From Inclusion to Belonging

A Practical Theology of Community, Disability and Humanness

John Swinton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article develops a perspective on a practical theology of belonging. It argues that the political rhetoric of inclusion, while possibly necessary, is deeply inadequate to help us understand what disability is and what it really means to be with people who have received this label. We need to shift our thinking from inclusion to belonging and to reframe our practices from politics to love. The article seeks to do three things. Firstly, it highlights that the term disability is a vague and complex concept that, while it might be necessary, requires to be treated with both caution and suspicion. Secondly, the article argues that the idea of including people with disabilities does not go far enough in overcoming the alienation, stigmatization, and exclusion of those whom we choose to name "disabled." We need to move from ideas of inclusion to the practices of belonging. Finally, the article engages with the theologies of Jean Vanier and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and suggests that the key to such transformation is not in politics but in Jesus. It is only as we learn how to love one another in and through Jesus and to create communities that embody such Christ-like love that we can begin to understand what it means truly to belong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-190
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of religion, disability & health
Volume16
Issue number2
Early online date4 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Theology
Love
theology
love
disability
inclusion
Politics
community
Stereotyping
politics
stigmatization
Disabled Persons
alienation
Names
rhetoric
exclusion
Inclusion
Practical Theology
Jesus

Keywords

  • belonging
  • Bonhoeffer
  • community
  • disability
  • inclusion
  • love
  • Vanier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Religious studies
  • Rehabilitation

Cite this

From Inclusion to Belonging : A Practical Theology of Community, Disability and Humanness. / Swinton, John.

In: Journal of religion, disability & health, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2012, p. 172-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{339a62df62114023ab57b622a082ada5,
title = "From Inclusion to Belonging: A Practical Theology of Community, Disability and Humanness",
abstract = "This article develops a perspective on a practical theology of belonging. It argues that the political rhetoric of inclusion, while possibly necessary, is deeply inadequate to help us understand what disability is and what it really means to be with people who have received this label. We need to shift our thinking from inclusion to belonging and to reframe our practices from politics to love. The article seeks to do three things. Firstly, it highlights that the term disability is a vague and complex concept that, while it might be necessary, requires to be treated with both caution and suspicion. Secondly, the article argues that the idea of including people with disabilities does not go far enough in overcoming the alienation, stigmatization, and exclusion of those whom we choose to name {"}disabled.{"} We need to move from ideas of inclusion to the practices of belonging. Finally, the article engages with the theologies of Jean Vanier and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and suggests that the key to such transformation is not in politics but in Jesus. It is only as we learn how to love one another in and through Jesus and to create communities that embody such Christ-like love that we can begin to understand what it means truly to belong.",
keywords = "belonging, Bonhoeffer, community, disability, inclusion, love, Vanier",
author = "John Swinton",
year = "2012",
doi = "10.1080/15228967.2012.676243",
language = "English",
volume = "16",
pages = "172--190",
journal = "Journal of religion, disability & health",
issn = "1522-8967",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - From Inclusion to Belonging

T2 - A Practical Theology of Community, Disability and Humanness

AU - Swinton, John

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - This article develops a perspective on a practical theology of belonging. It argues that the political rhetoric of inclusion, while possibly necessary, is deeply inadequate to help us understand what disability is and what it really means to be with people who have received this label. We need to shift our thinking from inclusion to belonging and to reframe our practices from politics to love. The article seeks to do three things. Firstly, it highlights that the term disability is a vague and complex concept that, while it might be necessary, requires to be treated with both caution and suspicion. Secondly, the article argues that the idea of including people with disabilities does not go far enough in overcoming the alienation, stigmatization, and exclusion of those whom we choose to name "disabled." We need to move from ideas of inclusion to the practices of belonging. Finally, the article engages with the theologies of Jean Vanier and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and suggests that the key to such transformation is not in politics but in Jesus. It is only as we learn how to love one another in and through Jesus and to create communities that embody such Christ-like love that we can begin to understand what it means truly to belong.

AB - This article develops a perspective on a practical theology of belonging. It argues that the political rhetoric of inclusion, while possibly necessary, is deeply inadequate to help us understand what disability is and what it really means to be with people who have received this label. We need to shift our thinking from inclusion to belonging and to reframe our practices from politics to love. The article seeks to do three things. Firstly, it highlights that the term disability is a vague and complex concept that, while it might be necessary, requires to be treated with both caution and suspicion. Secondly, the article argues that the idea of including people with disabilities does not go far enough in overcoming the alienation, stigmatization, and exclusion of those whom we choose to name "disabled." We need to move from ideas of inclusion to the practices of belonging. Finally, the article engages with the theologies of Jean Vanier and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and suggests that the key to such transformation is not in politics but in Jesus. It is only as we learn how to love one another in and through Jesus and to create communities that embody such Christ-like love that we can begin to understand what it means truly to belong.

KW - belonging

KW - Bonhoeffer

KW - community

KW - disability

KW - inclusion

KW - love

KW - Vanier

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84861318046&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/15228967.2012.676243

DO - 10.1080/15228967.2012.676243

M3 - Article

VL - 16

SP - 172

EP - 190

JO - Journal of religion, disability & health

JF - Journal of religion, disability & health

SN - 1522-8967

IS - 2

ER -