Vulnerable Communion

Author : Reynolds, Thomas E.

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  • From Publishers Weekly Chris Reynolds, the author's 17-year-old son, has been diagnosed with a host of problems including Tourette's syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The author, who teaches systematic theology at the University of Toronto, writes movingly of his deep love for his son: living with a child with disabilities has opened him to a surplus of grace that can only be called divine. This book, however, is neither memoir nor practical advice; it is a heavily footnoted scholarly treatise written in a largely academic style, arguing that disability is the norm; the image of God means not rationality but relationality; redemption is a result of God's own vulnerability; and the proper Christian response to otherness is hospitality. Reasoning from experience and from the Bible, Reynolds develops a theology of creation, sin, redemption and the church designed to produce a metaphorical reversal that challenges our culture's cult of normalcy by privileging disability. Despite an occasional tangle of postmodern jargon, Reynolds's insights are often compelling: The basic question of human existence is whether there is welcome at the heart of things, whether we can find a home with others who recognize us, value us, and empower us to become ourselves. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Product Description 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. 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



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