Disabilities and the Church. Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great time with your family and friends over the Holidays. It was a special Christmas for me this year, as my mom paid a visit to help me celebrate my 50th birthday. It was most definitely the highlight of our Holiday, and a visit we will always cherish!
Like so many people I know, I received several books as presents this year. January and February are almost always consumed with reading books I’ve gotten for Christmas. This year looks to be no different!
One of the books I received was “Disney and Philosophy”. How great is that! Two of my favorite pursuits rolled into one book! If you follow our social media pages, you will surely have seen me hanging out at the happiest place on earth. It’s no wonder that I’d chose this book as one of the first I’d dive into this year.
The book is a collection of essays from several different contributors. Each author uses a different Disney movie, theme or aspect of one of the Theme Parks to make a philosophic point. I’m only a couple of chapters into it. But it’s been a fun ride seeing how the different contributors to the book are able to make their point drawing from Disney material.
Thinking About Disabilities
One of the early chapters dealt with how people with disabilities have been, and are currently being portrayed in Disney animated movies. This essay immediately drew my attention. Both David and I have brothers with cognitive disabilities. My wife also deals with chronic illnesses in her daily life. So, as you can see, this chapter held special interest to me.
As I reflected on the chapter more, it occurred to me that people with disabilities are rarely mentioned in the church. Or if they are, it almost always seems to be from a standpoint of trying to heal them. While this notion has good intentions, it has always been a source of unease for me. It seems at times like we are telling people that they really need to have their disability taken care of so they can be “normal”.
Our Awkward Relationship With The Disabled
I know that this isn’t the intention of most people in the church. They are genuinely trying to help those with disabilities. After all, the Bible is full of examples of Jesus healing those with physical, mental and spiritual disabilities. So, shouldn’t we be trying to do the same thing with the people in our midst?
As I completed the chapter in the book, a flood of ideas hit me about how we in the church and we as a society deal with those that disabilities. I think we here at TMC have a unique perspective and a unique voice to offer up on subjects surrounding these types of issues. And I will be exploring them in a series of posts and podcasts in the near future. In doing so, I hope to help us better understand and minister to those with disabilities. And we’ll also be exploring what disabilities tell us about God Himself. I think this will be an interesting journey, and I hope you all find it edifying!
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