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

Thursday, November 21, 2019

JCID The Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability is now FREE!

At the Christian Institute on Disability, a part of the Joni and Friends organization, we have been publishing a journal since 2012. Up till now, there was a cost for subscription or for individual articles. Recently, we have worked to put JCID completely online and make it free for users. I would invite you to visit the website and check it out!
If you go here https://journal.joniandfriends.org/index.php/jcid you will be taken to the latest issue where you can read Dr. Ben Rhodes and my article entitled, Toward a Christian Model of Disability. You will also be able to read some responses from leaders in disability ministry to the ideas presented there.

So please take a minute, visit the website and read the articles!
God bless,

Segregation of persons with disabilities

I was recently in a meeting where I was sharing about the importance of people being fully integrated into the church. Change in church culture begins with presence. See a discussion of this here.
One parent of an adult son spoke up. I will paraphrase the person, but the comment was basically, "I want segregation! Segregation is the best thing for my son!" When I pushed back gently, the response was, "I want a place (referring to a segregated ministry that meets once a month on a week night) where no one will look at my son as if he is different. I want a place where he will be accepted. So that is why I want segregation."
I responded that "If there are places where your son experiences that kind of treatment, I can understand why you would feel that way. However, how will those places ever change if there is not integration?"
If the person's son is always segregated and is never in contact with other members of the community, then his presence will always be strange because his presence is unusual. However, should that same son be regularly in the mix with everyone else, he will become familiar and hopefully invited to friendship with others. Persons with disabilities are actually very common members of our community unless we isolate them from the community. We make people who are just people seem strange by the social isolation we impose upon them and we shouldn't do that.
Should people fear integrating family members, particularly those with severe disabilities into the community? I can see their concerns, particularly if people have experienced some form of discrimination or poor treatment in the past. It is our natural reaction to protect ourselves or our children. But at the same time, change in our communities will never occur if people are segregated. It is only presence that will lead to cultural change in how we do things. This is true in the church when our traditional ways of doing things can get in the way of the changes that need to occur for integration to take place.
Arguably, the very first step in cultural change is presence. Let's do all we can to facilitate the presence and then model the acceptance that we endeavor to see.