Join me today as I interview Jeff and Kathy McNair about what the Bible has to say about disability. Jeff is a highly regarded and recognized voice in issues regarding faith, theology, and disability.
From the show:
Churches do not often address issues regarding disability.
Disability often results in discrimination, even within the church. A good question for us to ask is, against whom are we discriminating? We are familiar with discrimination, but a group we rarely talk about when it comes to discrimination is individuals with disabilities.
The fact of the matter is no denomination is reaching out to people with disabilities and it’s not just a blind spot, it is a point of disobedience. The only reason we think it is okay not to do something about it is because nobody else is either. If everybody in every church is not taking in people with disabilities, then nobody has to. It is a pervasive sin. It says we are not willing to love other people who appears to be different from us.
My dear brother and sisters how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over other people.
If we chose not to love specific neighbors, then who are we as the church? James 2:1 NLT
Christian churches have accessible bathrooms because the government forced us to, not because of a desire to reach out to people with disabilities.
Solutions can be simple, but they cause us to change our traditions.
How do we facilitate people with disabilities to express their gifting?
What supports do we need to have in place so they can serve?
What does the Bible have to say about disability, a mash dash through the Bible:
The whole Bible applies to everybody, including those with disabilities
Genesis 2: We are created in the image of God people with disabilities are created in the image of God
Genesis 4: God does create people with disabilities and He accomplishes His purposes through them.
John 9: Disability is not a result of sin. We are all sinners, if disability was a result of sin, all our children would be disabled.
God places all parts of the Body, exactly where He wanted them to be.
Sometimes the different parts of the body tell other parts of the body, “You are not what I want you to be, you are not part of the body.” Sometimes they’ve been told that so many times they come to believe that perhaps they are not part of the body. But all parts of the body are integral to the body or we cannot function as a body. The parts we think are less honorable, we are to treat those with special honor. What would it look like to treat someone with special honor? I change. I change in order to treat them with special honor.
Mark 7:8,14 says “You exchange the commands of God for the traditions of men.”
“In order to integrate you I have to change everything the way I’ve been doing it, stick with my traditions. I will stick to my traditions and then exclude you.”
What do you say when a church says, “I am not called” to disability ministry.
When 20% are individuals with disabilities with a larger number of people impacted by it, how can I say I am not going to reach out to those people? When pastors say “I am not impacted” that is not a positive thing to say.
Why will I not love you? Because you are going to cause me to change and change my traditions. You will cause us to becomes who we should become. You will cause us to learn how to love people.
The church is complicit in devaluing people.
Disability is just a characteristic, and often times it is no relevant to the interaction we have with others or for people to be part of the Body.
If we are missing people with disabilities, it points to the fact that we are not loving our neighbor.
A word of encouragement from Jeff:
In the last 10 years, positive changes have happened. And we get to be a part of what God is doing within churches to bring people with disabilities and include them in our faith communities.
This is God’s time for this ministry.
Things are happening, things are changing.
Listen to the show:
Latest posts by Ellen Stumbo (see all)
- How to Interact with Kids with Disabilties - January 2, 2017
- Episode 17: Disability Ministry Is Not An Elective - November 3, 2016
- Episode 16: Small Churches Can Do Disability Ministry Too [Podcast] - October 27, 2016