5a - disabled church
Poverty and Exclusion

TGI Monday: Is a church without a disabled person a disabled church?

 

What is disability? Is there such a thing as a disabled church? What are invisible disabilities? What is inclusion? What is access? How complete are the able-bodied?

Many disabled people don’t come to church because they take one look at the stone steps and think they physically couldn’t get in, and those who could get in with a ramp don’t turn up for fear of troubling someone to get the ramp out. How can we solve the emotional or psychological barriers to participation in church life if there is no presence?

Jesus healed lepers: we prefer to isolate the infected for fear of transmitting deformity. Are not the neediest people in society the weakest? Are they the most important in church? The pervasive view is that the weak and disabled are there to minister to (often with prayer for healing). Do they not also minister? What if they seek no healing? Surely every member of the body contributes something vital: the head may not say to the little toe, “I have no need of you.” Funny, isn’t it, how we view the disabled as a little toe or an appendix. Where is the Church’s Stephen Hawking? Perhaps (s)he couldn’t be bothered to trouble you to get the ramp out.

We worship with our bodies: our bodies affect our faith. What if we can’t physically kneel? What if we can’t sing? What if we have no arms or hands to receive the Host? How do the deaf hear the Word?

Disabled people have gifts: a disabled church lacks the gifts of the differently-abled. And we rarely talk about it because of the awkwardness it causes, or we can’t quite find the right language. Here’s a start:

For future episodes, please feel free to send your questions directly to the TGI Monday team.

  • sarky

    I would have thought the church more than any organisation would see through the disability and just accept the person? That’s how I try to live and it’s what I teach my children.

  • john in cheshire

    More seriously, why isn’t the Christian church establishment outraged by the planned erection of a replica of part of the temple of Baal in Trafalgar Square on the 19th. Of this month?

    • sarky

      Even though it was converted to a Christian one in the byzantine era?

      • David Harkness

        sarky, could you be a bit more specific? What was converted during the Byzantine era?

        • sarky

          The Temple of Bel (Baal) was converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine Era.[8] Parts of the structure were modified by Arabs in 1132 which preserved the structure and converted the Temple into a mosque. It remained in use as a mosque until the 1920s.[9] Most of the Corinthian columns of the inner colonnades still showed pedestals where the statues of the benefactors stood.[2] The temple was aligned along the eastern end of the Great Colonnade at Palmyra.

          • The Explorer

            Both Christianity and Islam have shown mixed reactions to paganism. Churches were built next to healing wells, where the pagan function had been benign; but sacred groves where there had been human sacrifice were cut down. The sorcerers of Ephesus burned their books when converted.

            The Parthenon was turned into a church. Perhaps the Christians saw the beauty of the building; perhaps they wanted to assert the authority of Christ over the pagan divinities. The Turks then turned it into a mosque.

            Thus, one strain of Islam has not had a problem Islamifying Christian buildings. But there’s an extreme form that sees anything pre-Islam as belonging to the time of darkness: and, therefore, ripe for destruction. Hence the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Palmyra, and the calls for the destruction of the pyramids. If Islam triumphs in Britain, Westminster Abbey in the future could become a mosque or could be destroyed, depending on which strain of Islam prevailed.

          • Anton

            I did not mourn the buddhas at Bamiyan.

          • The Explorer

            Until the Taleban destroyed them, I had not even known of their existence.

          • sarky

            Why?

          • Anton

            Why should I?

          • sarky

            Because you should be appalled at the destruction of something with such historical significance.
            Would you be so non plussed if Westminster abbey was blown up?

          • Anton

            I’d regret very deeply the loss of history of my culture if Westminster Abbey were blown up. Ecclesiastically speaking, such an event would evoke mixed feelings in me. As for the Bamiyan buddhas, I would not have done the same had I held power there, but it is not my culture or my religion and I am happy to leave it to buddhists there to be appalled.

          • sarky

            Well I’m glad I have a better sense of history than you.

          • Anton

            Perhaps, of Afghanistan, you do.

          • sarky

            But isn’t that the very reason this arch is being erected? To show that extremism will not prevail. Could it be that that something that once was evil, is now being used for good?

          • The Explorer

            Yes, it’s tricky. If you had the opportunity to destroy all copies of ‘Mein Kampf’, would you do so, or would you preserve some as a record of what was believed at one point in human history? That would not be the same as approval of what you were retaining.

            As I understand it, this is an Italian initiative. The arch will be displayed in Trafalgar and Times Squares, before being erected in Palmyra. If it stayed in the West, that would be an empty gesture; but if it goes back to Syria that really is defiance of extremism.

            The point I was thinking about above is that Islam is not uniform. If it were, then the first Muslims to conquer Syria would have destroyed the Temple. Instead, they turned it into a mosque. In the same way, if all Muslims were Jihadis then Europe would already be in a state of civil war, rather than subject to sporadic attack.

          • David Harkness

            Thank you

      • john in cheshire

        It’s not being promoted as a Christian edifice and even if it was, it would be a bizarre thing to do especially as there is a plan for maybe a thousand such replicas to be erected throughout the world, including in Time Square in New York. Nowhere have I read that it is a Christian structure; it’s part of a temple that, as The Explorer correctly states, had sacrifice of live babies and mass orgies as the core of its public worship.

    • The Explorer

      The Church Establishment doesn’t call the shots. Baal worship focused on the sacrifice of children. The modern world presumably welcomes a temple to its own religion.

    • The Yanks refused it and apparently we are going to have a replica of the Arch of Triumph the Romans built in Palmyra which is different to Baal instead for the temporary display.

  • Mike of Cornwall

    More often than not, the absence of disabled people in church is not a result of positive discrimination. More it is a failure to understand that disabled access is about so very much more than ramps for wheelchairs (which is the limit of many congregations). This reflect society as a whole – something that the church should be challenging both in words and by its instinctive actions.

    • dannybhoy

      The Church should reach out to everyone -including gays, the lonely and the disabled. Heaven is for sharing…

  • The Explorer

    The Word of Faith movement says Scripture promises health and wealth for believers. On the other hand, Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus ‘2 Tim’. 4:20. Why didn’t Paul just heal him? Why did he tell Timothy to drink wine for his stomach ailments? Why didn’t he point out to Luke that to be a doctor was now to belong to a redundant profession?

    • dannybhoy

      Good posts both, Explorer.
      As a young Christian I sought healing for asthma. Read all the books, stirred up my faith etc.
      As I got older I came to see (or perhaps rationalise), that in the light of eternity our bodily existence and associated problems are far less important than walking through every day with God, and seeking to be both a channel and an example of His grace.
      Whatever we suffer in this earthly body will come to an end, and as the old American evangelical saying has it, “Better to be a part of the solution rather than remain a part of the problem…”
      Logically there are two after death outcomes:
      Either we completely cease to be, and as the atheists and others would have it, we lived a meaning less life in a meaningless universe;
      or
      life continues into a new dimension.
      We who believe the Gospel accept the testimony of our Lord Jesus, that He arose from the dead. That He did, and that I through faith can participate in that resurrection life is good enough for me.

      • sarky

        I don’t know any atheists who think they live a meaningless life.

        • Anton

          Don’t you expose your mind to Sartre, or Camus, or postmodernist philosophers, or Samuel Beckett, etc?

          • sarky

            Nah, miserable gits.

          • Anton

            Couldn’t agree more! But they are deep enough to relate that misery to their core beliefs, which exclude God.

          • sarky

            Sorry but I can’t relate to that. Think I might start a blog ‘the happy atheist’

          • Anton

            May you long be happy, and do start a blog.

          • chiefofsinners

            My gang of bank robbers have copyrighted the name. ‘The happy at heist’.

          • Dreadnaught
          • sarky

            If I was to write a blog……

          • William Lewis

            “Welcome!
            There is probably nothing more satisfying than being able to think about life’s great questions without the restrictions created by religion and other superstitions.”

            There’s no hubris quite like atheist hubris. 🙂

          • Dreadnaught

            How balanced of you to make the journey to the Bright side of Life.

          • William Lewis

            One likes to keep abreast of the latest twists and turns involved for a life in denial. 😉

            If only it wasn’t such a hopeless dead end.

          • Dreadnaught

            I don’t experience life at all like you imagine. Its totally liberating to dedicate your allotted span in appreciating the wonder of life in all its forms and work to preserve it or improve it into a better state than when we arrived. Well that’s my philosophy anyway but it is still a work in progress and I am very happy (most of the time) especially when compared to what other unfortunates around the planet have to endure.

          • William Lewis

            That’s all very well and none of what you have described is precluded by Christianity but is there not more to this than whether or how you experience the wonder of life or the counting of your lucky stars that you are not like many of the other unfortunates? Do you not want your soul to soar and commune with the infinite and with your brother and sisters? To discover the deeper spiritual truths of your existence?

          • Dreadnaught

            Not at all. I am quite content with what I have/had and as I don’t have a soul… well, you can guess the rest.

          • Anton

            But do you think you can keep happy when you grow old and unwell?

          • sarky

            How could I possibly answer that?

          • Anton

            With difficulty, but you could have a stab by extrapolation from hopefully limited personal experience of illness and occasional doubts in the dark hours.

          • sarky

            Had neither!!!!

          • Anton

            I’m glad. But you can expect to be ill, at least in old age, and you have an imagination and know what it is to be human.

          • sarky

            I’ll only worly about it if and when it happens.

          • Anton

            Do you bother with life insurance?

          • sarky

            Yes…so it’s there if and when anything happens (please don’t go into one about Christianity being life/death insurance)

        • dannybhoy

          http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/
          plus
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdism
          and
          https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/06/03/tolstoy-confession/
          Jean Paul Sartre
          http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/n/no-exit/critical-essays/sartrean-existentialism-an-overview

          I think what you mean is that all the atheists you know refuse to think it through to its logical conclusions..
          You say there is no God, hence by inference no meaning, but you act as if there is…

          • sarky

            Let me put it another way. In the grand scheme of things my life (and the lives of most) are meaningless, like farts in the wind. However, to my children, my friends and my family my life does have meaning and that will do for me.

          • dannybhoy

            Sarks, you’ve said that before, and it’s a commonly held position.
            You’re a living sentient being, you’re intelligent and you have feelings and relationships.
            Your experience of religion through your parents was not a positive one, and you rejected it.
            You don’t think there is any meaning beyond what you experience through your senses and emotions.
            So perhaps it would be more honest to describe yourself as “a don’t know” rather than an atheist, or else “a don’t care whether there is any meaning or not; I’m just content to be a fart in the cosmic wind…
            Try reading the article on Leo Tolstoy.

          • sarky

            I never said my experience of religion was negative, it just didn’t do anything for me.
            As for the “don’t know”, think I’ll stick with atheist.

          • dannybhoy

            I think you are deliberately choosing a philosophy you haven’t/won’t think through, because you don’t like the alternative… :0)

          • sarky

            Not at all, I’m choosing a philosophy that makes sense to me, just the same as you have. And to say I haven’t thought it through is a bit presumptuous on your part, I can’t remember making the same assumption about you and your faith.

          • dannybhoy

            ” And to say I haven’t thought it through is a bit presumptuous on your part,”
            Fair comment, but if you consider those philosophers mentioned, they did think it through and then tried to come to terms with the inevitable conclusions. The reality is that most people refuse to accept those inevitable conclusions..
            As you have done.

          • Farts in the wind. All we are is farts in the wind. I like it. Hm, there’s even a tune that goes with that.

      • chiefofsinners

        I have a ministry of healing asthmatics for a small fee.
        It’s a really good wheeze.

        • dannybhoy

          Charlatan!
          How dare you try profit from the misfo the (gasps) misfortu- (ragged breathing)
          misfortunesofothers….
          Collapses on floor still clutching consultancy fee…

    • Martin

      TE

      Kinda destroys the idea that Christians were always healing the sick. So their reason for healing wasn’t because the people were sick but rather to validate their message.

  • The Explorer

    ‘Matthew’ 4:24 says that all the ill who were brought to Christ were healed. That doesn’t happen now. There are two possible reasons for this.

    1. The sceptic’s view. It doesn’t happen now because it didn’t happen then.

    2. The believer’s view. It happened then as a display of God’s power breaking into the fallen world: a denial of the pantheistic view that disease is God if seen from the right perspective. But the promise of imperishable bodies relates only to our resurrection bodies, not to our present, earthly bodies. Lazarus may have been raised from the dead, but that did not mean he would not die again in due course.

  • Findaráto

    So this week it was Disabled Nosering’s turn to shine, I see. Fair enough. All we’ve really heard from her so far have been a few mumsy twitterings while Hipster Vic has held the stage.

    Boiling her arguments down to a few sentences, what she was basically saying is that if a disabled person can’t do something in particular, they can do something else instead. And as it is a basic divine commandment that nobody should ever be excluded from anything, we should always let them do what they can whether appropriate or not.

    This should lead to a very interesting 100 yards dash at DN’s next church fête. DN must of course be included, so in order to make for a fair competition, everyone will have to race in wheelchairs.

    But this gives DN an unfair advantage, as she is used to manoeuvering a wheelchair. Therefore wheelchair training will have to be given to all 100 yards dash participants, which will mean her church will have to invest not only in the hardware, but also pay for a trainer. And all so DN can feel included.

    Quite where the money for this is going to come from is anyone’s guess, but DN is realistic enough to understand that no grant or contribution will be forthcoming from the evil, heartless Tory government. This is why she wears a nosering, as the physical embodiment of the social and political shackles that wicked Tories like David Cameron use to bind her.

    Her dream of an all-wheelchair 100 yards dash being unrealisable due to the evil Prime Minister and his refusal to pay for full inclusivity, all she can do is pray that Goddess will deal with him when he gets to heaven and that he’ll be sent to sit on the naughty step for a LONG time to make him really think about what he’s done and be well and truly sorry about it.

    In the meatime, she can count on her TGI Monday colleagues to be as inclusive as anyone could possibly wish. And they all have good ideas.

    LG wants at least two people with learning difficulties in every church to brighten up everyone’s day and make us smile indulgently at the cutesy and spontaneous things they say in all the glory of their otherly-abledness. One can’t help wondering if this is what all the knitting’s for. Is she crafting them knee and elbow pads to stop them from injuring themselves when they’re overcome by the joy of the Lord?

    Welsh Git is more concerned about the works and modifications that being inclusive entails. He’s happy to pay of course, but he wants us to know that welcoming the disabled into your church means building ramps and installing handgrips. He has a very mechanical mind, it seems. Must be all the motorbikes.

    Hipster Vic’s take on masculine concern with material detail is slightly different. As one might expect from a chap whose Rs stayed in nursery school when the rest of him gwaduated to more sewious subjects, he weally wants evewyone to have wamps.

    “Wamps! Wamps for evewyone!” he intones, as if ramps are an inclusivity panacea that solve every problem a disabled person may ever have. DN looks a bit dubious, but puts on a show of agreement while thinking the poor boy is clearly an inclusivity virgin and Wome wasn’t built in a day…

    So next week it must surely be WG’s turn to wow us with his blokish charm. Will he be interviewing a recently converted Jeremy Clarkson? And how will DN react? Will disabled vegetarian organic outrage lead to schism in the Church of TGI Monday???

    Stay tuned for next week’s thrilling installment!

    • The Explorer

      I don’t find Dan’s lisp nearly as pronounced as you seem to. Perhaps I’m hearing what I want to hear. Then again, perhaps you are.

      • Findaráto

        I agree that it’s quite subtle, but it’s definitely there. And it isn’t a lisp so much as a blurring of his Rs.

        Satire magnifies and exaggerates idiosyncracies, features and peculiarities. Hipster Vic may not be quite as extreme in real life as the portrait I paint of him, but everyone can recognise the likeness.

        • sarky

          Weally? Like that wambuncious, wapascallion Jonathan woss?

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s called ‘gliding of liquids’, if anyone wants to know the technical term.

          • Uncle Brian

            I see. Something like ‘gender fluid’, then.

          • Best kept in a bottle.

          • dannybhoy

            A gliding of fluids..
            How apt.

          • Findaráto

            Not quite as pwonounced but definitely pwesent.

      • Large Girls lisp is far worse. How about they both go for speech therapy.

        • Marie, don’t get drawn into his nasty misrepresentation of these people. It’s not amusing and he should be ignored.

          • Her lisp is annoying. though, can’t they find people who can speak properly?

          • IanCad

            You’re right Jack, we probably shouldn’t get drawn in, but the guy is funny. We need his skills on our side. Maybe our kind, meek, and non-confrontational debates will serve to turn him into one of us.

          • dannybhoy

            I think Christians can have needle sharp wit and produce real belly laughs without being crude or offensive.
            The trouble is that too many of us Christians can be po-faced.
            Our great fear is offending someone or something.
            I don’t buy that.
            Jesus spent a lot of time with the disciples in the area around the sea of Tiberias. We know there were different personalities amongst the disciples, and I am sure that humour and ribbing would have gone on whilst they were walking or sitting around the campfire.

          • He’s here because he hates Christ and his ‘humour’ seeks to serve this purpose. Both he and it are poison. Would you eat a poisonous cake because it had chocolate in it?

        • Findaráto

          Yes but LG’s speech impediment may be weight-related. Sound-generating tissues that are being compressed and strangulated by thick layers of fat produce a very different quality of sound to those that can move and vibrate freely.

          Fat has curious resonance-altering qualities. Have you ever tried listening to a cello concerto with a packet of lard strapped to each ear? Oddly enough, I have. As part of a schoolboy science experiment testing the sound-conducting properties of various substances. It was a very interesting experience.

          I chose as my baseline work Elgar’s Cello Concerto (as interpreted by Jacqueline du Pré, of course) and listened to it through a variety of substances, both liquid and solid, but not gaseous, as parental concern about my idea of filling two balloons with a variety of gases such as butane, methane and hydrogen brought my experiments to a premature close. I would have persevered despite what I initially dismissed as trifling parental objections had my mother not very cunningly pointed out that two layers of latex, no matter how thin, surrounding the gas would alter the sound and falsify my data. Smart woman, my mother. She understood that logical explanations can influence me in a way that direct and arbitrary commands never will.

          Still, limited as I was to conducting my experiment using easily obtainable (and non-explosive) household substances, I nevertheless succeeded in producing a respectable amount of data.

          Certain materials like shaving foam and scrunched up newspaper hardly altered the sound at all, while others such as candyfloss and bubble wrap rather unexpectedly transformed it beyond recognition. Fat also gave unexpected results. When listened to through an inch of lard, Elgar sounded quite distinct but almost alien. Dull, yet sibilant at the same time. Rather like LG’s voice.

          So I rest my case.

          If she lost a few pounds, LG would probably start to speak quite normally. And as the choice is hers (chocolate cake or celery stick?) any attempt on my part to influence her by lampooning her speaking voice would probably be counterproductive. In my experience, telling a fatty she needs to lose weight generally has the opposite effect. And far be it from me to make things worse for the poor girl.

          Hipster Vic on the other hand could not possibly hope for his odd Rs to be suddenly cured by losing a stone or two. His speech impediment (or to be fair, “peculiarity”) is a part of him in a way that LG’s most probably is not. So he’s fair game.

          • Fascinating and amusing though your account of your youthful experimentations is, I think LG’s lisp is more to do with her tongue control. than weight. If you watch the episode from 4th April the camera is close enough to her to be able to see her tongue sticking out beyond her teeth when speaking. My brother had a similar problem in that he too couldn’t pronounce th properly. My mother and grandmother sat him down when he was young and trained him over many months to use his tongue correctly in pronunciation. Every time he lisped they reminded and corrected him and lo and behold he lost the lisp as his brain learned to control his tongue properly. He speaks beautifully.
            And I think the same can be applied to people who have trouble pronouncing their Rs.

            You just enjoy giving the poor lad a lashing don’t you? I bet you secretly fancy him.

          • Findaráto

            Fancy Hipster Vic? Now there’s a seriously defamatory accusation. Fancy Bambi wearing a hook-on comedy beard? It’s almost as if you’re accusing me of paedophilia.

            Really, with all those paedophile bishops floating about, Anglicans should think twice before raising such subjects.

          • Where did you get that idea from?? You’re very bad.

    • IanCad

      Well, I suppose when people put themselves in the public forum, they must expect the good, bad, and the downright nasty.
      Must give you credit where it is due Findars; you really are a one-off. Funny stuff!

  • Uncle Brian

    For a few years, back in the nineties, we attended mass regularly at a Carmelite parish where one elderly friar was only ever seen in his wheelchair. When it was his turn to celebrate mass they would place a folding table at the foot of the altar steps for him to use as an altar. I don’t think anyone ever made any comment about that, either favourable or unfavourable. It didn’t seem to make any difference one way or the other.

  • Martin

    At first I thought this was a great improvement, there was no sound, then I realised the sound was muted.

    So what was specifically Christian about this? What has it taught Christians about their faith?

  • dannybhoy

    When I first started working with people who had had strokes or accidents or conditions leaving them unable to speak or think clearly; or who were wheelchair bound, it came as a real shock.
    I was 30 years old and had never really encountered folk like this in my life.
    Later when I started working with people who had moderate to severe learning difficulties as well as physical impairments, it was another adjustment.
    Especially the learning difficulties part.

    So I well understand why fully mobile and functional Christian people find it difficult to know how to respond. It’s outside of their every day experience and they have to make adjustments. When you are opening up communication with someone who became incapacitated rather than was born that way, one may encounter bitterness or anger or resentment; which makes the process of communication even harder.
    And from my own experience I can say I met people who were indeed really angry because their physical abilities had been shut down so that they were dependent on others.
    My bestest friend had muscular dystrophy which eventually killed him. Over the years he developed a kind of bossy attitude to his friends, but it wasn’t really bossy: he just knew clearly what he wanted done, and was bit brusque in the way he communicated it..
    I don’t think able bodied Christians should beat themselves up over how to respond to a handicapped person in their congregation, or go overboard in catering for them. They are ordinary people with a disability. They probably feel as awkward as you do in how they present themselves, and most of all they want to be valued for themselves rather than their disability.

  • carl jacobs

    This wasn’t a video about doctrine so much as a video about observation and awareness. It seemed very focused on church leadership as opposed to church membership. I found the question tendentious, but I thought the group responded well to it.

    In fact this whole episode reminded me of nothing so much as when my company introduced “diversity training”. I steeled myself for the first offering, but it actually turned out to be useful. It wasn’t PC nonsense. It was about how to avoid excluding people from meaningful participation simply by recognizing certain behaviors we take for granted. Like always speaking in acronyms associated with our unique discipline or program.

    Don’t judge this video as a theological treatise. It’s just practical advice.

  • Inspector General

    One is rather tired of the fatuous notion that we are not ‘complete’ unless various quotas are filled. Disability, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Race. How about we take each individual as an individual, and instead discriminate as to whether they be a good individual or a bad individual.

    So damn refreshing you’ll find, and if you can master the art, a small c conservative you will be, and you can’t get better than that!

  • Inspector General

    Chaps, a most important aside from today’s topic…if it so pleases Cranmer as to earn an indulgence for us all…

    This Wednesday. Channel 4’s ‘What British Muslims Really Think’. The survey on which the program is based was interpreted by the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips. He said: “The integration of Britain’s Muslims will probably be the hardest task we’ve ever faced.“ It will require the abandonment of the milk-and-water multiculturalism still so beloved of many, and the adoption of a far more muscular approach to integration.” Interesting comments on the Pink News article – and no there is no overall rabid hatred for Islam by the inmates, which some may find surprising – that is reserved for Christianity alone. Islam being a minority thing in the UK, just like same sex attraction enthusiasts: so it can’t be as bad as Christianity, goes the reasoning.

    Perhaps after the program, our excellent host can give his views on how far that muscular approach could or should be, if indeed we need to pick on a section of the community at all to comply with British values. Something the Inspector feels Phillips probably would not have found to his taste earlier in his career…

    • dannybhoy

      I think by definition(?) racism can only be exercised by the most powerful culture..
      Even if that culture happens to be the host culture.
      Logical?
      Hell no!
      Suicidal?
      Definitely..

      • Inspector General

        Do you know, Danny, the Inspector has been referred to as a racist, of all things, and on this very site, of all places!

        • dannybhoy

          You attract both brickbats and bouquets Inspector.
          ‘Tis the nature of the beast (i.e. you)
          Added to that your theology is horribly mangled so that we doubt your state of grace.
          However, you are a stouthearted fellow who means well and the site would be the poorer for your absence…

          • Inspector General

            hmmmm

          • dannybhoy

            Hmmmm indeed.
            Do you know, Danny was thinking you would fit in rather well with the crowd that made up “Three Men in a Boat.”
            An English classic which provided Danny with many a laugh in days gone by. An assistant to George perhaps,,

          • Inspector General

            Someone’s ‘assistant’! Assistant you say! How dare you, sir!

          • One if my top favourites evah! Read it in Czech when I was nine …about a dozen times in succession… and a few years ago in English for the first time when I found the full text on the Gutenberg Project site. Retracing the chaps’ journey on a houseboat remains a vacation dream for me. Fat chance, with kids, family, relatives scattered over three continents and all overdue for visits.

          • dannybhoy

            “Fat chance, with kids, family, relatives scattered over three continents and all overdue for visits.”
            !!!
            Hey Barzel!,
            Don’t come to me with your hard luck stories and tales of woe..
            This is a Christian blog, not an agony aunt’s waiting room, doncha know.
            You come, you go, who knows where you are? Only Danny knows how to draw you out of that Canadian cave you hide in. By posting comments baited with literary gems you Barzel, find irresistible…

            Actually, I always thought that Ephraim Kishon
            http://www.theguardian.com/news/2005/feb/01/guardianobituaries.booksobituaries
            was a Jewish equivalent of Jerome Klapka Jerome..
            Very similar humour albeit set in different cultures.
            I always felt sorry for Kishon, because it seemed to me he was disillusioned by the reality of Israel, where every other man knows best…
            I think I read “Look back Mrs Lot!” first, and went on to read most all of his humorous novels whilst in Israel.

          • Perhaps it’s because you intimidate, Danny. My apparent bonhomie hides a shy, sensitive soul. I need a shot of si gle malt liquid courage to face you aprobation, but I’m thinking of doubling the dose.

            I undertook a Kishon book on a long summer shabbat once and in compliance with the Chofetz Chaim’ advice on loshen ha’ra, I’ll just say that I’m sure that the humour reads better in the original Hebrew and goes in the “had to be there” category…is your Hwbrew good enough for that? Mine is nowhere close. But I will say that his books do offer an unentitional and therefore sharp and frank historical-anthropological glimpse at the rough around the edges days of early Israel.

            Well, off to Chicago and then Kansas City…which of course everyone knows is in Missouri… and then hopefully home for shabbat.

          • dannybhoy

            “is your Hebrew good enough for that?”
            In a milah, no.
            I only did keytah Aleph in ulpan. I can read evrit, both modern and from the Tanakh… .laboriously, but my grammar is not brilliant.
            The problem is I have no-one here in Norfolk to practice with. I would also like to get the rudiments of Yiddish, a wonderful language full of pathos. To join some suitable Jewish organisation, even though I know that as a goy I would be charged a premium… ;0)

            Perhaps I should make some enquiries..
            I do agree with you about Ephraim’s writings as being a snapshot of the time though.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Proudie!

          • dannybhoy

            Is this the real Mrs Proudie or Linus in yet another manifestation?
            (He can’t bear being out of the limelight), whereas the matronly Mrs Proudie knew how to maintain a dignified silence..
            Even if it lasted rather too long.
            Mrs Proudie is that really you?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            It is I dear boy, the real Mrs P…clad in the corsets of Indefatigability and the brassiere of fortitude…

          • dannybhoy

            In that case -and before you reveal any more of your vestments- welcome back dear lady!
            Your deliciously humorous observations have been greatly missed here, and I remember you being a regular contributor here when I first discovered Archbishop Cranmer’s blog.
            May we ask what has kept you away for so long? Your general health is good I take it?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Perambulations, dear Danny, perambulations… and my Lord the Bishop’s short stint as acting Bishop of Wamatuziland…but safely back in Barchester and keen to get back in the swing!

          • dannybhoy

            :0) You make oi larf!

        • chiefofsinners

          Don’t talk to him, he’s Irish.

    • dannybhoy

      To allow immigrants of other faiths in is not wrong from the point of compassion, but is most definitely dangerous from a security point of view if those immigrants refuse to assimilate.
      In times of war it is known as establishing a beachhead, and that is what bothers me about what is happening in Europe.

      • Inspector General

        A racial trait of the white continental European is the following. They will happily vote for a left wing party that encourages Islamic immigration, then after some atrocity, vote for the far right. Only to return to voting for the socialists again at a later date. Can’t explain that….seems to indicate instability in some way…

        • dannybhoy

          aka short term memory loss.

    • Anton

      Why anybody wishes to listen to Trevor Phillips on such subjects is beyond me, although there is more joy in heaven etc.

      • Inspector General

        The blighter never seemed concerned about West Indian crime in London while he was in office, as far as one is aware…

  • chiefofsinners

    The biblical response to this issue is clear. The friends of the disabled should dismantle the roofs of our churches and lower them on their beds into the chancel.

    • dannybhoy

      You have a wicked sense of humour…

  • David

    “Is a church without a disabled person a disabled church?”, asks TGI Monday.

    Does this mean that for those churches without any disabled worshippers, volunteers for being made disabled will now be sought ?

    • sarky

      What a stupid, ignorant comment.

      • David

        Your sense of humour seems a tad narrow.

        • Dreadnaught

          If you are disabled yourself then I suppose you may feel justified in finding humour in disability valid: if you are not, then I feel that you making crass attempts at humour at the expense of disability is misplaced.

          • IanCad

            David is quite capable of defending himself but maybe he was referring to those very sick folk who actually desire to be disabled.
            Body Integrity Disorder, The Transabled. Oh Dear! Can such things be?

          • dannybhoy

            They can indeed!
            A few people may build an identity on their disability or sickness. A few people learn to manipulate others by appealing to their conscience..

            My own subjective observation is that men do not like to talk about an impairment because it makes them feel to some degree or another emasculated.
            As a young man I never liked letting on about having severe asthma, but as an older man with COPD I have enough self assurance to accept that there are things I can’t do anymore, and to be grateful for help when offered.
            But I know there is also a part of me that won’t take rudeness or insults lying down.
            I will react, even though I know that as a Christian I probably shouldn’t

          • IanCad

            I was in the same boat. Couldn’t hide it. Snorting, wheezing, coughing. Even had a PE master who, despite sick notes, would force me to join in the cross country. “Asthma?” “Nonsense my boy the fresh air will do you good”
            The fat boy, the boy in the wheelchair, and myself would finish about an hour after the others. Utter torture.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, but didn’t you learn compassion for others through that?
            I think I did, and a tendency to stick up for the underdog and the kid who always got picked on. :0)

          • IanCad

            Not when I was having an attack. I did however learn how really very fortunate I was when going to the hospital for regular X-Rays and desensitizing injections. So many crippled and very ill patients made my asthma seem like small potatoes.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely Ian. There are far worse things in life, and oftentimes a physical weakness can make you more considerate towards other people.

          • CliveM

            Was that what he was making a joke of? I thought it was the idea of having disability quotas and how you respond to it.

          • dannybhoy

            Quite so Clive.

        • sarky

          How is what you wrote funny?

  • What is disabled? Our local railway station is having some improvements to help the disabled. A ramp? Escalator? Automatic doors?
    No, they are improving the public address system to help those who are hard of hearing. On that basis, my local parish church has quite a few disabled members of the congregation.

  • preacher

    I think we must start by defining what church is. Is it an institution, or an organisation, maybe a library, a place where people are expected to sit quietly & read or study ? Or is it something more personal. Is it the place down the road with a point on the top, or the modern building with guitars & amplification that get you dancing ? Or is it you ? IMO the church has become too impersonal, Paul states that our bodies are a temple of God’s Holy Spirit, if we are really followers of Christ – the same Christ who told a member of the temple hierarchy that to be a believer ” You MUST be born again ! ” if we cannot accept this fact, the church is not disabled, it is Dead !!!. sterile, powerless, lifeless.

    The church is people – us ! able bodied or not. When I was growing up I lived next door to a lady who was born without arms. She was married & had several children, they were all kept clean & well fed, the washing up was always done ( No dishwasher in those days ) On one occasion I remember a visitor was highly embarrassed, he’d been visiting her & on leaving, he’d thoughtlessly held out his hand to shake hands, of course she couldn’t reciprocate & he told my mother how foolish he’d felt. When my mother mentioned it to her, she laughed & said ” Tell him I took it as a compliment, he forgot my disability & just acted naturally !! “.

    It’s what’s inside that counts, the outside starts down the slippery slope from the minute we are born. Life is a precious gift. enjoy it, love God, love people & enjoy it.
    Blessings. P.

  • jsampson45

    I have been around many churches and never known one without someone with some form of disability.