I am nine years old. I don't really know any other kid like me. It takes me awhile to figure things out... like when I go swimming I forget not to go in too deep, or when I eat dinner I should use my fork I instead of my fingers. I don't know how to tie my shoes yet or how to tell time. I don't play Little League because the ball comes too fast for me. I don't take summer art classes because when the rest of the class is done with their painting, I'm still figuring out what color to use. At church, I sit by my Mom instead of going to Sunday School. I don't know how to read yet so I can't participate in the Bible verse finding contests, and when the room gets so loud with the other kids' excitement, I sometimes cover my ears and cry. My mom doesn't mind me sitting by her because we spend all of our time together. She says it's okay if I don't have friends at school because she is my friend. Kids at my school are okay, but they don't like to be my partner because they can't always understan I d the way I talk. Usually, a teacher will be my partner or I'll just color at my desk while the other kids work on skits or projects together. Sometimes my mom looks sad because she can't go to the ladies activities at church since she has to take care of me. She says she is not sad, but I hear her let out a big breath like she does when I spill my milk all the time. The other kids at church go to Superkids Camp and say it is the best week of the year. I can't go to that camp. My mom told me about this other camp where I could go and do all the things I seem to miss out on. I can go swimming and someone will swim right next to me to remind me not to go too deep. I can make crafts and take as much time as I want. I can be in a contest and act really silly. I can even play volleyball with a beach ball so I won't be scared of getting hurt. She said the best part is that for the whole week someone will teach me about Jesus. I'll get to sing songs over many times so that I have a chance to learn the words. I'll hear stories that will be about things that I can understand. I'll even get a chance to show others I love Jesus by playing an instrument during worship or being a part of a skit where I don't have to remember any lines. I was so excited when my Mom told me about the camp! I asked if I could go, and she said only if another person volunteered to go, too... to make sure I had someone to hang out with, to help me if I had any problems or got scared, to pray with me at night when she wasn't there at bedtime. I hope someone might want to come with me. I'm trying not to get too excited now, because my mom says a lot of people don't want to give up a week of their time. I heard her talking to my Aunt on the phone. If I go to camp, my mom is going to drive to my Aunt's house for a visit. I heard her say she just needs some rest and relaxation. Sounds boring to me... I'd much rather go to camp! I'm praying to Jesus right now for someone to want to go with me even though I'm different. I wonder if Jesus can understand kids like me? I wonder if Jesus cares about a kid like me?
My sister Lora wrote this post for facebook. God has gifted her as an amazing writer and she loves people with disabilities. Lora and Jason have adopted 5 kids with disabilities as well as having their own four kids. We get alot of props for what we do undeservingly. Lora and Jason deserve an incredible amount of credit, but get little.
My friends James and Jill sent the below link to me and we all should look at it. First is the ridiculous article and then there is a great response to the ridiculous article, it really shows how insane the argument for aborting babies that have disabilities. What is so bothersome is that so many people fall in line with this argument that Minette uses of judging someones worth and therefore their argument for being alive. I will say over and over, the church is the only hope for us, it is the only beacon of hope to save people God made. We need them as much as we need our pastor, our deacons, our mom, or anyone else, without them the body is not full. It is urgent, we cannot afford to battle in the age that is coming without the full body and all gifts that exist there. My point is only one point in reasoning to stop the murder of innocents. Thanks James and Jill for keeping us posted on this incredible ignorance that exists out there, I love you guys.
"It is a mistake always to contemplate the good and ignore the evil, because by making people neglectful it lets in disaster. There is a dangerous optimism of ignorance and indifference." --Helen Keller
I began yesterday by writing a long, long post on the heals of president Obama's ignorant comment on the Tonight Show. I took the night to think and have decided to break up the post into several posts because my response was to much and to angry for just one post. So here is my first post - a reaction to the comments of and the reaction to, the Presidents words. I tend not to be political, and I don't believe the presidents comments have any thing to do with politics, they have to do with ignorance.
I thought twice about posting my disgust with this, but I want to keep this blog honest so I will speak the truth of my heart, or maybe better put, the ranting truth of my heart. So here it goes:
The President called his inept bowling "Like Special Olympics" On the Tonight Show. A simple slip up some say, but I say the fruit of stupid talk that must ensue more places than on national TV. Radio show hosts and the like have already spun it into a political debate, with out care for anyone who has a disability. Tim Shriver, president of the Special Olympics has embraced the Presidents "moving" apology, saying the President did not intend to humiliate this population. He spoke on the news this morning about making sure we talk about people with special needs in "an affirming way"?? In his apology Mr. Obama spoke how the Special Olympics are a triumph of human spriit??? Already a solution for the whole issue has already been decided... The President will get a great photo op, bowling with our reining Special Olympic bowling champion, showing just how much he cares for people with disabilities. The term has already entered slang dictionaries on the web, which will certainly add to the cutting use of the word "retard" heard regularly in any public square. Even if it was just a slip of the tongue, when the most powerful man in the world today says something it becomes a powerful statement. It leads people to a view of people with mental disabilities being bad, untalented, uncoordinated, unathletic, not normal or just plain negative, and that is the least of the damage.
So lets speak to the truth of this, people with disabilities are more threatened now than ever. New policies and the lack of any moral standard has and will wipe out many people before they get to be born and makes it hard for them to live if they are born. People with mental disabilities function in a system we have set up for them. It is designed to simulate the freedoms of real life but in an controlled environment, where they are numbered, funded, and controlled. They go through schools where IEP's falsely address issues that students deal with, In school they learn to be independent and live with rights. Eventually they get out into the real world; a job in a workshop (sorting nuts and bolts for 25 years), saturday night disability dances (aint it cute), Special Olympics (everybody's a winner), and meetings of Handicapped United (they need a voice) and other made up nonsense. Don't get me wrong, there is much good (people and programs) within any of these institutions, but if you look closely they are set up as simulations of what (normal) people feel, looks like real life. Where is the church in all of this? Some are doing compassionate ministry to "the least of these", others are putting them up on angelic pedestals of proof of God's love through healing, overcoming or childlike faith, many still believe disability is the result of sin, and still others seem to ignore them totally. (Again don't get me wrong there is much good going on in a few churches, but look closely and most of the christian world, but they have no idea what to do with disability). So in the end the church is silent to the real need and cruises along without them
We live in a time when it is totally acceptable to reduce a people group to those "we need to speak about in an affirming way". In other words our attitudes, hatefulness and bad intentions should always be covered by sweet words of compassion. The reality is that those in power believe those who have disabilities are a monstrously horrible group that is a drain on society and need to be eliminated even before birth, and thats OK as long as you smile, say affirming words and pat heads when you do it. Meanwhile most people of the world may not agree with that, but we sit by and do nothing so the elimination of this group continues.
There is only one place this advance of evil doing can be stopped, it is the church. We must stand up and realize we must protect those with disabilities. We need them, Our body is not full with out them and will never be full if they do not exist. We live in a time where the "dangerous optimism of ignorance and indifference will lead to disaster", disaster we will shed tears about as we enter heaven having failed to see a gift God had given us ...disability
"It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all." -- Edward DeBono
Responses to my blogging have come, some here on this page, some in person, but mostly on the phone and email. One response from a friend expressed that my blog's name (Little Tony's Blog) lacked creativity . So not wanting to be accused of having a lack of creativity I have responded with a new name. I changed it to "Little Tony's Little Thoughts", this seemed boring as well, so I decided upon "The Bantum Blogotorium" it seemed to fit. I am sure responses will now come about the new stupid name I have chosen!
I do not mind being called stupid but do not like being called uncreative or pointed at as having a lack of ideas! This brings me to my second thought this morning, people tell me that I am self deprecating. I thought that had something to do with going to the bathroom in my pants when I heard it, but after looking it up, it means: "I undervalue myself and my talents". So for the sake of keeping this blog honest, I will respond to this!
For public record: I do believe I have gifts and talents; God made me creative, imaginative, unafraid and He gave me the ability to transfer to paper what I see in my mind. Those are my gifts, my talents. Beyond that I am better at some things than others, but nothing in particular stands out as true talent.
When I talk about being average, it is not meant to be self deprecating, it is meant to be truth. I have always felt the need to sniff out truth, It is why I drove my parents crazy asking "why?" all the time growing up. I believe when we overvalue ourselves it hurts others, as expressed in my blog entry below. So I believe we should use our gifts to their fullest potential, but never use our gifts as an excuse to not do something else God has put in our path.
Whatever gifts any of us have, are given for a purpose: God's glory. I have tried to be disciplined and deliberate in giving God the glory since we have been in ministry. The truth is that God is the creative genius behind anything that Camp Daniel has accomplished, but... my giant, inflated ego could easily take credit, "success is an intoxicant" as it says in my blog entry below. Our flesh is capable of things we cannot imagine. I have witnessed great men of God brought to their knees as God has dealt with their flesh. Whatever gifts or talents we may have are gifts from God, whatever we do with them are my gift back to Him.
This blog entry may come under the heading of being "an idea gone wrong", but it's my blog, so as DeBono says, "its better than no idea at all".
Really I wrote all that just to say I changed the name of my blog, what does that say about me??
"If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"David Livingstone
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word,
just to rest upon his promise, and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him, How I've proved him o'er and o'er,
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, O for grace to trust him more
"You are so wonderful to make such a sacrifice being in ministry and doing what you do"... Oh how I cringe at statements like that. We hear things like this often as we tour people around our campus and share the testimony of our ministry. I struggle as people try to make us out as some kind of hero's for being in ministry. I try to let people know we are incredibly average people in in skills, talents, gifts, beliefs and faith among many other things. Our desire is to serve at that feet of the almighty God and honestly, I question whether I am even worthy of that.
I think we often shield ourselves from being servants by lifting others up to a place we know we cannot be in... or if it takes a particular talent to do the things God asks us to do in the Bible, then maybe we can be exempt if He has not given us that gift. My prayer for all of us is that we put ourselves in a place to to learn to trust God and His word, and usually that happens way out on a limb, where we we are uncomfortable and scared and in total need of God's grace.
I again, here, will express that all we have is a willingness to do whatever God sets in front of us and that willingness is based in trust. Not faith, (something I will talk about in the future), but trust. My most favorite song in the world is written above. Just typing out the words here brings me to tears, because it simply and beautifully expresses all I hope to be in Him, a man who trusts.
"God will not look to see your medals, degrees or awards, He will look for your scars"
I am a missionary amongst people who know suffering, people who know rejection and pain, people who have scars. People with disabilities are by far the most marginalized and rejected group of people the world knows today. Why, why are the most innocent, loving people in the world the most hated...
I often wonder why it is that Jesus came back from the dead with scars. Most would say simply that he had scars to show who He was. The disciples did not recognize Him as the risen Jesus, but they knew His scars, because they knew His suffering. Was it possible for Him to be bruttalized like he was and not be disabled in any way? Isaiah says about Jesus: "... There were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured, beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness" Why, why was the most innocent loving man there ever was in the history of the world, also was the most hated?
"If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small." -- Pat Morley
I took some people on a tour of Camp Daniel the other day, after we finished, they commented on the size of our vision being so big, and how it must be hard to carry something so big. The vision is for a campground, retreat, training and housing center that is a backbone for a ministry that sends out missionaries, builds churches and ministries in order to save people with disabilities and allow God use the gifts He has given them to do the same. We would like to have training materials, ministry tools, bible translations and the ability to get others started in creative ministries of their own. These things are all happening in one form or another and we intend to push ahead as God directs towards what He has set before us. What makes it all possible is that we do not carry this big vision, God does!
What has transpired at Camp Daniel and through the ministry at Camp Daniel is a miracle. As I tour people around our campus I repeat the same stories over and over probably hundreds of times each year adding what is new as it transpires. But I as retell and relive those miracles, I often can still be brought to tears at the magnitude of what God has done and is doing. I know that it has only been by God's grace that this has happened. He gave us a commission and our response has been simple, to work. There is no great theology, talent, or gift behind anything that has happened. God speaks and we work. Please do not get me wrong, I am not dumbing down what God has done, I just want to express the burning of my heart. I hear much of gifts and working with in them, and about not burning out and about getting rest and about doing one simple thing well and not being spread to thin. My response is that I hope to be in the midst of ministry outside of my giftings... so I may rely on Him, I pray I burn out for Jesus... so He will reignite me, I look to get spread thin... so He can send others to help.
One of my best friends, Pastor Tom St. Angelo, often told me to see a vision so big only God could carry it. That, I believe is the key. God has put us here to do His work, He guides us, directs us, gives us the tools and all we need. In return we get closer to Him and eventually get to be with Him.