A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith


The Dignity of Risk

posted by Linda G. Howard

I direct two choirs as one of my tasks as area director of The Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community. During one of our choir practices, I asked the choir to vote on which songs they would like to sing when we perform at a local church. We were currently rehearsing about five songs.   We will sing at a large Presbyterian church and we will be ministering at their 10:30am worship service.  To my amazement, as we went through the list, they didn’t and even with encouragement they wouldn’t raise their hands to tell me their choice.

When Tim spoke out that he liked the second song best, everyone chimed in to agree with him.  I was surprised–not at their selection but in their hesitation to raise their hands regarding their personal choice.  These are men and woman who are the leaders in our ministry in Melbourne.  They are intellectually disabled but they are our deacons.  During our prayer time, they are  the ones who stand at the front of their peers and pray for the member who request prayer.  They are part of our praise team.  They lead singing, read the scriptures and greet visitors.

Yet, they were hesitant to give their opinion regarding their choice in a musical selection.  Once again they were exhibiting their need to please people who are in authority.  They didn’t want to be wrong and not please me.  They were refusing to take the risk of offending me.

I can only vaguely imagine the intimidation that my friends have endured that make them too afraid to give me their opinion.  I am their friend and they know it.  Additionally, these 13 men and women are not timid wallflowers.  They are forward looking individuals who laugh and joke and seem to express their opinions with ease.  Now, I wonder.  How much are they hiding?  How much of this self-confidence is another set of learned behaviors exhibited to impress the outside world?

Each day I realize that there is much to learn about unlocking the potential of these men and women of God.  Nevertheless, I see all of humanity as I stare into their faces.  As much as we may want to deny it, their simplisitic faith and uncomplicated processing doesn’t make them less like people who are “normal.”  If any thing, it exposes more of our humanity than we want to confess.

God make humans to be people who take risks.  It is part of what give us dignity.  Often, our community has been push into a corner and denied their God-given right to take risks.  However, I could not help but put myself into their faces and remember all the times I’ve not wanted to take a risk because of fear.

Over the past three years, I written a daily blog about The Special Gathering ministry.  One of the Google searches that is most requested is a definition of the dignity of risk.  This is a phrase that is often used within the intellectually disabled community.  After 22 years of ministry within this community, I believe that a good definition is:  Dignity of risk is the moving away from a safe place, in order to fully experience the self-respect and self-esteen of being a human being.

Taking risks is one quality that moves humans from the animalistic realm of instinct or habit. Therefore, anyone denied the ability to take risks cannot fully understand or experience their true humanity and is consequently denied true dignity.



Previous Posts

The Choice that Changed Everything--a sermon for the mentally challenged community
The choice that changed everything Nehemiah 9:17 Central Theme: Man choices to sin and God chooses to be gracious. A ream of paper has 500 sheets--not more and not less. A foot is 12 inches--not more and not less. There are many absolutes in our lives. There is a couple of absolutes that totally

posted 10:48:30pm Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Friendship Evangelism
For many years, I taught a seminar called "Friendship Evangelism."  The basis of this teaching was that people are much more susceptible to hear the promises of the Gospel, if they know and respect you.  We all have a knowledge of the friendship of David and Jonathan from the Bible.  Even if we o

posted 9:12:04am Aug. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Overcoming Fatigue
After four days of Camp Agape, my children laugh that I'm in my Camp Coma for about a week.  While it's humorous there is a lot of truth in their designation of my abilities.  There are some things that I've learned from others and from my own experiences regarding physical fatigue. First, this

posted 6:37:05am May. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Explaining grace
In the past weeks, I've been going over some of the key words in our covenant relationship with God.  Perhaps one of the most important words we use is grace. Most of us have learned and maybe we even remember God's Riches At Christ's Expense This is great explanation of grace and

posted 9:48:06pm May. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Familiar customs and limited means
When the Biblical young woman, Ruth, married into a Jewish family she understood little about their ways, God or religion.  This is my supposition; but I base the conjecture on facts.  Moabites were shunned by the Israelis.  Decades before, Moab wronged the wandering tribes who desired to trav

posted 7:47:06am May. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.