Over the next couple of weeks I will be working on a sermon and bible study for my classwork at the Hatchery. These are not two things I am very comfortable with, either giving or receiving. So to help overcome my discomfort I will be writing some posts throughout the process, sharing what I’ve learned, in the hopes that it will benefit someone. At the end, I will make the bible study (and maybe the sermon, if you ask nicely) available to use in your community.
The texts I will be teaching/preaching are Deuteronomy 28, and 2 Kings 5. These aren’t arbitrary selections. Both of these texts have serious implications for the way our faith communities understand and respond to persons with disabilities. In Deuteronomy 28 we see a long list of blessings, and an even longer list of curses, for those who obey/disobey God’s commandments. Continue reading “Blessings and Curses”
I have come across some articles recently about the subminimum wage for some persons with disabilities. Under Federal law, employers can receive an exemption to pay workers with disabilities less than the Federal minimum wage. There was an executive order passed that tries to correct this situation by giving access to job training services and vocational rehabilitation. Continue reading “Alternative Economics”
Last week was Adult VBS with Walter Brueggemann.
The whole experience was a much needed reminder as to why I wanted to move across the country to be a part of a brand new program. Those five days were extremely fruitful for new ideas and perspectives, some of which I will be posting about in the coming days and weeks. But I wanted to make a brief post reflecting on my project in light of my Adult VBS experience. Continue reading “Lament for the Helpless”
One of the many highlights of moving to LA to do the Hatchery has been getting to meet really great people. Writer, philosopher, and storyteller Peter Rollins is one of those people. We sat down for a chat about how his work has influenced my own, and how I’m (trying to) apply those ideas to my project. Continue reading “A Theology of the Absurd with Peter Rollins”
Amos Yong, director of the Center for Missiological Research and Professor of Theology and Mission at the School of Interculture Studies, joined me to discuss theology, disability, and how growing up with a brother with Down Syndrome has shaped his theology. Continue reading “Our Complex and Contested Identities with Amos Yong”
This is a post I wrote to contribute to Thomas Oord’s website and project surrounding his new book, The Uncontrolling Love of God. You can view the post on his website here.
My brother is profoundly intellectually disabled. He has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, is on the autism spectrum, and has several mood disorders. What all of this means practically is that he requires an immense amount of care. He needs assistance with walking and standing (we use a wheelchair for everything not just around the house), he cannot feed himself or provide basic self care (cleaning, bathing, using the restroom), and is unable to communicate linguistically (he can make some noises – grunts, groans, laughter – but cannot use words). I bring all of this up because I want to reflect on some of the central ideas in Thomas Oord’s The Uncontrolling Love of God as it relates to my experience taking care of my brother. Hopefully this will help to bring some of the issues surrounding disability and theology into greater visibility.
“But because God necessarily gives freedom, God could not unilaterally prevent [an evil]. To do so would require removing free will… which a loving God who necessarily gives freedom cannot do.”
An essentially loving God cannot take away free will, but what about those who are unable to express or utilize their free will? Continue reading “My Life is Not My Own”
I had a chance to sit down with Ron King from Sidebar Stories to talk about community building, storytelling, listening, and the power of narrative.
Sidebar Stories is a new organization dedicated to redemptive storytelling by ordinary experts – people who are not professionals, academics, politicians, etc., but whose lives challenge the dominant narrative they are a part of. This is not a way to give people a voice – because they already have a voice – but giving them a platform so their voice can be heard. Continue reading “Sidebar Stories with Ron King”
My Fourth of July reflection on dependence, disability, and a little bit of process theology. Continue reading “A Declaration of Dependence”
This past weekend I visited Yosemite National Park. Since moving here for the Hatchery I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to find the time to explore all of the places California has to offer. Yosesmite seemed like the perfect place to start.
I’ve gone camping and backpacking before, and while I’m no expert, I would say I’m experienced. But this time was different. Hiking, usually a very enjoyable experience, was a struggle. Maybe it was the elevation (we started out around 8,600 and ended up a little bit above 9,200 ft.) or maybe I am just out of shape. Either way, saying I struggled is putting it mildly – I had the most difficult time hiking I can remember. Aside from trying to deal with this blow to my ego, there is a larger point in bringing this up.
As I climbed up the trail I began to get frustrated with my body – it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. This experience is not dissimilar from the experience of being ill. When we get a cold or the flu we become very aware of our body, or, more accurately, we become very aware of the limits of our body. We want to do things, we want our bodies to do things, but we can’t. Continue reading “Phenomenal”
I have high expectations. Not just for me, for others too. I am constantly being told that I expect too much of people. This inevitably leads to disappointment on my part, and usually a sense of self-righteousness, if I’m honest. Suffice it to say, this has led to significant challenges in my personal relationships.
Except for one.
How much is appropriate to expect from someone who is intellectually disabled? This is a question that arouses a lot of anxiety in my family. It seems ridiculous to expect that my intellectually disabled brother would be able to live his life the same way that I do.
Or is it?
Continue reading “Unrealistic Expectations”