During my final year of seminary, I took a life-changing class called "Disability Ethics" with Dr. Amy Laura Hall. By reflecting on the nature of those who suffer with disabilities of all different kinds, Dr. Hall helped us better understand concepts such as compassion, the nature of humanity, and the need to free ourselves from an ethic that persons only have worth based on what they produce for society (i.e. a utilitarian philosophy).
Throughout September, we will be engaging in a 4-week sermon series entitled, "The Least Among Us," in which we explore how the L'Arche communities (i.e. interfaith group homes for people with disabilities) reveal to us an image of what it means to be a gospel-centric community of faith distinct from the world. This sermon series will be based on the 100-page book Living Gently in a Violent World, which is comprised of four articles written by either Stanley Hauerwas (theologian and Christian ethicist) or Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche. You are welcome to order a copy of the book from Amazon, but I am not promoting this book as a church-wide book study—my sermons will cover many of the key takeaways from the text.
Previews of the four sermons in this series:
A quiet hope I hold is that, at the least, this sermon series will help us as a community of faith to develop a deeper respect for those with disabilities through the process of becoming more in touch with our own inner vulnerabilities that we are all prone to overlook. At a more ambitious level, I wonder if this sermon series will cause members of our church to ask questions such as, "How can we do more to support the disabled community in our local context?"
We will see collectively where the Spirit moves throughout this sermon series.
God's abundant blessings of joy, hope, and love to each one of you this day.
Grace & peace,
Pastor Scott S. Himel