By / May 3

If you’ve not heard the word “neurodiversity” yet, you might soon — and I trust your life will be richer for it. Neurodiversity identifies people whose brains and bodies process information differently than much of the population. 

The fall of mankind means that we live in a world where our bodies and brains don’t function perfectly. Even though that is the case, the dignity of all humans as image-bearers of our triune God should still be affirmed and celebrated within the body of Christ. So why does it feel like many of us have been waiting too long to hear the church speak to these issues in a meaningful way?

We’ve been trained to see diagnoses like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or sensory processing disorder as purely deficit-based, measuring people negatively against a set of normal brain functions. But advocacy on the part of neurodiverse people themselves is beginning to flip the script. And fortunately, our society is beginning to see the value of people with neurological variations instead of seeing those people as problems. For Christians, this is welcomed news. We, of all people, should be able to see the beautiful way that God uses us in the midst of our challenges, difficulties, and sufferings.

Looking for love in unfamiliar places

Author, hip hop artist, Christian, and autism advocate Sho Baraka raps in a verse of Propaganda’s “I Ain’t Got An Answer” and captures the tension of life in a neurodiverse household as a parent of two sons diagnosed with autism:

It’s apparent sometimes I think I’ve failed as a parent. 
And my son having autism is rough.
But maybe he don’t speak cuz words don’t say much.

Maybe he don’t need words to communicate his love.
And sometimes his silence causes me to stumble.
It’s possible he’s a version of me that’s more humble.
And I think my child finds more joy in playin with my phone,Than playin’ on his own.
Will he shed a tear when I’m gone?
I’m wrestling with the shame of an outsider view of me,
Cause life is the spotlight on my own insecurities.
But I know his laugh, it lights up a thousand rooms.
And when he speaks to me it just like a flower blooms.

Baraka has shared publicly about how initially he didn’t want to disclose his boys’ diagnosis, wrestling with the world’s expectations of his boys and of him as a parent. Once he used his platform to share his family’s story, though, he said he received hundreds of notes from others saying he made their family feel represented.

Similarly, in his new book, Disability and the Church, Atlanta pastor Lamar Hardwick recalls a dual reaction when he shared his diagnosis and changed his Facebook page to “The Autism Pastor.” Being honest about his autism with his congregation opened the door for many families who — seeing the label — felt comfortable going to his church because they knew they would be cared for and prayed over, and that their worth would be acknowledged by “having a seat at the table.” While Hardwick says he respects people’s right to disclose or not disclose their diagnosis, he has been hurt by other Christians who indicated it would be better for him as a leader not to identify so freely as someone with autism.

Hardwick knows firsthand that “families and individuals with special needs don’t need us to rush them through the valley. They need us to walk with them slowly and deliberately . . . . Good shepherds go at a pace that works best for their flock.” 

I can attest from my own experience that the pastors who best understand my sister (who is neurodiverse) are the ones who themselves have children with disabilities. The level of patience and kindness they demonstrate is always from a place of knowing. I’ve also seen too often that such empathy is a rare commodity in the church. 

What can you do? 

If families with special needs are the most underrepresented demographic in the church, how can churches reach out to, get to know better, or shepherd neurodiverse families? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Don’t pathologize — Do some research

Neurodiversity is not one-size-fits-all and doesn’t necessarily always come with an official diagnosis. Spend time listening to neurodiverse people and reading some books on the subject.  You may be surprised to find out just how inaccurate and hurtful some ideas you have about ADHD (“That just means he’s hyper all the time”), autism (“Oh, he’s like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, right?”), dyslexia (“She’s just a slow reader”) are — let alone the pain that comes with dismissal (“Those aren’t real problems; it’s all overdiagnosed”). 

If you have a friend who has been diagnosed (or perhaps their child or a relative has), ask if they are comfortable sharing. If so, ask what things they enjoy about themselves and about neurodiversity in everyday life. Read websites from autistic people, people with ADHD, or dyslexia, and you will see that every story is unique.  

Several churches in my hometown of Chattanooga have “buddy programs” or “parents’ night out” to help make care and love for special needs families part of the regular ministry of the church. They want to be known as families who open their arms to serve others who otherwise might be overlooked, and then retain them as valued members. If Christians take the time to think through their social networks (school, neighborhood, workplace, sports leagues, etc.), they might recognize that they actually know several neurodiverse people. Are we seeking out them out for community within the body of Christ, or do we see them as an inconvenience or “high-maintenance” relationships to be avoided?

2. Support and accept them like Jesus would

When I think back to some of the trauma my sister endured in public schools in the early 1990s because of her neurodiversity and other special needs, the church was often one place my family could count on to go and have people support them. Thankfully, my sister’s behavior was not always a barrier for inclusion. Yes, she might talk your ear off about snakes, medical news, or whatever she had just learned about, and her volume might be louder than you anticipated for a conversation, but everyone knew how much she loved coming to spend time with the body of Christ every week. 

To this day, people from the churches my family has been part of still take my sister to run errands or to her various volunteering jobs because she cannot drive. Neighbors ask her to dogsit. She has tutored children at the local elementary school. She longs for a reason to get up in the morning, and Christian community is one of the few places where her dignity is actively being restored.   

3. Advocate for neurodiversity in your church 

If a member of your church is chronically misunderstood because of their behavior, don’t let others ridicule them or make jokes at their expense. If someone has an nontraditional idea or suggestion about ministry and shares it with church leadership, leaders should pause and ask themselves why they are uncomfortable with the out-of-the-box thinking or inconvenience before they say no. 

Neurodiverse people are very aware of power dynamics because too many are used to having their actions misinterpreted by those in authority. Youth leaders need to be especially vigilant and proactive about advocating for inclusion where possible by educating parents and children on issues of disability and acceptance. 

The easiest way to advocate for neurodiversity is to encounter it from an asset-based approach — ask what strengths the person brings to the church body before asking what they may lack.

Three years ago, my husband and I joined a new church to be closer to home. One of the big draws there was the wide range of neurodiversity represented in the congregation. Parents were open about their children and diagnoses, including our pastor’s son. It has been a major encouragement to see our daughter, who is diagnosed with ADHD, feel represented and understood by other parents and peers when she comes to church. This gives me hope that others will see that kind of inclusion as foundational to the church’s mission, and I pray that the Lord will give us his heart for those the world often leaves out.

By / Apr 28

Ten years ago, at my son James’s three-year well visit, I decided to be honest with his pediatrician about the delays we saw and the concerns we had. I wrote this at the time: “He doesn’t talk, but he used to. He doesn’t play with other kids. He doesn’t react when his dad gets home from work. Sometimes, even though he’s in the room, it’s like he’s not really with us.” At that appointment, she checked for skills he should have had at that point. She asked him to draw a circle. He couldn’t. He couldn’t even hold the crayon. She asked him if he was a boy or a girl. He said nothing. She asked me if he could dress himself. He couldn’t, but he did love to undress himself (a problem since he was not even close to being potty trained). At the end of that appointment, she gave me a number to call at the school district to set up an appointment for more testing.

A couple months later, my husband Lee told James to do his “best worst” as we walked into the elementary school where James would go through an official evaluation. Our prayer was that they would get an accurate picture of what he could do and not do. We met with a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and psychologist. After an hour of playing with James and asking us questions, they left the room. When they returned, the psychiatrist sat down with us while the SLP and OT went back to playing with James. She said, “Based on his testing today and our observations, we believe James has autism.”

It’s been 10 years since that diagnosis day. Ten years of therapy, special education, nights with very little sleep, diet changes, trying new medicines, and adjusting our expectations for what life should look like as we parent our 13-year-old son with level 3, profound autism. 

There have been many, many days I have echoed the prayer of Habakkuk, “How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen?” (v. 2a, CSB). And although Habakkuk was praying very different prayers from what I pray now, God’s answer to him brings me hope as well: “Look at the nations and observe—be utterly astounded! For I am doing something in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it” (v. 5b). 

Look and observe. 

The progress James has made may not seem like progress to most. But when I really look and observe, I see miracles. Just this week we walked into our church’s sanctuary, James wearing his noise-reducing headphones to block out some of the sensory input, and his anxiety stayed low enough for us to say hi to friends before it was time for him to go to his class (where, because of the disability ministry our church offers, he’s able to hear the gospel message week after week in an environment where he’s comfortable). Every time he answers yes or no, every time he skips out the backdoor to swing independently, every time he practices and practices a new skill like using a spoon or drying off with a towel, I “look and observe” what God is doing in his life.    

Be utterly astounded.

As thankful as we are every time we see him gain a new skill, if James never progresses beyond where he is now, God is still at work. He’s at work not only in James’ life, but in my life, our family, and my ministry to other special-needs families. James teaches me more about God’s love for me than anyone else I’ve known. I love him because he’s my son, not because of anything he accomplishes or goals he meets. God loves me because when he sees me, he sees his Son. Even all my accomplishments fade away when compared to what Christ has done on my behalf. As Paul wrote, “Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Phil. 3:8b-9a). I am “utterly astounded” by God’s love and care over us day after day. 

When I look ahead 

As we sat in that room at the elementary school 10 years ago, we couldn’t have imagined where we’d be now. Even getting an autism diagnosis only helps so much, because every autistic person is so different. There was no way to know then where we’d be today. But as I look ahead at the decades to come, I take strength from all God has done in the last 10 years. 

A refrain I see in the Old Testament is to remember and tell—remember what God has done and tell others about it—reflecting and reminding, observing and articulating. These practices, over and over again, point me to the hope I have in God through Christ. I know he will give me strength to face our next big challenge because he hasn’t failed us yet. I know he will give me wisdom to make future decisions because he’s been guiding me each day. I know he will provide for James even when I can’t because I’ve seen him do it all along. 

I turn again to Habakkuk as I reflect, and like the woman in Proverbs 31, I can “laugh at the time to come” not because I have everything figured out, but because I don’t have to. I can “take joy” because He is my strength.

. . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; (Hab. 3:18-19a)

By / Oct 17

Every church has socially awkward Christians. I parent one of them. Our son has level 1 autism, formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Autism Spectrum Disorder is often paired with Sensory Processing Disorder or even Giftedness. He looks and smells like your average middle schooler but he processes information in a very different way. Most people don’t realize anything is different about him until they socially interact. They may leave an interaction happy, mildly annoyed, confused, impressed, or astounded depending on what took place.  

Though time should also be made to discuss and address those with more severe disabilities and how the church should care for them, I’d like to discuss the more subtle, socially awkward or belligerent adults and children of your church family. Most people from my generation who aren’t neurotypical don’t carry around a diagnosis or vocabulary for their struggles. We can sense that something is “off,” and our natural inclination may be to avoid interacting with them. Many in the church feel ill-equipped to deal with the young child with behavior issues or the socially awkward adult, both of whom could be on the autism spectrum. Here are a few things about those with Autism Spectrum Disorder that will help you understand a little bit about them:

  • They don’t easily interpret social interactions or facial cues.
  • They may have extra sensitive nervous systems.  
  • They may have incredible capacity for knowledge and details.  
  • They may struggle to predict behavior.
  • They may struggle to regulate their emotions.
  • They function mostly from the left brain where “data” is stored.

So how can you embrace and encourage those like my son in your church and community? 

  1. Be patient. Give grace, as they are often confused. Whether it’s a social cue or a spatial issue, like being too close to other people or hanging on them, my son tells me he spends a lot of time confused about what’s expected of him. The way his nervous system processes information also causes him struggles. When he was young, just hearing a car start up in the distance would cause him to scream because his brain couldn’t interpret that the car was far away. New research is discovering that the autistic brain has more nerve synapses than is typical, so everything is felt more acutely. The world can be a threatening and confusing place for these brothers and sisters.  
  2. Be honest. Be direct. One great thing about our son is that he can handle the stone-cold truth. We can be blunt and honest with him about things, and he’s actually appreciative of the feedback.  
  3. Be aware. Pay attention. As Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, pastors, and elders, one great thing you can do for the neuroatypical is to watch for what makes them come alive. They often have special interests that feed their brain dopamine and help their worlds feel ordered. And in the midst of that, you can get a peek into the gifts Jesus gave them in the midst of the disability. 
  4. Be attuned. Joyfully connect. It’s easy to want to avoid the socially awkward person at church, but they need belonging and a people group. They need to be able to identify with the body of Christ. Conversely, respect their need for social disengagement. They may become overwhelmed easily and need to retreat from social interactions.
  5. Be intentional. They need to learn relational skills by being in relationships and social skills by interacting in various social settings. Just like the rest of us, they need to live in community, in a safe environment, where they can learn what they lack through the body of Christ. What’s more, any relational skills that weren’t absorbed from families, communities, or churches at a young age can still be learned. But it requires immersion into life with someone who has that skill. A person who has never built the skill of connecting joyfully can learn from someone who will joyfully connect with them. Or a person who doesn’t realize they are overwhelming others can learn to recognize this if they have an intentional example. And this brings with it a call for humility (Eph. 4:2).  

When intuition is missing, intention is required. And our intention is not to change behavior so that we are more comfortable. Instead, it’s to reflect Jesus so we can all grow in spiritual maturity. We aren’t trying (nor do they need us) to impart more head knowledge. Instead, our brothers and sisters need relational connection where they can deepen their understanding of their own personal relationship with Christ.   

With love and intentionality, seek to understand and build joyful relationships with those in your church family who are made differently.

In my family’s life, we have seen the love of Christ displayed through our church. They’ve helped me remember that Jesus was with me when I was carrying a screaming young boy from the auditorium during a service. I’ve seen it in the empathy and humility of Sunday School teachers who have asked for guidance on how to handle my son. I’ve heard it in the proclamation of the truth that my salvation is based on Christ’s work alone, not my ill-equipped parenting skills. And we’ve been blessed by our pastor and youth leaders as they’ve rejoiced with us in the growth that’s occurred in our son.  

We must remember that our autistic brothers and sisters in Christ are so much more than their autism. And if there’s one thing I can testify to after almost 14 years of parenting an autistic child, it is this: They can learn, but they won’t learn this from a book; they need you. So, with love and intentionality, seek to understand and build joyful relationships with those in your church family who are made differently. You will grow in the process and make a world of difference in the unique and divinely designed lives.  

By / Nov 28

Many couples develop a desire to adopt, but for Hannah Singer and her husband, Patrick, the call was clear from the beginning. The couple married in 2006, and in 2008, a few short years later, their desire for a baby was fulfilled. Their son, Elijah, was adopted at three months. It wasn’t long after that Elijah began to show signs of autism.

Elijah, now 5 years old, has been a bright light in the Singer’s lives. There are many resources for caring for a child with autism, but what about assisting a couple who lovingly serve a child with a disability? I’ve asked Hannah to share their story—specifically how the Lord has used their son and his diagnosis in her marriage.

Would you share your journey into adoption?

Patrick and I both had hearts for adoption from the beginning, originally planning to add to our biological children. The Lord knew best, and after two ectopic pregnancies and learning we were unable to grow our family the “typical” way, we pursued adoption! We began many avenues domestically, including foster care. The Lord surprised us in the midst of our pursuit with an out-of-the-blue phone call from a young woman wondering if we “still want a baby”. That led to a private adoption with help from a lawyer friend and a beautiful young woman, Elijah's birth mama. We were there for his birth, so he has always been with us. Elijah was three months old when his adoption was finalized, making him an official Singer! 

I understand Elijah was diagnosed with autism. Did you know he was diagnosed with autism at the time? If not, how did you discover it?

We didn't know about his autism. Looking back, especially at old videos, we see signs of autism in Elijah. We never noticed anything “different” until he was almost two years old. I think it was a combination of him bringing us so much joy and us being uneducated in the area of autism. Elijah was a super easy/calm baby. He could sleep anywhere, go anywhere, and nothing fazed him!

Somewhere along the way (around 8 months old?) he went from chill-out to jumping tornado, constantly moving and destroying things. It was like he couldn't be still, he couldn't rest. I know babies can be busy, chew on things and make messes, but this seemed different somehow. I just thought he was quirky and “normal”. He still wanted to be swaddled (and does to this day, ha!); the few words like apple, bath, mama, book, and go . . . went quiet.  

He would hardly ever say words and often seemed like he didn't even know I was in the room with him. Things became clearer during a vacation we took just after his second birthday. We went to Disneyland. It was an awesome trip in some ways, but mostly it was just difficult and exhausting. Elijah screamed and kicked on the airplane. He wouldn't eat or sleep (for most of the trip!); we had no idea what he needed. We thought maybe he was getting sick, or was afraid of the airplane, or the hotel or something. He was overwhelmed and wound super tightly. Patrick and I were delirious and clueless.  

After that trip I began to see things differently. I became more aware of Elijah's “quirks”. When he continued to seem aloof to us, we had his hearing checked. Perfect score. He wasn't speaking, which made for many frustrating times of the day and night. He stopped eating foods he used to like, he wasn't sleeping, he didn't seem to know what toys were for. He would just throw them around or walk on them all day. He jumped, climbed, ran, and chewed things relentlessly.  

I didn't feel worried about him, but I definitely felt like I had no idea what I was doing as a mom. I felt I was failing him. For months, including during another insane, overwhelming vacation, I knew something was not typical. I had no idea where to begin with all the questions I had. I read a blog by a mother whose son was recently diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and it really reminded me of what Elijah was like. So, I researched that a bit and made notes for the pediatrician. At an appointment late in October 2011, Elijah was observed for over an hour. We talked with the doctor, asking questions and answering them. She told us that she would make appointments for us to see more doctors as soon as possible. She believed that Elijah was autistic.

I was stunned because I was under the impression that autism meant no happiness, no affection and aggression.  Elijah was a jolly, affectionate and tender boy.

How has the diagnosis affected your marriage?

I believe the autism diagnosis has absolutely affected our marriage and in so many ways. From day one, it brought us closer together. At first, because we both felt like total loser parents, here we were, trying to pound a square peg into a circle hole. We were trying discipline, routines—everything—as if Elijah was typical. When it wasn't working at all, we thought we were failures. It never crossed our minds that maybe he needed a completely different approach. We felt shame for not knowing about autism. We felt shame for him being close to three years old before we figured it out. That connected us, and in turn drove us to Jesus together for wisdom, comfort and strength.  Learning about Elijah's autism was also relieving. It meant we weren't crazy and imagining his quirks. It meant we were not failures, just uneducated.

What steps have you taken to preserve your marriage while loving, serving, and caring for your son? 

With Patrick's irregular work schedule, I often attend meetings and appointments for Elijah alone. It can sometimes feel like single parenting when I get all the info alone and deal with things on a daily basis. I’ve learned that it's important to make time to share with Patrick, no matter how tired I am, updating him on everything so he's included and can better make decisions.  

Getting time together to just be is also important. We rarely have money to afford a sitter or go out, but we try to connect at home any chance we get. Honestly, this is a current struggle for us, overcoming exhaustion, praying together, having meaningful conversation and togetherness is something we're getting better at.

Are there any lessons you've learned about marriage and caring for children with special needs?

The truth is, I believe marriage is work, typical family or not. It's beautiful and good . . . and sanctifying. So far, we've learned that keeping short accounts of hurts or frustrations with each other, confessing, and forgiving immediately helps so much. There are pressures as a special needs family that cause stress, extreme anxiety, fear and sometimes anger. It's crucial that we cling to Christ together and that we're on the same team every day. Most days, we feel completely inadequate for the life the Lord has given us.  

Here are some things we know matter and are working on daily:

  • seeing Jesus above each other
  • not expecting perfection
  • striving to extend grace
  • seeking ways to encourage each other

Our child is not the center of our world. Sometimes that's a fight, simply because he is a total joy and blessing to us, and most of our time is spent with him or working for what's best him. But, if my husband and I are not taking time to nurture ourselves as a couple, we can hardly care well for our son's needs. It's important for us to be one and to be in tune with each other.

What have been some of the joys, specifically in your marriage, since becoming parents?

I think a huge joy for me has been the way my husband accepts me. Earlier in our marriage, after two ectopic pregnancies, we learned we'd never have biological children. During that time, I first saw that my husband was 100 percent with me. Patrick grieves with me. He celebrates with me. He encourages me. He laughs with me. He stays.

Sharing the joy of being parents together is a joy in our marriage! We've changed a little since becoming parents and changed a little more since realizing how exceptional Elijah is. It's been a joy to see my husband grow into his fatherhood role. And Lord willing, we'll be adopting again!

What is your hope for your son and his future?

Wow. I hope everything for him. Our main prayer is that he would understand the gospel and know freedom in Jesus. We hope he will be understood and respected for who he is. We he hope he will continue to discover and sharpen his gifts, and share them through his work and friendships. 

*The number of children diagnosed with autism each year is staggering and the cause is undetermined, but this we do know, each child is made in the image of God. May the Lord give us wisdom to serve parents in our congregations as they lovingly care for their child diagnosed with autism.

By / Mar 6

Hello, this is Russell Moore, and this is Questions & Ethics sponsored by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I am here in our Washington offices, Leland House. On this program, every time, we come back to the questions that you send in about things that are going on in your life.

I have a really interesting question that came to me from a pastor who says, “Dr. Moore, in our church I am very careful about baptizing people. I make clear in my preaching that God can save people at any age, but often it is harder to determine whether or not say, a five-year-old has been saved as opposed to someone else. And so we take baptism very seriously. We work very slowly in interviewing people. And one of the requirements we have at our church is that everyone who is being baptized will give a short verbal confession of faith in the baptistry as to his or her faith in Christ and salvation experience. But here’s my problem: We have a severely autistic teenager in our congregation who isn’t comfortable talking very much at all and is certainly not comfortable talking to people who are not his parents. He communicates mostly with his parents via iPad. And so how do we interview him for baptism? His parents say that he has come to Christ. How do we interview him for baptism, number one? And number two, do we exempt him from giving a verbal testimony in the baptistry?

That’s a really good question. I am glad that this was asked. One of the things that many of our churches are needing to think through right now is how do we as local congregations deal with the issue of disability? And frankly, if in your congregation you are not grappling in some way or other with the question of disability, then I think you should probably ask why? Are there people in our community that we are not reaching? Are there people in our church that we are not asking the right sorts of questions to minister to them? But most congregations are going to have to think this through.

Pastor, I think the way you ought to handle this is to treat it the way you would if you were dealing with a new believer who doesn’t have the capacity to speak or to hear. How would you handle that? The way that you would probably handle that is to find some other means to interview that person, maybe with a sign language interpreter or in some other way, and then accommodate that disability in that way. Somebody with severe autism along the lines that you are mentioning—from what you are describing here, it’s not as severe as it can be—but it is not that this is a person who doesn’t want to talk. Don’t treat this simply as somebody who says that they get nervous. This is a disability that this person has, a real challenge that this person is facing. And so because, for you, talking is an easy thing, don’t assume that if you push this person enough he is going to be able to talk. No. This is the situation that he finds himself in. and so enable him to live out a godly life in Christ as someone who has autism.

I think the way you do that is to work through his parents. So if the way that they are communicating with him right now is via iPad, great! Use that medium, and tell the parents the sorts of things that you ordinarily would be looking for in someone who is coming to faith in Christ: What is his testimony? What is he trusting in? What is he hoping in? What is his heart conviction? That sometimes can be difficult to ascertain, but not impossible to ascertain because of communication.

As a matter of fact, for those of you who are ministering to people with autism both as parents and as pastors and youth pastors and children’s pastors, there is a really good book I would recommend called The Reason I Jump. And it is by an autistic child who is writing and explaining—and there was a system where he was able to do this, to write this book, I think through computer technology—to talk about why he does the things that he does. And so some people think that this is just a habit you’ve picked up or this is an irritant. He is explaining that no, this is the way I see the world in a way that is different from you.

So have compassion upon that, and talk through his parents. If he communicates best through iPad, great! Just ask them for the things that you want to know. Then, in the baptistry, don’t require him to give a verbal testimony in the same way that you wouldn’t require someone who couldn’t speak, didn’t have vocal chords, to speak. What would you do? You would come in and say that we have a unique situation here. My new brother in Christ, “Ronny,” he has some challenges in his life that he is taking on that he is overcoming. He is not able to give a verbal testimony, but we have communicated with him, and we have full confidence that he trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has repented of his sins. He has put his faith in him. And so, “Ronnie,” based upon your profession of faith, I baptize you now, my brother, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I think that that’s the right thing to do. I think that this is in many ways similar to the situation that we see in the gospels where the man who could not walk, his friends picked him up. They took him to Jesus. They tore the roof off the house and lowered him down. I think that’s the way that we ought to do it. And as you are doing that, communicate very clearly to your congregation that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just for those who would consider themselves to be “well-bodied.” The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everybody. And so people, no matter what our disability, no matter what we are carrying with us through this life, can follow after Jesus and be faithful and contributing saints, members of the great cloud of witnesses and of the body of Christ. And I can’t think of anything that’s better news than that.

What’s your question for us? Send it to me at [email protected]. Anything that you are trying to think through, maybe it’s something that you were reading in the Bible in your devotional time. Maybe it’s a conflict that’s going on in your workplace or a decision you are having to make in your family or in your neighborhood or in your church. Whatever it is, send it to me at [email protected], and I will give it my best shot in answering it for you.