What relationships do you have with people who are not yet represented in the decision-making that you are a part of? What steps can you take to connect them with others who would support them in such roles or invite them to imagine themselves in these positions?
It has taken me a long time to even consider sharing the power and platforms I have been given with others who are marginalized. I find this hard because admittedly I am fearful of giving up my power and feeling powerless again.
Crossing the threshold of being disabled myself has been such a privilege and a joy because it has transformed the way I can connect with people. Even if our diagnoses are wildly different, and our bodily experiences seem to have little in common, there’s still a deep understanding of what it is to live in a way that doesn’t always fit the systems of our world.
I do not have a problem with the word “disability.” In my view, disability is not a positive or negative. It just is what it is. Asking if I have disability pride is like asking me if I am proud of my brown hair. I like it. Then again, it is the only hair colour I’ve ever known, and I didn’t do anything to earn it.
I was born with a physical disability known as Cerebral Palsy. As a result I use a power wheelchair: I also live with limited gross and fine motor skills and a visual impairment. Nevertheless, I was taught to believe that all things are possible with God as it says in Phil 4:13. I can do [...]
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.
…we meet countless parents and family members who are battle-worn from advocating for equality and support for their children with disabilities. These parents can be fierce, because they need to be! They are forced to advocate/argue/fight against systems and societal forces that actively discriminate against their children. Too often, they face these same barriers and oppressive attitudes in churches, synagogues, and faith communities that claim to care for all God's children.
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.
He didn’t seem to me to think that Moses’s challenges or limitations were worth focusing on. Instead, he emphasized their relationship. Since Aaron did not focus on his older brother’s challenges or limitations, he caused me to wonder, why should I?
Everywhere we go we are being called brother and sister, daughter and son, mother and father. Everywhere we go we are being called into relationship with the lonely and the forgotten, the sidelined and the left behind. Everywhere we go voices are calling us to be more than we ever thought we could be. May we all have the faith to call one another into the reverberations of the love of God, and to answer that call when it comes.