Until a month or two ago, I had never reflected deeply on disability. I am now very sorry about this. But I was lucky enough to be able to read and write about theology and disability recently for work. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share with you some of the things I learnt.
But first I’d like to share with you what the experience of engaging with this literature was like:
- It was uncomfortable. I was rebuked. A lot. I have not gone out of my way to befriend people with a disability, and for this I am (belatedly) very sorry.
- It made me sad. People with a disability suffer. A lot. I am sad that the church isn’t more radically counter-cultural in looking after people with a disability.
- It made me angry. Not at people with a disability! But at the way evil is perpetrated in this world against the powerless.
- It was confusing. More on this over the next few weeks, but suffice it to say, I am rather sick of the phrase ‘hold in tension’.
- It was encouraging. There are lots of people — and lots of Christians — who do care deeply. This was a great encouragement.
- It filled me with hope. I was reminded again and again of my own helplessness before God and the wonderful message of Scripture that God chooses what is weak and despised in the world to bring about his purposes.
In short, it educated my heart.
For some reason, despite growing up under excellent teaching, I had the impression that in order to be equipped to engage with ‘topical’ material, I needed to have a firm grasp of more esoteric theological systems/ideas. But I found that in engaging with such a tangible part of our present reality I was more challenged and delighted by theology than I think I ever have been before. I could see the practical implications of the doctrine of providence, God’s sovereignty, sin and suffering, theological anthropology, and the all surpassing importance of love. More importantly, though, I’ve heard the call to action.