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Friday, September 03, 2010

A Healing Homiletic by Kathy Black

One of my daughters lent me A Healing Homiletic: Preaching and Disability by Kathy Black (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996). The central thesis of the book is that preaching about many of the familiar stories of the Bible, especially the ones about miraculous healing, can contribute to unfortunate perceptions of the disabled. For example, sin is often compared to blindness, so that being blind may be equated with sinfulness. (Black is deaf, and is ordained herself.)

Black takes the Bible seriously, and analyzes each story of healing that she uses, verse by verse, and in some cases, word by word.

I'm not sure what I would do about this, if I were a preacher, other than to read the book, and consider Black's suggestions on several common texts. I'm currently a Sunday School, and occasional children's church co-leader, and I need to be careful in this area while in those capacities. Her suggestions on how to use Bible stories are rather sparse. For example, in Chapter Four, on Mark 7:31-37, she suggests a number of things not to do in using this story. For one, she warns against assuming that members of the Deaf culture want to hear. Her suggestions as to what to do are just two: Don't reject people because they are different, and be willing to offer healing where there is no faith.

Black's book is also useful in that it points out the most likely explanations for human suffering/disability:
(1) it is punishment for their sin or the sin of their parents, (2) it is a test of their faith and character, (3) it is an opportunity for personal development or for the development of those in relationship to persons with disabilities, (4) it presents an opportunity for the power of God to be made manifest, (5) suffering is redemptive, and (6) the mysterious omnipotence of God simply makes it impossible to know why it is God's will. (p. 23)

None of these explanations are completely satisfactory to us. I guess that they don't need to be.

Thanks for reading.


Keetha Denise Broyles said...

Re your last comment on my blog: Would you like it better if I said Taiga or Northern Coniferous Forest???

I thought mayhaps many of my readers wouldn't know what that biome was!

Martin LaBar said...

Tundra is fine. I was just goofing off. And, no, they wouldn't know what a taiga was.