One Sunday morning, sitting in middle of row, Ryan was having a very hard time. Several times, during the sermon, he made shriek-like screams, frightening noises. He was scaring people in church. Pastor Steve wondered what to do.
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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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Work was one of the many blessings God gave to humankind when they were created. (Genesis 1:22 and 2:15) As a society, we need to do everything possible to provide our citizens opportunities to work. These opportunities must include supported employment such as sheltered workshops.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.