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Synopsis

Create pathways in theological education and congregational practice for people with disabilities!

Graduate Theological Education and the Human Experience of Disability examines graduate schools of theology and their limited familiarity with the study of disability-and the presence of people with disabilities in particular-on their campuses. Dubbed a “missing note” by one theologian, this text offers critical research and illuminates new pathways for theologia and practice in the community of faith. Reviews of previous literature, theology, and practices illuminate how people with disabilities have historically been marginalized by the religious community. Theologians, people with disabilities, and researchers offer suggestions for incorporating disability studies into theological education and religious life.

This text contains firsthand testimony from people with disabilities who are the necessary sources of wisdom for overcoming barriers. By infusing education into existing theological curriculum, seminaries may better prepare their students for leadership and ministry in their congregations. People with disabilities number 18% of the population, yet represent only 5-7% of congregational membership.

This book explores aspects of theology and disability such as:

  • the challenges faced by theological schools that desire to improve both theological curriculum and facilities
  • a review of literature that connects theology and disability-from sources such as scripture, history, faith traditions, and social theory
  • the various ideologies that shape the way the human body is understood-redefining “normal” in theological education
  • an overview of critical boundaries that mark the limits and possibilities for theological inquiry about the human experience of disability
  • creative concepts that religious communities may use to better include people with disabilities and their families
  • how the religious community may benefit from the gifts, talents, and leadership of people with disabilities
Graduate Theological Education and the Human Experience of Disability contains a reprint of Dr. Harold Wilke’s landmark 1978 article from Theological Education (published by the Association of Theological Schools). Dr. Wilke, born without arms, was the theologian, minister and scholar who first articulated the need to address the human experience of disability in both theological education and congregational life. With extensive biographies and inclusive liturgies, this innovative text is a valuable resource for seminary professors and leaders, clergy, and disability advocates.

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