Dan Vander Plaats, Director of Advancement at Elim Christian Services in Chicago, has developed a pretty terrific tool to help individuals, families, and churches identify their attitudes with people who have disabilities. And disability in general.
You’ll find yourself somewhere on this continuum. Candidly, I’d have to say I’m swinging between 4 and 5. Doesn’t matter where you are today, though. Important is where you want to be tomorrow.
the JOURNEY of DISABILITY ATTITUDES
STAGE 1: IGNORANCE
Weaknesses and disabilities are a sign that God either does not care or is not able to x the situation. In fact, they may be a result of sin or a lack of faith. God is not involved in the life of someone with a disability, because He can’t use people who are so broken. I do not know people with disabilities, nor do I know anything about disabilities. I have no interest in getting to know them or to know more about their life.
STAGE 2: PITY
I feel sorry for people with disabilities. It’s too bad, really. I am blessed by God and I can help others. I am grateful that my children are not disabled. People with weaknesses and disabilities obviously need someone like me to help them and give them meaning, due to their troubles. I really don’t see any meaning or purpose to their lives.
STAGE 3: CARE
Like me, people with disabilities were created in God’s image. By that virtue alone they have value. I hope that someone will take the time to show them God’s love, and I will happily support such an effort. In fact, I think we need to find ways to help those people. Maybe we should start a special church education class, or respite care for the sake of the parents.
STAGE 4: FRIENDSHIP
I have come to know and spend time with a friend who has a disability. This person has value in God’s sight, but also in mine, and I know that my life is better for having known this person, and as much as I have helped her, she has also blessed me. In fact, I now like to initiate relationships with people who have disabilities. God brings many different people into my church and community, including people with disabilities, and we all benefit as we grow in friendship with each other.
STAGE 5: CO-LABORERS
If God has called each of us to serve and praise Him with every fibber of our beings, then He has done the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ with disabilities. I think ministry should not just be to people with disabilities, but with or alongside people who have disabilities.Together, we will encourage and equip each other, with and without disabilities, into every good work to respond to God’s call on our lives. We can all give and we can all receive.
“5 STAGES: THE JOURNEY OF DISABILITY ATTITUDES” IS COPYRIGHT © 2013, ELIM CHRISTIAN SERVICES AND DAN VANDER PLAATS WITH THANKS TO DISABILITY CONCERNS CRC, DISABILITY CONCERNS RCA, JONI AND FRIENDS, AND MANY OTHERS
Through the Roof
A Blog Supported by the Mosaic ministry of Third Church, ECO
"Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on." (Mark 2:3-4)
About: This is a blog about accessibility, intimacy, and community. About being welcome. It’s also about bringing up The Boy. He's 11 years old and has cerebral palsy. Also popping up are The TeenGirl, who just turned 13, and The Mom, who is awesome. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.