Disability and Suffering?

Pastoral and Theological Considerations

  • Amos Yong
Keywords: disability, suffering, practical theology, disability ministry


“Suffering” is a difficult topic at the crossroads of disability studies and pastoral care. On the one hand, people with disabilities want to clearly distinguish impairments from the sense of suffering, urging that the latter does not necessarily follow the former. This is in part a reaction to historically paternalistic attitudes manifest in and through pastoral care directed to people with disabilities. This paper focuses on how to empower appropriately discerning pastoral praxis so that ecclesial ministry occurs with people with disabilities and their families/caregivers rather than only to them. Such an approach unfolds in solidarity with the genuine suffering of people with disabilities rather than perpetuates the kind of social stigmatization that causes existential and psychological pain even for those who do not otherwise suffer physically.

Author Biography

Amos Yong

Dr. Amos Yong is Director of the Center for Missiological Research (CMR) and Professor of Theology and Mission at the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Yong’s scholarship has been foundational in Pentecostal theology, interacting with both traditional theological traditions and contemporary contextual theologies. He is internationally respected for his work on issues of disability and theology.

How to Cite
Yong, A. (2015). Disability and Suffering?. Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, 4(1), 27-42. Retrieved from https://journal.joniandfriends.org/index.php/jcid/article/view/101