e-book Graduate Theological Education and the Human Experience of Disability

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Overview Create pathways in theological education and congregational practice for people with disabilities! Reviews of previous literature, theology, and practices illuminate how people with disabilities have historically been marginalized by the religious community.

Theology & Disability - Theology & Disability - Cook Library at Cook Library

Theologians, people with disabilities, and researchers offer suggestions for incorporating disability studies into theological education and religious life. This text contains firsthand testimony from people with disabilities who are the necessary sources of wisdom for overcoming barriers. By infusing education into existing theological curriculum, seminaries may better prepare their students for leadership and ministry in their congregations. Wilke, born without arms, was the theologian, minister and scholar who first articulated the need to address the human experience of disability in both theological education and congregational life.

With extensive biographies and inclusive liturgies, this innovative text is a valuable resource for seminary professors and leaders, clergy, and disability advocates. Product Details Table of Contents. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches.

What is life like for women with learning disabilities detained in a secure unit? This book presents a unique ethnographic study conducted in a contemporary institution in England. Rebecca Fish takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on both the social model View Product. Curricula for Diversity in Education. Haslam Call Number: Strong at Broken Places by Stewart D.

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The VKC welcomes persons with disabilities.

Snyder; David T. Alphin, Jr. Chan Editor. But it would be inappropriate to then say that you un- derstood everything about this experience of disability. But you might then have a better understanding of mobility impairments than does a person who is deaf, even though that person is identified as disabled and you are not. If we begin to recognize the connections than we share with each other, then we have a starting point for theological and personal re- flection. Embodiment theologies start by acknowledging the diversity of bodies—something that has often been overlooked by traditional theology.

Embodiment theologies argue that we not only have but are bodies. When we reflect theologically, we in- evitably do it as embodied selves. Our bodies make our reflections pos- sible; they also influence our theological perspectives. The role of our bodies in fact, the necessity of our bodies must be acknowl- edged as an essential part of theology.

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Embodiment theologies begin with a conscious focus on these issues, taking reflection on embodied experience seriously as a critical source for the doing of theology. But we do more than just reflect theologically as bodies. According to many traditions, we experience God in and through our bodies. We relate to God as bodies, and God relates to us or has related to us through a body or bodies. This is especially evident within Christianity. From the incarnation the Word made flesh and Chris- tology Christ was fully human to the Eucharist this is my body, this is my blood , the resurrection of the body, and the church the body of Christ who is its head , Christianity has been a religion of the body.

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  • Graduate Theological Education and the Human Experience of Disability - CRC Press Book.
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  • Graduate theological education and the human experience of disability;

We relate to God as corporeal bodies, and in our relations with other human bodies, we experience God. It is the recognition of these experiences of God in our bodies our own and those of others , and the critical reflec- tion on these experiences, that leads us into embodiment theology. No matter how well we describe Christianity as a religion of the body, the history of attitudes toward the body in Christian thought is murky and misunderstood.

The human body was a central argument in early Christian thought, the focus of intense disputes and voluminous works. The human body was variously viewed fallible, evil and at times even the good if imperfect creation of God. As early Christian commu- nities formed churches, orders and monasteries, the history of argument about the human body was resolved through silence and absence—partic- ularly in theological reflection and teaching.

Only recently, with the advent of feminist and liberation theologies, has a successful articulation been offered, regard- ing bodies as possessing unique and specific characteristics that affect theological reflection and practice. This challenge still echoes through church and academy, where the voices of individuals serve as beacons for theological reflection and construction. However, this move to recognize difference and localized perspec- tives continues to overlook disability as an area for new knowledge about God and each other.

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For the most part, concern with disability in religious and theological studies has been confined to areas of pastoral care or practical ministry, usually focusing on how able-bodied individ- uals can or should minister to people with disabilities. However, Eiesland focuses primar- ily on issues of access and political concern. An informed perspective that critically reflects on disability as a primary source for constructive theology is needed, including, for example, the nature of humanity and of God. It is this perspective that the author invites you to imagine.

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However, reflection on the experience of disability challenges Christian theolo- gies in a number of areas. Theology has spoken to us of cre- ation, of sin and evil, of the nature of God, and of the healing ministry of Christ in ways that do not make sense in light of the experiences of peo- ple with disabilities. Sources, including Scripture from the laws of Le- viticus to the healing stories of the New Testament need to be used with care, since most contain or have been interpreted with an ablest bias or a negative view of the body.

Ablest language blind to the truth, lame ex- cuse in our worship and our writings needs to be reexamined. Tradi- tional theological categories, including the nature of God, creation, anthropology, Christology, healing, eschatology, sin, suffering, and the role of the church all come with possibilities for review and new insight when we take seriously the human experience of disability.

This model does not attempt to divide participants into one of two categories either disabled or not-disabled. Rather, this model offers a means to critically reflect about what disability is rather than who is or is not disabled. Unlike the functional-limitation model, the Limitness model refuses to begin by evaluating or explaining the exis- tence of limits but instead takes limits as potential topic for reflection as an unsurprising aspect of being human. Unlike the minority group model, the Limitness model avoids categorization but instead encour- ages us to acknowledge a web of related experiences suggesting, for example, that a legally blind individual may in some ways be more sim- ilar to a person who wears glasses than to a person who uses a wheelchair.

The functional-limitation and minority group models offer valuable per- Downloaded By: [University of Denver, Penrose Library] At: 2 October spectives, but the Limitness model offers a companion piece that empha- sizes reflection on the experience of embodiment. Sallie McFague suggests that the test of a model is in looking at what it allows us to see, and what it allows us to say, knowing that every model is partial, one square in the quilt. We can see and say that the Limitness model is important because it highlights the fact that we all experience limits, that these limits differ, and that these limits are accepted, rejected, accentuated, complicated, degraded, and lived in many different ways.

This perspective of limitation neither universalizes, relativizes, nor minimizes individual experiences, but instead proposes an area of common ground in the midst of the recognition of exceptional incarnated and envi- ronmental differences, a place for conversations to begin. Limitness has a number of direct implications for theological reflec- tion.

One example of this relates to the doctrine of original sin. From the perspective of Limitness, the fact that all people are limited to varying degrees is highlighted. Rather than identifying this as a negative or evil characteristic, limits are understood to be part of creation. Limitness is part of what it means to be human, and not, then, as something to be overcome in search of perfection or something that is experienced as a punishment for sinfulness.

Rather than relating limitations to sin, we might instead explore the relationship between limits and creativity.

Disability and Suffering Pastoral and Practical Theological Considerations

At the same time, the suffering that does occur related to disability or Limitness should not be dismissed. In this model, disability itself can be understood as limits that are not accommodated by the environment. Rather than minimizing disability, this perspective allows us to identify areas where our limits become disabling due to barriers in the social environment.

Critical reflection on embodiment has the potential to keep us grounded embodied in an understanding of limitness: both what limitation enables and what it makes difficult. This insight is the perspective offered by the Limitness model, but this perspective is just one among many. These and other new perspectives will spring forth when take seriously the real lived experiences of people with disabilities. Such a movement is one which I think is essential for theology, both as we contribute our reflec- Downloaded By: [University of Denver, Penrose Library] At: 2 October tions to issues of justice and also as we approach the task that theolo- gians are named for: theologos, the study of God.

Two main reasons stand out for me. First, theological reflection on experiences of disabil- ity offers new voices for understanding God. The voices of people with disabilities have been historically excluded from theology and theologi- cal reflection. It is an issue of justice that we seek now to open ourselves and bring our marginalized voices to the center of theological discourse. Seeking out and inviting the stories and concerns and ideas of people with disabilities in an authentic way allows us to participate and re- spond faithfully to those who have been oppressed and outcast.

Second, theological reflection on experiences of disability is benefi- cial for the community of faith.