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Disability Blog Carnival #3

Posted Oct 01 2008 9:51pm

Welcome to the third Disability Blog Carnival. Thanks to all who participated. Lots of fascinating and thought-provoking perspectives on spirituality are shared.

REFLECTIONS
In her entry No Mistakes, Emma shares a poem of faith and trust by A. M. Overton while examining her un-straight path in life and her belief that everything happens for a reason. In Opening the Spirituality Can of Worms, Amanda from Ballastexistenz delves deeply into the complexity of her own spirituality. Amanda confronts society's spiritual stereotype that people with cognitive disabilities or autism have a simple, pure faith and are therefore closer to God. "This deprives everyone it is applied to of our true complexity, our true relationships to God, our true spirituality."

From A Quadriplegic's Prayer by Wheelie Catholic: "Let me not be ungrateful about what I do not have. Instead, help me recog nize the rich abundance of all that you have given to me.” In grace, mercy and acceptance, Wheelie Catholic talks about her closeness to God.

In Dancing with Wheelchairs, Wheelchair Dancer discusses the relationship between her wheelchair and her body, indeed her very being. "I have a series of emotions that show up in my wheels. When I am angry, I push in a certain way. I can push reflectively, sadly, stressedly. I have feelings about using my chair; I have dealt with shame, stigma, fear."

Unfinished business at her friend's deathbed is connected to Blue’s mystical experience during her own serious illness in My Déjà Vu. Gordon examines his life after the return of his sight. "Nobody sees through his or her eyes really. I think that we experience reality through our eyes, but that's not the whole picture." In Close Your Eyes… And Do It! he believes, "I have stepped into a different reality".

BEAUTY
"We were forever told, what a gorgeous child… the sad part of all of that people see is that they do not see the ‘beauty’ inside of Caitlin.” In The Beauty Inside, mom26children sees the beauty in her daughter and reflects on the lessons learned. In Beauty and a Wealthof Happiness inImperfection, a mom fails to see the beauty in her child. Amanda gives a video response to another mother who can’t find beauty and value in her child. Likewise, Imfunnytoo shares the difficulty her family had seeing her beauty, in What they believed.

" I isolated my love like a muscle and focused on that alone." Susan Senator compares the discipline of belly dancing to the discipline of helping her beautiful son through a difficult time. In I Am, another mother, Emily Elizabeth, explores her identity. This piece by Dan Wilkins was written in 2000 about euthanasia, but I see it as being about a little boy seeing beauty in his dad.

THE SPIRITUALITY OF PITY
In The Daily News, Steve Kuusisto goes for a walk with his dog and meets a boy who underestimates him. Isabella Mori shares a discussion with a client named George, who struggles to live with society’s labels.

"I really don't require prayers,” Kuusisto replies politely in Spiritual Infringements. He describes those all too familiar experiences of “helpful” strangers who are filled with pity and who stubbornly insist on administering “healing”. With an analogy to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Andrea gives her take on the "inspirational story" of a boy who is “allowed” to play in basketball game. “The fact that stories about such people are circulated as ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! and exceptional shows that pity is still stronger than acceptance."

Lady Bracknell gives a strong response to anyon e who might feel sorry for her. Amanda of Ballastexistenz talks about insulting language, addressing those "well-meaning backhanded compliments (‘you don't look retarded’, ‘you're so smart for how you look’, etc.)"

Zephyr differentiates a real acknowledgment of her courage by a loved one from an artificial lumping together of all people with disabilities as “heroic”.

When is a threat not a threat? Apparently, Beck notes, when it is against a person with a disability. “Threatening disabled people is bad, ya’ll. Which is kind of news to me, because I thought we were all pretty much agreed that threatening people is bad.”

Benjamin Snow won a Film Your Issue Award for his 60 second film, Thumbs Down to Pity.

THE HIERARCHY
Here are three perspectives about the absurdities of not seeing people as unique complex individuals - Deciding who's legitimate; Exaggerating, Not Faking; The Disability Hierarchy. Why do we need to judge each other and rank our challenges?

INCLUSION … OR LACK THEREOF
From Dan Wilkins, the Nth degree One might think places of worship would understand inclusion. Sadly, that is often not the case. It’s hard to imagine a bishop ruling that a child with autism is only “simulating” receiving Communion. In If You Build It They Will Come, Awaketodream addresses the physical inaccessibility of mosques and churches, and wonders why leadership doesn't understand the field of dreams principle.

Kristina Chew ( cannot seem to link to the specific story which is from Oct 28) reports on a conference and talks about exclusion and inclusion experiences in church. She also addresses the contributions that each person brings to a faith community, "Why ought a high-five not be thought of as acceptable as a sacramental response?"

Jeff McNair, a Christian youth minister, challenges his fellow ministers to be open to the positive changes a person with a cognitive disability brings to a youth group in Value Added.

In Reflecting on Spirituality and What I Believe In, Emma gives a comprehensive analysis of her spiritual experiences, from being told that she is in a wheelchair because of her sin, to her belief that she has a strong soul. Emma presents an interesting twist on the making-lemonade philosophy of life.

Wheelie Catholic’s What Is Access Versus Inclusion? is applicable to all places of worship.

"The entire disability community is under siege," writes Joel in Institutions or Death. He asks the questions: why is institutionalization so easily accepted? Why isn't there more emphasis on other alternatives?

In Disability As a Civil Rights Issue, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Toby Olson writes "the general public is consistently, spectacularly wrong in nearly every truth it holds dear about the experience of living with a disability." That’s my experience!

I’ve enjoyed reading these interesting perspectives. Lots to explore and think about.

The next Carnival will be held by Diary of a Goldfish on November 23.

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