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

Monday, May 17, 2010

Autism & Alleluias

I was contacted recently about reviewing the new book, Autism & Alleluias here. The book is written by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc and as my friend Bill Gaventa describes in the Forward is like a "book of modern day psalms." I think it is the kind of book that parents or family members of an individual with autism would read and find encouraging. The reader gets a snapshot of life experience with someone with autism, and then is pointed back to scripture, faith, prayer in integrating that experience. The average reader will find this book very accessible. I think it would also give someone who isn't very experienced about life with a child with autism many insights into the challenges that parents and families face.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Growing pains

Something occurred to me the other day, actually in the midst of doing a presentation at the Joni and friends conference in Pasadena this past weekend. The changes that the church is/will be/should be going through are going to cause discomfort, perhaps emotional distress to those who want to keep things the same. I have commented elsewhere in this blog that there are those who want video screens or texting questions to the pastor, or some other change, and think they are being so innovative. It is the preoccupation with all things technology. To some this is "painful" as pastors aren't behind podiums and the music is different (I can remember when electric guitars were cutting edge, which only tells you how old I am). But though the presentation is different the message, those present, and the focus are pretty much the same.

The kind of change that I am talking about is the change that comes from including all of the people who would want to be part of a church in the church. People are much more willing to buy a video screen then they are to be inclusive. We still have heated discussions (happened this past Saturday) about whether people with disabilities should be integrated into church programs. We still desire to segregate them. I compared it to cutting off my foot or hand and placing it across the room. It should be a part of me, but it isn't because it is separated. To me that implies we are trying to be something that we might call the "church" (an idea of the church) when we should be becoming the Body of Christ. Please don't get me wrong...The Church is the answer. No doubt about it. However, I don't think it is the church the way it currently is because the church the way it currently is is exclusionary. It is a form of church.

The idea that I had while presenting this past weekend, is that the "difficulties" the church faces as it changes to include all people, are growing pains.
I think they are the growing pains that happen when the "church" becomes the Body of Christ.
I therefore embrace the challenges, the discomfort, the wondering what to do. I will even embrace the errors that come with trying to do something not quite done before. All those are the growing pains of the "church" becoming the Body of Christ.

I remember being a gangly 14 year old who was 6'5". I had to think about walking I was so uncoordinated. That is how the church would be and at times,currently is if it is embracing those with disability in its midst. It is ungainly and uncoordinated. It is experiencing a period of growth it hasn't for a long time. Embrace the pain that comes with growth. Pain usually causes you to do things differently than the way you used to do them. Bring on the pain and seek God in the midst of growth.