Over the next weeks, we will be highlighting some of the presentations at the 2013 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. This week, we are featuring “Reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer” by John Swinton. John Swinton, Ph.D, holds the chair in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom. He worked …
Written by Dr Rod Thompson, Principal of Laidlaw College, NZ
Originally posted at the Laidlaw College site here. Thank you to the college for permission to re-post.
You can find more information about the Theology, Disability, and the People of God conference that was held at Carey Baptist College here.
One of the best conferences I have been to in my life took place at Carey Baptist College from 1-3 July. It was the Theology, Disability and the People of God Conference, co-hosted by Laidlaw and Carey Baptist Colleges, with special guests Professor John Swinton (from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland) and Professor Amos Yong (from Regent University in the USA) as key-note speakers. About 120 people attended each day.
Most conferences are stimulating intellectually, however this gathering was also moving emotionally and deeply challenging as we asked questions about the practices of churches and other communities – including Colleges – that cause people to sense that they belong within that community. What does it mean to belong in a community? John Swinton argued that we know we belong in a community if, when we are absent, we are missed. To be missed. To have a place in the minds and hearts of others in the community. This is more than inclusion. This is belonging.
A number of us from the Laidlaw College community participated in the conference. Papers were presented by myself and other members of Laidlaw’s community. And we were privileged to mingle and speak with many working within the disability sector throughout the conference.
John Swinton has recently written a book entitled Dementia: Living in the Memories of God, in which he explores what it means to be human, particularly in light of debilitating loss of memory and identity, such as seems to occur for those who have dementia. Swinton’s book is wonderful and I highly recommend it to you.
To see what John has to say about dementia, ageing, identity and friendship click on the video below.
This is an recent interview in the United Observer with my friend, John Swinton. It’s an excellent piece that highlights the importance of clear theological thinking in regards to disability ministries.
Book: Dementia: Living in the Memories of God 2012. This is a readable and highly engaging exploration of what it means to be person, community, and a follower of God. Although written on the topic of dementia, it has significant implications for those with cognitive disabilities. I highly recommend this book for those in disability …