Tag: ethics

Styrofoam cups and plastic plates

plastics-avoid-2-6-mdWe buy them by the case — styrofoam cups and plastic plates.  We use lots of them, cases and cases each year, because we’re Baptist and we eat a lot.  We wouldn’t think of making you eat with plastic forks and knives because they break. Nope, we use real stainless steel silverware, but we pour our tea and coffee into styrofoam cups and eat off of plastic plates.  Why?

We probably use throw-aways so we don’t have to wash dishes.  We don’t have a kitchen staff, only volunteers, and nobody likes to wash dishes.  Washing the silverware and serving pieces takes long enough.  But we’ve never really had a conversation about why we use styrofoam cups and plastic plates.  We need to.

Not only are these products made from petroleum, but they also take forever (almost literally) to break down in the landfill.  Plus, The Daily Green contends polystyrene (brandname: Styrofoam) can leach harmful residue into food and drink.   In other words, we are facing not one, but three problems: energy, environment, and user health.

Today I’m adding a new topic — Ethics — to this blog’s categories.  I dealt with ethical issues at my other blog, Amicus Dei, for awhile, but congregations need to grapple with ethical decisions, too.  Watch for more posts on ethics.  As my seminary professor, Ebbie Smith used to say, “Ethics is the part of theology that really counts.”  His point being that how we live expresses what we believe.  If we could apply that to our covered-dish suppers that would be a big step.

Breaking pastoral confidentiality

Pastor Neil Schori courtesy Fox News A pastor appeared on Fox network’s Greta Van Susteren show Monday, and revealed that the missing 4th wife of ex-cop Drew Peterson told him that Peterson admitted killing his 3rd wife. 

 Former Westbrook Christian Church pastor Neil Schori told “On the Record” that he was “reeling inside” after his conversation with Stacy Peterson over coffee in August.

— Fox News

So, here’s the question —

Would you appear on national media and reveal a conversation like this?

Courts have rule repeatedly that clergy-client conversations are privileged and confidential.  But do clergy have higher obligations to report such conversations and/or take action themselves?

Several years ago I was an associate at a large church.  A woman confided to the pastor that she was being abused and needed help.  The pastor helped her freeze the couple’s bank account, involved the police, and arranged a lawyer for the woman.  Sadly, the allegations were totally fabricated and the husband had to hire his own attorney to untangle the legal mess the pastor had put him in. 

What are our obligations and responsibilities in situations like this?  I’d welcome your comments.