Saturday, April 05, 2008

One if by Land, Two if by Sea


The land of patriots, puritans, and preachers.

I'm here for theEC conference (Council of Exceptional Children) - a 6000+ crowd of special educators. I'm also representing NACSPED -- the National Association of Christians in Special Education, as well as exploring how our small Christian school can make a contribution in our local community.

During free time, I've seen nearly 400 year old historical items, Ben Franklin's parents grave, Paul Reveres grave, the old churches.

I've seen 300 year old cathedrals with full color digital print missional banners waving in front.

The church keeps re-packaging its message for a new world.

Boston probably isn't known now for its puritans or preachers now. But let me tell you of the new breed of preachers -- Christians in special education.

Somewhere along the line we Christians got it in our head that only the preacher can do ministry. Somewhere we forgot that the church is people not a building we go to.

One PHD psychologist with experience in behavioral issues in autism said he was a Christian, but how could he use his faith with his training. He was astounded that he could actually ask the pastor if there were problems with Johnny in the SS class. He walked away coming up with a list of what he might be able to do -- to impact his community.

Stories after stories.

light bulbs came on.

Then I heard the testimony of the year.

Friday night, we went to dinner with Erick Carter, author of Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities. Dr. Carter is professer at the Badgers house - University of Wisconson, did his PhD at Peabody Institute / Vanderbilt in Nashville (the place for a special ed doctorate) and his undergrad at Wheaton. Furthermore, the book was published by a secular printing house.

But this almost didn't happen.

You see, Erick, like many 19 year olds, was failing out of college, arguing with his parents, was not a Christian and needed a summer job.

So he signed up for a camp counselor position. When he got there he was assigned to the disability group. He almost left, but decided to stay. During that camp, the persons with developmental disabilities began to teach him about Christ. He became a Christian, and changed his journey.

The fork was half way to my mouth. I said -- BACK UP. Who led you to Christ? He repeated his answer -- persons with developmental disability.

That part's not in the book.

Look up at the tower, the lanterns are flashing... the new preachers are coming, and they have disabilities.