Blindness, God, And Healing


Blindness, God, And Healing

     “That’s all right son, we’ll all be able to see in heaven!” said the older woman as she walked by where I was standing, waiting for a bus. I am blind, I use a long white cane.

     Downtown, the bus roaring off, the loud cries of a street preacher could be heard across the intersection I was to traverse. “Believe in God…” The clarity of her words rose and fell as she turned and turned to fire her message to all those that passed her station. As I stepped up on the curb she focused her attention on me. “Have you accepted Christ as your savior? You could be healed…. The scriptures fortell that…” She threw volley after volley of her beliefs at me. I kept walking, we had spoken in the past.

     Crossing the next intersection a lady came up to my side and said, “Have you read any of the teachings of Buddha?” She might have had an Eastern accent. “I go to the temple on Main Street. There is a lady there that once had one leg shorter than the other. Through the master she now has two equal legs! And there was a man who healed his cancers!” I heard her fumbling in her purse, I feared she was reaching for money, but she handed me a card. “Here is the address to our temple.”
And she walked off.

     Later at lunch, I met a friend and he brought an unexpected guest. “This is Arnold White Horse, he is Native American. We met in college, he is passing through on his way to visit family on the reservation.”

     After discussions on a range of topics the conversation came around to my earlier experiences out on the street. Mr. White Horse shared, “There are stories in my culture of strong medicine men who can bring out the powers of the spirits to heal different kinds of human conditions.”

     Later yet, listening to a local talk show on the radio, the topic being recovering from life-threatening illnesses, a caller contributes, “I'm reading this
book and this guy tells how with positive thought he cured himself of a brain tumor, and he talks about how other people have done it.”

     Later after work, walking to my home, my neighbor tells me of a local priest who has healing services. My neighbor, Jim, said, “He asks people to come up and pray with him and when he touches them, some of them will fall over. They have to have attendants there to catch them. It leaves a red mark where he touches them. Maybe you could go?”

     To this person I asked the question I wanted to ask all day. “What would that do to a pair of prostheses?”

     “What?” he asked in return.

     Letting out a tension-filled breath, I answered, “I have plastic eyes. Sorry, Jim. I mean no disrespect, it's been a looonnnggg day. And you're not the first to bring this up, I’m just not sure what to think.”


e-mail responses to

**1. I find this topic VERY timely for my current life experiences. I
have been feeling called into this type of ministry, but am still a little shy of the level of faith that I need to take this leap. Actually the idea of this
type of thing came about several years ago, when as a substance abuse
counselor for adolescents, I had a young man in one of my groups stand up and say that
he didn't care about my past experiences, or our lectures, or videos or
anything else that I had to say. He was being very belligerent, and I attributed
much of what he was saying and how he was saying it to his frustration level.
But when he said "If you want me to act different, then make me FEEL
different," it struck a chord of truth deep within me. I started thinking about the
fact that here we are trying to use the same methods to get these kids to stop
using drugs, that aren't working for them in the mainstream schools, so why do
we think that some of these techniques will fair any better with them in a
treatment setting?

I started thinking about and researching ways to have a more
substantial and immediate impact on the treatment experience of the young people that I
worked with. I read about all kinds of alternative treatment approaches that
were being tried but most were not noted for a remarkable and sudden shift in
ones feelings. I did find some interesting information on the "Emotional
anatomy" which indicated that a significant shift could be facilitated one
someone's emotional state through Massage Therapy. Great, I thought, "That's all I
need to wind up in prison for doing massage Therapy with minors." All of the
data was there to support the effectiveness of this approach, but the
political environment is not conducive to do this type of work with minors. But, I
felt encouraged and began to further investigate alternative medicine for other
methods that be less risky but bring about similar results.
Within less than two weeks of the original incident with the young man
in the group that sparked my passion for looking at different methods of
treatment, a guest speaker came into our Health Psychology class at the University
of North Texas, and gave a lecture on an energy healing method known as
"Reiki." I believe much more in divine intervention that in coincidence, so I
stopped the young man on his way out of the class and gave him my card, and got
one of his. I called him the next day, as this was an evening class, and set up
my first appointment for a Reiki treatments for myself to see just what this
was all about.

While Reiki did not cure my Glaucoma, or my hearing impairment, I did
feel a sudden shift in my mind, body, and Spirit. It's as if I was a battery
that had gotten drained so gradually that I didn't realize that my charge was
low, until the Reiki treatment left me feeling recharged with a much higher
frequency of current running through my veins. I was so impressed with the
immediate results of this shift that I quickly had several more treatments, and
then became initiated as a level one, and then level two Reiki practitioner. To
date, I have not yet seen any "Miracles," though I have heard first hand
accounts of many.

One interesting thing about all of this, is that Reiki was reportedly
discovered by a nineteenth century monk, who had been challenged by his
students in a Christian monastery in Japan, to show them the healing techniques that
Jesus taught the disciples. When he couldn't produce this information, he
felt compelled to search for this very pivotal part of the Christian doctrine.
He reportedly traveled the world over, including a stint at the University of
Chicago to find this information, but was frustrated to find that everywhere
he went they used the same Bible version that he had been using and therefore
had no real revelations for him to acquire on this subject. Upon returning to
his homeland he was eventually directed to some obscure Sanskrit texts that
were reported to contain the teachings of the healing techniques used by the
He went to the top of a mountain and meditated for 21 days, and was
given a vision of some symbols which are the cornerstone of the Reiki teachings
today. These symbols are believed to contain an energy of their own to help
direct the attention of the energy needed to the area where the symbol is
evoked. It is usually not written, but rather just made in the air with a hand
motion, or perhaps even just as a mental visualization.

Now fast forward back to my story. Even though, as I did, I have not
seen any miracle cures to date, I have not had one single person to say that
they did not feel much better after a Reiki treatment. Not one. So, is this
due to a lack of faith on the part of the "Patient" or on my part, or is it
just the way it is? I would have to say that I have come to believe that any one
of those three situations may be present at any given time.
The Bible does tell us that Jesus healed the sick, lame, blind, deaf,
demon possessed, and raise the dead. Most people who profess to be Christians
believe this on some level. It is the level of belief that is the question.
As the Bible says, even when the disciples saw with their own eyes, Jesus
walking on the water, only one of them was bold enough to think that it might be
possible for him to do the same thing, and upon stepping out of the boat on
pure faith, he was able to do the same thing. This was not a miracle which
Jesus had reserved just for himself. But as soon as Peter looked around, and took
his attention off of Jesus, he became afraid, and fell into the water. Even
though he had just experienced two miracles first hand, doubt caused him to
fall. First he saw Jesus do it, then he experienced the awesome and I dare say
unique experience of walking on water for himself. But even though he did it,
and so he knew he was doing it, is faith was strong enough to sustain it.

Even though Peter's faith was not strong enough to sustain his gravity
defying aquatics, the book of Acts tells of many miracles delivered at the
hands of the disciples. And throughout the Gospels Jesus teaches that the
miracles that he is performing are not for Him alone, but for any one of sufficient
faith. He gives us the great commission to go out and heal the sick and
raise the dead. Now I haven't yet developed the mustard seed size faith needed to
heal the sick, so I'm a long way from raising the dead. But these things are
possible, or Jesus wouldn't have said it was.
I have been in recent communication with Charles and Francis Hunter,
two of the more renowned "Faith Healers" around. This calling of finding a
more profound healing method has only intensified in recent months, and as a
result I have been reading more about faith healers of past and present, and have
taken steps to amerce myself into this ministry head first.
The more I read about it, the more I realize that this was Jesus' plan
for us, and people are being healed every day. I have a lot of work to do to
become the vessel for such activity, but I have made it my main priority in
life to do this work, because I truly feel at this point, that this is one of
the greatest failings of the Church today. I mean, how many people would be
won over to God's kingdom if the majority of believers were walking around
miraculously healing people of their physical and mental ailments? This is what
Jesus did to get peoples attention. This is what He taught the disciples to do
to get peoples attention. Yet most "believers" today write these activities
off as folk lore, or for another time and place, or for other "special" people,
but not for us, here and now.
How different would the world be if Christians were to walk around
fulfilling the great commission?

ACB-L list
Dennis Gerron
Community Development Specialist
Social Development Systems
Dallas, TX 75218

**2. Did all that happen on one day? I'm surprised you didn't snap earlier.
I would have. That kind of day seems a little over the top.
God has a twisted sense of humor.

I haven't really had people telling me God will heal me, although my
uncle who is a minister was talking about how positive thinking and faith
in God can heal. I'm not saying that both of those things aren't
powerful, but I've been to throat blessing masses at church and that
hasn't stopped me from getting sick.

I had the experience recently of having a Jewish person stop me and
start asking me if I saw the world differently from him. He actually
said, "I would like to learn more about what you see." By the way, I have
a vision problem. I also have a guide dog, but that is beside the point.

OandM list

**3. According to the story (John 9), Jesus was the only one who really saw the
blind man. The Pharisees ask Jesus if it was the blind man or his parents
who sinned. Jesus answered "neither". The blind man whom he heals,
recognizes him as a prophet, but
his parents and the Pharisees don't. His neighbors don't recognize him
without his begging cup. Also the Pharisees who don't see are made blind.
Take that, Christian hypocrites.

Not only that, but in the story where he heals the cripple, Jesus tells him
that if he sins any more, something worse will happen to him. That story is
interesting. All the crips and blinks hang out at a pool. When God
troubles the waters, the first one who gets to the pool gets made whole.
Jesus visits, and sees a man lying on a bed. He asks the man if he wants to
be healed. The man replies that he can't ever get to the pool before
everyone else does. Isn't that just like our capitalist society? Of course
Jesus doesn't need the water to heal him. He just says "stand up and carry
your bed". Rather than celebrate with him, the people say he can't carry
his bed because it's the Sabbath. Jesus gets in trouble for that, too.

getting cured may be a miracle, but after that, you still have to be
responsible for your life.

Abby Vincent ACB-L list

**4. It is most interesting that you are directly pointing out the revolutionary
and inclusive Jesus here Abby. He was saying through these actions that the
Kingdom of God was for everyone including those with physical ailments. He
was not saying as some now do that these people's sins were the cause of
their disabilities. Besides if that were truly the cause of disability then
why were not the Roman or Pharisee sinners also afflicted?

And why did Jesus run riot in the Temple? Because the priest caste was
selling admission and thus excluding the lower classes.

Now are not many of us so alienated or excluded from our society today due
to discrimination, stereotyping and prejudice?

I also find the fundamental notion that our disability is caused by our sins
or the sins of others to be a part of that very, self same prejudice.

Ironically these are the very prejudices that Jesus was eventually crucified
for fighting against.

Besides He talked of redemption of spirit not of the flesh.

I have accepted my blindness. It is not caused by sin; or lack of belief. It
is not a tragedy in and of itself, but rather neutral morally speaking being
neither good nor bad. But as Jesus pointed out in these illustrations
injustice, intolerance, exclusion, prejudice and venality of the ruling
classes are truly tragedies and indeed sins in and of themselves.

I like others on this list harbor no ill will to anyone for choosing a given
faith or doctrine. But please do not jam it down my throat with a double
dose of hypocrisy to boot.

Having a hereditary eye disease I have suffered from part of my family these
very same prejudicial outlooks and opinions that this disease was visited
upon us because of sins of fathers, mothers and/or a lack of faith.

Like societal prejudice in the tangible world these opinions are based upon
intolerance, ignorance and other mischievous vices of the mind and soul.
These same people are most intolerant to people of color, women in the work
place, people of different national origins and religious beliefs especially
Jews and now Muslims.

Well the man Jesus was born, lived and died a fervent Jew and is a prophet
of Islam.

So what does this tell us? Perhaps we should look at the message as Abby has
done here rather than focusing on the messenger or on the victims of

The common thread of hypocrites then and now is that they perpetrate
prejudice and then as victimizers focus their blame on the very victims of
their creation.

Whether Jesus was a God, or prophet or just a great man He sought not so
much to fight afflictions of the body, but rather to fight these evils of
the heart and soul.

Now I'll go about rendering unto Caesar what is his and unto the netherworld
what belongs to it.

Best, Joe Harcz ACB-L

**5. This is a difficult Thought Provoker for me to comment on, because as a
sighted person I often read about miraculous cures and wonder if they'd
work on my blind friends. I read about surgery that restores a person's
sight and think about how I wish my blind friends could have it.
And since I have no idea what my blind friends blindness is caused from,
I'm as guilty as the ones in this Thought Provoker. I know we sighted
people too often think we know what is best for the blind, but it may be
human nature to think that way. I don't know, but I hope readers of
Thought Provoker understand that most people are well meaning, even if
they are misguided. Thanks for opening my mind.

Bill Heaney
Philadelphia USA

**6. You probably figured that I would want to respond to this one! However, maybe not in the way you would think. Let’s first talk about the faith believing
healers that the man encountered. The blind philosophy describes how we should try and do things independently and how the sighted world sometimes takes
away that right by being their definition of helpful. I, myself, have yet to meet a faith healer that considers the blind person first before preaching
their healing gospel. Therefore, keep in mind that they do NOT understand how some of us feel about blindness, or, even about God.

I believe God. I believe in a loving God that not only wants everyone to love Him back, but to also heal and prosper everyone. I also believe in choices.
You can either accept the love and salvation but not the healing, or, you can accept it all from God. I also believe that there is a Hell for those who
have chosen to reject God.

The Lord desires to heal me; however, it may not be His will at this time. Or, am I the one blocking His healing? One of the things that I am afraid of
is change. I am legally blind. I’m almost completely blind in the left, and legally in the right. I have thought about what it would be like to be able
to see with perfect vision. Has anyone heard the movie about a blind man whose eyes were healed through technology in medicine? He couldn’t handle the
sudden change. It was too much for him to take all at once, and ended up losing his sight once again. He walked away tapping his cane, happy that he
was home. Sighted people have NO understanding of this unless they have seen this movie, or that one could explain it to them.

What is my main point? Whether you have accepted God or not, and/or are pursuing His healing or not, please understand the hearts of those faith healers
as you would want them to understand your heart.

Gary D. Crane Omaha, Nebraska USA

**7. I think we all can identify with the person depicted in this story. I know I can. Personally, I don't have time for their religious mumbo jumbo. I believe
in God, but I don't blame God for my blindness Nor do I believe that God will cure me. If God has a hand in it, then I am blind for a reason. If God
has the power to cure me, then I would have been cured. I don't believe in playing games with God. The only way I will be cured of my blindness is through
medical science. Now if God has a hand in directing medical science, that makes more sense to me than all of the games and promises made by religious
people. For example, people who thank God for their survival from a horrible car accident while their friend or loved one was killed from the same accident,
bothers me. Was that survivor more of a believer or what. I just don't think God works that way. We are here. Life is what we make it. Our reward
is in the after life.

Tom Rash USA

**8. I am blind; I am *not* ill. I do not need to be healed from my blindness
any more than I need to be healed from my femaleness.. I was born both. I
am often asked by religious people such as are mentioned in this article,
"Do you want your sight back? You can pray, etc." I generally respond, "I
don’t want "my" sight back any more than I want my penis back. Neither are

Karen, in Ca. USA

**9. I think whether or not a person's affliction is caused by there sins is an
individual case by case matter.

When Jesus healed the man with the palsy, he said that his sins were
forgiven and to pick up his mat and go home.

When the man who was at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years was healed he was
told to sin no more lest something worse happen to him.

But when the blind man was healed in the temple and Jesus’ disciples asked
if it was his or his parents sin that caused his blindness Jesus said that
it was no one's sin but so that the power of God could be manifest.

In more modern terms, if a person is disabled because he injured himself in
an automobile accident due to his or her drunk driving in that case it
certainly is his or her sin that causes his disability.

If a person fries out his brain using illegal drugs or from misusing legal
ones, that he or she chose to use of their own free will, again I would
think it is sin that causes any disability that results from it.

However, if a person's disability results from circumstances beyond that
person's control through no fault of his own than in such a case, sin does
not cause their disability. The methods may be different, but the principle
is the same in modern times as it was in biblical times.

Harvey Heagy ACB-L list

**10. I read this thought provoker. In many ways I can relate to it. Yes there have been many times people wanted to pray over me, so that I could walk again.
I guess people feel compelled to do something. In their minds, being disabled is one of the major things they feel most unable to help. I on the other
hand, have largely accepted my condition. Of course I do get tired of people wanting to heal me, or point me out as an example of the kind of person "Jesus,
Christ, etc.." can heal, if I would only believe. I do not think that the issue is getting healing form supernatural force or being. Rather, the real
need is for people to learn to accept others as we are. The person in this Thought Provoker did as I would have. He held is comments to himself largely
and when he did speak, it was with caution. He spoke a simply truth. How can a fake eye be made to see, when it never could see in the beginning. He
had accepted his blindness. But the people around him could not. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, maybe they need to focus on fixing the one
we have. Not everyone in a wheelchair or blind or deaf or whatever feel they need healing from our disabilities. Maybe, the people who are offering "healing
solutions", need to look inward. It appear that they need the healing. I once heard, there is none so blind, as they who refuse to see. These people
see what they wish to see, they do not accept what is.

John Minnesota USA

**11. Robert you have hit on a nerve! Nothing gets my goat faster than people
pushing their religious beliefs on me or telling me they are Christian as
though that makes them better than everyone else. When I first became
disabled a minister and his wife made an uninvited visit to my home told me
God was testing my faith! I hadn't met with either before, then they told me
the wife had a brother who had his leg amputated in a threshing accident on
his farm, they said they both wanted him to move in with them so they could
pray with him get his leg to grow back by strengthening his faith, if it
doesn't blame it on his lack of faith this gives them a way out when a
miracle doesn't happen it would be his fault for not believing! I told
them I considered my disabilities to be a test not of faith, but strength!
I have multiple disabilities had a good life now have a great life as a
disabled senior! Warning to those so called faithful Christian folk never
tell me your praying for my soul or bless me I don't want or need your
condescending attitude you don't know me, lets keep it that way

Diane Dobson, Victoria BC Canada

**12. My X wife was taken to Oral Roberts as an infant by her mother. When
he couldn't heal her of her blindness, he told her mother that she couldn't
be healed because her mother's sins had been visited onto her. So not only

was the child not healed, but the mother was sent away feeling like it
was her fault.

Andy Baracco ACB-L list

**13. Sounds like the response of the Pharisees in the new testament.

"BMW" ACB-L list

**14. I really do identify with the person in this story. When I was an intern a man came to me needing help to buy glasses. He told me that if I had faith
enough God would heal me. When I asked him why he was not healed he stated he did not have faith enough. Other people have felt the need to get me healed.
I just tell them God can use me better blind. These people feel blindness is inferior to sight and I hate it. It makes me angry!

Angela Farmer Rehabilitation Teacher for the Blind, Dothan Alabama USA.

**15. During my lifetime I've been Baptized as a Methodist, a Baptist and an
Evangelical United Brethren.
I was Baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. I believed in the
Holy Word as presented in the Bible. There, I was told God heals those who
believe. I believed with all my heart and soul.
During those years I witnessed several unexplainable events. But I never
encountered an honest to goodness true healing. Certainly not my own
Now, after converting to Agnosticism, I never become upset when others
attempt to heal my eyes. Perhaps this will help them to come to the
understanding that I came to. And perhaps it will simply reinforce their
beliefs. But it never offends me. And I always have time for folks to pray
for healing.

Carl Jarvis ACB-L list

**16. That is a sad example of many horrors that have been perpetrated by
misguided people in the name of religion. I'll dare to go farther and say
it's an example of the kind of thing that's given religion a bad name and a
black eye.

My mother had an aunt who told her my blindness must be the result of her
sins. When I asked my mother if this upset her, she said no. When I asked
why not, she said it was because this aunt didn't have any children at all.

John Huffman ACB-L list

**17. Blindness, God, and Healing

Well, now you've finally got me! Having previously been actively part of this fascinating continuous discussion on blindness, kind of a "blindness seminar"
in the best tradition of NFB Centers beginning with Dr. Jernigan's "business" meetings back in the Iowa Commission for the Blind days, I've managed to
keep away from yet another email list up to now. Unfortunately, I don't quite recall how exactly to post my meager contribution to this discussion but,
if you see fit to, you may edit and include it at your discretion.

Anyway, this is a topic which touches quite close to home for me and has long been a reoccurring theme in my life. Let me say from the outset that I am
a professed born again Christian but I haven't always been. One of the factors, I think, that used to be an obstacle to my seriously accepting the well
meaning invitations of some of the brethren who used to accost me on the streets or, in one instance, by a kindly Christian but poor algebra teacher, was
this notion that I must surely have been in need of healing. Mine has certainly been a long journey which has ultimately brought me to faith in Jesus
Christ and I had another opportunity to deal with this at a charismatic styled church. A visiting preacher came to deliver what was an extremely powerful
and inspired message, I am still convinced, until he came to a point in his sermon at which he singled me out as "a blind man in the second row." What
followed was the laying on of hands and prayer for healing for me. I later wrote to the pastor of that church to make my protest which he responded to
in a most gracious and honest manner. I believe in God's miraculous power of healing and have no doubt that my prayers have always been answered. The
trouble with the incident that is described in the current "thought provoker" and the one to which I refer is in the arrogance of the implication that,
based merely upon visible impressions, that I am in need of God's healing from my blindness rather than, as Jesus answered His disciples in John, chapter
9, verse 3, "...but that the works of God should be made manifest…," in my life. As I sat there in the congregation listening and growing ever more red
with embarrassment and indignation, I thought to myself, this respected man of God does not even know my name, let alone the shackles from which God has
delivered me, that are not so visible. He wouldn't, for example, have pointed out an alcoholic, someone addicted to drugs, or any other sin that cannot
be judged merely by appearance. Furthermore, there is the unspoken expectation that, if there has been no miracle, then my faith is simply not strong
enough. I am a professional in the field of rehabilitation training for the blind, an orientation & mobility specialist, an enthusiastic member of the
National Federation of the Blind, a father, husband, and church attendee. After the episode that I described above, I went on a search for the perfect
Christian message about blindness that doesn't just submit to the tired old stereotypic societal notions about it. One of the things that pointed me back
to the Bible was a beautifully written defense of how blindness is, or more accurately, how it is not presented therein. It is excerpted from Dr. Ronald
Ferguson's book, "We Know Who We Are," Chapter Two

Pity, Sin, and Myths:
Socially Constructed Attitudes Underpinning
Educational Policies Related to the Blind

"A New Testament passage which deals directly with the issue of blindness as a consequence
of sin is in St. John's gospel. While walking with Jesus his
disciples noticed a blind beggar who was blind from birth. They
asked Jesus, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was
born blind? The response from Jesus was, "Neither this man
nor his parents sinned but this happened so that the work of God
might be displayed in his life. This passage is quite interesting
because it goes on to describe a conflict that was occurring
between Jesus and the Pharisees. They were upset over the
healing of this blind man on a Sabbath. The Pharisees questioned the man who was healed, and the formerly blind man turned the tables, in that he was instructing
the Pharisees

regarding religious teaching. This further upset the Pharisees.
"To this they replied, `You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare
you lecture us!' And they threw him out."2' What is interesting is
that while Jesus refuted the idea that blindness was a punishment, the Pharisees reinforced the notion."

There it is! Right there in the New Testament! There is no need to add to, explain, rationalize, or modify the message. Chapter 9 of the book of ST.
John has become, therefore, the quintessential spiritual authority on blindness and something of a theme in my life. I shall not presume to argue with
the very words of the Savior, Jesus Christ:

John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

If it demonstrates nothing else, it highlights the need for ministry in the church, in the broadest sense, to this need.


Maurice Peret, NOMC
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind & Vision Impaired

**18. This Thought Provoker makes me think of the old
joke about a blind woman who spoke to a preacher
about a problem she was having. The blind woman
told the preacher that well meaning people would
sometimes come up to her and tell her that if she
had more faith her blindness would be cured. The
preacher advised her to whack the person with her
white cane and then inform them that if they had
more faith, that wouldn't hurt!

Magen RPlist

**19. As a student of Rehabilitation and Education for Individuals with Blindness
and Low Vision as well as a student of Protestant Theology, I know people
with various impairments, and I know people with various religious
orientations. Of course, these two are not mutually exclusive.
There are various extreme statements from Christians I am acquainted with on
the topic of your thought provoker. They range from "If you commit yourself
entirely to God, you will be healed, and if you are not healed, then there
are sins you have to confess, and if there are none, then you simply lack
the faith" to "You have to let people pray over you - go to someone with the
gift of healing!"

I would like to summarize the answers of a friend of mine, who is very
religious - and blind. By being accused of fear of being healed and of lack
of faith, he answered:
"For the time being, I am blind, and will stay blind until God chooses to
change that. I am very grateful that God created me being blind, and that he
loves me and accepts me the way I am - that means I can love me just like I
am, too.
I believe devoutly that God wants me to be now like I am - that is blind.
That way I can be his instrument and work against the delusion that
everybody has to be perfect to be loved, happy, successful. Being blind
makes me able to show the people that there are borders and limitations set
to everybody, and that borders can be seen positive. I can make people
understand that everybody has the right and has to have the possibility to
live a life worth living.
I do not compare my blindness with illnesses like flu or headache. My
blindness belongs to my life and is no 'illness'. I do not suffer from my
I can understand that a seeing person can not imagine a blind person being
content and not wanting to see. For most people the idea of blindness is
linked with the idea of pain and suffering.
The criterion for those who assume that all blind people are desperate to
see is deeply egocentric.
The people in the bible who were healed were not simply cured from an
illness that caused them pain, but were remade all new, not only their body
and intellect, but much more important their soul was healed. And if I long
for any healing at all, I hope for this way of healing from the lord, and
nothing else."

These are the words I will counter my pupils if they ever ask me why they
are not "being healed".
Some more considerations about remarks like the ones in your thought
Though I think the old lady you let speak first has a point, the way in
which most of the people in your story approach the individual with
blindness is highly impolite.
Addressing some passer-by on the street with such a highly sensitive theme
does not only show a lot of rudeness and lack of empathy, but it does show a
lot of disrespect as well. It may be okay to offer your services (may it be
of healing or of comfort) to someone who asks for them or who gives clear
sign that he wants them. It may also be alright to talk about that topic to
someone whom you know well if it is the time for it, but it is important to
be respectful towards a person.
We people with vision should quickly break with the attitude of well meant
but ill-effected paternalism and remember to see the coequal human being,
just like we want to be addressed. And that should be a major concern for
religious people.

I apologies for the mistakes in grammar and phrase, but English is not my
native language.

Marianne Leidig, student at the University of Dortmund, Germany

**20. I can't keep count of the number of people who have told me to adopt their mode of prayer and faith for Bob to be healed - everyone from A to Z - literally
from Astrologists (for a fee) to Zoroastrians (sp?). Did I leave anyone out? And of course since he wasn't healed, it's because I wasn't praying/chanting/speaking
in tongues/frothing at the mouth etc. with enough fervency and faith, and in the correct manner according to each adherent.
Ho Hum,

Clearwater, FL

**21. This has been interesting.
A friend sent me the emails.
I wouldn't say I want to see perfectly but I'd not object to the sight I had before glaucoma took it at age 11. I now have other health conditions and
dealing with them and blindness is very hard.

David F.

**22. I could really relate to this message.
I have felt the frustration of the character in this provoker.
I've even been told that I listen to the devil because I have told people that God made me blind for a reason.
Finally, I nearly lost my faith and my respect for religion.
I got to the point where I wouldn't go to altar prayer at church, because I thought that someone would want to pray for me to be healed of my blindness.
Then one day I went up to the altar for prayer, and the visiting female minister restored and solidified my belief that God has a reason and a plan for
me, and my blindness.
Alls she said, was," God continue to bless this young woman's creative sight."
That was all it took for me.
I felt very serene, and relieved that I was right.
Those words, are what keeps me going when someone would like me to go to a church to be healed.
Have a great day.

Melissa R. Green

**23. I'm not blind, but I can relate to this topic. My husband is Deaf and I am
sick of people thinking he is defective in any way. I love his deafness.
It's who he is and anyone who tries to change his unique language and
culture and identity are missing what it is about him that makes him
special. I recently spoke with a nice older woman at my work who started
telling me about the wonderful Deaf ministry she has at her church. I
haven't been to church in a while, but I am a Christian...although a
skeptical one. I listened politely but I guess I stayed a moment too long.
Suddenly the conversation got a little weird. "You had better be careful,"
she said. "If you and your husband come, he might get healed!" She said this
as if she believed I would be giddy with excitement at the thought of making
my beautiful Deaf man hearing. She went on to talk about two healings she
experienced herself (both impossible to verify medically) and gave me a card
with her church's address. All I could think about as I left was this: if
they heal Deaf people at that church, why do they have a Deaf ministry? And
who says the Deaf are broken to begin with? This attitude irks me, as I
imagine it irks the blind people who are perfectly content being themselves
and living in the world they have learned to navigate in their own way. I
know people mean well, but...they need to think about what they are
implying. It reminds me of something that happened when I was five. I
brought my first black friend home and played with her. I assumed, for some
reason, that she hated being black. I don't know why I thought that. She was
a gorgeous and happy child, but I pitied her. "Don't you wish you were
white?" I asked her at one point. My mom overheard and gave me a scolding I
still remember well, emphasizing that it was just as good to be black or any
other race as it was to be white and that she never wanted to hear me say
anything like that again. My ignorant assumption that anyone not blond like
me wasn't capable of enjoying life is similar to the way able-bodied people
perceive people with disabilities. But I was five. I had an excuse.

I remember when the preacher on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman went blind. It was
well done, I thought. The whole church prayed for a miracle and nothing
happened. Meanwhile, Dr. Quinn's husband, Sully, got busy whittling a long
stick and trying to find ways for the minister to carry on as a blind
person. Dr. Quinn, heartbroken by how the sight hadn't miraculously been
restored to the preacher, chastised Sully for giving up and not waiting for
the miracle. Sully said something I thought was very wise. He said maybe she
was praying for the wrong miracle. To him, the miracle wasn't about
restoring sight. It was about accepting that sight might not be restored and
getting on with life. It made me happy to see this kind of attitude voiced
on television. I hope it opened a few minds out there.

My best friend was healed of her cancer. Twice. Well, she went in for
healing, was told it had happened, and then had more recurrences. She died
of it. Before that, a neighbor or ours, who went to a church that seemed a
bit "out there" for me, told me that if my friend had enough faith, the leg
she lost from her cancer would grow back. I can't tell you how that angered
me. Having one leg was something she had adapted to beautifully and,
although she missed doing certain things and didn't like being in pain, she
was perfectly happy as an amputee. She was beautiful. Popular. In love with
her boyfriend. Why do people think everyone has to be perfect to be happy?

Beltsville, MD

**24. Robert, the thought provoker you sent around this time will be really interesting to follow! I had a baby referred to me when I was in Missouri, and the family would accept no help and no suggestions about working with a blind baby - they were having their minister and other "powerful people" pray over this little one, born with microophthalmia and her vision was going to be restored. It was one of the most frustrating contacts I made in the three years I worked with VICS!
Good for you for dealing with this issue!

Karen Nebraska commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Once a Vision Teacher)

**25. WOW! A major heavy duty topic for thought.
I do believe in the power of God and of healing. Since I was a small child, I have believed without question in the Bible, God and the miracles of
his son, Jesus.
HOWEVER, when it comes to my own condition (Visual Impairment), I'm not sure that I have an affliction that I would consider so grave and all consuming
that I would wish, above all else, to be healed of. I feel confident and successful as I am. I have had to make some changes in my life, but few that
I regret and would wish to do all over with improved sight. As corny as it may sound, I would give that healing to someone in more peril and misery than
I. Like each of us in this world, I know not what is in store for the future, but as I near my third score of season's on this earth, I feel that I can
manage with the burdens I've been given to carry.
Another corny thought may be that we all have chances to contribute in this world on all levels. We may never know who or how we have influenced someone
or some group. Other times, a person may know exactly how they have contributed to an issue. I think that we all have reasons that we are here and that given the opportunity and provided that we step up to the plate, we can fulfill those reasons. I believe this.
Mr. Newman, the strength and the power of your THOUGHT PROVOKERS make me think that this must be part of your gift to each of us (part of your reasons). Our chance to think and ponder and realize that, life. as miserable as it can be sometimes, is most always far worse for others.
Thanks for the chance to comment.

Max Hearn ACB-L list

**26. Max I couldn't have said it any better. I feel the same way. I once heard someone say that God uses disabled people to send a positive message to the
world. Now that's something to really think about.

Phil Jones ACB-L list

**27. I have actually had two people not only talk to me about healing, but
actually try to do it. Both times it was unexpected and uninvited, although
I guess the first time I sort of consented. I was working at a Christian
radio station in Columbia, SC, because at the time I was considering radio
as a career. There was an evangelist in town who was holding tent meetings
and we were advertising for him; his wife came in to pay the bill. She
walked up to me and asked if she could pray with me about my blindness; that
was the way she put it. I figured I would take the path of least resistance,
figuring she was probably going to kneel down, hold my hand, and say a short
prayer. But when I consented, she walked around behind me, laid her hands on
my eyes, and prayed for my healing for five minutes solid. My boss was no
help; he stood there and said "Amen" through the five minutes of healing,
and then afterwards explained to me that the reason I had not been healed
was that either my faith or hers was not sufficient. The ironic thing is
that he was blind himself, yet he continued to believe that if he just
worked on increasing his own faith, someday he would see. He was in his
forties and had been blind all his life. Or maybe his thirties.

The second time this happened, I was in college. I went to a small
university which, at the time, was partly controlled by the Southern Baptist
Convention. Nonetheless, its academic atmosphere was relatively liberal; I
mean that not in the political sense, though we certainly had our share of
politically liberal professors, but what I mean is that what we were taught,
even in religion classes and philosophy and so forth, was not controlled by
religious doctrine. The school wound up splitting from the Southern Baptist
Convention in my sophomore year. However, there were quite a few religious
students on campus and a few of them were what I would call aggressively
evangelical. A guy I barely knew walked up to me one day and started talking
to me about healing. I tried to explain to him about my previous experience
and that I was okay with being blind, but he suddenly said "Please let me do
this" and laid hands on my eyes without my permission. This only lasted for
a minute. When he finished praying and removed his hands, nothing had
happened, and he started to say how sorry he was that he had not been able
to help me, that obviously his faith was not strong enough. I think he was
on the verge of tears. I said, "Let's walk back to the dorm and talk for a
second," and he acquiesced. I sat him down and explained to him that I was
okay and that he had nothing to feel guilty or upset about, and that the
fact that I had not been healed probably had nothing to do with him. I
explained that I was fine with who I was, that I was happy with my life, and
that I had been given the tools to deal with my blindness. I think I finally
got him to agree that the matter of whether I could see or not was best left
in God's hands.

In saying all of this, I mean no disrespect to anyone's religious beliefs. I
understand that many people genuinely believe in the power of healing, and
for all I know some people actually have been healed, maybe even me. In my
second year of law school I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and I did a
lot of praying then myself, and as it turned out the cancer went away. I
don't know if that was God or the chemotherapy or both. I don't pretend to
understand God or whatever his (or her) plans are. All I know is that I have
been put on this earth as a blind person, and like all humans, I have to do
the best I can with what I have. I don't feel the need to be healed and I
have never pursued it, except for when I was a baby and my parents tried
every medically available option. I know that many sighted people cannot
understand that I am contented with who I am and with my lot in life, and
for that matter some blind people as well. But I am, and as long as I have
that contentment and inner peace, I figure God has fulfilled my spiritual
needs and given me all that is needed to get through my life as a blind
person. He has also given me the opportunity to get the training I needed in
the skills of blindness and my involvement with a blindness organization
that gives me and other blind people support. I don't know that I would have
picked blindness if I'd been asked, but I wasn't, and since nobody's efforts
have been able to change it, I need to live with it, I feel. Other people
can and do make different choices.

Here's one more perspective. I have a friend who is a devout Catholic, and
when he lost his sight as a teenager, he said that he prayed and prayed for
his sight to be restored. It wasn't. But he learned Braille, cane travel,
and all the skills he needed to cope with his blindness, and one day he
realized that God had answered his prayer, though not in the way he had
expected. The way he explains it, he had prayed to have his sight back, but
what he really needed was to have control of his life again, to not feel
powerless and helpless. He got that control back through learning the skills
of blindness, and with those skills he was able to complete his education
and start a successful career. I understand how he feels.

Chris NFBtalk list

**28. Hi Chris! First of all, I have always looked forward to a day when we will meet
each other. You have always impressed me as a fine person.

I am a devout Christian who does believe in healing whenever it is God's
timing. I have experienced small healings in my life and know what God
can do when it suits his purpose.

Like you, I have had people try and pray for me and, most of the time,
it was not something I wanted whatsoever.

I remember one time when this evangelist came to a church I was
attending. He invited people to come through the prayer line and I did.
However, what I was praying for had nothing to do with my blindness. It
was regarding something that I was concerned over and I wanted someone
to agree with me in prayer for God's wisdom.

But, alas, this particular person had something different in mind. It
was my blindness. I cut him short and explained to him that he was
wrong. He would not listen and thus, his credibility was lost on me.

On the other hand, I once had lunch with some dear Pentecostal friends
of mine who asked me about my feelings about being healed from my
blindness. This gave me the chance to explain to them that I was
content being blind and that I felt that my blindness had afforded me
opportunities that otherwise might not have come my way. I explained to
them that my blindness also allowed me to help others who might not be
receptive to whatever I might have to say regarding my faith.

To my surprise and pleasure, they completed understood and appreciated
my thoughts very much.

Again, thanks, Chris, for your always very thoughtful words.

BMW NFBtalk list
*29. When I was a child in New York and attended a Catholic school we were taught that learning and physical disabilities were punishments from god for sin.
If the afflicted would just stio their sin they would be cured. When I left Catholic school in tenth grade and attended a non-religious school I was diagnosed
with dyslexia and now a quarter of a century later I am blind from RP. Can anyone understand why Catholic schools are the breading ground for atheism?

Frank RPlist

**30. My dear friend, One hears the same bull from many different conservative
religion groups. It isn't just a Catholic thing. I heard it from the
Methodist. Than once I was at a good old southern Baptist Church and was
told if I would just repent for my sins I would be cured. Guess I haven't
repented yet. Still have the RP.

RJ RPlist

**31. My wife and I were once accosted by a chap in the produce department
of our local grocery store who thought I could be cured if I'd just go
to their church. All I wanted were some bananas!

Chris Hill RPlist

That was the problem, you wanted bananas more than you wanted your
healing. That explains everything!

Lisa RPlist

**33. I went to a healing service in the 1980's and was prayed over. I was told
that the reason my sight wasn't restored was that I didn't believe or had
enough faith. Oh well ... I guess I'm stuck with screen readers, K1000,
Braille and a white cane! (smile)

Louise RPlist

**34. Louise,
Your experience is far more common than it should be sadly. I have had it
happen many times in fact. As someone who was involved in a ministry for
many years I was approached many times about going to healing services and
being prayed over. Each time I was not healed it became my failure
spiritually. The problem is they have a rigid idea that healing has to
happen as they understand it. They believe they know what God wants and
how it is to be manifest. They cannot believe they misunderstand God's
purpose and will. They cannot see this as their failure or God's failure
so the only choice for blame is you or me. It happens all the time.

Lisa RPlist

**35. When I lived in Anaheim, CA, one of my frequent bus transfer points was at
Disneyland which is also the bus stop for Melody Land, a very Born Again
Christian gathering point. The good folks on their way to Melody Land would
often offer to heal me of my affliction and make me whole again.

My response was always honest and straight to the point. "Thank you for your
kind thought, but my blindness is a treasured gift from God. Without it I
would not have done many of the wonderful things I have been lucky enough to
experience, I would not have met many of the people I have been blessed to
know, and I would not have had many marvelous opportunities that have come
into my life because of my blindness. I could not possibly reject this gift
or turn my back on its many blessings.

Blindness is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

K7 Blind-X list

**36. I've been dragged into two churches myself for the cure. One was
Catholic in Boston and the other was one of the modern guy comes into town
and sets up a church type. I'm still a sinner.
Once in Hawaii on a bus a guy tried to convince me that if I just ate
nothing but Macrobiotic rice that I would be able to see and just a few
years ago in Oakland a friend let a woman spit into his face for the cure.
He said she didn't actually spit but just kind of poofed into his eyes. It
didn't do his vision much good.

Jerry Richer Blind-X

**37. Chris,

Your response trumps just about anything I might have thought I had to
say. You put it so perfectly already that I can only add this little
finisher. Being a devout Roman Catholic myself and once involved in the
Charismatic movement, I had occasion to attend many a healing service. Yes,
at first, I may have prayed for my sight; but, I was only yielding to what I
believe was well meaning peer pressure. I even told a few I could see a
kind of light just to satisfy what I knew they wanted to hear; dishonest I
know; but, well, in a situation like a healing service, you don't have the
time or much, if any, of an opportunity to get all philosophical about how
you're content with being blind. Quite apart from the fact that you don't
think they'll understand, there's the solemnity of the moment to consider.
At bottom, I suppose it must be that to some of these well meaning souls,
we've come for only one reason, to be healed. What got me out of the
charismatic movement was that time after time, all anybody seemed to ask me
was whether or not I could see. I began to feel that I was worth nothing to
them except whether or not God had healed me; and, if he hadn't, I wasn't
worth anything to these people. That is a shame to say because when, later
on, I was able to explain to some of them and they then understood, they
accepted me as a blind person and not as the showcase piece they thought I
could become for them. In a way, this hurts me to say this because it goes
rather deep; if you know what I mean. God will not force upon you anything
you don't want; including healing of any sort be it of the eyes or what
ever. Now, just one more thing. I'm not trying to imply that those who
have faith are simple minded; but, it sure is tempting to feel that way when
all they or some of them seem to care about is whether or not your eyes
work. The way I figure it, if God wants me to have eyes that don't work, or
if he wants me to have eyes that work, that's up to him; not me, not anybody
else. I want to finish this by telling y'all a rather sad kind of story.
An old Catholic priest once prayed over me for me to get my sight. He
didn't seem to realize that my left eye wasn't even real; it is, after all,
a glass eye and my right eye has never worked at all. I hated to do it;
but, I had to almost ruin the solemnity of the moment by showing him my left
eye was fake and not real. I tried to be as discreet about it as I could.
I went away from that experience both sad and disillusioned, and feeling sad
in my heart for the old priest who truly meant so well and who just didn't
get the picture. Now, my faith is not weakened by any of those experiences,
it is as strong as ever; maybe even stronger because of these things; but,
the scars of the disappointments of others who either could not or would not
understand still remain and have dimmed somewhat my own view of their well
meaning; though not entirely.


The Constantly BAREFOOTED Ray NFBtalk list

**38. My 16 year old daughter had a similar experience, but
only once. In her case, we also mentioned that she
had artificial eyes, and the person was quite set back
by that, then said, "Well, God can do miracles, even
eyes if He wanted." We are Christians, but my poor
daughter couldn't think of anything to say, and
neither could I. Later we laughed at the thought of
making those hard, "fake" eyes into "real" eyes.
Bye for now,

Gloria NFB National Organization of blind Educators list

**39. Robert, I talked about this with someone just a few weeks ago. Teaching in
a Catholic school, I have heard that one or two or the Priests have told
their students that I will be able to see in Heaven. Personally, I don't
care one way or another. If I can use my white cane in Heaven and walk with
God, I am sure I will still be perfectly happy. Keep up the good work.

Darrell Walla Wahoo Ne USA

**40. Well, it's all true. Jesus healed the blind. Of course, the true message
in the bible is that the spiritually blind are/were the ones in need of
healing and the divine educator, offered the healing that was required. As
for those of us in the 21st century - is/are there any among us who haven't
had the sued o-religiosity of healer ship run by us. From the patronizing
pat on the head to the $5 conscience salve, we've most of us be the object
of hope for miracles. Who can blame? Think of language, just for a start
(and it's a small fraction of the bigger picture):
1. blind;
2. dark;
3. lightless;
4. sightless;
5. black;
6. evil;
7. sin;
8. lost.

Is it any wonder our language is riddled with the negative where blindness
is concerned? Then, to take it a step further: If we're blind we must be
bad, or have been bad, or might be bad and bring the bad to the good. By
the time they're done with us, we've either been saved, or lost forever.
Semantics aside, someone's always got to feel superior about something.
What better way than finding someone with a sensory loss and letting them
know how much they need something they don't have.

After all of this wordiness, I'll end by saying that when someone approaches
me as in this story, I graciously thank him/her. I truly don't know what
else to do that would be considered civilized.
Thanks again for a fun and intriguing TP.
Future ones might be: boy/girl relationships, parent/child relationships,
socializing at a party/dance, vulnerability on the street, intercontinental
travel, etc.

kat NFB stylist list

**41. Robert, Kat & List,

Thanks for a good thought-provoker and comments.

How about thinking of health and life as a loan? Your comments and
criticism on the following are welcome.

It is the Lord who gives,
And the LORD who takes away

Not You,
Not me,
Not Omnipotent Mommy,
Not Rich Daddy.

Give and take what?
The Lord is Master of your property,
Your happiness
And your Life.

The blessings of this life come from the Lord
And Him alone.
Sometimes the Lord acts through us
And sometimes He acts through others.

Never get deluded about how much you own,
Your good looks,
And luck!

There isn't any such thing as "luck"
Good or bad.
It's all just the Lord,
Lending us,
For a brief time,
Bling bling
And sometimes true love.

Cause every one of us has got to die
And surrender all that.
Then the Lord will lift us up
Out of this miserable and joyous mystery
Of life,
Out of time into eternity,
Into His loving arms.

Charles Innes NFB stylist list

**42. Hi, (In response to the above response)
I would have no dispute with the comments you are presenting here, but there
are times when they lead to some dangerous thinking. Thos who do harm to
others, take circumstances to extremes, or fail to act when necessary and
then blame "the lord" saying He is responsible for all things - that's when
humanity stops treating life as a loan and more like a squatters nest.
The gifts we have are ours to use, and while full credit may not belong to
us as individuals, our actions and behaviors certainly do.

Kat NFB stylist list

**43. Hello:
I've had many Christians tell me that I'll be able to see when I get to Heaven or that Jesus will heal me if I pray long and hard enough. Jews and
Native-Americans, on the other hand, just accept that I'm blind because they see it as an asset. I'm a Reform Jew. Like Reform Jews, Native-Americans
believe that blind people can contribute just as much, if not more, to the community as anybody else can. Among Native-Americans, blindness is a gift.
They believe that we can see more than sighted people can. In other words, we have more intuition. For example, a sighted person uses nonverbal cues
to express agreement, distaste, etc. We blind people not only can sense what emotion is being expressed, but we use our hearing as the person speaks.
We're listening to every word they are saying. If the person deletes something they should've said, we are more apt to pick it up. We're also listening
to the tone of voice as they speak.
Before I converted to Judaism, I tried all that praying long and hard, but I still haven't seen any improvements in my sight. Perhaps, to some people,
I haven't prayed long and hard enough . To me, this praying long and hard and believing that someone or something will heal me is like being
told that Santa Claus will bring me everything under the sun I ask for at Xmas time. I was eight years old when I asked Santa Claus for a pair of glasses
so that I could see better and be able to drive like my parents. I'm now thirty-five years old. I still haven't seen that pair of glasses, and I still
cannot drive. The closest thing to a pair of glasses I got from Santa, was a pair of plastic toy ones so that I could pretend to be able to see.
As for believing that I will see after I die, I'm not sure whether there is an afterlife or some place called Heaven. Judaism doesn't believe in Heaven
and Hell, and I've never adopted such a concept even though I was raised Catholic. If there is such thing as an afterlife, I picture that I'll be able
to see what I can see now. The only difference is that I would be able to transcend from one world to another.


**44. I think we all have been confronted as to whether or not we are not healed
because we don't have enough faith. I don't think that is scripturally
correct. We don't know why there isn't the bodily healing in modern times
that there was in new testament times. Perhaps it is because we have
strayed so far away from God's word that he doesn't manifest his power to
heal, I don't know, but I don't think it is because of lack of faith. I
believe God is just as capable of healing now as He ever was, and I also
believe that such healing power will be manifest in the last days. But our
fleshly bodies will eventually die at best no matter what. And perhaps He
knows that if we were to miraculously get our sight back we would disturb
too many people's thinking and might have more psychological problems as a
result. So perhaps it is best that we remain as we are. And divine healing
is the only way I would accept my sight restored. Scripture strongly
indicates that God not only healed the people involved, but that he restored
them to where they would have been had they had that ability all their
lives. The man with the palsy was told to pick up his mat and go home.
Even if they had surgery in that day to restore him, he would have had to go
through lots and lots of physical therapy only to possibly not have total
ability to walk. But he was able to pick up his mat and go home. The
crippled man at the temple leaped for joy at his healing. I would not go
through experimental surgery knowing that the risk of losing another sense
would be great.

Harvey Heagy ACB-L list

**45. I believe that true healing comes from accepting whatever life has thrown at you and getting on with living. I was once told I should be ashamed of not
seeking physical healing. There is no shame to me in acceptance of the cards I have been dealt. I think it shows less faith in God to question his plans
for you. A college professor of mine thought I couldn't possibly be as well adjusted to my blindness as I appeared to be. He was sure I was suppressing
a lot of anger, pain and angst. He wanted me to plumb the depths of the suffering he was sure I was in denial of and write about it. I was going through
some tough times back then, but they were not directly related to my blindness but to being native American and far from my close knit family in the unique
environment of college life. The blindness posed some problems of course, but weren't the cause of my troubles. They just added an extra dollop of frustration.
I guess in some ways I was lucky that by giving me my Chippewa name my great grandmother told me she thought I was just as I should be. I consider myself
a child of God too and if he had wanted me to see, I wouldn't even have had to ask, it would be so. Since he didn't, vision wasn't part of the plan he
has for me. True faith means for me walking out into the world using the gifts he has given me to make the world a better place for my having been born
into it. Whining about what I lack is a waste of time better spent employing the many gifts God has given to me.

DeAnna Quietwater USA

**46. I’ve read all the responses up to mine and I don’t see that anyone see the patter here! That is to say, going back to the original , healing is a wide spread experience! It happens in all religions and cultures and not all healings are linked to “GOD.” So that is to say what? I think healing is a Human thing!

**47. Well, I do not see my blindness as a disability. I have to refer
to it as such from time to time but I do not think of it as a disability
or an affliction or an illness. It is simply a characteristic, a
circumstance, a thing that simply happened. I also do not believe I
would be healed because I believe that God has a purpose for me and that
is why I am blind. I don't believe my parents, or I, or anyone else was
punished or that my blindness occurred because of anyone's sin.
Max, your post was well written and I agree with you.
I also do not believe that blindness or disability or illness or other
adverse things that happen to people are because they sinned. Yes, they
may have made a unhealthy choice, i.e., drinking while driving, making a
suicide attempt, but even still, I do not believe that is necessarily
sin and even if some of the behavior is sinful, I do not believe God
punishes people by making them disabled because of that unhealthy
choice. Just maybe, the disability had to come about to help them
realize that they need to change their lives, and the only way they
would ever change is for that to have happened. Most people who do have
some adverse thing happen as a result of an unhealthy choice do find
themselves making some significant and healthy life changes. Obviously,
not all people do this but then, not all people exercise healthy
choice-making skills.

Jessie L. Rail, MA, LPC
Pathways Counseling Services

**48. One who assumes we need healing from blindness, obviously sees the
blindness as a flaw!
To me, God does healing and sometimes uses human hands to do so and to
me that is why we have the healthcare system. Positive belief in
ourselves and God can be a help to healing. I, personally, am offended
when someone uninvited attempts to play God and "heal" me when I'm not
God placed us all on this earth, and her purpose was definite for each
of us if we want to follow that way; on the other hand, we do have "free
will" to do good or evil.

When humans start interpreting God in their own image, then we have
problems here on earth as prejudices become part of that
misinterpretation of God.

Seville Allen ACB-L list

**49. Well this is very interesting. We've all been approached, from time to time, by these well meaning people. I was taking classes at the Light House for
the Blind in Chicago. The trip to and from school required that I take the commuter train an hour into the city, then transfer to a bus, the reverse the
whole process back home with another bus trip then a ten block walk home to complete my day. On the morning commute a lady sat down by me, close to the
beginning of the ride and started talking about my being able to be healed of my blindness. I told her that my ability to see would have to wait for an
all eternity time and trying to tell her about the plastic prostheses that I have. I don't think she had a clue about what I was trying to get across
to her. God gives us a variety of things as trusts throughout our life in order that He can be glorified in and through and that is how I think concerning
my blindness, it is a trust from Him that others may be drawn to Him in and through it. He made me this way because He knew He could use me best that
way. I have to admit, after stating the above, that I too have my days of not appreciating this challenge but then don't we all?!!!

Sally B. USA

**50. Well, I remember a Sunday morning when I was about seven and not finding my
first year at a residential school to my liking, I put my hand on the TV set
when the Rev. Oral Roberts told me too, and prayed to be "healed" of my
blindness. Actually, it probably wasn't until I went to the school that I
began to have a good understanding of the fact I was blind, I've
since become a very proficient Braille user and feel I've done pretty well
in life out of my [quote] "blind school" education.

People who seek, or encourage others to seek, so-called healing for
blindness or other conditions through some sort of religious experience are,
in fact, confusing healing with a cure. Whether we choose to believe that
Christ cured a blind man, a cripple, etc., is a matter of personal choice.
In my opinion, those of us who learn to make the best of what we have and
give something back to others are more truly HEALED than if we had somehow
miraculously recovered the sense of sight. If your religious faith helps
bring you to this understanding, then "your faith has healed you."

And, sorry to be long-winded, but I can't resist passing on one more story.
The famous nineteenth century writer Anatole France was a staunch atheist.
A devout Catholic friend, fearing for his mortal soul, took him to the
shrine of Lourdes in the hope of bringing about a conversion. After he'd
seen the praying pilgrims and the mounds of crutches, eyeglasses and other
such items they left behind in gratitude for their "healings," the friend
asked eagerly, "Well what do you think, now?" The great writer replied, "I
still haven't seen any wooden legs."

Cheers, all, John Huffman ACB-L list

**51. It points up the difference between disability and illness. We see our
blindness as a disability, many of the effects can be mitigated with
training and counseling, but others see it as an illness, and want to help
you to get over it, like getting over the flu. The deaf go further, and do
not even see their hearing loss as a disability, but a characteristic, like
being tall or short, etc.

Andy Baracco ACB-L

I’ve been an agnostic since my early twenties, having discovered that for me atheism was perhaps a bit extreme when I didn’t really know for sure whether
there was or wasn’t a god. But I believe my agnosticism comes from two different sources, and consequently I discovered while writing this that I might
actually have two differing opinions which may or may not be totally relevant here.

The first reason for my agnosticism is the less relevant one for purposes of this discussion. That is, it just seems to me we’ve seen far too many instances
where some pretty nasty things are done in the name of God. Spain’s Phillip II and Osama Bin-Laden are spiritual kissing cousins in my opinion; the only
difference between them is one was a sixteenth-century Catholic madman and the other is a twenty-first-century Islamic madman. Lest I be taken wrong, let
me stress my belief that madmen are found in practically every faith I’ve ever heard of, and probably many I haven’t. There are also good Muslims, of whom
I’ve met a few, and there are some very good Christians, among them my father-in-law, a retired minister, for whom I have a great deal of respect.

But the second and more relevant reason is that I, like many on this site, have experienced total strangers coming up to me and exhorting me to pray every
day for the restoration of my sight. Okay, there are problems with this, or at least I think there are. First, what sight and what restoration? Whatever
sight I had as a child wasn’t much because if it were I’d’ve missed it more than I ended up doing when I finally went total at age fourteen. In essence,
no sight ever, nothing to restore. Moot point. Leave to reargue denied, counselor, with prejudice. Leave to appeal absolutely denied! Why? Because I’m
the judge and I said so! See? Got this lovely black dress to prove it.

By the way, do you think it makes me look fat? You want your job, you better have the right answer. (I’m not really a judge, but once my plans for usurpation
and world domination are in full swing–oops! Sorry, got a bit carried away in the moment there. Besides, that’s a secret so don’t tell anybody else.)

Secondly, and on a more serious note, I’ve always had bigger fish to fry, especially over the past approximately three years. Like how can I keep the job
I have now while I attend to a new marriage, and what if I lose that job? Where will we get the money to pay rent, buy food, etc., ad nauseam? And now
it’s how am I going to get out of this job in New York and go permanently to Minnesota to be with my wife, and how is my father’s health going to be in
the next few years, as it’s apparently deteriorating, and if I quit this job, am I going to be able to make a successful transition from one career to
another. And how do I make up to my wife, my family and some of my friends for some of the mistakes I’ve made lately? These and other issues have been
pretty worrisome over the past few months to a year, and needless to say they’ve tended to dwarf any concerns I might have had, which I didn’t in the first
place, about being "healed".

Plus I have to say, I’ve never really been a fan of "A Christmas Carol", especially the character Tiny Tim. And maybe you country music fans remember a
song done by Red Sylvine back in 1976 about little Teddy Bear, the little crippled boy who talked to truckers on his CB (remember those?) and who told
them about how pitiful his life is because he can’t walk, and how all he wants now is just to ride in a truck again? So all the truckers who heard his
call over the CB went to his house and all gave him a ride in their trucks, not to mention that they "took up a collection for him before his mom got home."
Much as I love country music for the genuineness of its songs (at least until relatively recently, that is), my opinion is that this song is one of the
worst pieces of tripe I’ve ever heard. No wonder we get a bad rap sometimes.

And there’s another song I haven’t heard, but a friend told me about it, so forgive me if I get it wrong. Seems it’s a World War II song about a blind boy
sacrificing his guide dog to help the allies, and how the dog died for his country. Great! That’s like: "Here, take this cane and go beat the Germans to
death with it." Scuse my venting a bit, and I’m sorry if I might have offended anyone in any way, but I’m not really digressing from the topic all that
much. I’m just saying that as much as I love to read and listen to music, some stories and songs don’t exactly help our cause. Which is why it’s no wonder
we sometimes have to deal with other people’s stuff.

So understandably, I think, I get pretty impatient with the syrupy business I sometimes get from people about my being healed or cured or whatever. I find
it insulting and demeaning, so I just tend to greet such treatment with total indifference. It’s not as though you can reason with them because most of
the time they’re so caught up in feeling sorry for you that if you try to paint a different picture you’ll probably have to listen to what a brave soldier
you are or something like that. And you can’t be hostile because that plays into another stereotype. Besides I don’t always have that much energy at the
end of some days, and I really think my time could be spent in better pursuits, like reading something spiritually uplifting. For instance, I’m sure I
heard once that Attila the Hun wrote a fascinating treatise on how you can win friends and influence people, not to mention achieve success and power.
It’s obviously a must-read, and I’m going home tonight and see if I can find it on

Having said all that, and in probably a pretty warped way at times, I come down to two opinions. First, the skeptic in me says that my blindness is neither
heaven-sent nor hell-bred. In other words, I don’t think, although I acknowledge I don’t know for absolutely sure, that either God or Satan had anything
to do with my sister getting German measles in 1964, and hence my being prenatally exposed to it, which is probably why I was born blind. This being the
case, I don’t think I have any special gifts because of it. I might have more insight than some people, but I’m sure I have less than others. I can sing
and play, and people have liked what I did in the past, but so could Jim Reeves, who was sighted, and Alison Krauss, also sighted.

So I tend to think of blindness as a characteristic that becomes a part of you like red hair, which I don’t have, or a tendency to have spring allergies,
which I do. Sometimes it’s annoying, but it’s so much a part of me that I Know I wouldn’t change it if given the choice.

But my second inclination, which I guess you can call the more introspective, philosophical or spiritual side, to whatever extent I possess it, might want
to pose a thought. For while I take a more neutral frame of mind than others who might view blindness as a gift, I will say this: To whatever extent there
is a spiritual world or truth to any religion, and maybe there are universal truths inherent in all religions, I wonder if we come into this life with
perhaps a lesson to learn, or maybe even one to teach others if I could be so bold. I dunno; after all I’m just prattling.

But if I do have such a purpose, I’d have to say it’s just being able to live my life as I please, being average or not, and getting the things done that
I want to get done. I mean, so many people have so many negative stereotypes about blind people that maybe seeing someone just living, and going on with
what needs to be done will teach them that blindness is not the all-encompassing tragedy they think it is. Without trying to be a superman able to leap
tall buildings in a single bound or bend spoons with the power of your mind, you can live a full life with blindness, on equal terms with anyone else in
the world. But if you do, you must be prepared to deal with all that it means to be equal. You’ll experience joy and pain, triumph and tragedy, contentment
and sometimes strife and worry. Some days you’ll have moments of truly inspired thought and ingenuity, but on other days, as I can still hear my late grandfather
say, even 25 years after his death, you might not be able to hit a bull in the ass with a snow shovel. Sometimes you’ll be a sinner, and sometimes a saint.
Only difference is that one is forgiven and the other one ain’t. (Sorry, just had to do it.) Sometimes you’ll be a hero to everyone and sometimes a heel.
I tend to think we’ve all been in both positions at one time or another. But that’s what this life is all about.

You’ll also discover that as time passes, you don’t have as much of it as you used to. Hitting forty didn’t mean I got suddenly ancient; I never thought
of it as such even when I was a child. But I suspect it made me just a tad crabbier or a shade more warped than usual, and I do have to wonder if it made
me just a little wiser. One can only hope. For when I did hit forty this past November, I did suddenly wonder where the hell twenty odd years of my life
went. I mean, wasn’t I just in high school yesterday or something? Huh? Oh, and by the way, what happened to the top of my head? And as for my dreams of
Nashville, well, I kinda blew that opportunity back in 1985, so the less said about that the better. Besides, you can kick yourself in only so many places,
and the novelty of finding new parts of your body to hurt sorta wears off just a stretch. So I guess the only reason I can think of for continuing to do
it some days is it feels so good when I stop! And anyway, I think George Jones is mostly right that next to nobody is playing any real country anymore,
but that’s a different issue.

And when that happened, when it all hit me that way, that’s when I realized the decisions one has to make in middle age can have far greater consequence
than they did when you were a kid because you don’t have as much white-out space in the book of life as you once did, and there might also be a paper shortage
so it could get pretty difficult to change one of the subplots in the middle of your story.

So you might want to be just a little more careful sometimes because you’re a little wiser and sadder perhaps, but maybe you don’t want to be so timorous
and equivocal that you don’t make any decisions at all for fear of blowing things out of the water. See, it’s that balancing act you have to do between
doing something risky because you don’t have as much time as you used to, and the desire not to screw up the rest of your life because, well, you don’t
have as much time as you used to, and your mistakes, if big enough, are really gonna count against you. Besides, Even if you decide to do nothing, it’s
still a decision, and you run the risk of mucking things up royally (whatever way is there to do it, after all?) because trouble might just decide to find

But again, this happens to us all, and if you’re living your life to the fullest, finding a cure for blindness is going to be so far down on your list you’ll
hardly condescend to think about it.

Anyway, I think I’ve probably annoyed everyone enough by rambling on a bit further than I intended to. I’ve got a report that needs finishing, so I should
put it to bed before I leave this place for the night. But thanks for letting me spout off, and I hope I’ll be able to do this sooner and with more frequency
than I have been. Cheers!

John D. Coveleski, New York, NY

**53. I think any blind person who thinks they will be healed at any religious
service like this is living in fantasy land. Any sighted person who
advocates this is just showing their pity and/or fear of blindness, or maybe
it's a not so clever way of manipulating the poor blind person to convert to
their religion.
Supposedly Jesus made the blind to see according to the bible and even if
that were true it was thousands of years ago. I put all this in the same
league as aliens from outer space or UFO's.

Randy ACB-L listserv

**54. I myself think any blind person who thinks it is possible to be healed if you and the healer feel strong enough. I've heard of this and I now all of you have also. So, where there is smoke, there has to be fire. But the think I have seen and do not agree with, is people that will not take training for blindness because they are afraid that their actions will look like they don't believe in god and their and they wait around to be healed.

Marty Long From ACB-L list

**55. It points up the difference between disability and illness. We see our
blindness as a disability, many of the effects can be mitigated with
training and counseling, but others see it as an illness, and want to help
you to get over it, like getting over the flu. The deaf go further, and do
not even see their hearing loss as a disability, but a characteristic, like
being tall or short, etc.

Andy From ACB-L list

**56. It took me a long time but I've thought about this provoker. I cannot help but wonder why some in the blindness community think that we the blind will
someday be able to do every single job that is performed by a fully-sighted person. There will always be people with varying abilities as long as human
beings exist on this Earth, and for someone or a group of people not to understand that is beyond my comprehension. Specifically, for a group of visually
impaired people not to understand that differences of ability do exist within the blindness community, to me is unthinkable. I for one have thought about
several career paths. One of these is advocacy. It seems that too many times, the abilities of all blind and visually-impaired people are over-exaggerated,
and I think this is a big contributing factor in our unemployment/underemployment rate . Not every blind or visually impaired person can write Braille
effectively using a slate and stylus, for example. I happen to be among those possessing this inability. There are those that, even if afforded the opportunity,
cannot and will never be able to read Braille. This in large part is where technology comes in. The advent of screen-reading and screen-magnification software
put a whole new face on accessibility. I for one happen to be very good at using both speech and Braille, but there are those people who do not possess
both abilities. A lot of us are not mountain climbers, and we may never be mountain climbers. More power to those who can climb mountains, or to those
who can somehow manage to fix a car without being able to see which parts go where, and so on. My point here is simply this. We are all different in some
way or another, and therefore we're all going to function somewhat differently. The thing that is preventing people like me, and other visually-impaired
people who just don't happen to "fit the mold" of the extremely gifted visually-impaired person from seeking employment is this "one-size-fits-all" approach
to blindness. It is true that there are those people in society who doubt our abilities as human beings, but the opposite is also true. This is just how
reality is. Maybe someday every single visually-impaired person will function on the exact same level, and that truly would be nice. But until that day
comes, we are all going to function at our own skill levels. This should not and does not mean that one visually-impaired person is better or smarter than
another, or that one visually-impaired person has better blindness skills than another. It is perfectly fine for people to have multiple disabilities,
if that is how God meant these people to be or if the disabilities were simply acquired later in life.

Jake Joehl, Evanston Illinois

**57. I've read this thread about people who might approach us wanting to see us healed. Like a lot of you, I've run into a few over the years. Now, some questions come to mind. What's the difference, if any, between being healed and being cured? If some spiritual force or being can give me eyesight, even if I never had it before, what spiritual force or being made me blind in the first place, if you're one who thinks everything happens because of the will of spiritual forces/beings/entities? And also, why would I want this? Do these folks honestly and seriously and sincerely think we spend the majority of our time pining away for eyesight we either used to have or never had at all? So what if I live in a nice house and have people who care about me.
That's peanuts to eyesight, yes? Hahahahahaha!
Consider also what such people might be implying without even realizing it.
Are they saying that one can only really be happy if they have all their limbs and senses and body parts intact and are physically perfect? And when the praying and rituals are done and there's no healing, why is it always
*my* fault for lacking faith? Now, I'm pretty agnostic, but I would think that sometimes the deity can and will say no and has a good reason for doing so. Also, do these people ever speculate as to how somebody would have to adjust to having eyesight if they never had it in their life? Would these same people do anything to help or support us after the healing, or would they say they did their job once we got healed and go trotting off to find another soul to save?
In the end, I really don't do a lot of speculating as to why I'm blind. I'm aware of the medical reasons, which had to do with being born prematurely and being put in an incubator and getting too much oxygen. I don't ask if God or Satan or Bob Dobbs or the great Googly-Moogly made it happen. I am blind and that is all. Overall I'm pretty relaxed about it. Sure, it has its frustrations, but I'd like to meet the person whose life has absolutely no problems who can see fully. Everybody has problems and worries. That's just life.

**58. First, let me begin by saying how much I detest that "faith healing" crowd! As one critic has well said, "All the clowns are not in the circus!"
Secondly, I'm surprised that nobody thought of the sheer illogic of "faith healing." Yes, illogic! Think about it: Suppose a person went blind, for whatever reason. In some cases, it would be perfectly understandable for that person and/or his acquaintances
to "ask God for healing." But it would not make much sense for Him to do so. Why? Well, suppose I were blinded, then a short time later, God healed me;
no glasses, even! What would I do? Well, I'd go right back to what I had already been doing: Bible study, chatting and charity works for the blind, and,
of course, making a living at my current job. (I'm not ashamed of my job or my hobbies.) Therefore, there would actually be very little point in God blinding
me in the first place.
Sure, a "Charismatic" fruit-loop might say, "Well, God did that, then UN-did it, so He could get the glory!" Oh, really? Then why did Jesus heal people,
then command them to "TELL NO MAN" (Mark 7:36)! Answer: Because His best work is done DISCREETLY! God does NOT play games with disabilities and healings!
He does NOT fool around with a man's eyesight like playing with a light switch, as though to say, "Look at this great trick I can do!" What do they think
He is, some kind of carnival sideshow?
Actually, it would be more wise to ask Him, "Now that You have made me blind, what am I supposed to do with it?"
But subjects like this really burn me up. More than one responder has complained bitterly about this "faith healing" foolishness, and blamed "religion,"
rather than the individuals who spew this nonsense. In all fairness, you cannot blame Christ or His followers, because real Christians don't teach that!
(Mr. Newman, I know your rules about criticism, but could you please make an exception in this case? Those who exploit the handicapped must be exposed for
what they really are, and maybe we can spare them of this garbage.)
This is one of the reasons why I've been praying to Jesus to give me a totally-blind woman for a wife. It would be a great testimony of the TRUTH, and of
LOVE. And, best of all, such a woman could possibly cause me to be even more self-sacrificial than I might otherwise be with a sighted wife.

**59. I use to have the internet at home and read and responded to your provokers frequently.
Although I do not have that luxury, when I do get to surf, I read these from time to time.
Usually I do not respond b/c (1) they are usually old by the time I read them (2) people have already made most of the points that I would make.
I just wanted to share with you this:
I hope that it is not too long for you to read.


Statistics report that there are over forty million people who possess some kind of disability. This statistic suggests that one in every five people have
some type of disability. This would mean that every one of us is acquainted with or a relative to at least one person who has a disability. Yet, sadly,
very few disabled people regularly attend a worship service or are involved in a community of faith.
I must admit that I have visited many churches, yet have felt a genuine acceptance from very few. My first church experience was quite a memorable one,
for all the wrong reasons. Even more distressing is that it is an all-too-common occurrence for most disabled people.

I could probably count on one hand how many times that my grandmother, or any other member of my family, for that matter, has ever attended a church service.
The strong commitment that my family has to being indifferent to god, which, before this moment, had permeated each and every Sunday morning, was only
second to the fantastic desire for me to be healed. The promise of a miracle, summoned my grandmother out of her comfortable domain and into a front pew
of a small country church. My grandmother spent ninety-five percent of her time in the home, only leaving for groceries and the visitation of a sick relative.
It is unfortunate that no one seemed to notice that my grandmother’s mere presence at this small church was quite a miracle in itself.
I sat quietly in the Saturday evening service, oblivious to the spectacle that I was soon to be part of. It was not long, however, Until I was thrust toward
the altar and became the object of everyone’s attention. The charismatic preacher asked me two pertinent questions. (1) "Do you believe in God and Jesus
Christ?" ((2) "Do you believe that God can heal you? " Now, I was certainly unchurched by anyone’s standards, but I did know my lines. After mumbling "YES"
to both questions, the preacher put his hands over my eyes and prayed for what seemed to be an hour. Then, he uncovered my eyes and asked if I could see.
When I did not reply, he questioned the strength of my faith and repeated the healing ritual. Instinctively, I understood what was required of me. I slowly
proclaimed my blurred and unfocused vision. Reflecting upon this experience, it was quite absurd. First, my skills as an actress were far from convincing
I am sure. Secondly, the congregation and my family expected me to recognize colors, objects and individuals that I had never even seen before. That night,
we all saw what we wanted to see and noone really saw anything of importance. Sometimes I think that instead of God giving me sight, he just made everyone
else blind to the truth.
Curious readers should know that I am a horrible liar by nature. But, before my father and grandmother could see through my deception, my unbelieving mother
saved me. My mother and her live-in boyfriend were very skeptical of this miracle. They administered a series of tests, which I most definitely failed.
My grandmother always blamed my mother for she always said that my mother’s lack of faith made me lose my sight for the second time. Being the middle child
of divorced parents; I usually did everything in my power to promote peace between my warring families. However, I was comfortable with letting this one
stand as is.

As a sidebar, let me boldly proclaim that I do believe in God’s healing power and will never underestimate the greatness of God. I am not dismissing the
experiences of those who have been healed. Furthermore, I praise God for their miracles. I also know that, far too often, it is the will of humans and
not the will of God that compels us to do many things for the miracles that we seek. In addition, I implore you to take your own prayer list out. Read
the requests. Chances are that the bulk of that prayer list is comprised of those who are requesting a healing of a physical nature. Doesn’t anyone wonder
why there is more emphasis on our physical body than there is on the spiritual body? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with our spiritual well being which
will outlive our physical body?
Despite my digression, this was the first of many experiences that strengthened my feelings of alienation between God’s people and myself. I am, however,
not alone in this exclusion. I have had many dialogs with other disabled people that have affirmed my own experiences. I have found many authors who have
written about the physical, social and attitudinal barriers which hinder a disabled person’s full participation in a spiritual community. Usually when
a disabled person is not being healed or helped, they are ignored. Their accessibility to worship is compromised and their contributions to the faith community
are minimized.

Similar to secular society, the disabled have been viewed as objects of pity and charity, instead of people with strengths and abilities that will enhance
the body of Christ. Elaborating on stereotypes which perpetuate such attitudes, expounding upon the distinctions between "cure" and "heal," comparing the
Law of the land verses the Law of love and discussing the theologies of love and liberation are all interesting topics that should be saved for a future
discussion. WE can analyze and theorize all day about this subject, in fact, I have spent many days doing just that. It could be society’s fear of imperfection.
Most people have a difficult time admitting their own perfections, much less feeling comfortable with them being visible to the naked eye. It could be
that the mere presence of disabled people elicit thought-provoking questions of healing and faith. Or, it could be that pastors and their congregations
are uncertain of the beneficial roles that disabled people might play in the community of believers. Whatever the reasons, when it is all said and done,
it comes down to Loving each other, as Christ Loved us.
This sounds like an elementary solution to a complex problem. I propose that it is only elementary in theory and rarely put into practice.
Many times disabled people are met with apathy or admiration. Whether in the pit or on the pedestal, there is a comfortable distance between the church
and God’s disabled children. The majority of frustration and pain felt by the disabled people is not due to their physical or mental limitations, but by
the rejection and exclusion from others. The soul-pain of coming up against negative attitudes on a daily basis amplifies physical pain. These attitudes
are anticipated from secular society, but when the comfort and acceptance that is so willingly granted to others are denied to the disabled, the spiritual
well being suffers much more than the physical body ever could. When pain dominates body and soul, the need for the reconciling and healing love and companionship
of others becomes crucial. Yet, many faith communities fail to extend or provide this attentive care. Consequently, people in pain often experience "abandonment
by God" and isolation from the faith community. Much too often, they conclude that disability, loss, and grief nullify any possible existence of God. They
reject the notion of God because they couldn’t possibly be accepted, loved and nurtured by God or his people. The search for a loving family continues.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles command us to love with a deep fervent commitment to others. If we have an agape love, as Christ has
demonstrated, our love will be sincere, equitable and liberating. If we are to immolate the community of Acts, we must shun polite benevolence and politically
correct behavior and strive for a community that has a deep and sincere connection with all of its members. WE need to strengthen our familial bonds with
all of Christ’s people. When your hearts seeks to eliminate the attitudinal obstacles between our own brothers and sisters, the physical barriers that
were so visibly prevalent will miraculously disappear.
We are all commissioned to be the body of Christ. It is neither politically correct nor appropriate to dismiss a woman, a child, someone of another ethnic
origin or a person with darker skin as an ineffective and useless part of the body. Yet, the strengths and contributions of disabled people are rarely
even noticed, much less respected and appreciated as a valuable function of the Body of Christ. Truly, the body of Christ is impaired when the disabled
are not included as functional members. In this way, the body is internally ill. This disease spreads throughout the entire body, rendering it useless
in the sight of God. The peripheral vision that once allowed the body to see into the hearts of God’s people, is now blurred and myopically focuses on
the outward appearance and superficial. The ears that were once able to hear the music of God’s word are now muffled by the voices of fear. The hands and
feet work diligently for hours, yet accomplish little. The mind has grandiose delusions about its importance in God’s kingdom. It reeks with paranoia,
always anxious of an attack from outside enemy forces, yet is oblivious to the poison that is ravaging every part of the body. Worse yet is when the disease
invades the heart. The love that formerly coursed through Christ's veins has now been denied access. Ignorance, apathy and inaction have blockaded each
artery and have made it impossible for Christ’s love to flow freely.
This is the body that is most in need of healing. Let’s lift up our body, recognize all of its wondrous abilities and strengths and unite all of its members
to work for God‘s kingdom.

For more information:
THis article discusses the role of people with disabilities in a faith community. If I were writing this piece for a scholarly journal or other such entity,
I would diligently cite my work. I would authenticate all of my theories and support my statistical data. However, the experiences and emotions are much
too important to clutter up with citations. The websites listed on the bottom of this article will support all facts and conclusions, as well as discuss
many psychological and theological points that I found to be of great interest, but much too lengthy for this article.
All of my compositions come from personal experiences. I welcome dialog or debate on this subject.

Jan Wright

**60. This brief response is intended for the above subject.

I am perplexed beyond measure when I hear or read things of this nature. I wonder why these healers keep forgetting what God himself said when he was sending Moses to Pharaoh. If I am not mistaken, I believe God's question to Moses was: "Who made the blind, the deaf and the dumb? again we would see Moses writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the book of Deuteronomy: "Curse is he who places a stumbling block in the way of the blind." My friends, if God wanted every blind person to see, such verses wouldn't have come about in the Holy Scriptures. I think that too many times, we forget that we live in a fallen world and the day that this world ceases to teem with the blind, the deaf, the retarded and various other kinds of disabilities, that would be the day of the full redemption of the earth. But until then, I am sorry, we would always continue to have such, just as Jesus himself said, "you will always have the poor among you."

Have a good day everyone.

Sati Wullabbs
Assistive Technology specialist in Yakima Valley, Washington State.

**61. What a good discussion. I think one of the reasons why people want others to be healed is that they feel uncomfortable with the impairment. After all, wouldn't it just be easier to just heal someone than to have the faith to accept the difficulty and perhaps develop a relationship with someone that views life differently? It is easy to rush to get everyone healed so that WE feel better. Sound a little vain doesn't it? Is God capable? Yes! Is it often tragic? Yes! Can faith be found to live each day in spite of it? Yes! is It always? No! I think we all wish we could be on top of every situation in life, and have answers for each dilemma. It seems to me that many times we have to simply turn to those who have found a way to deal with whatever, and steer the hurting gone that direction. Otherwise we risk giving out platitudes...empty and at times embarrassing.

Dave Marble