We are in a warfare that requires the prudent be on the lookout for evils to avoid. In your hearts, acknowledge the traps that are all around you. And if you really need to, say it out loud to shake you from your apathy and turn from the temptation.
When I was in college, it’s very likely that people thought I was a little weird. Around 2008, I started to really seek the Lord. I had been saved a few years before then, but around that time I had someone show me that I could read and understand the Bible for myself. I was soaking up everything and growing like a weed. I was also a little weird (still am?). Put those two things together and you get an interesting outcome. Here’s what I mean: I used to wear one white sock and one black sock to remind me that the flesh warred against the Spirit (Gal 6). I made a little Bible carrying pouch to wear on my belt and called it my “sheath” for carrying around my “sword” (Eph 5). And if you were walking by me on campus, sometimes you might hear me exclaim, “It’s a trap!”
As anyone who has sought the Lord will tell you, the more you see of God, the better you see yourself. Specifically, the more you see of your own insufficiency.
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By Kevin DeYoung — 1 year ago
God didn’t create another man, he created a woman—and yet she’s taken from the man. So there is a likeness and yet a fundamental difference and distinction. And everything about God’s design in this world must keep in mind this sexual differentiation between men and women, which is not an accident of creation, but from the very beginning, was God’s good, glorious plan.
We all recognize, if we have our eyes open or pull up the internet on our phones, that we live in a day where there is great confusion about men and women—confusion down to the very foundations. Is there such a thing as a man and a woman? And you’ve probably seen the clips that get passed around. High ranking, very intelligent people don’t know how—or at least they pretend not to know how—to answer the question, “What is a woman?” And as Christians, we have the Bible and we have what the world needs to hear, whether it wants to hear it or not. And we, of course, want to present it in a way that is most robust in truth, and also so that people can hear and can listen. But it’s really important that we’re clear about “What are men and women?”
What are Men and Women?
I mean, the etymology actually helps us in English. And in Hebrew, it’s ishah, for she comes out of ish. Even there in the Hebrew, the two words are connected. And it’s like that in English: A “womb man,” that a woman, biologically, is the person of God’s design in creation who—if all of the the plumbing, shall we say, is working correctly—gives birth to human life. That’s the latent possibility. Of course, we know that some people are are called to singleness and sometimes our bodies, because of the fall, don’t work in the ways that we would like. But there are those latent possibilities, that a woman is that person whom God has designed to incubate, to nurture, to nourish, and to give birth to life.
By Rachel Roth Aldhizer — 3 months ago
By changing language, the state attempts to solve a metaphysical quandary, and something intangible changes about our reality. Our government’s rush toward one-size-fits-all solutions means the particularities of individual lives become lost in the maze of a bureaucratic process. Disability is a stark reminder of the human condition. It is more than a problem to be solved, although there are real problems for disabled people that need real solutions. Disability is a valuable teacher. It can catechize us on the nature of our humanity, and teach us about our mortality. We all can and should hope for redemption for our broken bodies.
My son is blind, immobile, nonverbal, and hearing-impaired, with multiple brain abnormalities and complex orofacial birth defects. Is he disabled? It depends on whom you ask.
According to Pew Research, thirteen percent of all Americans are disabled. However, the CDC considers more than twenty-five percent of all Americans as disabled, including seventeen percent of children. In contrast, the National Survey of Child Health considers just over four percent of American children to be disabled. These statistics represent alternate realities.
What is the reason for this wide disparity? Some definitions of disability are limited to activities of daily living, or ADLs, such as eating, walking, bathing, and toileting. Others are broader, including behavioral, mental health, and sensory impairments. While disabilities have increased for all Americans, children, in particular, have experienced a huge rise in disability. An NIH study uses the capacious “developmental disabilities” category for its analysis, incorporating recent rises in ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities, making up a majority of new inclusions. Under this definition, more than half of those children considered disabled have ADHD, with blindness by comparison only contributing to 0.16 percent of the total. More broadly still, one researcher defines disability in children as “activity limitations” including “anything that the parent identifies that their child isn’t able to do in the same way other children are able to do.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, this definition resulted in a twenty-eight percent relative increase in childhood disability within well-off households relative to those in poverty. This definitional morass has significant implications for politicians, educators, and parents, as state resources are allocated using widely disparate disability markers.
Changing definitions of disability create policy headaches and alter our perception of reality. By broadening the definition of disability, the state sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy. Driving the state’s changing standards of language is both political self-protection and political reward. Lumping complex social factors under one label is the state’s sleight of hand. By using such a broad understanding of disability, and therefore limiting conversation about other social, environmental, or economic factors, the state can both absolve itself of needing to provide real policy solutions and proclaim itself the protector of a victimized class.
As the state mediates our social interactions by adapting our language to fit its own ends, our social fabric frays and Christian charity weakens. The church has a unique responsibility to use precise language to describe the full range of human brokenness, particularly in children, allowing us to accurately attend to the real needs of others while offering true hope in the renewal of creation.
Three Models of Disability: Medical, Social, and Equity
Our government currently uses three models to define disability for both adults and children. The state categorizes human interactions and experiences of disability in definitions that both create and support a bureaucratic process. Language changes reality. These models, while emerging chronologically, are used simultaneously. The definition of disability has expanded under each subsequent model, moving from a limited definition under the medical model, to a more inclusive social definition, to finally a potentially unlimited definition of disability under the equity model.
First Wave: The Medical Model of Disability
The medical model, true to its name, views disability as a purely physiological issue to be handled within the bounds of the medical system. This is the oldest operative view of disability, with origins in the scientific model of medicine that began in the nineteenth century. Under the medical or pathological model, disability is primarily a disease, diagnosed by a physician, subsequently necessitating medical intervention to alleviate, manage, or cure. One cannot be both healthy and disabled. Under the medical model, disability is a function of the body, limited to the individual experience.
This paradigm views disability as purely a problem of the individual, disregarding quality of life concerns and communities of care outside of the medical system. Diagnostic terms and prognoses can be unnecessarily deterministic, potentially legitimizing social stigma against the disabled. The medical model is uninterested in the broader political and social milieu in which the disabled person finds himself. Naming disability as a disease implies a fixed reality to life with a disability that advocates adamantly protest. Interpreting disability through the medical model can seem like a life sentence to a diminished reality, one where the disabled individual is always diseased.
The medical model of disability is the original building block that has now given way to models that better fit current social values. However, vestiges of the medical model remain. The best example is the use of ADLs, or activities of daily living, to define disability. According to guidelines from the Health and Human Services Department, any survey form assessing disability must include six questions “representing a minimum standard.” These questions focus on an individual’s difficulty with vision, hearing, cognition, mobility, and self-care limited to dressing or bathing.
Using the medical model to define disability results in fewer disabled Americans when compared to other models. Under its definition, a 2019 report from the Census Bureau states only 4.3 percent of American children are disabled. A similar 2010 report from the Census Bureau found that 4.4 percent of those aged six and older needed assistance with one or more activities of daily living.
Second Wave: The Social Model of Disability
The social model of disability was introduced in the 1960s as advocates for the disabled preferred a more holistic approach to understanding disability. It stands in contrast to the limited medical model that many felt was discriminatory. Proponents of disability rights pushed back against the idea that disability was a disease to be cured, and instead advocated a definition of disability that recognized the relationships between individuals and society.
The social model distinguishes between “physical impairments” inherent to the body, and “disabilities” that advocates see as the limitations of society. As such, the disabling factor is not our biological reality, but society’s shortcomings. If we weren’t ableists, social model proponents claim, then impairments wouldn’t be disabling. The social model of disability discredits the medical model, claiming that health issues are not always disabling if the social environment is adequately accommodating.
To its credit, the social model introduced numerous benefits. It laid the groundwork for legally required accommodations in work and public life that are life-changing for many people, notably, through the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. The ADA includes in its definition protection for a range of physical disabilities as well as mental and behavioral health conditions, including dyslexia, ADHD, and autism, among others. The broadening category of disability under the social model leads to an increase in disability. As a result, according to the Social Security Administration, since the 1970s, the number of disabled beneficiaries has increased from 1.8 million to 9.2 million in 2021.
The social model of disability centers on the individual’s relationship to society, not the individual himself or his biological reality. On one webpage, the CDC defines disability as an “interaction with various barriers [that] may hinder . . . full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” Disability is now a function of one’s social environment, not just how one functions within one’s social environment.
Disability has moved from a biophysical to a psychosocial marker, increasing those under disability’s umbrella. And yet another change looms on the horizon, as a recent press release from the NIH has redefined disability yet again.
By Trevin Wax — 3 weeks ago
The inability of entertainment to deliver on its promises gives us the opportunity to do something different, to live and worship in a way that resolves the paradox of the AMC ad. The high priestess of Hollywood assures us we can be reborn together, but there she sits—alone in a cold, dark theater. Meanwhile, the church lifts up the Great High Priest who made it possible for us to be truly reborn—
The past five years have been challenging for the box office. The pandemic turned theaters into ghost towns. More and more people stream movies online nowadays. Production delays, and now a writers’ strike—all this has slowed the output from Hollywood.
Moviemakers have done their best to beckon us back to the theater, lifting up the big screen as a place to set aside distractions, gather with friends and family, and immerse ourselves in the stories being told.
Nicole Kidman and AMC
The cinematic promise is epitomized in AMC Theatres’ one-minute spot featuring Nicole Kidman. It begins as she strolls through a rainy night to the theater, gently lifting her hood as if she were a Jedi. Meanwhile, her voice describes the “magic” of the cinema, where we learn to laugh, to cry, and to care. As she ascends the stairs, she celebrates the “indescribable feeling as the lights dim” and we get the chance to go to another world. Kidman is the high priestess of this spiritual experience. We’re not there “just to be entertained,” she says, but to be “somehow reborn, together.”
The AMC ad was an unexpected hit, its rhapsodic script inspiring a parody on Saturday Night Live that expanded Kidman into a superhero and surrounded her with moviegoers who salute the screen as new adherents to this quasi religion. The ad elicited numerous memes and good-natured ribbing, especially for the unintentional campiness of the line “Heartbreak feels good in a place like this.”
Every effective marketing campaign taps into deeper longings than the surface-level issues it addresses. It’s a running joke every year when Super Bowl commercials wow us with attention-grabbing humor or inspiring stories that often have little to no connection with the brand being represented. (A longer Christmas ad for Chevy last year, a tearjerker if ever there was one, emphasizes the nostalgic power of the brand while implying a Chevy truck can reverse dementia.)
It’s no surprise, then, that AMC wants to portray itself as more than a place where you can see a good movie at a decent price with comfortable seats; the theater offers an experience that fulfills a more profound need. Something deeper than mere entertainment. Rebirth is the goal.