Thursday, February 11, 2010

What a Day It will Be!

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice gets to a fork in the road and she asks the cat. "Which way do I go?" "Where are you going?," asks the cat. "I don't know." "Then it really doesn't make any difference which way you go," replies the cat.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel recently used the word retarded and the backlash was swift and typical. He apologized to the Special Olympic President, and the movement to end the use of "R" word was hailed by all as the way to bring everyone together in a hands across America moment of solidarity. Almost a year ago we had the duplicate type of reaction which began with President Obama referring to his bad bowling as "Special Olympic". This unfortunate use of the word retarded has allowed me to step back and realize that nothing has changed in the last year for people with mental disabilities. Bad attitudes and beliefs that there is no value in those who have disabilities is what truly is behind ignorant words that people use. In fact things may be a little harder in America today than one year ago for most. Funding has been slashed for many, the health care debate continues to put those with disabilities in precarious positions, and babies who may be born with disabilities continue to be aborted. As politicians use their own ignorance and mistakes as platforms for engineering campaigns for popularity, people with disabilities are being crushed into oblivion.
I recently was blessed to spend much time with disability ministry leaders from across the US while in Florida. To hear about how others are going about reaching the disabled community for Jesus is exciting and inspiring. Yet, I come away feeling like we are walking down a winding path to no where. We seem to have little idea where we want be at the end of the journey. We applaud the good reactions to ignorant statements made by politicians and others who do little to protect the innocent who need protecting. We get excited when "inspirational" people with disabilities accomplish fetes that move our emotions, and we cry tears of pain for the millions who are ignored, marginalized, and killed for having disabilities.
I am unsatisfied with our reactions to these moments. I am angered at our inability for 2000 years to convince the church of the need to complete the body by including those so desperately needed in it. I am devastated at the genocide of people with disabilities here in the US and through out the world. I am ashamed at the lack of love for people Jesus loved so dearly. I am sickened by our acceptance of the crumbs that drop from the tables of the typical church while people starve.
We need to wake up, we are at a point in history where we must fight, we are at a fork in the road and must know where we are going in order to decide which way to turn today. It does matter which way we go because we need to be together on the path in order to get to our appointed destination. We must begin casting vision to the future so we can walk the path in confidence and determination. We must paint a picture so amazing and beautiful that the existing church cannot deny the need to move towards it. We must unify the church in order that the world does not take from us the gift of disability that God has given us. We must be so sure of our calling, we must be willing to risk everything in pursuit of Gods voice. I am ready Lord, I am ready...

So as I begin to ponder what God has in store, I look forward to a future where people with disabilities complete our church bodies and the church finally works as the whole and powerful force that it should be. I look forward to a day when the birth of a baby with Down Syndrome is celebrated as a the rare and precious gift God has bestowed upon our families. I look forward to church services where people with disabilities gifts are on display so God's glory can be revealed to us in ways we never understood before. I look forward to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which cannot be denied because God has used people without the mental capacity to manipulate or use Gods gift as an agenda to advance themselves. I look forward to walking into the gates of heaven and seeing Paul and Moses and then touching the disabling scars on Jesuses hands and feet as I truly understand for the first time that the last is now first and the poor now rich. What a day that will be!


  1. Hopefully,at the conclusion of 2010 if the Lord doesn't return, we can say as a body of believers (or at least as a group of leaders), "we're not where we need to be in this area of ministry, but thank God we're not where we used to be." I pray we make significant progress.

    In regard to Rahm Emanuel, how does this guy manage to keep his job? It says as much about his boss as it does about him. Also it didn't escape my attention that his putting "f***ing" in front of the word "retarded" never even got so much as a sneeze in terms of public reaction. It all sends a very dangerous message. The only antidote to getting over-the-top frustrated with all this is to understand who is really and ultimately in control of our world. The perfect ruler is coming but until then we must be about our Father's business. To not be is sin.

  2. I like your overall message, especially as it applies to religious groups, but I think use of the term "genocide" and the phrase "crushed into oblivion" are overkill. Genocide is a one-sided mass killing by a state authority (i.e. government) to destroy a group. The word genocide was coined in 1944 to describe the Holocaust. It is used when referring to the mass killings in Rwanda, Sudan, and Yugoslavia.

    You say that bad attitudes and beliefs are the use of such words. That is quite a bold and broad statement. It might be applicable to people who use these terms often and as a regular part of their vocabulary.

    While the "R word" is used by public figures to describe people, I have never heard of anyone using it to describe people with disabilities. I suspect the word is often said without thinking. It is a leftover from our childhoods where it was often used along with other words of derision such as stupid, idiot, and moron. Each of us is probably guilty of a similar slip of the tongue in the heat of anger. [Possibly like your use of "genocide" and "crushed into oblivion"?]

    There have been improvements in the past year for people with disabilities. For example, effective January 1, 2009, the ADA broadened the definition of disability thus allowing more people to much needed funds. The federal minimum wage was increased to $7.25/hour. This includes workers with disabilities, who were paid less than minimum wages in the past. That is a huge change to be lauded, especially since more people with disabilities are in the workforce than ever before. Many schools have added programs to teach children about disabilities. While this particular example may not seem a big deal now, it is helping to shape the future by sowing the seeds of acceptance.

    Changes for a large part of society are difficult to measure in short terms, such as a year. It is often an evolution, if you will, over time. Major events that help move society forward, such as the desegration of the Little Rock (Arkansas) High School more than fifty years ago, are rare indeed.

    If we want change in our government, then we must be the catalyst. When was the last time you wrote, called or visited your state or federal representative or senator? Are you working with a group that lobbies for the rights of those with disabilities? Have you sat down with institutions to suggest how they might make improvements to benefit the disabled?

    We each have our pet issues that affect us deeply and every one of us likes to complain about how things should/could be different. Complaining is easy, but accomplishes nothing other than to vent our own frustrations. We need to be active and pro-active to make change happen. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it may feel like you're just banging your head against a brick wall. But perseverance (especially by large numbers of people) is what gets the job done. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

  3. Whoever this "Anonymous" person is, you obviously do not know Tony Piantine. You stepped in it, friend. You sound like someone who thinks change comes from government. Listen to me. Change comes from the heart of human kind as it is moved on by the Holy Spirit of God. You maybe should read that last sentence again.

    As far as petitioning government, let's see how our President has responded to the overwhelming reactions to his policies. You see, government only changes as the hearts of humankind change. And Real change comes from the heart of human kind as it is moved on by the Holy Spirit of God.

    Life is given by God and God alone. Our founding documents of our country clearly spell out that our rights come from the Creator! Foolish men try to assign different meanings to that. But even if meant something other than the God we know, our rights DO NOT COME FROM MANKIND!! We currently exist under an adminstration which vehemently believes rights come from the government. That, sir, is retarded and in every sense of the word.

    May God bless you with clear vision.

    -D. Aubrey Crawford is my name.

  4. Please see my above blog entry for my comment on this blog post and comments. Thanks, Tony

  5. I could post on your newest entry, but I dare to dance or march to a different beat. As a person with a physical disability, I still experience people calling me retarded. So, I too have experienced this first hand!

    Retarded means: underdeveloped: not fully developed. We all have areas in our lives in which we are underdeveloped! To refer to my friends who do not have the same intellectual capabilities as myself, does not see these friends as I have over the years! My friends teach me and remind me about how intimacy with God can look at feel like!

    Anonymous, you state we have made progress. We have! I am not happy with the progress. It does not change that a whole people group, is on the verge of becoming extinct. With potential parents choosing to abort a child who may be born with Down syndrome, this is genocide. We need to use strong language, and paint a picture of the harsh reality of life.

    People with disabilities, continue to live in poverty, have the highest unemployment rate in the country, when they work are hugely under-employed only leading to poor housing in neighborhoods where crime rates are high and we become victims of crime! Yes, we have a long way to go!

    Until we see all people as equal and view them in the same manner of heavenly Father sees them, I believe! We will not be any better off! I am angered and work daily to improve the conditions of all mankind. If you knew Tony, you too would know he and his team work daily to improve conditions for “his guys”. More importantly, he is teaching them who they are in Christ and to stand for themselves! Tony will not like that I have pointed this out, but these are not just “pet issues”……….these are convictions he believes in!

  6. Response to comments:
    A. I do know Little Tony. Very well.

    B. Tony is open-minded and welcomes discussion, including different points of view.

    C. Pet issues may sound impertinent. It was not meant to be. It is that everyone has issues/causes that are important to them and that they fervently believe in. I know Tony's convictions and I laud them. I admire Tony's exhausting (and sometimes unfortunately fruitless) efforts. He truly is an amazing man.

    D. You will note that I did not attack Tony or his beliefs -- merely some wording. I also offered an alternative viewpoint. Attacking me personally is uncalled for.

    E. How is "Anonymous" any different from "The Pilgrim" or "heart4lost"? One reason it is posted as Anonymous is because it is the only way I can seem to get a comment to post. The second reason is to protect Tony and Camp Daniel from negative repercussions. (No, it is not to protect myself because personally, I don't give a ______ what you think of me. I have the right of free speech and that right was given to me by none other than our federal government!)

    Since my post resulted in hostile replies, in the future I shall keep my views which are not in full accordance with yours to myself. My apologies, Tony.

  7. To Anonymous: Take it easy, friend. I actually enjoyed reading what you said. Agreement has nothing to do with it. It's amazing what different thoughts and feelings this subject brings forth. It's just that we all love Tony so much we feel the need to stick up for him. You can understand that. I don't think you meant anything personal.

    Actually the only thing I want to bring to your attention is that I don't believe that any of Tony's efforts, exhausting or not, have been fruitless. I think we all feel like that at times but we learn to trust God that He is producer of good fruit and we are the sowers of the seed.

    You can comment anonymously on my blog anytime you want. And I know you can on Tony's as well. But remember, when you dish it out, you have to take it as well. I learned that a long time ago. Blessings!

  8. Oh my! My intention was so not to offend. My deepest apologies to you Anonymously! I so welcomed your observations and enjoyed them, I just get hot under the collar when, I think we have made enough progress!

    We spend so much time being divided as a community, we do not need to be divided here either.

    My intent was not to attack, I am so sorry if you felt that way. Ir really does not matter if I know who you are or not!

  9. Anonymous,
    I wish you would reconsider commenting here. It is easier for people to get angered and reply with that anger when they do not know who you are, much like drivers do to each other on the road when enraged! Think about coming back as a name. We need this kind of discussion, we need other views than those who agree with our own, I need you to stick with me here. Anyway, I have enjoyed the discussion that has happened because of your response. I am thankful for the loyalty to me by those coming to my defense. I will post in the next day or so, once more, regarding this subject. One last shot anonymous, email me ( as I would love o know who you are, I have suspicions but not sure.