ENABLING CHURCH: Taking fresh look on what the Bible says about disability
Have you ever wanted a book that would inform and inspire your church on the subject of disability? Well, here it is! ENABLING CHURCH, a creative new church resource giving a biblical perspective on disability, will go a long way to challenging the Church on timely issues, said Roy McCloughry at the book launch.
Our picture shows Jeff Lucas on the left with co-authors Gordon Temple and Lin Ball.
Well-known Christian writer and speaker Jeff Lucas described his experiences on a ‘trip into disability’ as he gave his support to a new book launched at CRE – the annual Christian Resources Exhibition.
Having recently torn a muscle in his leg, Jeff was in a wheelchair for a week and then on crutches for three weeks.
‘I suddenly realised the indignity that disabled people experience,’ he said, describing in particular how people talked over him rather than to him during this time. ‘How tragic when it happens in the life of the Church.’
Jeff, speaking at the launch of ENABLING CHURCH, said the book was ideal for churches who wanted to take a fresh look at what the Bible has to say about disability and become equipped to be more inclusive. The resource is co-written by Dr Gordon Temple, chief executive of Torch Trust, and his colleague Lin Ball.
Also commending the book was Roy McCloughry – writer, consultant and lecturer on ethics – who has contributed a Foreword to ENABLING CHURCH.
The creative new church resource will go a long way to challenging the Church on timely issues, Roy said.
‘Disability theology is coming of age. The Spirit is moving on this issue. What kind of Church do we want to be?’
Roy described how he had faced discrimination as a young man because of his epilepsy –rejected from both ordination and a place at Cambridge University on medical grounds.
‘About twenty years ago I realised, as blind Professor John Hull puts it, that disability is a “strange gift”. Epilepsy is not something I wanted, but God has given it to me to use for his purpose – to be used redemptively.
‘The middle class church worships a God who is a superman,’ said Roy, adding that the contrasting biblical picture of the church community had weakness at its heart so that the power of God could be revealed.
‘In the throne room of God there is a dead lamb. Do we want to worship a God who doesn’t expect us to have problems? Or a Christ who still has wounds in his hands?’
Author Gordon Temple said that the book was about disabled people ‘not just being cared for, but becoming contributing members of the Church.’
ENABLING CHURCH is simultaneously published as a standard 112-page paperback (by SPCK and availabled from Through the Roof) and in braille, large print and audio editions (available from Torch Trust). All editions are £7.99. The flexible material in the book is presented in seven sessions ideal for small groups, with Bible study discussion questions, activities, prayer and worship suggestions, and real-life interviews with disabled people.