Mark I. Pinsky
Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability, and Inclusion is a new publication by noted religion writer Mark I. Pinsky. Pinsky has gathered stories from churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples across the country, "stories of people with disabilities and the congregations where they have found welcome." He has taken special care to include the widest range of disabilities, including non-apparent disabilities like lupus, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, depression, and mental illness. There were 54 million American with disabilities as of 2000, and that number is now being swelled by wounded warriors from the Afghan and Iraq wars and an aging population.
The author emphasizes that his purpose is to not to write a resource manual on accessibility and inclusion. Rather, Pinsky seeks to share stories of how people with disabilities have experienced their faith in the context of their disability, and how congregations have gained when they value the gifts that people with disabilities bring along. "This book," notes the author, "is for congregational leaders and others who may have no expertise or personal experience with disability, but who make the congregational decisions about accessibility and inclusion."
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“Amazing Gifts is a rare book. Many of the stories in it brought a tear to my eye, a smile to my lips, and buoyed my heart with examples of the creativity and goodness of people. Above all, it is practical book offering concrete examples of how we all benefit from making our religious communities more inclusive and how any one of us can take effective action for inclusiveness.”
—Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Director Social Justice Organizing Program, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
“This is a remarkable book, as practical as it is inspirational! As a local church pastor, I need to learn from the examples of other faith communities and the personal stories of inclusion. Thank you for touching my ministry and heart with a guidebook on real love in action!”
—Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor, Northland—A Church Distributed
Mark I. Pinsky is the author of several popular, critically acclaimed books, including The Gospel According to The Simpsons and A Jew Among Evangelicals, and he was religion reporter for the Orlando Sentinel from 1995 to 2008. Columns by Pinsky on faith, disability, and inclusion have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and was the subject of a feature article in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.
Alban No. 421
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