Notes from Don Senior on Disabilities in the New Testament

Don Senior, the President of the Catholic Theological Union addressed the 2012 Summer Institute on Disability and Theology on Tuesday and spoke on disability in the New Testament.

Below are some of the thoughts that Don Senior shared:

  • Most of Christ's encounters with Gentiles involve healing and that healing involved the breaking down of social barriers.
  • While "cure" may reflect physical transformation, healing is more profound- psychological and social.
  • Jesus drew the outcasts, marginalized, and oppressed into the community while at the same time working to to heal the community. His unconditional love and startling compassion were more than many hearts could grasp.
  • The God of Israel identified not only with those in the center of the community, but also with those on the perimeter, those pushed to the margin- widows, centurions, sinners. He reached into the highways and byways to fill his banquet table.
  • Reaching out to those on the periphery is not optional, it is at the heart of what we do. What some call social justice may be at the very core of the gospel.
  • Before any of us became jews or christians or muslims, we were first born as human beings.
  • The bible does connect some disability with sin, but it also connects all mortality with sin. This is different from a cause and effect connection between my mistake and sin.
  • The healing ministry of Christ is a defeat of oppression. Christ embraced the oppressed, he welcomed people in.
  • In moments of crisis, people try to hammer out something that makes sense to them, people create their own theology, something that can help them sleep at night. Instead of refuting that theology, lay something else along side it.

Additional notes and comments from Don Senior's session on Access and Inclusion in the New Testament