Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Re: More Than Conquerors: Romans 8:26-39 and Disability

I just read More Than Conquerors: Romans 8:26-39 and Disability and at first, I was really excited.  Finally!  Someone talking about the issues of faith and disability.  Then, I started reading, and it became clear: this author, though obviously well-intentioned, is not disabled.  (Later, confirmed by the author herself.)

It's evident in the movies she chose as references, in the language she uses, and that she uses our experiences as disabled people as study questions at the end of her article.  That's not to say she isn't factually correct about some of the things she writes about.

It's an authentic voice that's missing.

Proximity to disabled people does not give an able-bodied person a disabled perspective.  What I wouldn't have given to read a similar article written by one of us.  One of us who knows about disabled representation in the media, and the harm in using disability as a plot device.  One of us who understands, firsthand, what it's like to experience ableism in the church, to be ministered to, even when we don't want to be, to have our experience being prayed for, or stared at, or blamed when God doesn't heal us like they thought He would.

What I wouldn't give to not have my own experiences reduced to study questions - to ask for opinions - on something that is my reality.

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