ministry@karis.org

Disability and Faith

Unshaken Kingdom: Disruption, Transformation, and the Accessible Church

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.

Ableism in two acts

These two stories may seem quite different – in the first I was overlooked and in the second I was singled out – but the experience of both was similar. Sitting on my walker meant that I was perceived differently than the people around me.

Nostalgia for what is yet to come

This vision of what can be is something I long for. It’s as if I’m nostalgic for what will be, and not what was. These days, diversity in nation, tribe, people, and language are things that keep us apart.

The Gap Between Disability and Community

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.

Celebrant

So much of what we do on a daily basis we do without qualifications. We walk through every conceivable season of a person’s life with them because we are the ones who happen to be present when the call comes.

The Word Made Flesh

While the incarnation is a unique event in Christian theology, the experience of embodiment is not. I have found the image of the Word made flesh to be a powerful paradigm for seeing the experience of my minimally verbal children, both in their relationships with me and their expression of faith.

Just ask, just listen

  He was middle aged, had Down Syndrome, and spoke no English, but he said hello and quickly answered my introductory question about how long he had worked in that shop.  I apologized for not understanding his answer and he realized that I was at a disadvantage in this conversation. 

every body belongs in The Body

Then the pandemic hit and everything moved online.  Our church hosted multiple online ways to connect: Zoom calls, online teaching, podcasts, Instagram and Facebook communities, virtual camp, book clubs, park meetups, subscription boxes and more.  I could fully integrate into the life of our church community and it was wonderful.

Ableism in the Church: Jesus is Not Ableist

Even if the statistics were less significant, accessibility should still be a priority considering that Jesus taught us to go out of our way to accommodate 1, rather than 99 sheep. Many churches do not make decisions which demonstrate that even one sheep matters.

Ableism in the Church: Spiritual Trauma

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’.”

Go to Top