Human Disability and the Service of God: Reassessing Religious Practice

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Nancy L. Eiesland, Don E. Saliers
Abingdon Press, 1998 - Religion - 319 pages
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A living religious tradition continually reassesses its practices. In our contemporary situation, the task of reassessment must attend to the presence of persons with disabilities who are increasingly taking part in public life and therefore in the worship and work of the churches. What questions, insights, and perspectives should be advanced if people with disabilities, in all their diversity, were placed at the center of religious life and education?

The fourteen contributors to this volume address this multi-faceted question. Drawing upon various disciplines and diverse experiences, the authors explore how human disability bears upon the service of God. In turn, the chapters examine how the participation of people with disabilities relates to interpretation of biblical and other sacred texts that speak of sin, disability, and healing; what theological vision is necessary to integrate the disabled into Christian life and worship; what the socio-cultural context is within which people with disabilities press for full inclusion; and how worship, as a theological act, can form communities in a more relevant spirituality of inclusiveness.

Congregations are challenged by these writers to re-envision their actual practices of communal life and worship. This collaborative work shows that the "service of God" as liturgy and as communal accountability can deepen and mature only as the diversity of human capabilities is honored.

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Reinterpreting the Healing Narratives

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About the author (1998)

Theologian and sociologist Nancy L. Eiesland was born with a congenital bone defect in her hips in Cando, North Dakota in 1964. She attended the University of North Dakota, but dropped out after her older sister was killed in a car accident. She and her family joined the Assemblies of God and she graduated from Central Bible College in 1986. She became an Assemblies of God minister, but gradually drifted away from the denomination. She earned a master's degree in 1991 and a Ph.D. in 1995 from Emory University. Her master's thesis evolved into her book The Disabled God (1994). During her lifetime, she wrote four books and numerous articles about religion. She was an associate professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She died of lung cancer on March 10, 2009 at the age of 44.

Don E. Saliers is William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

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