Anointing the Sick? Practicing Religion in the Clinical Context
Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health, Duke University Medical School
Theologians and Christians cannot be but encouraged by the new focus on spirituality and medicine. But yet, where medicine has recently made a space for "spirituality," it tends to be much more suspicious of "religion." This presentation will look at this suspicion through the lens of the deeply religious practice of the anointing of the sick. Using anointing as a focal point, this paper will examine the spirituality/religion and medicine conversation through three lenses: its philosophical infrastructure; our consumerist context; and Foucault's notion of biopower. At issue is the question of the permeability — and policing — of the boundaries where medicine and religious practices meet.