Presence to Participation: The Spirit is Not Disabled
Webinar 7 (Mar. 17, 2022): The Spirituality of Letting Go: Christian caregiving and the gift of limits
This webinar will feature a presentation from Keith Dow, Manager of Organizational and Spiritual Life with Christian Horizons entitled: “The Spirituality of Letting Go: Christian caregiving and the gift of limits.”
Drawing insights from contemporary disability theology and his book “Formed Together: Mystery, Narrative, and Virtue in Christian Caregiving,” Dr. Keith Dow presents a helpful framework for sustainable mental health and caregiving in stressful times. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, care providers (including pastoral and spiritual caregivers) have been confronted with grief, loss, and their inability to “do it all.” As much as a dedication to people supported, we need practices of letting go – appreciating our own human limits as we move through grief and beyond setbacks. Join us for a thoughtful introduction to disability theology and Christian care.
This webinar will also feature a lived experience discussion from Commissioner Tracey Tidd, Territorial President of Women’s Ministries for the Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda.
Featured this week:
Keith Dow, Manager of Organisational and Spiritual Life with Christian Horizons
Keith lives near Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) where he works as Manager of Organisational and Spiritual Life with Christian Horizons, a faith-based organisation serving people with intellectual disabilities in Canada and around the world. He is the author of “Formed Together: Mystery, Narrative, and Virtue in Christian Caregiving” (Baylor, 2021) which arose from his PhD in theological ethics through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Keith is a credentialed pastor with BIC Canada and serves on the core council of the Institute of Theology and Disability. He loves to talk about theology, fostering belonging in church communities, and making maple syrup. You can learn more about his writing and ministry at keithdow.com.
Commissioner Tracey Tidd, Territorial President of Women’s Ministries for the Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda.
Please read Luke 14: 12-14
I could count on both hands the number of times we’ve had someone at our home for a meal in the last two years. Our family loves food and loves having people over. Being a family of six already, we give advance notice to whoever is coming over that it won’t be quiet and the kids will likely be too excited to keep to all the table manners we continue to teach them. Meals and gathering are such an essential part of our lives. If its just our own family, a weekday lunch with someone else, or a birthday party filled with family and friends.
During our time as Corps Officers, we hosted a program called ‘ugly seconds’, that would see ugly food about to be thrown away instead brought to the church. A local chef gave of his time and people from many different family make-ups would come together to learn how to cook, to socialize, eat together, and then package and give away to others in need. It was a wonderful mess! Never the same people, never the same fruits or vegetables, and always good conversation. I recall some of the corps folks struggled in the beginning to understand why we would let this happen at the corps, with few Corps members supporting this ministry. Over time, however, the gap of “them and us” started to shrink, and the energy and kingdom growth began to happen.
Luke 14:12-14 says: Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Jesus was being scrutinized for everything he said and did while at the house of a prominent pharisee. And when sitting at the table, he challenged their understanding of how the kingdom of God really looks; that it’s not about inviting our friends and the people we want to impress all the time. We are to welcome those who perhaps don’t usually get invited, those we don’t know, and those who may need a little more support to get to supper and while they are eating.
I along with my wife, Joyce, look ahead to this summer anticipating a return to the 2 SA camps in BC (Camp Mountainview and Camp Sunrise), and we continue to get excited about welcoming staff, campers and all guests! But the question that comes to my mind all the time is if we have room at the table for everyone? Are we making our camps accessible, welcoming, inviting and intentional to send out invitations to those who may not otherwise get together? And to continue having hard conversations to make needed changes so that we might have others join in and experience the love of God and make memories for years to come!
I want to leave to by asking, when everything opens back up, when we throw parties: are you and I willing to invite, include and make the necessary arrangements to welcome others just as Jesus did and calls us to do? In God’s kingdom, there is always room for one more.
“Humility is a quality of life open to persons who know that their worth is not measured by recognition from their peers but by the certainty that God has accepted them” (New Interpreter’s Bible commentary, volume 9 pg. 287)