1 Corinthians 12:22 "the parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable."
I always pray for new insights regarding things related to the church and persons with disabilities.
The insight that recently came to me, was related to the part of the verse that says "seems weaker." The rest of the passage indicates that persons who seem weaker are indispensable, but it doesn't address why they only seem weaker when in reality they are not. This is the new insight I received this morning. People with disabilities have the potential to cause wholesale change the church and the traditions of the church with their presence. So they may seem weak but the power of their presence is actually so powerful that if embraced it will change everything within the church. They are therefore, both indispensable and incredibly powerful to change the church...though seemingly weaker.
1 Corinthians1:27-29, particularly verse 27 says "God chose what is weak in the world to shame the wise." When one is shamed, one is expected to do something in response to the shaming, perhaps a change in one's behavior, apologizes, etc. Coupled with 1 Corinthians 12:22 the seemingly weaker will shame the wiser, potentially to bring change.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 says, God chose what is
-low and despised in the world
-even things that are not
-to bring to nothing things that are
-so that no human being might boast in the presence of God
It involves the bringing of change
-bringing to nothing things that are (perhaps traditions)
God is strong in weakness. If we allow God to use our weakness, he will act powerfully. People seem weaker because we don't see their weakness in concert with God's power. Using the understanding of weakness/power given us by the world, we see people as weak because in part we see them, in themselves, and don't understand God's purposes, particularly in weakness. They therefore seem weaker.
Now power can be displayed in at least two ways. Power can come from being over others.
Power can come from being necessary to others, in being indispensable to others.
Arguably, the power of those who seem weaker (they seem so but actually are not) is the second type in that they are powerful in what their presence allows or causes the whole body to become. However, I can see what I might become with their presence, decide I don't want to become that thing, nullify their actual power, and relegate them to being perceived as weak. But I might also be blinded to the changes their power exercised would bring and so do not find out what the change would be. I probably need to first include them and then see where I would be taken in terms of change.
Powerful people may exert their power over others and cause some type of change. But the type of change we are discussing is not that exerted by the powerful, but rather the relinquishing of power to the "weak" by allowing the changes they bring. Power is being transferred to them in the changes they bring. They will enjoy the changes they bring, but they are not changes they in any way actively sought (particularly those with more severe disabilities).
Foucault would say that when people resist, it is evidence that power is being exerted. The resistance of churches and church leaders could therefore be evidence of the unintentional exercise of the power of the week, simply by their presence. The rejection by the church of this power to change (acquiesce to change by the church) might thus be the reason why those who are indispensable, seem weaker.
The pressure to love is another form of this power people exert over one another. They may actually say, "You must love me!" but rarely so. But with the Bible in one hand and the person needing some loving response from me present at the same time, the power of the Bible's command to love exercises power over those who would submit to becoming aware of it/the situation. The responsibility to love is power over a person. Think about this in reference to 1 Corinthians 13.