Item description for Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality by Thomas E. Reynolds...
Overview As parents of an autistic son, Thomas 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 shows that the Christian story is one of strength coming from weakness, of wholeness emerging from brokenness, and of power in vulnerability. Wholeness, he argues, comes not from self-sufficiency, but from the "genuinely inclusive communion" that results from sharing our humanity--including our lack of ability--with one another. Then, and only then, will we truly live in hospitality with one another and with people with disabilities. Reynolds offers valuable biblical, theological, and pastoral tools to understand and welcome those with disabilities. The book will be useful to academics, students, and pastors, as well as anyone touched by disability in some way. Readers will find penetrating examinations of the difficult questions of why God allows disability and what the church can learn from people with disabilities.
Publishers 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 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 2008 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality by Thomas E. Reynolds has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 02/11/2008 page 67
Christian Retailing - 04/07/2008 page 17
Christian Century - 12/02/2008 page 32
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Studio: Brazos Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2008
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 1587431777 ISBN13 9781587431777
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More About Thomas E. Reynolds
Thomas E. Reynolds (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is associate professor of theology at Emmanuel College in the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. He lives in North York, Ontario.
Reviews - What do customers think about Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality?
Meeting the Challenge of "Normality" and "Disability" in the Church Aug 7, 2008
Thomas E. Reynolds is associate professor of theology at Emmanuel College in the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. In "Vulnerable Communion" Reynolds writes from personal experience and from a theological perspective in this deeply profound treatise on disability and hospitality within the contemporary church structure. Reynolds own son has been diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, and bipolar disorder.
Reynolds' writing is passionate and informational. His study is well researched and documented. He draws from Biblical sources, pastoral tools and his own experience as the foundation for his work. In writing this book it is his hope that he will influence the thinking of the reader to better understand the importance of fostering hospitality in the church toward persons with disabilities.
"Vulnerable Communion" is a valuable resource for seminary students, theologians, church pastors, Christian leaders, and layman who recognize the need for blending personal vulnerabilities with the fundamental truth that those persons with physical disabilities are important members of the Body of Christ. Reynolds has a unique way of getting directly to the heart of the issue with compassion, which is produced from personal experience, from his observations and his comprehensive study.
Reynolds may be ahead of his time, but by introducing this need for a paradigm shift in the attitude in the church today he has opened the door to an important issue that needs to be considered by the emergent church. He is calling for a serious look at what is considered normalcy and disability in the theological approach prevalent in today's churches.
Must Read May 25, 2008
Having a child with a disability myself, this book really hit home. While the authors son had more severe handicaps than what my son had to deal with, I could relate to the deep love that Reynolds has for his son and the discrimination that is experienced, even in the church. Living with a child with a disability changes you. It makes you more compassionate towards others and less quick to judge. The author does a great job in arguing why the church should be the hands and feet of Jesus and have compassion on the "unlovely" and reach out the hand of fellowship to them.
I will be honest, this book is not a quick read. It is heavily footnote and the reader knows after the first few pages that it is written by a scholarly man. With that said, I still feel it is worth the read. You won't be disappointed and will be surprised at how much you learn.