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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Disability and the Church

The Disability Studies Institute of California Baptist University is interested in creating a snapshot of the current status of the Christian community's interaction with people with disabilities. To that end, a survey has been created to elicit input from various parties. This brief survey is available at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22EPTEFHACK . We are hoping that individuals and representatives of church, parachurch organizations, or other Christian faith-based organizations will participate in this study by completing the survey. It is our desire to have as broad a representation
as possible so please forward this survey link to anyone who might be interested in being involved. We appreciate your participation in this foundational study of the Christian community's interaction with people with disabilities.

George White
Jeff McNair

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

6 minutes


A friend of mine sent me this link.  It is very simple, nothing special going on in the video.  But it is also incredibly powerful in its simplicity.

The video shows a boy in a wheelchair in a crowd of children.  He is just sitting there, looking around, perhaps attempting to get attention with his looks at the other children.  However, for the entire video, no one looks at him, interacts with him, talks to him.  He might as well be a piece of furniture.

In the society of that school, that classroom, he is ignored.  I guess it is OK to ignore someone like him.  Perhaps he is perceived as having nothing to offer in terms of friendship.  Perhaps he is deemed to be too difficult to communicate with as he does use some sign language at the end of the video.  It appears obvious that he can understand speech from the way he interacts with the person who speaks with him briefly at the end.

We only see the boy for 6 minutes, and my hope, my prayer is that this was an unusual occurrance.  But I suspect it isn't, as society is reflected in that 6 minutes.  I don't accuse the children or even the teachers because I know how I am.  I know how I get busy and ignore those around me.  I have a friend with whom I should spend more time and he always provides my excuse for me when we are together.  "I know you are busy" he says, forgiving me for not being present.  Easy for me to forgive myself when I am not present to others who would appreciate my presence.

But when you see it portrayed as it is in this brief video, and see yourself in those ignoring the boy, it is difficult to forgive yourself.  Not a word, kind or otherwise.  Not a look, not an invitation to do what they were doing.  Nothing.  As if he wasn't there.  He might as well not be there from the perspective of those in that enviornment.

I, we have to do better.