How can Canadian churches “build back better,” or—more accurately—create a “new normal” after COVID that’s healthier than the old? I would simply, and strongly, recommend one strategy that works for us at the IDRC: just ask, just listen.
This pandemic may soon be over, but for almost 20% of Canadians who experience some form of disability, the practice of self isolation and physical distancing will not necessarily end. As businesses, churches and community spaces begin to reopen, remember Isaiah 57:14 – 15.
Respecting neurodiversity means not starting with an assumption of what people want or need. Christian discipleship always happens within a specific context. Start with the people who are present and adjust the practices accordingly. It is more complicated than a standard way of discipleship but it is a way that respects that different ways God has created us.
My plea is that congregations will continue to have online worship services long after the pandemic is over.
... people with disabilities are often marginalized as well. Long before Christian Horizons articulated our vision that ‘people who experience disabilities belong to communities in which their God-given gifts are valued and respected’, Jesus helped others see our crucial need to belong. He makes it possible for people to belong.
A kingdom vision is one without hunger, thirst, sickness, loneliness or imprisonment. Rather than, wasting time trying to determine who among us belongs to what category of "the least of these", can we work together and with God toward that vision instead?
Including people with disabilities can be an opportunity for creative disruption in the church and other places in society.
Well I finally did it. After three years of using this thing, I capsized my wheelchair; with me in it.
The wide range of less privileged guests Jesus adds to the VIP list: the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, serves as an indication that interacting with a wide cross-section of the diverse people that God created and loves is important to becoming Christ-like.
In today’s world, people with disabilities are largely ‘othered’, and there’s movement of self-advocacy afoot among them. There’s no telling what can happen when people unite across differences.