Saturday, September 12, 2009

God and the Disabled -- Moltmann Conversation

The Moltmann Conversation was rich in thought provoking messages. Moltmann's life story is full of experiences that elicit profound observations. A question yesterday, in the final morning of our conference struck many of us. He was asked, by a woman who had experienced disability from birth, his views of disability and the church. The question had to do with disability and access to the Holy Spirit within the church.

Moltmann began his answer by telling us that this is an issue close to his heart, for his brother was severely disabled, and was euthanized by the Nazi's. His statement is brief but profound.

"Congregations without disabled persons being accepted is a disabled church."
He went on to speak of the imago dei, the image of God, which as Tony Jones pointed out, is often understood in terms of a shared rationality. Moltmann responded by suggesting that the image of God is found in relationship, that begins with God, and such a relationship cannot be broken by disability or even sin, for God is seen and found in everyone.

This is a good word to remember, as we consider what the church of Jesus Christ looks like.


Jeff Gang said...

Thanks for your thoughts here Bob. I was very moved by Moltmann's thoughts on this as well. I posted that quote on my Facebook page and a blind individual responded by saying he doesn't consider himself disabled in the traditional sense of the word, rather he see all of us disabled in some way. Taken in that context Moltmann's words mean even more to me. An amazing three days! I was so blessed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, are there really churches that aren't accepting of the disabled who come to them?

I mean it might take a bit to be at ease if you're not used to disabled persons. It can be very inspiring to able bodied persons, especially if the disabled, as they often are-as much as anyone else or more, are full of joy.

Most disabilities aren't so apparent. That's very sad about his brother. At least he's still in his brother's heart. David Mc

Mark said...

Glad you made it. I signed up but had to cancel due to family emergencies. I did meet Prof Moltmann last year in Prague, and that was a great privilege.