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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Programs, relationships and people with disabilities

Programs may lead to cultural change. When there are programs where once were no programs, this is a change in the culture. Whether it is a positive change or a negative change, one that excuses us from doing what is really necessary or one that puts us on the path to further cultural change is the question that must be answered.

There are programs that teach about the change that needs to occur and lead to that change. But there are also programs that are seen as the actual change, as achieving the goal. We must be careful to distinguish between these.

If there is a disability ministry in a church that didn't have one before, it has the potential to begin the cultural change that needs to occur. Excluded people are now present, perhaps spoken about when they hadn't been before. Rarely, however, do churches start out reflecting the maturity that ministries should aspire to. An aspect of that maturity is the recognition of the limitation of programs, by themselves, in achieving maturity. As has often been said in this blog, our desire is to facilitate the changes that come with relationships. But relationships can be very difficult and very demanding on individuals. As a result, we develop programs.

What we are seeking is a cultural change within the church. Programs may help to lead to such change, however, there is much more that needs to surround those programs. Any organization can develop respite programs and recruit volunteers and many secular and religious programs do. This is not to demean these programmatic components. However, the larger question for the church is how these programs are a part of the larger cultural transformation that needs to come in the church.


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