Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st, 2007

Disablism n. discriminatory, oppressive or abusive behaviour arising
from the belief that disabled people are inferior to others.
(although you won’t find a definition in a dictionary)

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2007

Yes, its May Day. It is also blog against Disablism day. How many of our churches have made the necessary changes in their church to not be practicing Disablism? Our church has done a great job on making the changes to be access friendly. Many of the churches I have served have done so. The United Methodist Church itself, and the North Alabama Conference has made a concerted effort to address the matter.

Yet, I must ask myself have I practiced Disablism? Do I think that persons with disabilities are inferior to me? These are good questions to ask ourselves, and our churches. Disablism goes beyond being access friendly. It gets to the heart of the matter, of our attitudes, what we think in our inward being, and our actual practices. Jesus told the crowds one time, 'Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts.'' Jesus was most gracious, welcoming, and open to those with disabilities. Sometimes I think we the Church ( the big church) have gotten far away from Jesus' practices, because we want to look so good, to have things perfect, and that is not how Jesus lived his life or treated people.

I am not disabled. I have children with speech disabilities, you can't always tell what they are trying to say. But it is nothing like some of the other disabilities that are so noticeable.

Lord, help me be honest with you and myself and ask forgiveness for the times I have practiced disablism toward your children. Help me as a leader to follow you in how you treated others and to lead others to do so also. Make me more Christlike in my thoughts, feelings, my inward being and in my practices. Make us all who claim to be your followers more Christlike. There are certainly enough isms in the world. Let me one of the ones who you are eradicating your isms from, especially disablism.

Go to the Diary of a Goldfish to join the blogging against disblism and to read more from those who did blog.

Hat tip to Mother Laura for making me aware of this day.


Sophia said...

Rev Abi,

Interesting and thoughtful post.

As someone who is disabled (I have a genetically-caused disability that makes me legally blind) and a seminarian/postulant for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, the thing I find most frustrating is that the disabled are not "us", they're "them." The disabled always seem to be those we minister to, not those who are expected to be ministering.

I attend a seminary where I am the only physically disabled student apart from some folks with chronic illnesses of one kind or another. It is often hard to be a minority of one. We talk about many "isms" here on campus but never about disability.

So thank you for making it a blog topic.

Sally said...

Thank you for this thoughtful and moving post Abi. I only hope and pray that we might have eyes to see the value of each of Gods precious children regardless of disability, gender, sexuality or race.... ah well

Amy said...

Thanks Abi. Good post. I am quite sure this is an "ism" which I practice and need to become more aware of.
It made me think about a boy I saw on Monday. He looked to be about three years old. He also appeared to have Down's syndrome. As he walked in holding his mother's(?) hand, I commented upon how adorable he is. He was truly an adorable boy with a placid, snuggly demeanor. The mother responded with such a tepid response to my comment, that I honestly wondered if she did not believe him to be adorable. It made me sad to consider a sweet child of God not considered adorable by his own mother. I hope I was terribly wrong.