4 min read
Let me start with a question, do businesses care more about disability than the Church? Perhaps some do, but it’s much more likely that many adaptations are made due to obligations and carefully planned and costed strategy.
Should the church follow suit? Does it already? Some churches operate as a business, with a large staff and budget who can be fully aware of and actively pursue accessibility compliance, so what sets them apart from companies like Coca Cola, or Apple?
One of the things I’ve learnt, especially in the last few years, has been the importance of empathy. This Christ-like heart is the one great advantage that the Church has over the world.
When it comes to adapting to disability, businesses have regulations, but families have needs. We certainly weren’t prepared for a child with special needs; we had to adapt quickly and still are. We had to learn fast, change on the fly and learn not be disappointed when things inevitably didn’t go to plan. Sometimes we might learn from the example of others, other times it’s Petey himself who teaches us, like when he sat on stage for 45 minutes at his nursery school nativity and took part in every song.
Families have needs. What is the Church if not a family?
Just as we weren’t prepared, it’s ok that the Church isn’t either.
If you don’t have have congregants in wheelchairs then there’s no need to put an ugly wheelchair ramp out front?
If no one in your church suffers from epilepsy, are strobe lights and laser shows during worship fine?
These statements might be true for you and that’s ok! The important thing is that we are aware of others, sensitive of their needs and have empathy with them.
While it’s easy to think that we don’t have congregants with a specific need and therefore don’t need to make adaptations, chances are we don’t have those people because they’ve went elsewhere, or worse, nowhere.
More than anything the Church needs to reveal the Father’s heart to the community; it’s ok to not be prepared as long as we have love. We’ve already talked about how difficult it is for us and for other families of children with special needs, to do something new. Almost a year go we came here, to morning service backed up by nothing but Google and prayer and were welcomed and loved immediately. We didn’t judge the church because they didn’t meet every single of of Petey’s needs, because how could they prepare for a child they’d never met.
That’s not to say that we’d just visit anywhere. What brought us to our current church was prayer and Google. We had to make a shortlist of churches that had certain facilities and at least one was dropped from the list for having no useful information on their website.
I could talk for another hour about the importance of having a relevant church website but you’ll be glad to know that now is not that time! A church website only can take you so far, to the door. What made us stay, even in the face of David McBride’s hugs, even when people didn’t completely understand, was that we felt accepted and loved.
What good is the great commission without love? If we go in obligation and not love, then what good can we do?
The Church is stronger as a family. As family we can adapt to changing needs through love and as a family we can bring the kingdom to all around us.
The W3C announced today the latest in a series of workshops exploring the capabilities needed to ensure that the Web delivers on its full potential as a universal platform for digital publishing.
The upcoming technical workshop will be held September 18-19 in Tokyo, Japan. It will focus on evaluating the current status and exploring future directions of visually-rich long-form digital publications based on Web Technologies (particularly CSS, the formatting language of the Web), encompassing both fixed and dynamic layouts. Such “high-design” publications, with complex or sophisticated layout, may be sequential art (Comics, Manga, Bandes-Dessinées, etc.), magazines, picture books, cookbooks, educational materials, etc.
Anyone may request to attend at no charge and the W3C welcomes participation by both speakers and non-speaking attendees with relevant expertise. Early expression of interest in attending is encouraged due to limited space.
The workshop will emphasize the application of theory and technology to meet practical ecosystem needs. Participants in the workshop will:
- Share current practices in creating high-design digital publications.
- Share emerging new-form sequential art presentation experiences such as interstitial interactivity and other presentations that transcend replication of print forms.
- Identify mismatches between existing Web technologies and these current practices, helping to inform and guide current standard development work, and potentially to help instigate new work.
Attendees are expected to include:
- Publishers from multiple segments (manga/comics, magazines, trade ebooks, learning content, etc.)
- Authoring tool developers;
- Browser developers;
- Web Standards experts
- Web developers;
- Developers of commercial and open source publishing technology middle-ware and services;
- Other SDOs involved in related standard setting.
The Call for Participation is now open.
This W3C Workshop will take place at Keio University’s historic Mita campus, hosted by Keio’s Advanced Publishing Laboratory.
7 min read
At first glance people with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression or Anxiety may appear "normal", leading to that all too common moment when we suddenly realise and quickly followed by us becoming awkward and uncomfortable; unsure of how to behave around them. The end result? Adults may ignore the person altogether while children may resort to insults or bullying. For the person with the disability just leaving home can become a massive challenge; an obstacle course of uncertainty and judgement that you have to navigate whilst carrying a ticking time-bomb.
A few years ago I used to dread going to church. Trying to handle that with a toddler with ASD was just too much. There was nothing motivating me beyond obligation and even that wasn't enough when a simple trip to Tesco could be as tiring as a day out.
If I was to ask ask you to think about people in the Bible who have a disability we'd probably end up with the same list of obvious candidates, but there are others that don't often get considered because perhaps their disability isn't outwardly visible or immediately apparent.
One example was a man who was called of God to carry out a very important task. To the outside world he was well educated, rugged and probably had an epic beard. He had no statement of special needs, or parking permit but when given a mission for God he argued with Jehovah himself saying that he couldn't do it. Not arguing against the seemingly impossible task at hand but that he just couldn't say the words God wanted him to speak. That man was Moses
But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”
You shall speak to him [Aaron] and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.
We don't normally think of Moses as having a disability and people may say "it was in his mind" mental illness is a real problem and for Moses it was so big that God had to send Aaron, Moses' brother, to speak on his behalf.
Throughout history people who suffered a neurological or developmental disability were seen as unsafe, possible criminals and best to be avoided and t's very easy for that sort of negative attitude or bigotry to spread. In Bible, time and time again we see shocking examples of bigotry in how society's outcasts were treated. People continually took customs into law and then turned it up to 11.
People often wonder what Jesus looks like, I imagine most of the time it was like this: 🤦🏽♂️ After all he spent a great deal of his ministry course correcting daft customs that followed that letter of law but forsook empathy.
One really interesting example of bigotry in the Bible comes from an unlikely source. Job, destitute, penniless, sick and alone and with some of the worst friends in history contemplates his lot.
But now they laugh at me, men who are younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock.
What could I gain from the strength of their hands, men whose vigor is gone?
Through want and hard hunger they gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation; they pick saltwort and the leaves of bushes, and the roots of the broom tree for their food.
They are driven out from human company; they shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell, in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray; under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, a nameless brood, they have been whipped out of the land.
And now I have become their song;
I am a byword to them.
They abhor me; they keep aloof from me; they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.
Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me, they have cast off restraint in my presence.
On my right hand the rabble rise; they push away my feet; they cast up against me their ways of destruction.
This is Job, a man described as "a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” in Job 1:8 outraged that the outcasts of society mock his situation. This same Job in Job 29:12-16 says:
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
How can a man who has done all these good works, a man that God says is blameless, have such an attitude of elitism even now?
Job compares these people to criminals, which suggests that they aren't. Job 30:2 describes them as "men whose vigor is gone", being unable to work with your hands in an agrarian society would certainly be classed as disability and not being able to work would lead to homelessness and exclusion from community. Job's discrimination may not be out of malice, but based on social norms. That doesn't excuse it but it also doesn't mean that God will rebuke him for it.
Instead God takes a different approach.
Starting at chapter 38, God begins to work on Job. Not just to lift up his spirits but to set right as heart. By the end of the book, Job's family and livelihood have been restored, but curiously there is no mention of his health. We don't know if Job was healed but by the end of the book that's no longer important. Although it was never the point of his suffering, Job's situation and corresponding time with God, teaches him empathy to the point where his ability no longer mattered.
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;
Job's relationship with God changes and deepens, before he could only hear God, now he can see him too; he learns to have a heart like the Father.
We will likely all suffer disability in our lives at some point. For some it might be temporary, for others it's a life-changing condition. We're constantly looking for ways to prevent, treat and cure. Some people may be healed but ultimately the rest of us that are saved will have to wait until that last day to be gloriously transformed. Until then what can the Church do? In the same way that a pair of glasses or a hearing aid can help restore sight or hearing, how can the the Church assist in bringing people to Christ?
It's really pretty simple - don't get in the way.
That's true if a person has a disability or not, nothing we do should putting up barriers that stop people reaching the gospel.
This article was originally published as a podcast, available here
I wore a Warhammer 40K T-shirt to the gym and half way through a tough session with the Prowler my P.T. shouts “For the Emprah!” I laughed so hard I think I damaged something 😂🤣
“If you have a disability, what’s the hardest thing about browsing the web?” The answers to Safia Abdalla’s tweet are truly eye-opening and shows us what web accessibility should really be about. Photo: Francis Clarke for Wikimedia The tweet that started it all i'm curious to know: if you have a disability, what's the hardest […]
🤷🏻♂️ Trying to figure out how to format my feed for post replies
@manton am I doing replies to externally hosted blogs correctly? I have in-reply-to and external-url pointing to the original post and removed all other links from the content including @ mentions. Or should I include a link to their profile too?
Thank you! Yes, I actually went to a Quaker High School and have attended some services. Where I live now also has a lot of Quaker heritage and it definitely influences our services
@simonwoods definitely a bug on my side /cc @manton
I think it’s because I turn a reply into a link but then because that was a long post something went wrong with the truncation
I’m probably doing something clever (and/or stupid) with my jsonfeed