As part of his keynote address Tom played the keyboard and encouraged audience participation to demonstrate some of the blues techniques he used as metaphor. This image shows a piano keyboard lit with blue light.

Like Jazz musicians, church leaders need to become masterful at holding tension and refrain from resolving it prematurely. Rather than encouraging others to strictly preach victory in Jesus, perhaps we need to make space for people to find their own voices and speak their hurts or cry out to God.  Read More →

Chantal is waving a ribbon attached to a stick. She is wearing a bright blue tank top and an orange patterned skirt. She is sitting in her orange wheelchair and smiling at the camera.

The therapeutic response to chronic illness or disability is usually rest and pacing. However we live in a society where that is increasingly discouraged, if not impossible. Most people’s temptation is to change their circumstances or to find solutions quickly, rather than trust that God will provide what is needed. Instead, Mary conveys a sense of peace from the beginning.  It is this sense of peace which comes from God, and trusting in God, that I think empowered Mary and can also empower us to respond to whatever we face thoughtfully and prayerfully. Read More →

Wentworth Miller says when you’re in survival mode, there isn’t space for “we” or “community.” It becomes all about “I” and “me.” He is not relating specifically to the challenges of disability, or faith communities fostering , but he shares valuable information about the challenges that may arise if you feel singular, different, and alone; if you have to spend the majority of your days in survival mode over the long term. Read More →

Movie poster for Encanto shows the Madrigal family standing in front of their enchanted home. Text reads "There's a little magic in all of us ...almost all of us. Disney Encanto"

Mirabel Madrigal does not have a visible disability but many people with disabilities may relate to her in some ways. […] The Madrigal family initially characterizes Mirabel as “unexceptional,” and “not special.” […] people with disabilities are often characterized in opposite terminology, being referred to as “special” or “exceptional.” However, the premise of the distinction is similar Read More →

When such assumptions concerning the connection between faith and chronic illness or disability do not pan out over the long term, they may lead some people with disabilities and their families to a fork in their spiritual journeys. Option one being the belief that “God is a real jerk.” Option two being the belief that “people with disabilities must be horrible people to deserve this much ‘extra punishment’.” Read More →

A hand holds up a film clapper for The Chosen Season 2 in front of actors in costume playing little James and Matthew.

One of the reasons I am especially grateful to writers and producers of The Chosen series is for their faithful portrayals of various Bible characters with different disabilities throughout the series, and for their insight into how some of Jesus’ disciples might have very well been people with disabilities. In so doing they show that people with disabilities do not need to be cured in order to follow Jesus or to serve him well. Read More →

A black and white still photo of the shepherd from the pilot episode of The Chosen. text reads "The Shepherd: pilot episode."

The Chosen pilot episode conveys the truth that the presence of wounds or a disability does not preclude gaining godly wisdom. Rejection from a religious establishment or faith community does not preclude you from becoming close with Jesus. In fact, such hardships might just put you in the right place at the right time for a much more intimate encounter with the Lord. Read More →