Most often, we Christians don’t feel a particularly warm response toward laws that impose themselves on church practices such as our facilities and our public events. But someone sent me an article recently that celebrates a law that requires churches to comply.
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As a church becomes an active and visible place for inclusion of everybody within their midst, that church will become attractive and welcoming for any neighbor seeking a place to name and take pleasure in the “good news expressed in my church.”
“In a typical congregation of 200 adults, 50 will experience depression at some point, and at least 30 are currently taking antidepressants.” (Dan Blazer, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, in Christianity Today, March 2009). What could that mean for your church's preaching, programming, pastoral care, and congregational care?
As congregational members who do not have intellectual disabilities engage week in and week out with those who do, everyone learns and grows. People have to learn how to talk with others who are much different from them. That requires everyone to take risks, to reach out to one another, to have awkward conversations that will, over time, become less awkward.
The chairman led a team of volunteers and journalists to rescue the boy who had been tied and chained to his bed and locked up for 10 years. The rescue operation shocked neighbors, many of whom appeared not to have known that there was such a child in the home.
Ratifying this international treaty will not right all the wrongs committed against people with disabling conditions, but it puts a line in the sand that squares with the message of Jesus.
Over 100 ministry leaders from across North America gathered in Grand Rapids, MI, for an afternoon of discussion and learning about doing ministry with students living with autism; hearing, visual, and mobility impairments; mental health challenges; and other disabilities.
Robin Williams was first a comedian who happened to be suffering from mental health issues. He was not trying to mask his mental illness any more than I was trying to mask my mental health illness with preaching.
Susie Angel talks about the rejection and the welcome she experienced in churches as a person with cerebral palsy. She says, "God needed me for a purpose to be the way I am, that purpose was to teach able-bodied people that it was okay to be different."
The spread effect is one of several factors that result in more people with disabilities living at the lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum of all North Americans.