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The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Draws on themes of the disability-rights movement to identify people with disabilities as members of a socially disadvantaged minority group rather than as individuals who need to adjust. Highlights the hidden history of people with disabilities in church and society. Proclaiming the emancipatory presence of the disabled God, the author maintains the vital importance of th ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Abingdon Press
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BHodges
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Eisland articulates a liberation theology of disability, which means she re-centers Christian theology around the image of the resurrected Jesus, a God with marks of disability in his body. She calls attention to the political struggles of people with disabilities and argues that similar efforts for greater civic participation should be undertaken within the Christian community. A pioneering work, but not a systematic or rigorous work.
E.
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
The profound thesis of this book is "In the Eucharist, we encounter the disabled God, who displayed the signs of disability, not as a demonstration of failure and defect, but in affirmation of connection and strength."

This 21 year old work of theology was groundbreaking in its presentation of a theology of disability and its call for the church to become a "communion of justice, a communion of struggle."

Eiesland gives a history of the disability rights movement and the church's struggles with di
...more
Danni Green
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an important book with a lot of important things to say. I felt like it could have comprised more diversity -- the two people whose narratives are shared are both white cisgender women, which the author acknowledges, but including more perspectives would have provided a more compelling and relatable text. The book wasn't as helpful to me as it might be for someone who is Christian (which I am not), but it was useful to have read it and to get this perspective on disability theology which ...more
Nick Cady
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting concept. Don't agree with everything she says, but an interesting concept nonetheless. I do agree that in the incarnation God took limits upon Himself. She goes further to say that the cross shows a God who is not all powerful and is most interested in relationality rather than redemption. This and other things about the nature of God and the nature of humanity I disagreed with. ...more
Tanya Marlow
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How do we interpret disability – as something from God’s good creation, or as a tragic aspect of the fall? Traditionally, Christianity has interpreted disability as the latter, and society has agreed. The ‘medical model’ of disability theory is that disability is something that needs to be fixed in a person, through the help of medicine, and Eiesland provides a thorough and damning overview of the damaging effects this approach has had in America. As she lists the ways that disabled people have ...more
Jon Coutts
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Succinctly written, compelling, and convicting, for good reason this is foundational reading for disability theology and contemporary ecclesiology. As Eiesland says, "The church is impoverished without our presence [i.e., people with disabilities]. Our narratives and bodies make clear that ordinary lives incorporate contingency and difficulty... Christ has brought us grace and, in turn, makes us a grace to others as physical beings." ...more
Brooke
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A dense, challenging, and thought provoking work. Grateful to have read it though, since it is the nexus point of my two academic careers: ministry and special education.

It is only a beginning work, there is more to learn as we listen to individuals of faith with disabilities speak of their experiences and their needs.
Rebecca L.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Groundbreaking. Complex, deeply nuanced, and full of hope, Eisland’s dissertation is a very precious work of theology that I will refer to again and again. As a person with a disability, her scholarship and her writing mean a great deal to me.
Wendy
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Great food for thought and action.
Stephen Bedard
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the book that really got the ball rolling for disability theology. She presents a liberation theology of disability that focuses on Jesus as the Disabled God.
Jason Hobbs
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Challenging exploration of embodiment and the way that intersects with our ways of thinking about God.
Davita
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So good that I live tweeted it!
Elizabeth
May 08, 2010 added it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: _Deaf Theology_ fn 3.11 (w/ caveat)
I may have first heard about this book when I read Deaf Theology (itself a 2007 book) in 2010. I finally read The Disabled God (which came out in 1994) in early 2015 -- after Emily Rapp talked about it in Poster Child: A Memoir .

Reading a ground-breaking book more than 20 years after its publication, when I've read much in the ensuing literature, is basically a recipe for disappointment; and because I don't have any sense of what the landscape was like when this book came out (I was 11), I c
...more
Coachhaack
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Nancy Eiesland writes a compelling first-hand account of the frustrations she experienced as a person who was marginalized from full participation in her denominational fellowship because of her disability. In her presentation of Jesus Christ as The Disabled God (who retained the wounds of crucifixion in a body that was no longer constrained by the material world), she offers some compelling theological challenges to contemporary religious views on human wholeness and healing. She also well-supp ...more
Deborah-Ruth
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was actually my very first introduction to disability theology. When I first read it I had no concept (either academically or practically) about relating to people with disabilities. Now, after three years living and working together I picked it up again. Although this book is fairly outdated due to that period in which it was published, it is a seminal work for understanding body theology, corporate worship, and the experience of people with disabilities. Written by two women who have ...more
McKenzie
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
How I wish everyone would read this, if only to be made aware of the kind of discrimination, overt and hidden, that people with disabilities experience everyday. We have a long way to go, and embracing a theology of the disabled God will surely help to bring us to a better place.
Cayce
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Meanders a little at the start when giving social/intersectional context for her theological ideas. It builds up more steam toward the end when she gets into the crux of her arguments. Definitely plan to read more on the topics she introduces here.
Katie
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really fascinated by the topic here, though I wasn't super convinced by her argument - not sure if it was just that I had a hard time following how it was laid out or that her justifications seemed weak. I have a lot more thoughts about this, longer blog post pending... ...more
Jenny
Apr 03, 2008 added it
Another theology book. Really, I'm a literary scholar. But this is also a great presentation of disability studies and liberation theology. ...more
eah
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