“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The memory of disability

John Hull, in his article "A spirituality of disability: The Christian heritage as both problem and potential" states,

". . . Only the disabled seem incapable of inclusion within this universal realm of accepting love. We see the force of this if we ask the naive question why there were not disabled people among the group of close disciples to Jesus. There were none, and it would have been impossible that there should have been any, for the simple reason that Jesus would have restored such people to full health. Indeed, such restoration becomes in itself symbolic of the experience of becoming a disciple."

This is an interesting perspective. However, it is also interesting to note how many of the followers of Jesus during the time he walked the earth would have been people who had been healed of disability, persons who had a memory of disability. The metaphor of of becoming a disciple was not lost on me. Later in the article Hull describes how individuals with disability may have a greater experience with the range of human experience. I believe this is particularly true for persons with acquired disability, as for persons which congenital disability, that experience would be their sole experience. Anyway, how interesting to think that the church was born amongst a significant proportion of people who were once literally disabled, and were healed out of that experience. One wonders what effect that perspective had on the foundation of the church. Although Paul was healed from the metaphoric disability of unbelief, his personal disability remained.

Hull at times wonders at the Bible's metaphorical use of disability in connection with sin, which in my mind seems to be the idea which blossomed in the church. Metaphorical disability was equated with actual disability, and metaphorical healing of disability through belief was equated with actual physical healing. The result being the condemnation of persons with disability as either being sinful or faithless (see April 24 posting).


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