The Disabled Church: Human Difference and the Art of Communal Worship (Paperback)

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How do communities consent to difference? How do they recognize and create the space and time necessary for the differences and disabilities of those who constitute them? Christian congregations often make assumptions about the shared abilities, practices, and experiences that are necessary for communal worship. The author of this provocative new book takes a hard look at these assumptions through a detailed ethnographic study of an unusual religious community where more than half the congregants live with diagnoses of mental illness, many coming to the church from personal care homes or independent living facilities. Here, people's participation in worship disrupts and extends the formal orders of worship. Whenever one worships God at Sacred Family Church, there is someone who is doing it differently.

Here, the author argues, the central elements and the participation in the symbols of Christian worship raise questions rather than supply clear markers of unity, prompting the question, What do you need in order to have a church that assumes difference at its heart?

Based on three years of ethnographic research, The Disabled Church describes how the Sacred Family community, comprising people with very different mental abilities, backgrounds, and resources, sustains and embodies a common religious identity. It explores how an ethic of difference is both helped and hindered by a church's embodied theology. Paying careful attention to how these congregants improvise forms of access to a common liturgy, this book offers a groundbreaking theology of worship that engages both the fragility and beauty revealed by difference within the church. As liturgy requires consent to difference rather than coercion, an aesthetic approach to differences within Christian liturgy provides a frame for congregations and Christian liturgists to pay attention to the differences and disabilities of worshippers. This book creates a distinctive conversation between critical disability studies, liturgical aesthetics, and ethnographic theology, offering an original perspective on the relationship between beauty and disability within Christian communities. Here is a transformational theological aesthetics of Christian liturgy that prioritizes human difference and argues for the importance of the Disabled Church.

About the Author

Rebecca F. Spurrier is Associate Dean for Worship Life and Assistant Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780823285525
ISBN-10: 0823285529
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2019
Pages: 272
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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