The “Charisma” of Disability: A church without the disabled is a disabled church

Pope Francis meets a disabled man during a meeting with the UNITALSI, the Italian Union responsible for the transportation of sick people to Lourdes and the International Shrines in PaulVI hall, at the Vatican, on November 9, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis meets a disabled man during a meeting with the UNITALSI, at the Vatican, on November 9, 2013. (Photo credit FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

“Congregations without any disabled members are disabled and disabling congregations.” (The Spirit of Life, 193)

A touching moment in the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Moltmann occurs at the beginning of episode 6, when a participant at the event named Jean, who was born with a disability, thanked Jürgen Moltmann for his impact on her life (audio embedded below the transcript):

Jean: I read in 1975 The Crucified God. You gave me language to describe my reality as a person born with disability, and I claimed myself created in the image of God from your book. How do persons with disabilities, who are both gifts and burdens to the church, have access to full expression of church in the power of the Holy Spirit?

Jürgen Moltmann: A disability concerned me my lifelong, because my older brother was a severely disabled person and he died when euthanasia began in Germany, so I think the church must consist of the disabled and not-disabled persons. A congregations without disabled persons accepted is a disabled church. So, let’s bring our members of our families who have disabilities into our congregations as a part of our community because they all are images of Jesus Christ.

For Moltmann, the issue of disability is very personal: his older brother, Hartwig, was severely disabled and was among the 10,000 disabled people who fell victim to the Nazi euthanasia program. This makes him particularly sensitive to ways in which those in our world and in the church tend not to appropriately value the physically and mentally handicapped. Continue reading

Jürgen Moltmann on Expectation and Human Flourishing (New Video)

Moltmann on Human Flourishing

Moltmann delivering a lecture on Expectation and Human Flourishing for the Yale Center for Faith and Culture in June 2015. Image source: Screen shot

Today I stumbled upon this recent video of Jürgen Moltmann published by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. It was recorded in New York at a private consultation that took place in June directly after Moltmann’s participation at the Barth Conference. The topic of this project is “God and Human Flourishing” and the essay delivered by Moltmann was titled “Expectation and Human Flourishing.” Enjoy!

For Moltmann’s previous contribution to a previous YCFC event on Theology of Joy, see Moltmann’s essay here and his corresponding interview with Miroslav Volf here.