Sunday, February 19, 2012

Scripture reflection on disability

A reader and friend sent me this link to a Scripture reflection on disability and biblical interpretation.

It discusses passages about miraculous healings, including the 'paralytic' in Mark and how scholars who are disabled are inviting new questions and challenges to conventional interpretations that directly impact issues of inclusion and exclusion.

The pastoral implications of perceiving disabilities through these lenses are evident in the ways that conditions which impact the senses, health or mobility are used as metaphors for lack of faith or moral laxity. For example how often are the terms "blind" or "deaf" unreflectively employed in preaching and teaching to imply a failure to comprehend God's Word or to respond to injustices that defile the Reign of God? Disability Studies scholars remind biblical interpreters that "disability" is an intricate part of a complex matrix of individual and social identity. Whether intentionally or not, metaphors communicate exclusion and inclusion.

The reflection also discusses the issue of the role of miracles in erasing differences, raising questions as to whether our interpretations "of sacred texts betray an option for physical and mental "wholeness" as hidden criteria for the imago Dei?" despite teaching that all are created in the sacred image of God.

I love the ending where it notes that the paralytic and his friends were never seeking healing, but a means of access to join the crowd and hear Jesus preach.

This is something, I would hope, we all can reflect on.

3 comments:

Troy Wittren said...

Thank you Wheelie. I find this reflection to be very powerful. I have had people try to heal me, as it I were less than whole. This really empowers me as a disciple with cerebral palsy.

Thanks!

Ruth said...

Hi Troy,
I've had a lot of people tell me about those kind of "prayed over" attempted healing experiences. I've been told that if I would repent of my sins, I'd walk again on more than one occasion! That kind of stuff keeps a lot of people away from church the building.

take care and thanks for your comment!

fridawrites said...

Nodding in agreement. I also like the story about the blind man and Jesus in the New Testament, that he wasn't made blind as punishment, which people assumed.