Dr. Jason Whitt is associate director of the Institute for Faith and Learning at Baylor University in Waco, TX. He serves as a cohort leader in the Crane Scholars Program and teaches as adjunct faculty in the Great Texts Program. Additionally, he has taught courses in the department of religion and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core.
I had the honor of meeting Jason at the 2013 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture: “Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker for Our Time?” He and his team had done excellent work organizing this conference with some of the preeminent Kierkegaardian scholars of our time, and yet Jason himself was as down-to-earth as one could hope. As we spoke – about his experience at Baylor, his life, and his daughter Camille – his deep love for his students his family was evident.
In Christian Century, Jason shares in greater detail some of the experiences surrounding the birth and growth of Camille and the support of his church community as they learn that she has special needs. Here’s a paragraph or two from his article:
After services we find a group of teenagers gathered around Camille talking to her and holding her hands. These are children of Camille’s Companions who have come to know Camille and see themselves as her friends. Again, what was done as a means of meeting one of our needs has transformed how the teenagers and adults in our church perceive those with disabilities. By looking for ways to make a place for Camille and offer community to our family, our church is discovering that Camille offers gifts back to the body.
Community is important for our family. We need community to embrace us and draw us out of our lives into the larger church family. My wife and I need it. Our son needs it. Camille needs it.
We’ve also learned that our church needs Camille.
I hope you’ll take a moment to read this encouraging and challenging description of the joys and sorrows experienced by Camille and her family: