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

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Conversation with a man with glasses

"Can you see me alright?"
"You know I wasn't sure because you are wearing glasses."
"I know I wear glasses."
"Well because you wear glasses, I wasn't sure that you could see me but if you say you can, I guess you would know."
No comment
"You know it must be tough being a man who wears glasses, not being able to see and all if you don't have them. I don't know what I would do if I had to wear glasses."
"You would be fine."
"Well, I would hope so. But what happens if you don't wear your glasses, you probably can't see very well. That must be terrible. I am not sure I would want to live if I had to wear glasses."
"No, actually its not that bad. You get used to it. Actually, I have spent most of my life wearing glasses so I don't really know what it would be like to see clearly without them."
"Well, God bless you for your courage. You are an example to me of succeeding in the face of terrible challenges."
"Sure there are some challenges, but you just live your life."
"Well there but for the grace of God go I, is what I always say.." hesitates, "Oh I didn't mean anything by that."
"No problem."
"I just never know what to say when I am around people who, you know, people who wear glasses."
"We are just people."
"Well, yeah, I guess so, but I just get uncomfortable. You know I have never had any training in how to work with people who wear glasses."
"Work with people who wear glasses?"
"Yeah, you know. Like glasses people education and all. But at my church we have a class for people who wear glasses!"
"That's great" disgustedly.
"Oh, I know! I understand that it is pretty innovative. But our church wants to make a place for everybody, even if they do wear glasses."
"We feel like people with glasses should be treated like a regular member!"
"Like a regular member? You mean they aren't regular members, just like regular members?" (thx mh)
"Yeah, we believe God created all people to be loved and treated the same. That's why we have our special class for people who wear glasses."
"Why can't the people who wear glasses be in with everyone else? You are all pretty much working on the same kinds of things, believe in the same kinds of things, don't you?"
"Huh? What an interesting idea." Pauses. "Yeah, but if we did that, then we would have to make the text on the powerpoints bigger, and would probably have to improve the lighting in the classroom, and what if a glasses person forgot his glasses? Then what do you do?"
"You could help him, support him."
"Yeah, but then the person helping him would not be able to pay attention to the lesson and would miss out on the teaching and all. It would also be distracting for the teacher. I think it is just too much to ask of a church group to sacrifice the teaching so that some glasses guy can be a part of the lesson if he is too irresponsible to remember to bring his glasses. No insult intended."
"But maybe if you made the type bigger, and the lights better, and people needed to help one another it would be better for everyone?"
Hesitates, then laughs. "You're kidding, right?"



Tamara said...

That's just perfect, but I'm having a little trouble with the last anonymous comment on the "I used to have Down syndrome" post -- especially after reading this.

Anonymous mentioned this post, which is why I came back and read it. Anyone can create a disruption in public, and not all people who have MR are disruptive -- and they're certainly not always disruptive. I just don't quite understand what anonymous is referring to.

Julie said...

Oh, wow, this had me laughing at first, but now I feel really saddened.

bethany said...

I LOVE this. I laughed all the way through it, having had similar conversations with people all the time about people with developmental disabilities in the church. I am going to spread this around and hopefully people will get the message.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. I know you won't mind if I use this idea to influence some minds I am working to affect.



Anonymous said...

Wow! You have got to be kidding me! This was not an actual conversation was it? It was scripted as to make a point, right? Of course I get the message in regards to those individuals with special challenges be it cognitive or physical, but this conversation sounds like something right out of an original Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd cartoon!
The point, again was well made I think and with a little comic twist on it! However this conversation shows just how we silly Christians can be, huh?!
You know it's just sad that this is what our (many) churches sound like and look like.

Anonymous said...

I really liked this article. It brings something very common and easy to relate with into a bigger picture. It just shows how although one may have a disability they are just like everyone else. It's not right to treat them any different. Or to have them singled out. Why couldn't they be apart of a church body and why can't some churches accommodate that?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Although this article was a bit to the extreme side of how some people in a church act towards people who are different then them, I feel like it is really important for others to read. The person in the article seems absolutely ridiculous because many people wear glasses or contacts in today’s society, and wearing glasses is not really looked upon as being different. However, the situation can still be seen in the church for those who have more severe disabilities or handicaps, or who are just plain different. Church members so often believe that going to church is all about them and sadly for them it is not. It is our job as believers to reach out to others, and bring glory to God when we attend church. We are supposed to be bringing people into the church, not pushing them away. This is especially important for those who are not accepted in today’s society. As a church, we should be reaching out to those who are not accepted in society, and showing them that they welcomed in the house of God. By keeping those with disabilities separate from the rest of the members of the church, we are not being welcoming. We must include those who are different in everyway we can, this is how we show God’s love.

Anonymous said...

With the help of reading your posts about people with disabilities and your class, my eyes are being opened to something they were blind to before. It is not that I did not see an issue with the way our culture handles people with disabilities, it was just not at the forefront of my mind. The sad thing about this conversation is that I can picture it happening on a regular basis to those with physical or mental disabilities. I cannot imagine the insult they must feel, when they are really the same as any of us. It is really unfortunate that people are treated and viewed this way, yet one thing that I do hope is that there are a lot of people out there, like myself, who are being enlightened on the consideration, care and mutual treatment the disabled deserve. Before, I had sympathy for those who had a child with a disability or even for the person with the disability, yet now I see that we were all created equal in the eyes of God. I also see that the life fulfillment and happiness a person with a disability can have might be superior to others around them.

Anonymous said...

When you put it that way, I guess I have been handicap all my life too. I have worn glasses since I was little and can not see a thing clearly without them. At first I thought I would try to walk around with out them to see how long I could function. Then I realized that that was the point of your blog. I should not have to try to modify myself to be able to see, this is me. My contacts help me to function as a person with cerebral palsy must have a wheel chair to function. If we all just realize that these people are who they are regardless of a disability, then the world would be a better place. We would make adjustments for ourselves if we couldn't see the words on the screen, why not put a little effort into helping someone else also be able to share in the word!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on this from a link on your 12/05/11 post. This is truly amazing on many levels. I began reading and was rather annoyed--I didn't understand at first how you were using the glasses analogy. Many people wear glasses, and wearing glasses is not really considered abnormal or disabling in most situations. But speaking as a person who has a severe visual impairment, there is a lot of truth to this post in some ways. People often do interact with me in this way, sometimes even referring me to their "special class" (for people with cognitive disabilities!) And you should hear the reactions I get when I suggest adding descriptive text to the video segments used in worship! "It would be distracting for the congregation." Yet it is all right for the blind people to miss that piece of worship? The comment is often made to me, "You'll be able to benefit from the music." This would be considered unacceptable for the rest of the congregation--that is the reason such care is taken in selecting the video segment in the first place.