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Archive for February, 2010

 

The “R” word has been in the headlines allot lately, come to think of it, intellectual challenges have been in the news much in the last year For Example, our President referring to his ability or inability to bowl on par with someone from Special Olympics, or Sarah Palin, running for the second highest office in the land, with a child with Down Syndrome in tow, and the White House staff, using the dreaded “R” word, the latest installment of the Family Guy.  

I am glad all of this is making the headlines and even excited there is dialog going on regarding the issues surrounding intellectual disabilities, although some of these discussions are so very painful to listen too.  Yesterday, I heard a local talk show host discuss or shall I say rationalize why it was ok to say the “R” word but why it was not okay to use the “N” word.  Do not both of these words demean people and people groups?  Do not both words evoke emotion that divides rather than unifies? 

I have long ago have decided the “R” word would not be used at my table?  What are you doing to promote the dignity of people with disability?

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The Chair

This weekend, the Northland Serve Team took a road trip to Southwind, a camp which is owned and operated by YoungLife. YoungLife does outreach to those kids who have not met Jesus. Throughout the year, kids attend clubs where they play games, fellowship and here a little something about Jesus. Many of these same kids than attend camp.

Our job this weekend was to build the stage for YoungLife leaders to talk with kids about a relationship with Jesus. Over the years I have watched Southwind be transformed, into a place where relationships can be developed and can grow! One of the projects this weekend was to build chairs.

So what is the big deal about chairs? When chairs are set at a table or in small groups they help to facilitate growth in relationships, as relationships mature, leaders earn the right to have conversations with the kids who attend camp. I am praying for tons of conversations, further more I am praying those conversations lead to kids knowing they have a chair at Jesus’ table. I am sitting at the table praying for those kids, will you join me?

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“And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.” Luke 14:21  

For those of us who live disability this is a familiar passage!  We are aware the Master wants us to be at the party and in that; there is comfort that in heaven we will all be included when we arrive in heaven.  This morning as I think through the verse I am struck by three thoughts.  First, it was a natural thing for the slave to invite, the lame, the deaf, the blind; the master had to instruct the slave to invite those who so often are not included.  The master’s heart had to be made known!  Second, the master was angry.  Yes, the master was compassionate toward the slave and did share his heart for those he wants at the table.  I long for the day when it is our first nature to invite all people to the table!  Thirdly, in a culture where we are to “go out” this passage reminds us we are called to bring them in! 

The challenge becomes how do we do we bring them to the table?   What are you doing to bring people with disability to the Table?

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The Big Table

At the ripe old age of 14, I was placed in a home with nine other children. The first 12 years of my life, I was raised as an only child of a single mom. In the kitchen sat a table that sat all of us and included room for friends and neighbors who stopped for morning coffee or an afternoon cookie my foster mom baked daily. I remember very little about the content of those discussions, but I do remember humor and laughter!

Humor and Laughter are still my friends today. Throughout the day, my friends and co-workers find plenty to laugh at from mistakes we have made, or what is happening in the news or some phrasing someone used to describe the events of the day.
In the world of disability sometimes, all you can do is laugh. For those who do not live in this world, disability is taken way too seriously! I say laugh, and invite others to the table for they do not know what they are missing!

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