How we preach and teach in the church about God’s relationship with disability can be healing or hurtful. Inclusive faith communities and the people with disabilities who belong to them need images of God and understandings of God’s relationship to the conditions we live with that bring us into the presence of God’s grace and into the body of Christ. At times, unfortunately, the church has unwittingly used scripture and theology in ways that have been hurtful to vulnerable people in need of God's mercy.
A number of scholars and grassroots theologians in recent years have drawn attention to negative theology that has alienated people with disabilities and offered possible alternatives. On this page we call your attention to some of the books and articles written by people with disabilities doing theology and by others who are contributing to contemporary theological conversations about the place of disability and healing in God's world.
Resources from ADN
Check out all the links to ADN resources in the right column.
Legion No More: Confessions of the Gerasene Disciple, by Christine Guth. A first-person narrative tells the story of Mark
5:1-20 from an imagined perspective of the man from whom Jesus cast out
thousands of demons. This interpretation attempts to incorporate understandings of demon
possession and faith that ancient readers might have held while respecting the
ongoing hard work required of modern believers coping with mental illness.
Resources from others
"Baptism and the Severely Intellectually Disabled." By Janet Morel. Fuller Focus, 2011.
A Healing Homiletic: Preaching and Disability, by Kathy Black. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996. By going to the heart of the gospel and drawing on the healing narratives or miracle stories, Black shows how preaching affects the inclusion or exclusion of persons with disabilities from our faith communities.
Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN), “A Church of All and for All: An Interim Statement.” In Interpreting Disability: A Church of All and for All, ed. Arne Fritzson and Samuel Kabue, 64-88. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2004.
Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. An annual conference that brings together academics, theologians, practitioners and others—people with and without labeled disabilities—to explore the inclusive intersections of theology and disabilities. The recorded presentations from previous years are a can't-miss opportunity to hear from people doing disabilities theology from around the world.