Guest blogger, Derek Miedema, shares his experience as the son and twin brother of people with disabilities.
In the 1960s and early ’70s, U.S. military personnel were often treated shamefully upon returning to civilian life. I hope that your church will consider ministry with veterans as a significant way to serve men, women, and families who gave so much for their country.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will not right all the wrongs committed against people with various disabling conditions, but it puts a line in the sand that squares with the message of Jesus.
Mostly, we don't want to speak and act with prejudice, but too often hear ourselves saying, "Oops, I did it again." And our prejudices bleed into every aspect of human difference: ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender, social class, to name a few examples.
Many people loathe December and January. Holiday parties can bring pain along with joy. People renew old tensions, unbury hatchets, and pronounce judgments on others. Perhaps even worse, some people sit home alone, uninvited to gatherings with loneliness blowing cold like a winter draft.
Guest blogger, Marlene Natelborg, reminds readers that our choices about candles, cleaning products, perfume and aftershave can create problems for some people and even keep them away from worship. Our daily choices can hurt or help.
People need an opportunity “to sing and to pray. . . . to offer up the pain, the loneliness, the sad and dark memories, and the anxiety and fear to the one whose birth we eagerly await, Jesus Christ. . . . to find hope and peace in this service and comfort in knowing that you are not alone.”
Diekema has identified for church leaders yet another gift that people with disabilities bring to their churches. They can challenge congregations for underestimating anyone who lives with disability, and they can serve as mentors to the entire congregation...
I wrote this devotional for the Strangers in the Land devotional series from the Office of Social Justice of the Christian Reformed Church.
Following these resolutions won't cost your church a penny. More importantly, becoming a welcoming congregation to people who have disabilities will help your church think through what Christian hospitality and love are really about. You’ll be a better and more loving community for the effort, and 2014 will bring new blessings that you couldn’t possibly imagine.
A campaign of misinformation brought about the defeat of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the U.S. Senate last December. Likely, a motion to ratify it will be brought to the Senate Foreign Relations committee this June. Now is the time to begin contacting Senators to correct that misinformation so the next vote to ratify will be successful.
Healthy churches think about and work at hospitality. Like our Lord himself, they give and receive hospitality graciously. In the body of Christ, all of us are hosts and all of us are guests. All of us reflect the Lord himself, who received and gave. All of us have something to give and something to receive from each other.
"People shouldn't dismiss people like me just because I sound different. In that sense, I'd like them to think of it as little more than an accent. However, I also can't get away from the reality that it is a disability, it has caused me to struggle throughout my life, just to communicate."
I have a dream that the body of Christ will show society how welcome and hospitality are done right. I have a dream that the body of Christ will be the first place people living with disabilities will go to find acceptance, warmth, and opportunities to use their gifts in meaningful ways.
It must be terribly frightening to see one’s abilities slowly fade. I do not yet live with losses like this, so I do not want to speak lightly of them. But many, many other people do live joyfully with disabilities of various kinds, including loss of eyesight and Parkinson’s.
I celebrate the accomplishments of Derrick Coleman and Nick Vujicic and the others, but I want to get to know people on their own terms. I don’t want to paint anyone with stereotypes that have been formed in my mind by media. But how do I do that?
People with autism seem to be wrapped up in their own little world. Yet, Higashida breaks that stereotype in his book. He is keenly aware of his environment, other people, and his effect on others. Higashida feels deeply when his behavior hurts others, or when he behaves in ways that others misconstrue.
The means by which violence is perpetrated against people with disabilities varies widely, but the statistics clearly indicate that people with disabilities are much more likely to have emotional and physical violence perpetrated against them than the general population.
If you live with a disability, what has your church done so that you know you a part of the church community? Or parents of a child with a disability, how did you know that you AND your child were welcome? Or church leaders, what is your church doing to welcome someone who is living with a disability?