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

Monday, May 19, 2008

The ultimate in legal rejection

Sometimes I post things on this blog and people don't believe me. "It can't be as bad as you suggest" they sometimes say. It is always my prayer that I am wrong, that there is much more going on than meets the eye. But, for example, if there are 100 churches in the area of the country where I live (the Inland Empire of Southern California) who are working to reach out and include people with disabilities, then that means that only 10-12% of churches in my region of the country are reaching out to people with disabilities.

At times, we are also doing just the opposite, and at times the ridiculous nature of what we are doing is hit by the light of day. Why would the story about a child with autism's relationship with a local church be noteworthy? Was it because the church had dramatically changed the way they do things such that such individuals could be involved? Could it be that special programs were developed so that children with autism could be involved at the church? Those stories could be written, but all it takes is one of the following stories to short circuit the wonderful work of other churches.

The following is in reference to an article is by Terry Gruca, a reporter at wcco.com. In it she describes how a church took out a restraining order to prevent a 13 year old boy, who is a big guy from the description given from attending the church because he becomes violent or has loud outbursts. If such a child attends church, at least the church in the article, he is to be arrested.

As comedians sometimes say, "I couldn't make this stuff up." But this is not funny. This is tragic. It says that for some people there is NO place within the Body of Jesus Christ. If fact if you attempt to be a part of the Body of Christ, we will arrest you.

Talk about resistance to change.

This church is representing to the community that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would arrest disabled people for attempting to go to church. I wonder about the violence and loud outbursts. I mean loud outbursts are 50% of the reason why this young man would be arrested for attending church.

All I can say is God bless and God protect the mother of this man for her desire to take him to church, and her faith in God, in being unwilling to reject God in the way that what would be self-describing followers of God have rejected her.

"Sure you are critical of this situation, but what would you do, Jeff?"

Lets assume for a moment that the young man is violent and it remains to be seen what violence means in reference to a person with autism. But even so, does violence justify a person being excluded from the Body of Christ? My answer is NO. Don't expect me to have the young man working with the babies or children, however, I will create a place for potentially violent people so that they can be a part of the Body of Christ. I will not file restraining orders against them.

This is so very sad. May God forgive his church for such acts.



Anonymous said...

As I heard about this issue in class I felt a sense of extreme disappointment in the church of Jesus Christ. So many times the church reacts to situations while thinking that they are protecting God's children and, in some way, preserving the church. However, what the church does not see is the hurt and pain they are causing to those on the other side of the spectrum, those who might not be considered "normal." That term has always bothered me. What is "normal" anyway? It is a term that society has created for their definition of the average person. However why would anyone desire to conform to our society's definition of normal? I sure don't want to. As far as I'm concerned, this society does nothing but aggravate and insult me as a Christian woman. I feel terribly sorry for this church from the article who thinks they are displaying the love and grace of Jesus Christ. I know at my church we have recently created a "cry room" for the new moms to sit in with their babies so they do no interrupt the message. The room is sound proof, however anyone sitting inside can still watch and hear the pastor and the worship music. This does not seem like a bad idea for those exceptional children of God who may have outbursts. At least this solution does not cause any arrests to occur. Just a suggestion...

Anonymous said...

The Christian church is a big disappointment. It often seems like such a huge machine. It is concerned with their appearance, and paying the bills. I have not found many churches in my area to be on a deeper level than this. We have gone so far off of the tracks that it will take much to get back where we should be.

It seems like if Jesus was the church’s example than they would be loving, patient and accepting just like him. Instead, I get dirty looks for wearing flip-flops to church. I think the stuffiness of church need to end. The bond of community members needs to return to this place. Church should be a place where people can come with their problems and let their guard down. It should be a place on inspiration and hope, not judgment from old ladies in the first pew.

The church needs a radical make over to represent the community it surrounds. All people, even the ones with mental and physical disabilities should be welcomed and treasured as members of the body of Christ. Each person was created by God to serve a special purpose and the church is messing this part up. American churches really need to wake up and do a better job of serving the community instead of ignoring it.

Anonymous said...

After reading this blog about the young autism boy who had a restraining order put on him if he ever attends their church again breaks my heart. I was really shocked when I was reading this because although I have heard people say how people with disabilities can be disruptive I never thought a church of Jesus Christ would do such a thing. As we have talked about this issue a lot in class I don’t understand why followers of Jesus Christ are so quick to judge those with disabilities or those who are considered to be “not normal”. We as Christians should be the ones fighting to get them into church and teach them about our Lord even if they may not fully understand being in the church it is an amazing experience and time that we get to spend with God personally that no individual should be rejected from. Disabled people can’t not change who they are or control the outburst that they have, but we as a Church should find a way to change the structure of our church that allows all people to participate even those who are seen as different. There is no reason that we can’t change we have the ability so why don’t we? We need to continue to ask ourselves in everything that we do what would Jesus do? Honestly I have to say I’m ashamed of this church, but then I must also question every other church that may be doing the exact same thing. We have to change as followers of Christ and do what is right, open our hearts, and let the glory of God be shown in us.

Anonymous said...

I read the article, but feel like there are a few details missing to the story. Was the boy violent in church? Was there a reason the church would want a restraining order? What really happened here?
I agree that churches need to be more accomodating to people with special cericustances that want to attend church. As sisters and brothers in Christ, we are called to love one another. It does not say love only those who are adults and sit quietly in church. I have my own issues with my church. As a young mother a few years back I took my 2 little girls to church on Easter. I was not late. The children's classes were full and I was turned away. When I tried to take them to church to sit with me in the balcony, I was also turned away because they said they do not allow young children in the service. I left saddened that day. When a church becomes more concerned about numbers than about people, something is wrong. I sympathize with those who have greater difficulties being accepted than I did that day. A church sould welcome people, all people.