A Normal Part of an Abnormal World


Many people consider disability to be abnormal. Even more dangerous to the Kingdom of God, some Christians think this way and extend this thinking even further by saying that people with disabilities are abnormal. This perspective diminishes and ostracizes people. The church isn’t much better than society in this regard.

I hate the words “normal” and “abnormal” when applied to people. These words should not be applied to anything besides objects. My favorite quote about it is by Whoopi Goldberg: “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.”

So when I ran across an analysis of “normal” and “abnormal” in Same Lake, Different Boat by Stephanie Hubach, I sat up and took notice. Hubach suggests that there are three worldviews with regard to disability:

  • Disability is an abnormal part of a normal world.
  • Disability is a normal part of a normal world.
  • Disability is a normal part of an abnormal world.

She says that the third option is the biblical perspective because our world, disordered (or made abnormal) by sin, is broken in every way. “As such, disability is essentially a more noticeable form of the brokenness that is common to the human experience. It is a difference of degree along a spectrum that contains difficulty all along its length.” (p. 206) To paraphrase Romans 3:10, “There is none normal, no not one.”

Pam Christensen, who lives with multiple disabilities, published a blog a few months ago in which she talked about her own disability. She wrote, “I am broken ... but maybe not in the way you think.” She argues the same point as Hubach. There is no such thing as an ideal human. Rather, we are all equal in our brokenness.

Disability is a normal part of the human variation we find here on earth today. Therefore, everybody, everybody finds himself or herself in need of a Savior, and everybody who has found this Savior has been called and gifted to serve him.

In this new year, what will your church do to ensure that everybody belongs and everybody is invited into service for God and his kingdom? 

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What's a more PC word? Challanged? Some people are mentally/physically/socially challanged? 

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Bill, the point I'm trying to make is that we are all abnormal, so then it becomes meaningless to single out any particular group of people and call them "abnormal." And when it comes to what to call people, I don't think it's about being politically correct. Instead, it's about respect. Why not ask people what they prefer to be called? Most people who live with disabilities prefer people first language, so "people with disabilities" is preferred language. 

I think we are obsessed with stamps, labels, boxes and categories. Mainly because of living in a systematic society and an overindulgence to become more intelligent. I believe everyone would benefit by "being human" first to every human being God has created and then worried about the categories. Maybe then we could realize how little classifications help us.