What Rachel Smalley, and the public, doesn’t understand about mainstreaming special needs children.

Every ‘type’ of race, gender, personality, difference (this list could go on) are already part of our communities, societies, cultures, schools, universities, work places etc. Whether or not we all feel, or believe, or choose, or behave as if we’re all here is another matter. Well intentioned exclusion in its extreme leads to things like genocide. We need to be very careful about whether one person or group’s desires are of more or equal value than another’s and how we can all live interdependently not in isolated or isolating independence from others.

Autism & Oughtisms

Today a reader of my blog asked if I’d read a recent article written by Rachel Smalley, up on the Newstalk ZB website. The reader was not happy about what she read there, and having read it myself I also feel the article needs a public reply. There is just so much wrong with the way Smalley frames the debate she is looking at, that it is hard to know where to start, so I might as well begin at the beginning.

Bu Via Tsuji, via Flickr

Smalley’s article starts off with the recent example of the child with Aspergers and dyslexia, who had been expelled from school because of an incident with a skateboard. She uses this example to launch into the question of whether it is a good idea to mainstream children with special needs. She uses two examples to frame the debate: One where an…

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Healing and Restoration

So, subsequent to Community or Conformity, my questions would be:

  • what constitutes healing?
  • is healing the same for everyone?
  • do my limited knowledge and view of life inhibit what I understand healing to be?
  • I could probably go on!

Jim Stallard in “You Owe Me Dinner” said,

What is most beneficial to me is not so much a building that meets all the legal requirements, but rather an attitude that meets all the attributes of Jesus. And whilst Jesus certainly healed people, he didn’t heal everyone. I wasn’t healed, but I still needed all of my faith to help sustain me.

The Designer, Creator, Restorer and Sovereign God (as, to me, He has proved Himself to be) made us for relationship with Himself and each other. When we rebelled against His design and order, spoiling both types of relationship, He made the restoration of them possible by acting  in accordance with His own design. He made whatever sacrifice, and performed whatever action, was necessary to make available these restored relationships – if we desire to return to living according to design.

This God has declared that, for those who have chosen to return to this love-relationship, He will be using everything as part of the process of completing the restoration/healing He has provided for. Even the brokenness in individuals, and families, and communities as a result of their rebellion against design and order.

My response? This God, Father, has also declared that what He wants is for no one to perish as a result of their rebellion. He stated that He will use every choice, consequence, person and power; even rebellion itself, to draw those who will come, to His healing restoration. Sometimes we want to be ‘healed’ from the thing/s which are bringing us or someone else to restoration of relationship. And I see restoration of relationship as the ultimate in healing. I choose not to pursue the temporary, thereby sacrificing the permanent; the eternal. I would prefer the temporary at present, because this is the tangible which I have known. But I have had glimpses and tastes of  eternal healing and restoration. Therefore, I will trust the One who has proven Himself faithful and a promise-keeper; I trust that He is healing me and those around me from everything that hinders my intimacy with Him and those He has given me; I trust that He is healing others from everything that hinders their intimacy with Him and those He has given them.

I have witnessed and/or experienced healing after specific prayer; with and without the anointing of oil; with and without the presence of the one being prayed for; as a result of general living in surrender to the design and power of the Creator. I have also witnessed in one healed miraculously on a number of occasions, the healing of leaving the temporary and tangible for the eternal and permanent in death – because that free but expensive ticket had been taken hold of. 

I want for myself and for you, life according to design. Purpose, fulfilment, peace, unity, love, intimacy with the Creator and the created. May the process continue until its completion, may you desire to join me in this process. This is a journey with a certain destination. This journey is already paid for. Take hold of your free but expensive ticket and join me for healing, restoration and life according to design.

 

What would healing mean for you?

Community or Conformity?

For those in Christian circles, this may be a familiar theme. For others, maybe strange; perhaps ridiculous; novel…

My middle child (almost adult) was sharing a story from a friend/previous teacher concerning the desire of some people that they be ‘healed’ from their blindness. Someone pulled their car over to the side of the road to invite this friend and her companions to church, exclaiming that he had prayed for the healing of blind people in the past and they were ‘healed’. Her response was that she believes in and has seen God’s miraculous healing herself, and that receiving her sight was for God’s timing. Perhaps more importantly though, this passer-by came across as pushy and didn’t even address this friend directly but spoke about her to her companions (very common). My eldest has been stopped in the street by someone insisting on praying for his ‘healing’, which he was obliged to allow. Their father and I have repeatedly been asked (sometimes by the same person) to present our children at the front of the church building so that others can pray for their ‘healing’.

My daughter’s response?

 In relation to this subject, I haven’t been prayed for or have had this offer personally, but I know my parents have. I’m not sure how they responded in those situations, but I know from my perspective that I don’t consider myself sick. If I hadn’t been blind, there would be so many people I would not have met, people I wouldn’t have been able to share the gospel with and places I wouldn’t have been. I also think that if my sight were restored, I’d have all this vision and wouldn’t know what to do. I would have to learn to read and write again, and basically how to do basic every day things. Furthermore, I/we live in a developed country with services such as Vision Australia and Guide Dogs. In Jesus’ time when he healed blind people, they were “begging”. (No V A back then). So, while I have no sight I can live life, work, I have family and friends and a place in society. These people, because of their lack of sight, experienced absolute poverty: no food, money or social class in society. For Jesus to heal them was not only to heal their sight; but to restore (or rather allow) them a place in their communities. So basically, I’m happy the way I am. I will have my sight healed in one way or another (be it in this life or when I see Jesus in Heaven); but if God chooses to heal my sight while I am here on Earth so be it. If not, I’m feeling perfectly healthy and well and happy with my life at the moment.

My response? I’ll end with quoting myself from the Sympathy Versus Empathy post:

Sympathy alone would lend me to want to change another’s circumstances or person to suit me, make me feel better, achieve my goals, remove all that is a bother to me, include all that would make my life easier…A good beginning but a potentially disabling, judgemental, intrusive and ultimately self-seeking end. Not any of the things I associate with love, compassion or community. Empathy, on the other hand, and if an extension of the sympathy I first experience, would lend me to consider what would be in the best interests of the other. I might ask what their experience actually is, what their goals and frustrations are, what are their passions and hurts…the list could go on. I might then be able to feel and say, “I think I can see how you feel or why you would want that.”

Unity, inclusion, community, acceptance, respect, interdependence, individuality…cannot exist in conformity. I think we are sadly mistaken if we have imagined conformity to be the same as inclusive community.

A Duck’s Life

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Fly and swim and glide and float

Taste all that passes by.

Paddle, preen, itch and scratch

Sit in the sun a while.

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 Protect what’s yours, enjoy the sun

The water, feed and breezes.

Mate, then nurture, feed and teach

Your charges through the seasons.

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 Take a step, do what comes next

Enjoy all that surrounds you.

Worship is to live your life

As you were created to do.

7/1/2014

Grace, Mercy, Truth, Knowledge, Discernment…Wisdom

Grace:

I choose to think, say and do what will be in your best interests regardless of how you treat me. I choose to favour you because I want to. I’m not going to do what pleases you always, but what would be in your best interests.

Mercy:

I choose to not give you what you deserve, but better than you deserve. I choose not to punish you, but shower you with loving kindness.

Truth:

I will be honest; with myself, with The Designer, with you, with others…

Knowledge:

I will find out as much as I can, about as much as I can.

Discernment:

I will think through all knowledge, thought, action, word, judgement…

Wisdom:

I will use knowledge, truth, mercy, grace and discernment to

think, speak, act, assess…live.

I choose to progressively and increasingly become this person, because this is the nature and character of my designer and restorer; because this is how He behaves towards me; because He has made me His dwelling place and is processively infiltrating my being with His.