According to family lore, my mom’s father was one quarter Cherokee. I’m reticent to embrace this claim after Senator Elizabeth Warren so famously had her Cherokee heritage debunked. During the height of that controversy, I learned the a vast majority of Caucasian Americans believe that they have Cherokee blood somewhere in their lineage. Therefore (as much as I’d like to think a little Cherokee blood runs through my veins), I dare not make that boast without further confirmation.
Even without Cherokee heritage, however, my gender and my disability provide sufficient grounds for me to accuse society at large and the church in particular of oppressing me. The disability part would especially nail it.
- Completely segregated in special education from ages 4 to 13
- Partially segregated in special education from ages 14 to 19
- Continually taunted by neighborhood children and classmates
- Called “Retard”
- Called “Spaz”
- Excluded from playing with neighborhood children
- Discouraged from pursuing teaching career
- Dismissed from job interview
- Worked at home due to architectural barriers
- Lived in segregated housing (nursing home) between 1995 and 1997
- Throughout life considered intellectually disabled
So I think I could play the minority card and guilt able-bodied Christians into thinking they owe me perpetual penance for the wrongs I’ve supposedly suffered. In some respects, I could make the case that I’m treated unjustly because of my Cerebral Palsy.
I choose not to entertain such a self-serving attitude, however. As a member of Christ’s body, I need to concentrate on using my abilities to edify my fellow believers. To do that, as I said yesterday, I must set aside my grievances and focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let the world complain about racism, sexism and the unfair treatment of people with disabilities. Let them march and shake their fists and demand reparations all they want, only to find that nothing will satisfy their rage.
But let us, as Christians, forgive those who cause us pain. Our identity is in Christ, requiring us to forgive those who wrong us and invest ourselves in joyfully serving the Lord. My gender, disability and possible Cherokee heritage take a backseat to the privilege of knowing Christ.