Church leaders and members feel tempted to do the work of mercy and call it a day.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Our summer issue of Breaking Barriers featured articles on recreation and disability. Here's one, by Wendy Wassink, about the miracles God wrought to make it possible for her son Shawn to play hockey on a team. Other articles highlight therapeutic riding, summer camp, and more.
"We are all a part of God's story, and trusting Him through the twists and turns isn't easy. At the heart of our stories is the essence of belonging - to each other and to Him. And we need to know that we belong - even with our abnormalities and idiosyncrasies." - Sara Pot
"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."
Let's not eliminate all segregated classrooms and sheltered work and congregate activities. Let's work against ableism, including the implicit ableism that in a patronistic way seeks to eliminate valid choices for activities made by some people with disabilities.
The novel, Divine Towels by Beau Jason McGlynn, describes a mother and son, Claire and Ethan, who are led by God to begin a healing ministry called Divine Towels. By washing the feet of those seeking to be healed God uses Claire and Ethan to effect healing.
In 1867 San Francisco city leaders declared, “Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, or an improper person to be allowed in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares or public places in the City of County of San Francisco, shall not therein or thereon expose himself or herself to public view.”
This summer, synod encouraged all Christian Reformed churches to adopt a church policy on disability and to appoint at least one person in the congregation to serve as a church disability advocate. Has your church taken both of these steps?
About 10 years ago, the Greater Palisades classis of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) offered their denomination $25,000 to start an RCA disability ministry. This substantial offer prompted the RCA General Synod Council (GSC) to investigate the possibility of working closely with CRC Disability Concerns.
The briefcase moved with us over the years and eventually ended up in the basement of our current home. As I brought the briefcase upstairs, its usefulness was apparent. It was dirty, ripped, and rusted in its hardware. But now it was destined to go in the trash. I noticed that it still had something inside.
If you have experienced a stroke and are involved in a church community, Dr. Peggy Goetz and her student assistants would like to be in touch with you for a study Goetz is conducting. She would like to interview stroke survivors and attend worship and other church activities with them over the course of several weeks
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.
I am almost totally isolated, as my son who lives locally sees me near Mother's day, my birthday and near Christmas. We have been doing the drive thru and eating in his car for a few years. It works quite well, tho there are some frags to deal with after. Even with this limited exposure, I am doing physical harm, but a mom needs to see her family.
In spite of the facts, the media, talk show hosts, humorists, bloggers, and uninformed citizens insist that people with mental illnesses pose a threat of violence. The myth that people with mental illness are violent creates demands for unwarranted limitations on their rights and freedoms.
As issues started coming up, we had to make decisions together. When should mom stop driving? Is she using the stove safely? Is she taking her meds correctly? When do we need to consider moving mom into assisted living? Facing such decisions can bring out old tensions and even tear families apart. We did not want this to happen to us.
Mental health is not a particularly religious term. But the concern for wellness, for healing and recovery, and for the effects of illness and disease are part of spiritual care. It has never been easy for individuals suffering from brain disorders to find place among us.