The Church, Disabled People and Awkwardness

Photo Credit: Disabled Parking - by Theen Moy

Photo Credit: Disabled Parking – by Theen Moy

“Offers of prayer and alternative medicine come with two big assumptions: that I can be changed (which, outside of a miracle, is unlikely to happen) and that I need to be un-disabled to be okay.

“Imagine if someone came up to you when you were at church and said, ‘hi – I’ve noticed you are not reaching your beauty potential. Have you tried a face lift?’ or ‘hi – I’ve noticed you are intellectually inferior to others. Have you tried playing chess daily?’ Imagine hearing this sort of question from someone different every time you went in a public place. How would you feel about yourself?”

My friend Cindy Brandt has written an awesome book called Outside In, which you can get for free by subscribing to her newsletter here. It’s a really good book (and I say that not just because I am quoted in it…)

Today I am writing some uncomfortable and awkward things at Cindy’s place about disability and the church (that’s quite the sales pitch, I know)  – won’t you come with me?

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8 Responses to The Church, Disabled People and Awkwardness

  1. Stephanie 16th August, 2015 at 12:41 am #

    Thank you for continuing to bring this subject to the forefront. I don’t know if anyone can really understand until they are on the receiving end of some of these issues, but talking about it, bringing awareness does help.

    It was nice to see the Les MIs mention. I’m reading it for the first time and it has already shot to the top of my fave books list. So much admiration and appreciation for Victor Hugo for penning this story, these characters. How did I miss it for so long?

    • Tanya 30th August, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! And I’m very excited to find a fellow Les-Mis-the-Book fan! It’s such a stunning story! Hope you enjoy it to the end. 🙂

      • Stephanie 31st August, 2015 at 12:53 am #

        I agree, it is stunning. In so many ways and on so many levels. I’m only able to tackle a few pages at a time (thanks, ME!), but I’m choosing to think of it as ‘savoring’ rather than ‘slow’. 🙂

        • Tanya 6th September, 2015 at 11:48 am #

          Yes! Let’s go with ‘savouring’. (I am also ‘savouring’ my way through The Three Musketeers – started in January!)

  2. adrian ttremblay 15th August, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

    Love this post on the disabled. My husband is disabled due to a stroke. Sometimes he doesn’t have a filter on what he says to people and often they are offended. He is absolutely crushed when he hurts any ones feelings. But for the most part our church embraces him.
    Adrian

    • Tanya 30th August, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

      This comment sheds light on some of the messiness and pain surrounding disability – I’m so glad that your church embraces him for the most part. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Elaine 15th August, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    We don’t deal well with things we can’t fix. When people don’t “get better” or aren’t the same as the majority I think Christians panic because they don’t want to think that God had somehow “failed” and it is too awkward to consider God might actually be there with people as we are without stepping in to “fix” them. I attend church with my 90 year old mother and it is fascinating how folk whizz passed us “Good Morning!” to chat to their friends who are less hard of hearing and less heavy going! Us Christians avoid awkwardness at all costs but it’s weird that if you face people as fellow humans and pause, the awkwardness will go. What fun!

    • Tanya 30th August, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

      Yes – I completely agree that chronic illness implicitly challenges some people’s theology – you’ve nailed it there. I felt really sad to think of how you and your mother are ignored in church for the more Beautiful People. Hoping that some people get to enjoy you – I reckon you’ve got interesting things to say! Thanks so much for commenting.

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