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.
Would you like to connect with parents of children with disabilities who share a similar faith story? Sara Pot began a discussion on our forum page. I hope you'll post a comment on the forum too, especially if you are raising a child who has a disability.
The film "Like Stars on Earth" tells the story of an 8-year-old boy who suffers the abuse of classmates, teachers, and even his own parents for his inability to do what most children learn easily. Later, with the help of a temporary art teacher, the boy's life was changed.
Let's keep talking about the affects of the Americans with Disabilities act on churches. How has your church been doing at including people with disabilities? What barriers still need to be overcome in building architecture, or in programming and communication, or in peoples' attitudes?
I visited a church recently. They worship in a beautiful, newly renovated facility. Every aspect of the facility meets code for accessibility: all on one level, pew cutouts, wide doorways, sloped surfaces, accessible parking spaces, accessible restrooms. Unfortunately, code doesn’t always square with the reality of living with a disability.
How often do young people get to push their pastor or building committee chair around in a wheelchair? Not only will youth in church learn about accessibility and empathy for people with disabilities, they will provide a valuable service to the church leadership.
A new documentary, "A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities" by the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, is to begin airing on ABC affiliates December 6. Please call your local ABC affiliate and ask them to air "A Place for All." See Interfaith Broadcasting Commission for more information.
In a comment to my blog post, "Do Older People Have 'Disabilities,'" J Cornelisse wrote: "Isn't it funny how we have so many things to make our lives more convenient (remote controls, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, little things on our key chains to lock and unlock our cars, automatic windows and doors, garage door openers - you get the point) and yet if using a hearing aid or a walker would make our lives easier..."
Most people in North America over age 75 live with a disability (according to Statistics Canada and the US Census Bureau). Yet if you were to ask a group of them to raise their hand if they lived with a disability, very few of them would. My mother lives with such severe dementia that she resides in assisted living. Yet, if someone were to ask...
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...
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
Parenting children requires the wisdom of Solomon, the faith of Mary, the patience of Job, the courage of Deborah, and the strength of Samson when your child moves out of the house. When God calls on parents to raise a child with disabilities, the work takes on added challenges.
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
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.
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.
Last month’s Christianity Today featured a testimony by David Weiss called “God of the Schizophrenic: Rediscovering My Faith Amid the Ravages of Mental Illness.” David puts a face on a disorder that many fear and most misunderstand.
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 . . .
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.
Three new resources: importance of educating all of our children, recognizing the vast impact of mental illness on our youth, learning more about disability and its impact.
Any congregation that is serious about hospitality and serious about justice must recognize that disability isn’t about those people over there, it is about us, and it affects nearly every aspect of church life (as well as society).