Variability Theology: Grafting God”s “Very Good” to the Tree of “Disability” Theology
How might our faith communities, and eventually humanity illuminated by their beacon, be enhanced were the disparagement of the word “disability” replaced by the empowerment of the theologically justified word “variability”? My research demonstrates reclaiming the goodness of God’s variable creation (Genesis 1:31) through the development of an affirming lexicon can encourage those who have been led to believe they are disenfranchised by the label “disabled” and can alter the perspective of those not disparagingly labeled. The label “disability” creates a condition of “the other” and thereby harms our relationships with God and with one another. The word “dis” rarely favors what follows. God created everyone with abilities (Romans 12 and 1st Corinthians 12). Recognizing this and empowering greater reciprocity amongst God’s very able creatures raises everyone’s quality of life.
• • •
Reverend Dr. Carrie N. Mitchell is a person, partner, parent and pastor joyously serving the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford for 15 years. Prior to acknowledging her call to ministry, Carrie promoted international exports in the public and private sectors and lobbied U.S. and foreign governments for favorable regulations. When the Mitchells learned of their eldest child’s diagnosis of autism at 26 months, they embarked upon an unexpected ‘growth opportunity’ and seek to make that journey less anxious for other individuals and families. Carrie enjoys being a child of God with her family, faith community, local school district, Scouts, dojo, artistic and musical theater community.