Hans Reinders, Ph.D.
Rev. Bill Gaventa, Joanne Meyer, Christopher Phillips, and 1 other are discussing. Toggle Comments
I look forward to your presentation and wonder if you personally knew the late theologian and author, Father Henri Nouwen. Henri laid the spiritual foundation for the Pathways to Worship ministry with his keynote address “The Vulnerable Journey” at our 1996 That All May Worship Conference cosponsored by Pathways Foundation and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. The 1996 conference inaugurated our ministry of providing information, education materials and cash grants to faith communities seeking practical ways congregations can welcome and include worshippers of all abilities. “The Vulnerable Journey” will be available on DVD at our booth at the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability.
No I haven’t met Henri Nouwen personally, but I have studied his work and particularly his posthumously published book about his friendship with Adam, one of the core members of Daybreak. The results of this study appear in the last two chapters of my book ‘Receiving the Gift of Friendship’.
Thank you for the observation that the term “inclusion” insinuates “the other” and that we must go beyond inclusion to be truly welcoming worshipping communities.
Please find the following link to download the paper I presented on Monday:
I’ve made my notes from the morning and afternoon sessions with Hans available at: http://www.faithability.org/religiondisability/disability-and-creation-notes-from
Thank you for sharing your wonderful notes on Hans Reinders presentation.
In your notes from the Hans Reinders discussion workshop after his presentation you mention the story of the man at the Bethesda pool, John 5:1-18. In the New American Bible and The Jerusalem Bible, Jesus asks the man “Do you want to be well again?” Jesus does not make the assumption that the man wants to be healed but instead asks the man what he wants. The man’s reply is a plea for access, not healing. Eric Carter’s research confirms that people with developmental disabilites and their families are still asking for access to faith communities.
Short Notes by Bill Gaventa: (this was the first presentation of Monday’s five, all of which wove together in unexpected and wonderful ways) The videotapes to come out will make for an excellent seminar (s)
Hans began by suggesting that the theology underlying most of our efforts in inclusive ministries has been that of redemption, helping people return, change, be included in the people of God, being transformed, etc.
What if the underlying theology was creation. That all was created good, as in both Genesis and in first chapter of John and in many other parts of the Bible where all of creation is proclaimed as blessed, or that “all creation” will sing. If that is the perspective, then all creation is gift.
If so, then the question is how to we help all of creation to flourish, just as we would with plants, trees, creatures. Nothing flourishes without the right kind of circumstances in its environment. So the question becomes how do we find the right environment, or create the right environment, for everyone to flourish. In nature, for example, what many gardeners might consider a weed can often be a plant with multiple values to other parts of the environment.
Hans told a story from Angela Amado, about a young guy named Larry, whose “gift” was that he loved to scream. His supporters then looked for an environment in which screaming was a gift, and they found a retired men’s volley ball team that welcomed Larry as a fan. He loved to watch them, and he became their Number 1 fan…and, over time, the screaming diminished and became used at more appropriate times.
(note, see Tom Reynolds’s talk in which he talks about interruption and provocation as invitation and invocation.)
So, as one of the themes of the conference which emerged…what is beyond inclusion. How can we help people, with the variety of their gifts, flourish?
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