Sunday, May 29, 2016

Disabilities, Church and the Idol of Excellence

One of the most common core values for many contemporary churches is that of excellence. That is not necessarily a bad thing. We should want to do the things we do for God to the best of our ability. But there are times that excellence can become and idol.

I have heard too many stories of churches that put excellence over compassion and respect. Leadership feels the pressure to compete with professional entertainment. If they are going to impress visitors, everything is going to have to be perfect. Anything that takes away from the "show" is unacceptable.

What happens when there is a person with a disability in the congregation? What happens if they make some noise or some wild gestures? What if people with disabilities take away from what leadership interprets as excellence?

My intention is not to be critical of what some leaders are trying to create in a worship service. I would just suggest that we all need to look back to the early church and the things that they valued in worship. I understand that we do not live in first century Jerusalem, but there are things that we can learn. Our starting point may not be with how to impress people but rather to reflect what God loves in our worship. It is possible that people with disabilities can make our worship services more excellent in a fresh way.

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