Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Disabled or Crippled?

When i was in seminary there was great fuss over language. Let me say right up front, I think too many people dismiss the power of words by laughing off "political correct." The scripture teach us over and again the power of words. But there are times when we use them to avoid the truth.

Disabled is a statement of fact. I have Cerebral Palsy which means that there is a part of my brain which was disabled at birth, a part of the brain which does not function properly. There is no need to evade the truth with phrases like "differently abled."

In today's gospel Jesus approaches the pool at Bethesda and the people who are there described in many translations as "a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled." And some would say we need to change the world crippled. I would not. We need the word because there are people who are crippled. The man at the center of today's gospel is crippled.

Jesus asks him a simple question, "Do you want to be well?" And yet the man does not answer "Yes."

He doesn't answer. He has a whole list of excuses for why he is where is. Jesus simply tells him to get up, take his mat and walk. He is crippled.

Disabled is a statement of fact, a part of a system does not function probably. Crippled is a choice. I am disabled but not crippled. Amy Purdy, the double amputee on Dancing with the Stars, is disabled, but not crippled. And there are many people who are crippled, who have no disability. The crippled person feels powerless. The crippled person is frozen in place. The have forgotten some basic truths of Christianity.

With God all things are possible.

All things work together for the good of those who love God

Today is a day for us to pray for the crippled people. And if you are in some aspect of your life crippled, get up, take your mat, and walk.