We asked Goldenrod community member Levi Mevis to reflect on how having a disability shapes his experience with the church. This is what he shared with us:
My personal experience as far as my disabilities go and how they affect my religious experience is that in my nearly 30 years of life I’ve only been to 4 church congregations, all of them of which were Church of the Brethren congregations (my family has been a part of or involved in the Church of the Brethren for over 200 years), all of the congregations I have been involved in all of my life so far never treated me as an outcast or like I didn’t belong because of my disabilities, in fact they always tried to seek out opportunities for me to help out in any way that I could around the church.
My feeling about how my church denomination and thus the church congregations I had been in so far in my almost 30 years of life was that they treated people with disabilities with the same dignity and respect as any other person that didn’t have disabilities, in fact the Church of the Brethren has its own version of Mennonite Disability Committee (MDC) but they don’t have group homes or anything yet as they’ve only just started the organization within the past 10 years and they are still working out the details yet. When I was at the churches that I had been at including the one I attend now, nobody there treated me any differently because of my disabilities, in fact they asked me if there was anything I wanted to help out with around the church, and I am actually in charge of putting new messages on the sign outside of the church, and I also might possibly be one of the persons in charge of monitoring the new security system that we’re installing at the church that I go to currently.
So I really feel that if the church can be accepting of people with disabilities no matter what they are, then I think society can and should do the same, but sadly there are still people in modern society that still look down upon people with disabilities, sadly with public schools and colleges teaching things like evolution as fact and not as a theory and then groups like Planned Parenthood going around and telling people that people with disabilities are a hindrance to society and that they need to be locked up or gotten rid of or aborted or killed off or sterilized (which goes back to the whole eugenics movement idea about trying to make society a “better place” by “ridding the world of the undesirables and multiplying the desirables”, which that whole ideology mocks God and his very Being.) Anyways I think that modern society should look to the Church as an example about how to treat people with disabilities, because secular society certainly is NOT doing a very good job at teaching people how to treat disabled people with the respect and dignity they deserve.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Goldenrod.