Sunday, February 6, 2011

religious communities

Out of the 38 posts I have written here, a good amount include religious themes. It is something I struggle with. It is one of the subjects that causes me great stress. My OCD likes to fit issues in small, neat packages. Life is not made to fit in small, neat packages. Religion, in my mind, definitely does not fit in small packages. While I do subscribe to the fact that God's commandments are rooted in stone, I believe people tend to muck up the process.

Foster Abba blogged about the religious community and how they tend to fail special needs family here. And, I agree 100%.

In my experience I have found that most people in my religious community have no idea how to respond to my special needs son. There is a combination of people believing he is "normal" to thoe believing if we love him hard enough and prayer hard enough he will get better. There are also those who simply pity us and yet don't want us disrupting their religious experience.

I commented over on Foster Abba's blog about an exchange I had with a fellow special needs mom a few years back. She has an autistic son who tends to run. He runs outside and does not stop. There have been several occasions where he had to be found by the police because he was simply running with no concept of where he was. He was about 6 at the time of this exchange. A pastor who was in charge of welcoming new members and connecting with them called her. He was asking her how she liked the service she attended a short time ago and questions about her family. He was asking if there was anything they could help her with. She informed him she was the mother of a special needs child and had been attending the suppost group for moms. He encouraged her to attend Sunday School classes to further connect with people in the church. She explained that she could not leave him in Sunday School due to his running issues.

He said, "It will be fine. You need to trust God more. Perhaps you should have more faith. Coming to Sunday School will help you to grow in your faith."

Seriously. He said that. If it had been me, I might have just slugged him.

I think it does highlight some people's thoughts on special needs, especially those who believe in the healing power of God and the changing properties of faith. The problem as I see it is that my child's issue is permanent. It is not a choice that he can change, it is not something that I can change be believing.

See, here is where my OCD kicks in. I believe in healing. My brother was healed several years ago from Crohn's Disease. He has the tests and the Xrays to prove it. He boggled the minds of the Doctor's. This came directly after a prayer service at a Christian camp. He is a miracle. I get that. I believe that. My father believe he could be healed from his cancer. He never gave up fighting even in the very end. Hours before he died he told a pastor that he believed God would heal him and he would go home and surprise everyone. He had faith. God chose not to heal him. I did not ever question that.

Now to my son, I believe God CAN heal him, but that does not mean I am counting on it. I believe God can provide therapies and modern medicine to help me with his "healing". I believe God can provide support though through the internet. I don't think that because he is staying the same is a fault of my own shortcomings when it comes to religion.

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