I’ve spent the past few weeks in a seminary class on outreach and it’s really made me think about my own story with church. If I’m being honest, I haven’t spent a lot of time in church over the past number of years. Partially because of my job as a musician (when you finish a gig at 2am, getting up for church sucks A LOT) and partially because of the reality of being the parent of a child with special needs.
I’m not going to get into the weeds of the problematic theology present in many church spaces surrounding disability right. That deserves it’s own blog. So I’ll stick to the personal for now.
Being a parent of a child with complex needs can be deeply isolating. Even professionals and well-meaning people who are educated on the subject don’t really get what it’s like to live that reality 24-7. And if church is an ableist space that frowns on “disruption,” it’s hard to want to be there. We need communities that are safe, loving and more than just “tolerant” of our children.
“Tolerance” is too low a bar for kingdom people.
Differing abilities come with behaviours and noises that can be disruptive and might not fit in a nicely “curated” church space or a fantastically awesome flow. It begs the question: What is more important: the “flow” or these actual human people who carry within them the image of God? To paraphrase my very eloquent wife:
We need communities that see disruption as opportunity
So my challenge to you is this: What is your church doing to be an inclusive and safe space for people with disabilities and their families? Also, I’d encourage you to visit https://clcnetwork.org. They are an excellent resource.