The Disabled God – Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability by Nancy L. Eiesland

Only the stalwart need explore the contents of this challenging book. Its cover gives pause with dismembered bodes in garish colors around the pierced Christ (Pablo Picasso’s Crucifixion). Its premise first appeared in the author’s 1991 masters thesis from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where she also obtained her M.Div in 1995

A hard read, nevertheless, it reveals a fresh paradigm in which the disabled are called to identify with the wounded God (Luke 24: 36-39). He empowers them, in their uniqueness, to accept their body-houses with all their horrors and surprises and still thrive. The author also challenges existing theological and societal biases against full inclusion of the disabled, who are just like us, save for their unconventional bodies.

Interesting that her image of the disabled God sat in a sip-puff motorized wheelchair, the kind quadriplegics power with their breath.

Who better to author this seminal book on the disabled than Nancy Eiesland. She was born in 1964 with a congenital bone defect in her hip and suffered eleven failed operations by the time she was thirteen years old. Unable to walk, she relied upon motorized chairs for the rest of her life. A deeply spirited woman, she discovered her identity and character within her disability; it became the prism through which she expressed herself as theologian, social activist, author, consultant, wife, and mother. She hoped to bring her disability with her into eternal life. She passed in 2009.

Her book prepared me to begin writing my second memoir, Limping Along – following the dark face of God. I plan to self-publish in 2015.

 

 

 

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