Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality

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9781587431777: Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality

As parents of a son with disabilities, Thomas E. Reynolds and his wife know what it's like to be misunderstood by a church community. In Vulnerable Communion, Reynolds draws upon that personal experience and a diverse body of literature to empower churches and individuals to foster deeper hospitality toward persons with disabilities.

Reynolds argues that the Christian story is one of strength coming from weakness, of wholeness emerging from brokenness, and of power in vulnerability. He offers valuable biblical, theological, and pastoral tools to understand and welcome those with disabilities. Vulnerable Communion will be a useful resource for any student, theologian, church leader, or lay person seeking to discover the power of God revealed through weakness.

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From the Back Cover:

"What we call disability is part of our fragile life and also of life's mystery in God. To understand disabled people and our own vulnerability and to understand the vulnerable and compassionate God condition each other. This astonishing book serves both sides and is an insightful contribution to an all-embracing theology of life."--Jürgen Moltmann, University of Tübingen

"Disability is a gift that forces us to rethink what we thought was settled. The worship of a crucified savior in a similar manner forces us to rethink what we thought was settled. It is to Reynolds's great credit, therefore, that he helps us see how disability and the gospel are inseparably linked to the extent that they both force us to recognize our vulnerability. It will be a shame if this book is read only by those concerned about disability, because Reynolds's reflections are crucial for any work in constructive theology."--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

"A remarkable book that reveals in a compelling way that being truly human and Christian is not just accepting people with disabilities but accepting our own vulnerability by entering with them into a relationship of mutuality where each one gives and each one receives. Their place is not at the margins of society and of the church but at the center, urging and calling us all to open up to the fundamental truth of our being; they can then become our healers. This book is essential reading for all Christians who desire to enter more fully into the vision of our loving God for our world and to become men and women of peace."--Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche

"This is an important work for theologians, ethicists, clergy, and seminary students as they reconsider assumptions about human and divine power and privilege. In placing persons with disabilities at the center of the theological conversation about God's power, Reynolds negates the 'cult of normalcy,' offers a theology of vulnerability, and encourages the church to reclaim its role in providing hospitality to those on the margins of society."--Kathy Black, Claremont School of Theology and author of A Healing Homiletic: Preaching and Persons with Disabilities

About the Author:

Thomas E. Reynolds (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is associate professor of theology at Emmanuel College in the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. He lives in North York, Ontario.

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