Joni and Friends Develops Course on 'A Theology of Suffering and Disability'

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • June 8, 2010
  • Christian Institute on Disability

Joni and Friends Develops Course on ‘A Theology of Suffering and Disability’ for Seminaries and Christian Universities

Joni and Friends International Disability Center, an organization whose purpose is to accelerate ministry to the disability community, through its Christian Institute on Disability (CID), has developed a university level course on “A Theology of Suffering and Disability,” which has been adopted by several universities around the country, with more to sign on this Fall.

The first to offer this course was the Biblical Studies Department at Biola University in La Mirada, California. Dr. Kathy McReynolds, Ph.D, Public Policy Director for the Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability and adjunct professor at Biola University, began teaching the course in the Spring of 2007. Other institutions are now offering this course or through a strategic partnership are offering a similar course.

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virg., is the most recent university to add the course to its list of program studies. Taught as a one week Summer intensive, “A Theology of Suffering and Disability” will be offered during the week of August 2-6, 2010. Dr. Kathy McReynolds will be the professor for this course.

The course is designed to help students answer some of life’s most unanswerable questions: How could a good and loving God allow such evil and suffering: war, poverty, famine, disability? People with disabilities suffer from the evils of the world more than many other people groups. How could God allow this to happen?

In addition, students will be prepared to conduct ministry to what is considered one of the largest underrepresented groups, with more than 650 million people worldwide living with a disability (roughly 10 percent of the world's population).

“While it is also one of the largest unchurched groups on earth, people affected by disabilities have much to teach us about spiritual transformation,” Dr. McReynolds said. “Their specific plight – their sufferings both personally and publically – mirror the human condition and Christian journey in many unique ways.”

Joni and Friends established the CID in 2007, realizing the Christian community needed a resource regarding life issues in a day and age when the lives of the most vulnerable are under threat. Joni and Friends is passionately concerned about the many issues currently being debated in the medical arena, such as health care reform, stem cell research, reproductive technologies, and end of life care. The CID exists to educate the church on these important ethical concerns.


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Yes... Dr. K Reynolds has indeed learned a thing or two about Suffering... and while many shun it... it still has a place in our lives... doesn't it?
  • March 9, 2012
  • 6:09 p.m.
  • Luke
This is life changing opportunity! We thank God for everyone involved, Duncan
  • May 20, 2011
  • 5:40 a.m.
Thank you for developing this course. I hope that it will be an encouragement to preachers,teachers and counselors. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard "he can't do that he's in a wheelchairf now" or "he can't serve God that way!"
  • Sept. 16, 2010
  • 6:46 p.m.
  • Martin Counterman
Wonderful! Have to 'share' this!
  • Sept. 1, 2010
  • 11:47 a.m.
  • Kathy Roeth
I am a student at Liberty University, and am finishing a MA in Professional Counseling (60-hour). I hope that you will be back to Liberty University in 2011, as I want to take this intensive! I was unable to schedule it for this summer, as the course filled up so rapidly! God bless you for the work Joni and Friends does. My 14-year-old daughter has an intellectual disability and an autism diagnosis. We have gained much strength and encouragement from your program and your website. I hope to encourage others with the things I will learn.
  • Aug. 19, 2010
  • 4:19 a.m.
  • Paula Sayre