Wednesday, 6 December 2006

The vocation of people with severe disabilities

Last night Kim Fabricius went to hear a lecture by the excellent scholar Frances Young. Professor Young has a severely disabled son, and her lecture was on “The Vocation of People with Severe Learning Disabilities.” Kim gave a response afterwards, which he has posted here – he says:

Against conventional theodicies, and above all against a culture that has lost its way – where its answer to the question, “What are people for?” is, “For autonomy and control, for health and beauty, for performance and productivity” – Professor Young has lodged a considerable critique. Human beings, she says, are made for friendship, and human communities are made for hospitality. And it would seem to be the vocation of so-called disabled people to take this gospel to so-called independent, fit, and achieving folk.

It is not, observe, a question of the abled bringing help to the disabled – just the reverse: the disabled are the ones who bring help to the abled by showing that we are all, one way or another, limited, broken, and needy flesh, who are who we are only in interdependent relationships where asking for help is a sign not of our weakness but of our created and redeemed humanity.

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