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Churches Positioned to Meet Two Critical Needs of People with Disabilities

People with disabilities face "Social deprivation" in a variety of ways due to architectural, communication, and attitudinal barriers in church and society. But as we reduce those barriers in the church, we begin to meet one of the greatest challenges that people with disabilities face. When the church does so, the church fulfills 

Disability Concerns
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Sadly, Here We Go Again

After a shooting rampage in Grand Rapids, Police Chief  Belk said he did not know Dantzler's mental-health diagnosis, but said he was "obviously a very troubled individual involved in some horrible activity." Why is Belk speculating about Dantzler's mental-health diagnosis? Whether or not Dantzler had a mental illness is no more relevant

Disability Concerns
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Poverty, Rights, and Disability

If we are serious about our mission as God's agents of renewal in society, our efforts at eliminating injustice, mitigating poverty, and helping people to become self-sustaining need to start with people with disabilities. If every anti-poverty effort, every development initiative, every benevolence committee in every CRC in North America began with the question, "How will this affect people with disabilities?" our work would be transformed dramatically for the better.

Disability Concerns
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Reflections on the Death of Dr. Jack Kevorkian

Although arguments in favor of assisted suicide appeal to dignity and relief from suffering, they always miss the main point: the sanctity of human life. Whenever people are permitted to seek out the assistance of their doctors to take their own lives, society begins to put pressure on some individuals to bring about this final solution to the challenges they face.

Disability Concerns
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Rich's Ride

If you were to ask several people who live with disabilities, “What is the biggest challenge that you face?” They would not start by describing the challenges of day to day living, nor talk about the limitations on their activities. I would guess that most people with disabilities would tell you that the biggest challenge is . . .

Disability Concerns
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James Durbin Blazes a Trail on American Idol

James Durbin found fame on American Idol this season, though he was cut this past Wednesday. I rarely watch American Idol, and I know little about James Durbin or his music. Except this, Durbin lives with Asperger syndrome and with Tourette syndrome. I don’t want to set him up as “an inspiration,” which would do him a disservice, but I do want to set him and the staff of American Idol out as trailblazers.

Disability Concerns
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The Elephant Man Brings Light and Darkness

Near the end of the play, just after being beaten and abandoned by his handlers, he calls after them in a husky voice, “I’m a man. I’m not an animal. I’m not an elephant. I’m a man.” The Elephant Man helps audiences reckon with the painful dehumanization that many people with disabilities experience: gawked at or ignored, left at the margins 

Disability Concerns
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Living Out Our Values

The National Association of Evangelicals produced a document in 2004 called “For the Health of the Nation.” It is not so much about health care reform as about the health of the United States as a nation. The scope of the document reaches far beyond the “traditional” evangelical issues of abortion and marriage. These are 

Disability Concerns
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Chelwood Church Gives and Receives Blessing

When I dream about the church as a welcoming community of God, I picture a church that fully engages people with disabilities in its life and ministry. Some churches have made this a reality, but most are still on the road. Chelwood Christian Reformed Church in Albuquerque has done exceptionally well at including people with intellectual disabilities, so well that this is a significant part of their outreach ministry.

Disability Concerns
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Grandin, Zuckerberg, and Autism

A number of years ago, Wired Magazine published, “The Geek Syndrome,” an article about the high incidence of people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome who live in Silicon Valley, California. Since that time, the connection between technical innovation and autism has been repeated in articles and talks shows...

Disability Concerns
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Bring It On, Satan

Tim Bosch and several of his family members headed to Montreal for a routine checkup for Tim, that is, as routine as a checkup can get for a 15-year-old with brittle bone disease.

Disability Concerns
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God Cares that We Care

A few years ago a friend and former co-worker became a caretaker for her elderly neighbor who lived in what we would call debilitating circumstances. No one asked my friend. She just thought it was her responsibility.

Disability Concerns
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Mental Illness, Isolation, and Ministry

The discussion last week after my post about the Tucson shooting brought home to me all the more clearly that mental illnesses do not affect “those people” over there, but they are us. Pejorative labels like “crazy” and “whacko” only reinforce this separation or stigma which hovers over people with mental illnesses. But the people who live with mental illness are not just those with the disease itself, but also their family members, friends, fellow church members, and society as a whole.

Disability Concerns
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A Second Arizona Tragedy

The first tragedy, of course, is the senseless death of six people and wounding of several others including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords a week and a half ago. A second tragedy arises from the first. This second tragedy follows on the heels of every random act of mass violence.

Disability Concerns
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Dick Clark's Very Public Disability

People reacted in various ways to Dick Clark's continued work after his stroke six years ago. Some laugh at him. Some appreciate him. Some think he should quit. Some are creeped out by him. Some love him. Some are inspired by him. Some swear at him. These are common responses that people with disabilities have to deal with on a day to day basis.

Disability Concerns

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