This paper offers an invitation to dialogue about disability by firstly listening to a person living with disability. Justin Glyn SJ shares his experience of physical impairment and explains how it is the interaction of impairment with the social and physical environment that produces disability. Disability is socially constructed; it is the result of structures of sin. It follows that we can respond by trying to build social and physical strucutres that might better mediate grace, facilitating life to the full for all of us.
Responding to disability is not just a secular matter for the state - although laws and policies are needed. Nor is it merely a matter of pastoral practice for the Church. The reality of disability has implications for our theology, which has not always been informed by the experience of people with disability.
Justin's reflections challenge us to examine our own implicit theologies of disability, and they suggest a theology of disability that more effectively honours the personhood of people living with disability. He observes that impairment highlights the fact that we are made for communion with God and each other - our weaknesses and limitations supplement each other's. We all have limitations; there is no 'us' and 'them'.