It has been a while since I have posted here! I am hoping to get back into posting so cross your fingers!
Recently, I have been thinking about a Wolfensberger idea regarding the prophetic presence of persons with disabilities. He talks about it in his writing a bit. I am working on expanding his idea.
I have a friend and colleague, Dr. Keith Walters, and we have become kind of political foils to each other. Our conversations are just the type that people should have with those with whom they don't completely agree. Our talks are deep, at times contentious, but always friendly and always fun. I am confident we have each influenced each other's thoughts through them (I think we would both like to think we have had a greater impact on the other, HAHA!).
In one of our conversations regarding the political climate, Keith said something to the effect of understanding the difference between allegiance to relationships vs. allegiance to ideas. Particularly from a Christian perspective, clearly we hold allegiance to our ideas, however, we don't jettison relationships over them. We are called to be in relationships with people who do not agree with our ideas. The plan is that perhaps through our winsome arguments, we can influence them.
However, in the context of disability, particularly intellectual disability, we see Keith's idea played out in their prophetic presence within the church and Christian community. Because of their intellectual disability, they may not have the bandwidth to engage in deep thinking about ideas. However, that causes them to be people who are relationship focused. Are you a democrat? I don't care. Are you a republican? I don't care. I just care about you. Our relationship is the most important thing.
As an older guy, I have friends who have lost contact with their children. Because of a relationship that has been broken in some way, they may not have spoken to a person for decades. I wonder if this might have been the issue there. Differences in thought about politics or religion or myriad other issues destroyed the relationship. I don't think as Christians and even just as people, we are called to that. This is what the cancel culture is about. The media teaches us, encourages us batters us with the idea that people with who whom we disagree are stupid or evil.
DON'T BUY THAT!
They really don't believe what they are selling and they are selling this. They get you to cancel relationships and then praise you for your intolerance. Both sides in the political debate get you worked up, almost addicted to their diatribe so you will be "hooked" on their position and keep coming back.
But back to individuals with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual disabilities. Their presence teaches us, in a prophetic way, to turn away from cancelling others because of their ideas and holding tight to your allegiance to relationships. It is a lesson we really need to learn from them today!