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This challenging and encouraging read on disability in the Church will help break down stereotypes & encourage inclusivity
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Disability activist, Roy McCloughry, explores a Christian perspective on disability issues and tells the story of his own experience of epilepsy.
Roy faced discrimination as a young man because of his epilepsy, being rejected from both ordination and a place at Cambridge University on 'medical grounds'. “Epilepsy is not something I wanted,” he says, “but God has given it to me to use for his purpose – to be used redemptively.”
He calls for a change in attitudes to disability, both inside and outside the church but shows that there is a long way to go before disabled people are included in the community as equals. What God wants of us is not that we should measure everybody up against some standard of what is normal but that we should liberate one another to celebrate who we are in our diversity.
McCloughry shows that if we want a society where all are included on equal terms then we must all change. He shows that disability theology provides the greatest challenge for the church today, especially where middle class churches do not always want the ‘inconvenience’ of addressing the additional needs that disabled people sometimes have. Increased participation by disabled people is essential if the church is truly to be the church that Jesus Christ died for.
Roy reveals how people's chances of integration are being undermined by unfounded and sometimes prejudicial attitudes; though there is also much progress to celebrate. His book aims to encourage everyone to become involved in breaking down the barriers that lead to stereotyping, exclusion and fear as Jesus did.
‘Disability theology is coming of age.” insists Roy. “The Spirit is moving on this issue. What kind of Church do we want to be?”
Roy is National Disability Adviser to the Church of England and Lectures in Ethics at St John’s College, Nottingham. He has written over a dozen books on Christian perspectives on social issues including, ‘Making a World of Difference: Christian Perspectives on Disability’. He is vice-president of the disability charity, Livability and Chairman of publishers, Lion Hudson.
The Enabled Life by Roy McCloughry was published by SPCK in September 2013 and is our 6305th best seller. The ISBN for The Enabled Life is 9780281062782.
Roy McCloughry's 'The Enabled Life' is a wonderful book that looks at the issues of disability, but in a way that felt to me to be from one step side moved over. That is to say that in some ways, although this book is a book on disability and addressing it, it is also a book that addresses 'normality' and brings that into question too.
It is a book that tries to show that disability is a form of normal and that with it—and demonstrated through the Bible—we are shown that weakness, disability even, is a freedoom, an engagement that goes to the heart of us. Each of us is made whole through our weakness and we are most disabled when we fail to see that, grasp that, live that.
This is an essential book for those who are ready to acknowledge the unreality of normality and embrace the reality of a truly enabled life—one in which we are all disabled and therefore none of us are 'disabled' or less than we are due to these differences of ability, health, body or mind. It's a beautiful concept that helps break down bias and can really open up acceptance.
There is in here, of coursem a work that deals with addressing the views of the day and the church we are actually in also, so there is good material here for anyone within the church community (everyone!) who has a responsbility to make church accessible and that asks them to question their presuppositions and mores—a deeply insightful book on disability and one to be recommended.
''Roy McCloughry offers us the fruits of years of prayerful reflection on what it means to be disabled in (and sometimes by) the church. As a result, he prompts us to consider what it really means to be the church: challenging us all - disabled and 'abled' - to be healed and saved together.'' --Justin Welby, Archbishop ofCanterbury
In a UCB broadcast debate, Roy McCloughry, of the Torch Trust charity working to enable churches, church leaders and individuals get to grips with what Jesus said about disabiliyt and disabled people, said:
"650 million people in the world are experiencing disabilities and there are many more who are caring for them. We need to think globally about disability, like we do about poverty. They are victims of injustice too. As Christians we need to think about how we can get involved in campaigning about these issues to eradicate evil and injustice. If disabled people don’t do this with a passion, who will? We must do something to raise the profile of these in our churches. These issues must be raised because God is concerned with the poorest of the poor, and so many of the poorest are also disabled..."
"God comes in Christ to show us what a fully human being is. Christ cures people, but he also crosses boundaries, lowers barriers to bring people back into community. Disability theologians think Zacchaeus was a little person, which is why he had to get up into a tree. A disabled person, and Jesus brought salvation to his household. The Ethiopian Eunuch would also have been counted as disabled in the Old Testament; yet Philip baptised him. These people were brought into God’s kingdom – they’re at its heart.
People with disabilities may look as though they are weaker, but Jesus brings us all into his kingdom."
|Author / Artist||Roy McCloughry|
|Publisher||SPCK (September 2013)|
|Number of Pages||144|
|Page last updated||18th June 2017|