Disability is "tragically but redemptively fundamental" to discipleship, Tom Reynolds has written, for it "opens up our vulnerability and dependence upon each other and God." In this issue he critiques "the cult of normalcy," which is the social construction of what is "normal" in order to hide or eliminate bodies that are deemed "disabled."
In the strange new world within the Bible," John Swinton explains, "disability is not simply a focus for the outworking of compassion and healing; "God uses disabled bodies to carry out the key tasks of the coming kingdom." The story of Zacchaeus, Amos Yong suggests, challenges the ableist assumption that disability is a problem needing to be fixed or eliminated.
Examining the growing use of prenatal testing to screen for selective abortion, Brian Brock warns that "'prenatal care' and 'prenatal screening' become antonyms in practice when the refusal to test is portrayed as unnecessarily risky and aborting a disabled child is portrayed as a relief."
Kay Toombs describes the intentional Christian community where she lives as "'an alternative culture' in which it is possible to fully embrace the vulnerability that accompanies disability." Jason Whitt addresses the difficult question: "Is there room in the baptismal waters and at the Lord's Supper table for persons with profound intellectual disability?"
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore our calling to walk beside one another in friendship and learn from one another with our weakness and impairments. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.