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

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"It was easy to see us as people that Jesus loved then and loves now"

I have a good friend named Toby (visit his weblog). He is a man who has significant physical disabilities as a result of being attacked several years ago. He sends emails to a group of people several times a week which are very encouraging, and reflect his thinking about God, Christianity, disability, among other issues. Yesterday he sent out the following email, which I have reproduced here with his permission.
Monday, October 9, 2006 Addition
I think my desire for friends and people that I can identify with has come to a wonderful end. Yesterday, with my Sunday school class of handicapped adults, we got together and went to Huntington Beach and spent the WHOLE DAY at the beach. None of us is perfect, in the normal human sense, but each of us was good company.

I simply cannot understand what people are saying, so I often sit quietly for hours at a time but that’s OK. I don’t even notice when a long period goes by.

There were a number of other adults there who could do other things like get my food for me, get my pills, take me to the restroom, barbecue hot dogs, make smores, put sunblock on me, etc.. I watched them and none of them seemed to think less of us. So it was easy to see us as people that Jesus loved then and loves now.

So you bet your life, I felt at HOME.

A Servant for Christ,

This is the face the church needs to have towards all people, including persons with disabilities. Toby states, "It was easy to see us as people that Jesus loved then and loves now." One might conclude it was easy for him to see, but hopefully it was also easy for those around he and his friends at the beach to see as well. Matthew 9:2 says, "And seeing their faith..." he then goes heal the paralytic on the mat.

Is it easy to see that Jesus loved all people then and loves all people now at your church, at my church? What would it take for that to characterize the captial C church?



Anonymous said...

I Love to hear about the positive things people are doing for the disabled. They are people too and just like everyone else they needs activity and friends in their lives. I have a brother who has a mental disorder and because of that he can at times have some "strange behaviors". In every other sense he thinks, feels, and acts like a "normal" person. He doesn't really have any friends and sometimes he gets very lonely and longs to hang out with his peers. For years my family and I have hoped for and waited for someone to reach out to him and to be a friend to him. I am glad to see that there are people out there who care about others and don't care if they seem a little different. I believe this is the way Jesus has taught us to treat others, and I think we have failed as a society in this.

Anonymous said...

I believe the problem with most people is that they are not exposed to people with disabilities, so therefore they feel very uncomfortable around them. They have no idea that the disabled are really no different than anyone else. It is a natural assumption to believe that people who look different are different. This also applies to different cultures and races. People are afraid of the "unknown." If people with disabilities were prevalent in the churches,the workplace,etc.,the assumptions and feelings toward the disabled would change. The problem is exposure. Most people have not been exposed to being around disabled people. Of course, the "diehard" ignorant ones are still going to exist but a lot of perspectives would change. The big question is how do you achieve the exposure to the masses?

Jeff McNair said...

You make my point perfectly. I would expect to be in a variety of environments and not be exposed to people different from myself, particularly people with disabilities. However, I should never be able to be a member of a Christian church and have no experience with persons with disabilities because they are not there. I say that because I know that if they were invited they would come. So you can assume that if they are not there, they were not invited.


Anonymous said...

I also think that the problem is that most people are not exposed to people with disabilites and because of this they feel uncomfortable around them. From my own experience, when I was younger I took dance classes and another students family took care of men and women with disabilites. Because of this, they were often at the dance studio. Me, being uncomfortable, pretty much avoided them because I didn;t know what to say to them. But just this past week I ran into that same family at the docotrs office. One of the men that the family took care of was still living with them. He and I were left by the rest of the family in the waiting room while the family memebers were seeing the doctor. Well I must say, that I had the most jyous conversation with this man, his name is Rick. I asked him if he had remembered me from the dance studio, he didn't but thats okay. He went on to tell me about were he works and what he does, the television shows that likes to watch, his friday night outing that he does, and many other things. I wondered after the conversation why in all those past years I had been avoidant of him and the others at the dance studio.
So as another person stated I do think that societies feelings and assumuptions towards those with disabilites is because they simply do not know. So in order to fix this, if disabled people are not accepted in the outside world they should be acceoted in the church. We should be interacting with them, talking to them, treating them as equals. If this was done I think that the fears or the unknowns that people have in disabled people would be put aside. So I also believe that it needs to start within the church, a place where everyone is there for the same reason, which is to serve the Lord.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on Jesus loving you then and now. We are forgetting to have compassion and to stop and render aid to those who need it. We should care for each other and love one another just like Jesus loves everyone no matter who we are and what we look like. Society needs to get more educated on those that have special needs so they can understand and care.