I recently had the opportunity to attend a training on the sanctity of life put on by the Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agenty at Syracuse University. The training was outstanding and was very eye opening on a variety of levels, however, one of the lessons to me was that I came away with an insight into the potential protective function of the Church in a variety of areas.
First in terms of advocating and looking out for the safety of persons with disabilities, whether it be from bad people in the community, or human services, or even a stay in the hospital. The presence of the a community member in those settings works wonders in terms of changing the perceptions of those around a person with disabilities.
Second in terms of the unborn. If people with disabilities were really enfolded into the local church, people would not be able to make the arguments they make to justify the killing of unborn babies. Quality of life (although it is largely a spurious argument) is believed as an argument by many. If it could be demonstrated that people who are involved in churches are happy and enfolded, it would go a long way to protect their lives before they were born. It would also go a long way in assisting parents to want to have a child with a disability if they are considering terminating the life of an unborn child. They would see an environment where they were supported which would translate to support for their own child.
Other areas might be envisioned as well. But to the degree that we as the Church are not including and supporting persons with disabilities is the degree to which we expose them to devaluing and even death. Go back and look at Ezekiel 34 again. Because we have not brought them in, we place them at risk.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
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I recently had a child and my wife took that horrible test that says your child may have down syndrome. My wife was very upset and got a good majority of her family upset as well. My family on the other hand has already had a number of children and grandchildren so we were aware of the flawed nature of the tests. When they give you the results to these tests they should recommend that you talk to someone from your church, or someone who can counsel you. These tests encourage people to abort, without having a real knowledge of what it is that they are doing. The church should be there for pregnant women. If they knew that they had some kind of support, it would make it alot easier to make a good decision. The church needs to bring up discussions about this topic and encourage people to be educated before making a decision that they can't take back. The tests should be fought. The church should stand up and try to pursue litigation that would make these tests totally voluntary and remove the pressure that is put on women to put themselves in this unnecessarily scary situation.
Michael Scott 252002
I never considered the protection that a church family could offer an individual with disabilities (physical or cognitive). I am not niave to think that these individuals are not targeted, but I had not thought long enough about their vulnerability to realizejust how much of an easy target they are to those willing to take advantage of them. I think I didn't think of this because I would never consider to do such a thing. The thought of taking advantage of someone with a disability is enraging, but I forget the effects of our fallen state of our world affects individuals. I think that we as a church miss many opportunities to do what is right. And that is help those in need.
Your second lesson builds upon your first lesson. If we sought out opportunities to help those in need, those with disabilities and even those without, we would realize that all life is important and all can have a experiences of God's blessings. I remember when I first volunteered at a youth group. I thought of all I had to offer to those students. How my life experiences would help them to gain a greater perspective and insight into life. But I found that they had so much more to offer me. I believe they taught me more about God and life than I could have ever taught them. Yeah I was able to prepare messages for them that have Spritiual insight, and application of God's Word, but they taught me much more by my experiences with them as they struggled in their walk with God. More than any message I could have given them. I think we could have a similar situation with those who are disabled, if we would just step up to the plate, reached out and help those in need.
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