News and Updates

Spirituality and Intellectual Disability

Publisher: The Haworth Pastoral Press
Editors: William C. Gaventa, Jr., MDiv, David L. Coulter, MD
Format: Book, 182 pp.

Spirituality and Intellectual Disability: International Perspectives on the Effect of Culture and Religion on Healing Body, Mind , and Soul was co-published as an issue of the Journal of Religion, Disability & Health (Volume 5, Numbers 2/3 2001). It includes "a collection of articles on spirituality, religion, and people with intellectual disabilities which came from presentations at the 2000 Conference of the the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities" (IASSID).

Corrie ten Boom and People with Disabilities

I had a very limited knowledge of Corrie ten Boom until recently reading the Hiding Place and was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was involved in her own disability ministry. Consider this exchange (in her own words) of a conversation in a Nazi prison camp:

"Your other activities, Miss ten Boom. What would you like to tell me about them?"
"Other activities? Oh, you mean- you want to know about my church for mentally retarded people!" and I plunged into an eager account of my efforts at preaching to the feeble-minded.
The lieutenant's eyebrows rose higher and higher. "What a waste of time and energy!" he exploded at last. "If you want converts, surely one normal person is worth all the half-wits in the world!"
I stared into the man's intelligent blue-gray eyes: true National-Socialist philosophy I thought, tulip bed or no. And then to my astonishment I heard my own voice saying boldy, "May I tell you the truth, Lieutentant Rahms?"
"This hearing, Miss ten Boom, is predicated on the assumpition that you will do me that honor."
"The truth , Sir," I said, swallowing, "is that God's viewpoint is sometimes different from ours- so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things."
I knew it was madness to talk this way to a Nazi officer. But he said nothing so I plunged ahead. "In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a watchmaker. Or- a lieutenant."

That All May Worship Review

That All May Worship: An Interfatih Welcome to People With Disabilities
Publisher: National Organization on Disability, 2000
Editor: Ginny Thornburgh
Co-Authors: Ann Rose Davie, Ginny Thornburgh
Format: Handbook, 52 pp.

That All May Worship is an interfaith manual published by the National Organization on Disability.

From the introduction...

The purpose of the Handbook, That All May Worship, is to assist congregations, denominational groups and seminaries in welcoming people with disabilities. The Handbook is interfaith in scope and concerns people with all types of disabilities. The foundation of the House of God is weakened for all if barriers of attitude, communication or architecture prevent people with disabiliteis from participating fully in the worship, study, service and leadership of their congregation. That All May Worship is a step-by-step "coaching manual" written to enable congregations to identify and remove these barriers

Functional Religious or Spiritual Skills

In public special education when a student reaches an appropriate age an opinion is generally formed as to the future direction of that students life. If a determination is made that the student will likely attend postsecondary education then a greater focus is placed on academic skills. On the other hand, if it is unlikely the student will attend postsecondary education then a greater emphasis is placed on more functional skills such as job training, cooking, grooming, etc...

Whether or not this decision is appropriate and when it should be made is a separate discussion. My question is whether or not there are functional spiritual skills that should be taught to students is religious education settings. When should be more of an emphasis on practical worship skills in lieu of becoming a gospel scholar? If so, what might some of those functional skills be for different religious organizations?


Latest Resources

Statement from the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) on disability from 1989.

Statement from the American Baptists on persons with disabilities, first adopted in 1978 and most recently modified in 2002 based on the American Baptist Policy Statement on Human Rights.

Mosaic is a faith-based organization serving people with intellectual disabilities.