Should Disability Be Included- Part 2

I just posted about the needs of parents with teens with special needs. I have another slightly more biting post here, related but I didn’t want to distract from the needs of parents.

In another meeting this past week I talked with some leaders of a large Christian organization. They have pulled together a task force on diversity and were asking my opinion. In particular the question was posed about whether to or not to include those with disabilities in the conversation of diversity. A valid question and glad they are thinking in these directions until I heard the way the conversation was posed.

I was told that sex or gender were to be included as well as ethnicity but they wondered if diversity should as the first two categories related to “what God intended” and the third did not. I asked for clarification. I was told that it was clear that God never would have intended for someone to have a disability and that in the eschaton, they (the disabilities, not the people) would not exist. In light of this, did I think those with disabilities should be included in the conversation on diversity and inclusion. I tried to respond calmly and suggested they consider their own theology of imago dei and eschatology before making such sweeping statements, certainly before they made any such statement in a public manner. I also mentioned that while there were certainly those historically and I am certain today who hold such a position, that it was widely rejected and I would consider it a poor understanding of theological anthropology.

I’m not sure if I ever answered if they should include disability in the conversation on diversity or not as I became so caught up in trying to let them know that someone with a disability is not a mistake and carries every bit of the image of God as any typical person. I’m still angry over this and even more angry that they hold such influence in the Christian world.

These are the moments when I want to have a cup of tea with God and ask what God was thinking in giving “them” a position of leadership.

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About Amy Jacober

Amy Jacober (PhD, Fuller Seminary) is a youth ministry veteran with ministry and teaching experience. She focuses on practical theology, urban ministry, theology & disability, and marginalized communities. She is a volunteer youth worker in her church and community, lead consultant with Youth Ministry Architects and serves on the Young Life Capernaum national board. In her free time she can be found playing with her three young children, husband, and oversized dog.