Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cheating Death

The words, "cheating death", have become a part of our lexicon, but it is likely that they have lost their deeper meaning as a result of their common usage. When I think of the common meaning, I first think of our cat which as a deaf, oil covered kitten was discovered underneath our car in a Walmart parking lot and survived those first iffy days only to cheat death once again the time it thought that the inside of a clothes dryer would be a nice place to take a nap. When people "cheat death" we usually think of someone who survived some horrible accident, or something like the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, or a medical catastrophe.

But is that really cheating death, or is it just a temporary reprieve?

In the long run, every human body will die. There is no cheating physical death.

St. Philip's Charleston 2012

We cannot cheat death. We must go through it, but we need not go through it alone, the hard way has been cleared (John 3:14-18). Christ's hand will be there, and those who believe in Him as Lord will reach out for it. It's not cheating to accept God's offering. In fact, it may be the most honest thing we can ever do.

A local hospital system found itself in hot water recently when it presented a new tag-line for one of its hospitals. "Cheat Death" was what they came up with (one comment claims the hospital paid 2.5 million bucks for this catchy campaign).

It seems obvious to me that a hospital, being a place in which we would place trust, should not use the word "cheat" in its advertising slogan (especially so if you have doubts about the accuracy of their billing department). Nor should a hospital, being a place which we would hope to be about life, include the word "death" in its advertising material.

After thinking about it, the hopital slogan "Cheat Death", besides being a dumb idea, sounds decidedly un-Christian to me. As Christians, we believe Death has been conquered by the One who went through it for us. Our Lord Jesus did it the hard way. He did not ask Death to look the other way.

The hospital administration took a step back, by trying to cheat the fallout from its poor choice of words, and is holding back this campaign. In the words of its President and CEO,
"Our children growing up today are at risk of being the first generation in American history that won’t live longer than their parents. We knew we needed a strong statement to bring attention to this serious issue and to begin working together to change the path we are on--especially in Gaston County.
Our objective is to start a health revolution through an audacious goal and a bold rallying cry. Our intent was never to offend or incite. It has never been about a two word tag line. It is about creating a community-wide movement. It is about motivating people to join us in changing the health of our community for the better."

Update: 04/17/2013 in the morning paper we see that the CEO has been fired. (Story at

If it wasn't about the tag-line, then why did they print up all those T-shirts?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:33 AM

    I so agree with you. In the UK cancer charities ,when trying to raise funds, often claim that they are "saving lives". This is not true ,they may prolong life but death is still inevitable. The "saving of life" only comes through Jesus with the promise of eternal life after death.