support the NHS is spending so much money on – and while so many vital areas are being subject to cuts? (If you google NHS Faith and Spirituality Action Plan you will find many of the action plans of the different NHS regions - some 3000+ hits - and they make for interesting reading!). It cannot mean displaying any overt religious adherence, or praying with or for people - this is taboo. It cannot mean discussing with them the possibility that there is a God up there who cares about us. It cannot mean sharing a belief in the afterlife, and a belief that life has a fundamental purpose and meaning. It must then just mean basic human compassion, empathy, sensitivity and understanding, which is what people in all the caring professions should be displaying anyway. Do we need whole departments and posts to deliver this? Is this not what doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers should be doing anyway? And can compassion really be taught?’

Ah, the voice of common sense to which Labour are oblivious, and the questions of perfect reason to which Labour are impervious.

You see, according to the Gospel of the NHS, it is no longer Jesus who heals, but Gaia. It is not faith in the Risen Christ which brings inner peace, but intoning ‘aum’ while sitting in the lotus position and breathing in the incense. Taxpayers now fund this New Age Shaman-Hinduism which is not new at all, and anyone who dares to contend against this ancient-new spiritual orthodoxy is anathematised, ridiculed, suspended or sacked. Jesus is a loser: Buddha is cool.

Welcome to the god of the NHS, whose doctrine one may expound, and on whose behalf one may proselytise.

But, for God's sake, don't mention Jesus.


Anonymous Kwelos said...

"Jesus is a loser: Buddha is cool."

Jesus was a Buddhist whose message has much in common with that of the Buddha.

Buddhism has the philosophical resources to refute materialism which Christianity lacks.

4 September 2009 at 08:20  
Anonymous Voyager said...

There will be an Imam in charge of this service "in the interests of equality and diversity"....the long march through the institutions.....

4 September 2009 at 08:43  
Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

Blimey Cranmer! A real can of worms.

First of all, that 'Jesus was a Buddhist' Link will spam you out with pop up windows; cheers! I didn't bother with the next one just in case.

I have a lot of respect for Buddhism, and I know that it emphasises the many naturedness of paths that can be followed. I benefit from Buddhism in my life, but I would never say that Christianity lacks philosophical resources to refute materialism.

I have been quite nasty in my past criticism of the ABC, but over recent months I have been reading much of his writings and listening to him on the Internet, and I have come to regret the things I have said, and I know that he would disagree with much of what this post seems to be saying; in fact I would say it has a fairly unchristian tone about it.

I believe that it is possible for people to come to realise God from a diverse map of possibilities, none should be discounted. Man himself has travelled a dark road in order to reach this very crude awakening which is still altogether in a very infantile stage.

I am dreading the comments that this post will generate to be honest.

4 September 2009 at 08:48  
Blogger John Woolman said...

How do you get charitas back into the caring professions that no longer care, but just tick centrally mandated tick boxes? How do you keep people like Ben Geen, Barbara Salisbury and Colin Norris out of nursing? (Google them). God knows, but no one is asking her. Instead we get half baked initiatives like this.

4 September 2009 at 08:53  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

What will it profit Buddhism to win the whole NHS and lose its soul?

4 September 2009 at 09:04  
Anonymous Kwelos said...

@ Jim Bartlett

Set your browser options to 'Block pop-up windows'

4 September 2009 at 09:30  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

How can apply for this post?

4 September 2009 at 09:41  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

This is another of those unproductive 'jobs' which add nothing to the economy and drain the public purse. It is window dressing with superficial appeal to all and an inoffensive to none approach.

I got this off an NHS Trust website:
"Modern chaplaincy works ecumenically and is inter-faith orientated, its prevailing culture and philosophy is predominantly humanistic."
A philosphy like this is doomed to failure since it attempts to satisfy all gods, all men, all religions, or none. It will prove to be a meaningless sop to multifaith, multiculturalism and a total waste of time and money which would be better spent on frontline medical care.

4 September 2009 at 10:03  
Anonymous stereodog said...

Why does the NHS have to pay someone 29k a year for “faith visitor provision”? I've helped at many times at my local church's hospital service and we do it for free (apart from the odd temporary parking badge maybe)and I'm absolutely sure any religious organisation would do the same if it were asked. Quite apart from any religious concern the NHS is wasting money by paying someone to do something that a whole range of religious or charity groups would happily do free of charge.

4 September 2009 at 10:22  
Anonymous churchmouse said...

So now they not only kill us, but deny us even the traditional gateway rites to eternity? Logical enought really.

If I ever have the misfortune to arrive one of the NHS's institutions I shall refuse treatment and refuse to speak to all foreigners.

btw - are there any British doctors still working in British hospitals - or on these local boards?

PS - that business about the Lockerbie guy -- I guess he's actually better off in one of their hospitals than in ours.

4 September 2009 at 11:12  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Are we to understand that it is Conservative policy to ban Faith and Spirituality Coordinators?

And answer came there none.

•Johnny Rottenborough•

4 September 2009 at 11:26  
Blogger Willie said...

Any idea what the total bill for this idiocy inside the NHS amounts to?

4 September 2009 at 12:05  
Blogger Dave said...

Gissa job. I can do that!

4 September 2009 at 12:10  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

Your Grace,

this seems a classic example of New Labour spending taxpayers' money to ensure that the right and the left hand not know what each other are doing.

4 September 2009 at 13:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who has a job of "Christian Co-ordinator" within an NHS trust I find this peice really interesting.
Firstly I am an Occupational Therapist and worship leader rather than ordained clergy and in partnership with ordinands can offer an understanding which compliments and enhancesa traditional chaplaincy role. In valuing individuals, exploring what gives them meaning and purpose, and peace, whole new areas of peoples understanding are being developed and consequently induviduals are being given a different level of support which is over and above pastoral care and specific services. We are able to meet specific faith needs but also people who are questioning why things are happening to them and give them time to explore these esoteric ideas. What has been really interesting is that we have picked up on nursing and therapy needs which have not been previously noted because we are coming from a different perspective.
If we lived in a society in which everyone had a clear faith background the arguement for having just faith representatives would be an incredibly valid one. However we live in an increasingly secular society with people who may have a spiritual crisis on admission to hospital. As people of faith, we have a responsibility to meet and address these individuals needs and be accessible to answer questions they may have in thier troubles. I believe that this can be the strength in non traditional roles, working in partnership with traditional chaplaincy roles.

This is not about

4 September 2009 at 13:49  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Completely agree, what a waste of bloody money.

But I would also apply that to NHS paying for Hospital Chaplains too. Which I believe accounted for around £40 million cost to the tax payer for the 08/09 tax year.

Fire these spiritual mumbo-jumbo merchants and throw the chaplains on the same heap. To heal your spiritual self is not the domain of the NHS and since it exists in the mind it the bill should not be footed by the tax payer.

4 September 2009 at 14:15  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

It is another fulfillment of the Word of God: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. "

That time is now! This report gives evidence of it.

4 September 2009 at 16:04  
Anonymous len said...

Theosophy and the Original Lie,
Instead of linking New Age thought to the original lie, the New Age discernment ministries through their books, writings, and posts, set up Theosophy as the spiritual system from which “New Agers” get their motivation.

Theosophy as well as the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon
Church, freemasonry, hermeticism, Babylonian and Egyptian mysticism, paganism,
Greek philosophy, mysticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, alchemy, neo platonists,
desert “fathers” (mystics), scholasticism metaphysical beliefs,
contemplatives, cults—any belief system that is not about trusting in Jesus’
sacrifice alone for forgiveness of sins—all are based on the original lie
quoted in Genesis, which taunts people to be like God, and to ‘find’ God
their own way, but does not tell people they can get their sins forgiven.

4 September 2009 at 18:14  
Blogger David said...

4 September 2009 at 19:21  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

These secularists are everywhere. Next they will be banning individual parish priests from entering the wards. "You look to religious Father! Do you mind wearing this gown - it's totally in accordance with the new rules. See no priest, hear no priest!"

4 September 2009 at 20:06  
Anonymous John Malcolmson said...

Anonymous 13.49

While I have every respect for the work that you carry out as a Christian co-ordinator in the NHS and totally accept your point about having to counsel people of all faiths and none, what takes priority for you at the end of the day, your Christianity or the responsibility not to proselytise which your employer, in these anti-Christian times, has now placed upon you?

To illustrate this, if one of the patients challenged the idea that Jesus is the Son of God, the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the only means of salvation for humanity, how would you respond without declaring the fundamental Christian beliefs which you presumably hold, and which would, as things currently stand, get you into a lot of hot water with your bosses if someone were to complain about you?

Would you say "Well I happen to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but of course you're entitled to your opinion - who's to say which of us is right" (which is what your employer would expect you to do) or would you be insistent on the matter and brook no argument (which is what you are duty bound to do if you are you are a true Christian?

4 September 2009 at 20:41  
Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

Just think of all the people who have not been born yet, the figures are unimaginable. And every one of them is already doomed because of original sin (cough), and they are all saved from original sin, even though they are not due to be born for another few thousand years or so. Pure genius.

And we all know this because it's fact. I mean it can't possibly be just a possibility to consider, it must be fact or we would not be making each other's lives a complete bloody misery over it.

I have to confess that I have no idea what salvation is in real terms. I was salvated before I was even born, which seems fractionally pointless, but I am willing to give it some credibility so long as it does not intrude into the sane part of the tiny equation of 'knowledge' that we like to think exists.

All I can say for certain is that I know that nobody knows any of this is certain. I also know that sometimes you just have to believe certain things, it is unquestionably crucial that you have this type of faith, so I will not even attempt to deny it; I have been there and experienced it. I am there now, there are things that I have to believe in now if I am to function, and lucky for me, a part of this belief now includes the fact that it is important to respect what other's need to believe because they are in the same place, they want to believe, it's important to them for God alone knows what reason.

I hope one day that everything will meet in the middle somewhere. And please do not quote second coming Scriptures at me because it doesn't help me, feel free if it helps you though.

4 September 2009 at 22:13  
Blogger True Belle said...

You will not quibble about my personal cross and necklace will you - Or my horns either?

4 September 2009 at 23:08  
Blogger Gnostic said...

What amazes me is that this job wasn't advertised in the Grauniad...

5 September 2009 at 00:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found something interesting on this topic, here are more details:

5 September 2009 at 12:16  
Blogger English Viking said...

The Lord Jesus Christ said 'I am The way, The truth and The life. No man cometh to the Father but by ME'
. Buddhism is idolatry.

6 September 2009 at 18:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is absolutely right that the NHS pay for chaplains. They are a well appreciated and necessary part of the treatment and healing process in hospital. I do wonder if those people who say the NHS shouldn't pay for such 'mumbo jumbo' and concentrate on curing people have actually ever had a stay in hospital? Indeed if they are so anti-Christian why are they reading this blog?

As for Faith and Spirituality co-ordinators, well that is just blasphemy.

6 September 2009 at 21:54  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I really hope that is sarcasm.

And if it isn't I would hope at the very least they can see the irony of that statement.

I come here because (unlike the religious) I have an open mind would you rather the site was just full of people agreeing so your fairy stories with their glaringly obvious faults wouldn't be brought into question?

To answer your points however:

"I do wonder if those people who say the NHS shouldn't pay for such 'mumbo jumbo' and concentrate on curing people have actually ever had a stay in hospital?"

Yes, as well asvisiting dying relatives in hospital with no need for any form of mumbo jumbo.

"They are a well appreciated and necessary part of the treatment and healing process in hospital"

Absolute nonsense. they may well be "well appreciated and necessary part of the treatment" for the religious and thats fine, but if that's the case then let the religious pay for it. End of story.

Tax payers money should foot the bill for treatments that benefit all based on scientific fact, if people want spiritual healing t hen let the spiritually minded pay for it.

And to suggest that your brand of nonsense mumbo jumbo has any more weight or importance than any other form of fairy tale nonsense is just arrogant, egotistical, deluded and hypocritical.

6 September 2009 at 23:44  
Anonymous len said...

Open mind mr glovner?

I would say your mind is closed like a steel trap!
I`m still laughing.

7 September 2009 at 17:56  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Once again len.

If I am 99% sure there is no god and you are 100% sure there is but cannot provide anything to back up your point of view for others to see and cannot be swayed from your position no matter what is presented to you who is the closed minded one?

7 September 2009 at 19:07  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

But I should add, please len don't let facts or logic or evidence stop you from thinking what you want about me, they certainly don't stop you believing in what you want to believe in so much.

7 September 2009 at 19:09  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Glovner,
You have 1% of hope then?
The God of the impossible could work with that and make it a reality.
( I will stick with my 100% faith a gift from God so that none can boast)

8 September 2009 at 07:59  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

No. You are twisting my words to your aims len.

I have 1% of doubt that perhaps a god could exist. Hope has nothing to do with it as I do not required hope in the unknown to live a good and happy life.

However because of that 1% of doubt which is attributed to the fact that I cannot provide emperical evidence to disprove a god figure I have to remain open to the possiblity however small that there could be one. However as the lack of belief in one has never adversly affected my existence then I won't lose any sleep over it and continue to live quite happily without any belief in the unprovable.

Bear in mind that lack off proof for something you claim also backs up a lack of truth. You as the faithful are the one making the claim that god is the truth and you are 100% right and as such will never be swayed in any other way but you do not feel the need to give weight to your position with any factual data.

This is why I remain open minded regardless of your derisory attitude and you remain arrogant and closed minded.

I invite other possibilities and you do not, for that reason there is no need to discuss the definition of closed mindedness and who suffers from it any longer than we already have.

8 September 2009 at 13:40  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Glovner,
God exists ,this is a fact.
Once you know this Truth all else is meaningless and no further proof is required.
I was born again at the age of 53 previous to that I was an atheist.
My attitude may come across as arrogant but this reflects my total and absolute conviction of the Truth as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

9 September 2009 at 19:54  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

No "further" proof is needed?

In your mind no proof whatsoever is needed, in your mind you are right and everyone else is damned and that is why you come across as arrogant.

Not because you "think" you are right, but because you "know" you are right but can't prove any of it, we just have to take your word for it.

10 September 2009 at 13:01  
Blogger ZZMike said...

kwelos: "Jesus was a Buddhist whose message has much in common with that of the Buddha."

Buddhism does not believe in God. Or a god. The ultimate ideal end of a Buddhist's existence is nirvana - the descent into absolute nothingness. Sometimes this takes one or more reincarnations, possibly into other life forms, until you finally get it right and can get off the train.

This is perceived to be good, because

1. All life is suffering.
2. The cause of suffering is the odd notion that life is to be lived.
3. There is, however, an end to suffering. This occurs when existence finally ends.
4. If you want to achieve this noble goal, you have to go to Chart Nr 3.

(Don't ask about Chart Nr 2. That comes later.)

Chart Nr 3 consists of 8 bullet points, each of which makes you a Better Person.

Now for Chart Nr 2:

This consists of only 5 bullet points, each of which is taken from one of the Ten Commandments. (Yes, I know the chronology is a bit off, but that's not the point.)

Jesus (who came about 500 years later) taught, among other things, that there is in fact a God, that if we live rightly, we'll end this (one and only) life and continue on either with God (heaven) or without him (hell). We have only one chance to get it right.

He also said (John 10:10) that "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

This is a far cry from the life of misery, suffering, and eventual annihilation that Buddhism sees.

(Don't ask about Job. That's another story.)

the Glovner: "...since it exists in the mind it the bill should not be footed by the tax payer."

Since the tax payer should not be burdened by matters of the mind, it would be reasonable for the government to stop funding schools and paying teachers. (Now that I think of, it, that's not such a bad idea.)

len: "Theosophy as well as the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon ..."

Good grief.

Glovner: "If I am 99% sure there is no god and you are 100% sure there is but cannot provide anything to back up your point of view for others to see and cannot be swayed from your position no matter what is presented to you who is the closed minded one?"

If you demand proof from us, why should we not demand proof from you?

10 September 2009 at 19:42  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

If you demand proof from us, why should we not demand proof from you?

Simple reason really, i'm not the claiment.

The burden of proof lies with you. If was to say your god was incorrect and our universe sits inside a bubble from a giant housewives afternoon bubble bath you would be expected to just accept that without any proof provided by myself?

Nope don't think so.

And as for your point about schools, spiritual enlightenment and education are two completely different things, if you are talking abuot RE type of stuff where the children learn fact based information about all religions and there impact on the world then fine, if you are talking about children being told by a priest at weekly assembly that god is truth and god is good and all other religion is wrong then nope sorry, I and thousands of other non-believers should not be paying for that, the religiously minded want that, then they should pay for it.

11 September 2009 at 08:35  
Anonymous len said...

The Glovner,
God has revealed Himself to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ.What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can't do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people...blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects...created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature...walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because He constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I'm telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you're seeing.
If you are serious about knowing the truth about God look at biblical prophesy regarding Jesus Christ.

12 September 2009 at 07:08  
Anonymous len said...

The Glovner,
Many people met Christ and still were unable to recognize the Divinity of Christ, I believe the following scripture is the reason why people are unable to see Christ without a revelation from God. Matthew 16:15-17, it says,

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Gods Spirit gives witness with our spirit of the truth regarding Jesus Christ.

12 September 2009 at 08:15  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

So to cut your verbose posting down and take out all the scripture quoting.

God is real because, about 1700 years ago a lot of people wrote some stories on the same subject (which supposedly took place roughly 300 years before they did and so the only things they had to go on for research of what other people had passed down through spoken word) and the winners got picked to get their stories printed together in a big book, and the subject was that god's son lived on earth and performed magic tricks.

And that's why god is real?

14 September 2009 at 08:42  
Anonymous len said...

I returned to this issue to see if a glimmer of light had penetrated the fog that surrounds your understanding of things spiritual Mr Glovner,
I will return again later.

16 September 2009 at 18:21  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I returned just to laugh at whatever nonsense and lack of content input with no factual basis you were spouting in your particularly verbose style.

I can see I was not dissapointed.

17 September 2009 at 08:37  
Anonymous len said...

Your laughter is beginning to sound rather hollow Mr Glovner.
Last post, you either get it or you don`t, "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not by the reason."

17 September 2009 at 19:09  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

It's not the heart that percives god at all.

What you are saying is that you believe that belief is correct and you try so hard to believe in your belief.

But when your belief is put to the mind (which is the only organ of the body which provides rational thought, or rational in some cases) your belief doesn't stand up, so you ignore the facts and hide behind nonsense statements that don't mean a thing.

It's fine for people to believe in what they want, the issue comes when their unfounded beliefs have an affect on others that don't share their irrational thoughts. If everyone believed the same thing fair enough, but people don't so why should people like you have the monopoly on peoples choices?

18 September 2009 at 08:57  

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