Taylor (Enabling the Disabled in the Body of Christ, 2016), a Christian pastor who’s blind and partially deaf, instructs churches on how to better attract and serve the disabled members of this community in this spiritual guide.
As someone with lifelong disabilities, the author has had both good and the bad experiences with churches; one welcomed her into its supportive family, she says, and another rejected her by refusing to accommodate her needs. Now a pastor herself, Taylor offers this book as an “olive branch from the disabled side” to church administrators seeking to do a better job of ministering to their disabled flock. She outlines what the current landscape looks like for Christians with disabilities—from inaccessible buildings to congregations that exclude people whose conditions cause them to make too much noise. Many churches that attempt to accommodate the disabled, Taylor notes, only end up replicating the wider society’s tendencies toward “pity and paternalism.” In addition to preaching the benefits of welcoming parishioners with disabilities—such as spreading Jesus Christ’s teachings and fostering a more loving environment—Taylor shares her own experiences as a disability advocate to highlight the many ways that church leaders can care for all their congregants. Along the way, her prose is cordial and wise: “The biggest and most important strategy for successfully including the disabled is for you and your church to look at the disabled through God’s eyes rather than through the world’s.” The practical tips, such as listing disability accommodations on a church’s website, are specific and valuable, but the biggest revelation is that so much of the advice is applicable to any outsider group: Accept them, listen to them, and love them. Although this book is rooted specifically in Christianity, Taylor’s words will resonate with all able-bodied members of society.
An earnest call for inclusivity that packs an emotional punch.