Disabling Mission, Enabling Witness: Exploring Missiology Through the Lens of Disability Studies
Author: Benjamin T. Conner
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In recent decades churches have accommodated the disabled in various ways. Through access ramps and elevators and sign language, people with disabilities are invited in to worship. But are they actually enfolded into the church's mission? Have the able-bodied come to recognize and appreciate the potential contributions of people with disabilities in the ministry and witness of the church?
Benjamin Conner wants to stimulate a new conversation between disability studies and Christian theology and missiology. How can we shape a new vision of the entire body of Christ sharing in the witness of the church? How would it look if we 'disabled' Christian theology, discipleship, and theological education? Conner argues that it would in fact enable congregational witness. He has seen it happen and he shows us how.
Imagine a church that fully incorporates persons with disabilities into its mission and witness. In this vision, the disabled are part of the church's pluriform witness, and the congregation embodies a robust hermeneutic of the gospel. Picture the able-bodied coming to recognize and appreciate the contributions of people with disabilities, and a mutual flourishing of spiritual growth.
Here is an enlargement of the church's witness as a sign, agent, and foretaste of the kingdom of God. Here is a fresh and inspiring look at the mission of the church when it enfolds the disabled as full members.
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