The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability by Nancy L. Eiesland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The profound thesis of this book is "In the Eucharist, we encounter the disabled God, who displayed the signs of disability, not as a demonstration of failure and defect, but in affirmation of connection and strength."
This 21 year old work of theology was groundbreaking in its presentation of a theology of disability and its call for the church to become a "communion of justice, a communion of struggle."
Eiesland gives a history of the disability rights movement and the church's struggles with disability, including how many theological concepts and worship practices further discrimination and injustice toward persons with disabilities. In the final two chapters, on the disabled God and the Eucharist, she gives important theological hints. Hints, in that they are not fully developed in this work, but suggest exciting and promising directions for rethinking our concepts of God and communion. For example, I liked this bit on the resurrection:
Christ's resurrection offers hope that our nonconventional, and sometimes difficult, bodies participate fully in the imago Dei and that God whose nature is love and who is on the side of justice and solidarity is touched by our experience. God is changed by the experience of being a disabled body. This is what the Christian hope of resurrection means.
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