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Human Disability and the Service of God: Reassessing Religious Practice

Overview

A living religious tradition continually reassesses its practices. In our contemporary situation, the task of reassessment must attend to the presence of persons with disabilities who are increasingly taking part in public life and therefore in the worship and work of the churches. What questions, insights, and perspectives should be advanced if people with disabilities, in all their diversity, were placed at the center of religious life and education?

The fourteen contributors ...

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Overview

A living religious tradition continually reassesses its practices. In our contemporary situation, the task of reassessment must attend to the presence of persons with disabilities who are increasingly taking part in public life and therefore in the worship and work of the churches. What questions, insights, and perspectives should be advanced if people with disabilities, in all their diversity, were placed at the center of religious life and education?

The fourteen contributors to this volume address this multi-faceted question. Drawing upon various disciplines and diverse experiences, the authors explore how human disability bears upon the service of God. In turn, the chapters examine how the participation of people with disabilities relates to interpretation of biblical and other sacred texts that speak of sin, disability, and healing; what theological vision is necessary to integrate the disabled into Christian life and worship; what the socio-cultural context is within which people with disabilities press for full inclusion; and how worship, as a theological act, can form communities in a more relevant spirituality of inclusiveness.

Congregations are challenged by these writers to re-envision their actual practices of communal life and worship. This collaborative work shows that the "service of God" as liturgy and as communal accountability can deepen and mature only as the diversity of human capabilities is honored.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780687273164
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy L. Eiesland is Assistant Professor of Sociology of Religion at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Her recent publications include The Disabled God (Abingdon Press, 1994) and Contemporary American Religion (1997, with Penny Becker).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Contributors 11
Preface 15
Introduction: Toward a Spirituality of Inclusiveness 19
Pt. I Interpreting Texts 33
1 Disability and Liturgy in Ancient and Modern Religious Traditions 35
2 Visualizing the Perfect Cult: The Priestly Rationale for Exclusion 55
3 Reinterpreting the Healing Narratives 72
4 "Those Who Are Blind See": Some New Testament Uses of Impairment, Inability, and Paradox 88
Pt. II Theological Reflection 103
5 Liberate Yourselves by Accepting One Another 105
6 Redeemed Bodies: Fullness of Life 123
7 Through Glasses Darkly: Discovering a Liturgical Place 144
Pt. III Interpreting Culture 165
8 Tradition, Folklore, and Disability: A Heritage of Inclusion 167
9 "We Have this Ministry": Ordained Ministers Who Are Physically Disabled 187
10 Barriers and Bridges: Relating the Disability Rights Movement and Religious Organizations 200
Pt. IV Practical Theology 231
11 To Make a Wounded Wholeness: Disability and Liturgy in an African American Context 233
12 Risking Redemption: A Case Study in HIV/AIDS and the Healing of Christian Liturgy 249
13 Crafting Christians into the Gestures of the Body of Christ 267
14 Disabling the Lie: Prayers of Truth and Transformation 281
Selected Bibliography 304
Indexes 315
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