Tag Archives: Disability

Finding Your Purpose: Using the WISP method (part II) 2

Here we are at PART II.

If you didn’t read the first post in the series,
it’s the important first step.

You don’t want the ISP method. That would be weird. :)


Read about the “W” by clicking HERE.


As I’ve studied transformation and purpose I’ve noticed there seems to be something slippery about it. Sometimes we can feel derailed or question our purpose. It’s rather ordinary, in fact.

The famous people in the Bible went though times of doubt and I’m glad those ancient accounts are included because it helps to know that the human condition is rife with slumps, bumps, murky waters, aimless wilderness periods, and questions about what we should be doing on this “Big Blue Marble”.


We tend to see these periods of purposelessness or doubt as problems instead of as part of the journey.

The WISP technique is something I came up with to keep me on track.

I find that keeping a notebook of the process makes it much simpler.


Did you do your homework?
Make sure you do it before you encounter the next step, okay?






General inquiry is not what the “I” in WISP is about.

This step of the process helps to loosen our firm grip on seeing and directing our lives as usual.

This type of inquiry:

  • is one of faith
  • leaves some open-end questions up in the air, for now
  • digs down deeper into underlying blocks and fears
  • taps into a greater understanding of human purpose and how to get there

For this step, you get your handy-dandy notebook out and start by making a list of all the questions you have on your mind right now. What’s bothering you?

Write. It. Down.

There may be many questions. Just get started. Write as much as you can for about 10 minutes.

As you write them out you will find that categories or patterns emerge. If you don’t, let the questions sit and add more in a day or so. Then, look again. If you still don’t see patterns, ask for help from someone you trust.

Examples of possible inquiry/question patterns:

  • What can I do that I love that will provide enough money right now?
  • What have I enjoyed doing the most and what happened during those times?
  • What will it take to get prepared for the next leg and how will I pay for it?
  • What caused my last failure and how could I have prepared better?
  • What is bothering me about Mr [So & so]’s success?


Do you see the pattern that started to emerge here?

It’s Money.
Fear of failure and jealousy are cropping up too. All good to see.

When we put down our burning questions our fears will be revealed.


Our fears cloud the way to finding our purpose, but…

“The remarkable thing is that our fears themselves are not the obstacles but the vehicles that lead to finding and fulfilling our purpose.” -LD


Josie finds it hard to find her purpose. She’s been unhappy at her job and wants to make a bigger difference in the world. 

Through inquiry she locates the root of her fears, and realizes that her compassion for the intellectually disabled is because of her own story.

She always felt stupid in school. A learning disability made it hard for her to read in first grade. Eventually, she did well in school, but the fear of not being smart enough still distracts her and clouds the pursuits of her greater purpose.

Josie’s purpose lies in working closely with this population.

Upon realizing this, Josie sets out with new verve to get experience and the additional skills needed to find other more meaningful work and accomplish her greater purpose. She creates goals to get there.

Goals are measurable. Wishes are not.

During a period of inquiry we may inquire of God and others we trust, too, but we have to do our hard work ourselves, and not cop out.

If we ask questions of them, we have to be prepared to both listen without judgment and superimposing our wishes and agenda (for the time being), but also we need remove the weeds from all that we are hearing get to the best and most useful parts for the next step. No ACTION is required, just honest inquiry, awareness, and digging around.

In this stage, answering all the questions isn’t as important as having the guts to ask them honestly.

The next step is “S”.

(scroll down)


Sometimes just doing the first two steps will create a breakthrough. You may have found your purpose already. If that happened, I encourage you to see the whole method through regardless. If you find yourself closer to understanding your purpose right now, that’s great, but you’ll be surprised by the next two Steps, and you shouldn’t miss out on them.



Make your inquiry list.

You don’t have to answers the questions yet, just put them out there.

Let them percolate for a few days and then return to them. 

Note what patterns emerge. Add new questions.

See what new perspective you come up with.

Click for the next post here.


10 Misconceptions Christians have about non believers

Christ Pantocrator study

DUCKMARX via Compfight

This might read heavy because I’m confronting some pervasive concepts. It’s like I’m playing the heavy, but try to read it in a gracious spirit because it is meant to bring clarity not conflict. Plus, I have a damp sense of humor  [not too wet and not super dry either] so take that into account. Chill and stuff.

Okay, buckle in for the bit of Groundwork:

First, from my end, I make no secret here that I see things from the paradigm of a Christian worldview. This has been my family background, my life experience, and the central feature in my graduate education. That’s my lens.

In having a lens I’m not alone. In fact, every one sees reality through his or her own lens, but not everyone will really investigate and coordinate their worldview in a consistent way. I won’t either, not because I’m not making an effort, but because seeing the task to completion is so massive and unwieldy. As I approach this topic I come with a vatanage point…and so do you.

We can take as a given:
Our beliefs will cloud our perceptions and our perceptions will work to evidence our already held beliefs
–except in rare cases where we make a focused and conscious effort to consider or accept another point of view. Those cases are quite rare because we tend to use our life experiences to back up what we already think is true. (I’m reiterating.) So, when a change happens–it can be big. This is essentially how the Christian idea of “conversion” plays out too: A person is thinking one thing about reality, and somehow becomes convinced of something else and has a turnaround to something new. Christians would also say God had a direct part in igniting that process.

Peeking outside the Bubble:
In learning more about the people outside the Christian belief “bubble,” I’ve noticed that plenty of my assumptions about non Christians were flawed, false, or incomplete. Other times, I’ve noticed that while some of these perceptions may ring true at first blush, they more often reflect a universal truth about what it means to be human, (and do not effectively describe the group that doesn’t ascribe to the Christian belief system.)

The 10 misconceptions are things that many Christians want to be true. If they are not it could convince them that Christianity doesn’t provide the best answers. This fear can cause people to be even more unreasonable or averse to mystery…even though Christianity is chocked full of mystery. I’ve come to a place where I am more settled with mystery.

Christianity provides a framework for me, and everyone has a framework whether they know it or not and whether they like it or not. Christianity takes many shapes in different eras and in different cultures. Since I came from a conservative fundamentalist background I first saw the world through that lens. I haven’t retained all those same beliefs. Now the beliefs I ascribe to are not as important as the person I am becoming. Jesus as God-man is plausible and that is fine for me. For others, that simply will not be enough. For non Christians it will be too narrow for their spirituality. I also  realize that Christians may sometimes perpetuate myths for an imperious framework needed to maintain fervency.

Better that we see these misconceptions for what they are than run afoul with them and forget whose image is the object of our recreation. (That would be Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, if you aren’t following me.) I give you these misconceptions to expand your ideas about the Christian framework and how it can help more than hurt.

Now to the 10 Misconceptions:

1. Non believers aren’t spiritual, or at best they are pseudo spiritual.

This is false because the amount of mystery and the unknown in life as we perceive it (being finite in mind and body) all point to the spiritual (the unseen). What is pseudo spiritual to some is more likely to be something that smacks as out of sync with one’s prescribed Christian beliefs. We are all spiritual and what we try to understand outside of we what is know is be definition spiritual, whether is a referred at that or not. The interest in spiritual things has been vibrant throughout human history as long as we have been trying to understanding our world. The “brand” (if you will) of spiritual that is may be may be off-putting depending on your experience, training, or preferences. Ex: “Using Tarot cards is pseudo spiritual.” Actually, using them is an attempt to understand the spiritual, but for Christians it falls outside the scope of what is acceptable because of the tenants residing in the Bible.

2. Non believers aren’t happy because they don’t know Jesus.

This is a complex and interesting misconception because it assumes that Christians are happy, by contrast. Many are not. Many are miserable and their Christian belief system has not given them this happiness. Christians may behave as if they are discontent or unhappy also. Certainly some Christians are content and at peace for periods of time, and some are remarkably hopeful and peaceful is even the most horrible circumstances. Nevertheless this is also true of non Christians.

3. Non believers do good things to “get them to heaven”, or to otherwise alleviate their sin-guilt.

What is more often the case is that people (Christian and non) try to do good things because they feel they should. Their motivations are quite varied and prove to be shallow or to be deep. Christians, though they may feel their eternal destiny is secure, will do good things sometimes for reasons just as poorly conceived as non believers. Strangely, it can boil down, in the final count, to semantics. It’s false to guess the true motivations of why people do good. Better to do Good for the love of it and accept the good at face value as it can only be originally sourced in the Source of goodness–apart from whom no goodness dwells. The idea that actual goodness cannot come from non Christians contradicts the Christian precept that a good God has created all of us and that same God works through all of creation, (and even those who do not knowledge “him”.)

4. Non believers can’t have peace with God.

For Christians, peace with God usually looks like a publicly confessed accession to the belief that Jesus is the Savior who died for the sins of humankind (i.e. somehow understanding atonement). But, in general, peace with God is probably as varied as there are people in the world. Grace is sufficient and comes in a manner of ways that point to the ultimate work of Grace that is of and from God. If by peace we are really speaking of contentment, and not atonement, then many do arrive at peace with God at some point in their lives. Many also arrive at a place of grace and forgiveness as it is God’s prerogative how this happens. The very idea of grace necessitates that a mental ascension is not the crux of the matter at all. Sometimes it is not at all involved as any modicum of studying a Christian theology of (mental) disability will reveal. Grace does not require anything on the part of the recipient accept perhaps a sort of acceptance. What that does or doesn’t have to be has be a rueful point over the years but is actually quite simple and easy if we are to believe in its true nature.

5. Non believers have misperceptions about reality and their place in the world.

Our finite minds give each person the opportunity to routinely misperceive reality, regardless of her beliefs in Jesus or God. No one has the corner on this problem. We share our foolishness in this regard across the whole spectrum of humankind. To think otherwise is to underscore the misperception.

Since this post is getting too long, the next 5 misconceptions will be revealed in the next post-here.

Thanks for reading!

Pass this along, will you?

Do you agree? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Leadership Lens and Perspective

This is my son Nathan.
He’s 12.5 years old.

It’s been a rough few days with him. It’s a dicey combo mixing burgeoning adolescence and the Autistic experience.

His will is strong and he’s often unreasonable. He thinks he’s the rightful King of his world and ours; and I’ve felt discouraged about how poorly things have been going.

But…today, he built these glasses, and it got me to thinking about perspective.

And it gave me a new one.

What’s the bigger lesson here?

What if our windows of perspective are cloudy?

What if the shutters are closed?

How will an obstructed view hurt my ability to guide, lead, or learn?

Will I even be able to notice how poor my vision is?
And how can I get help seeing better?

It’s true that our perspective is limited.

The fact is easy to miss.
We flare with emotion in the dearth of comprehending how perspective works, or doesn’t work.

But, indeed, we can’t possibly see the full view, just the narrow vision our particular spectacles allow.

And with new lens our perspective changes.

Unwittingly, Nathan gave me the encouragement I needed.

This is actually an answer to my prayer for help.

Keep pushing on and Remember the lesson of the Lego Spectacles!

To you Leaders and Bloggers: Don’t forget to link-up with the SynchroBLOG on Leadership sponsored by Evangelical Seminary. Write something this week and contribute September 10-14. 

Storyless (Guest Post by Ross Gale) 3

(Ross is the one in the hat)

-by Ross Gale

I have a friend whose mother tells a story of her as a child: when studying for a third grade test using flash cards, my friend strained to think about the answers. Sometimes her mother would have to say the answers out loud, but even then my friend didn’t seem to connect the dots. She’d keep thinking, the answer too far beyond her. Her mother laughs a bit and says, as a child she was a little stupid. This is the story my friend tells herself, that she is stupid.

When she was in junior high and missing school from an illness, she’d beg her mother to return her to class because she needed to get smarter. She loved school. She did not like being stupid.

She is in her twenties now and the stories her parents tell her influence her. She is an over-achiever in the sense that grades matter to her because they reflect who she is. She’s always trying to prove the story wrong, but she also seems to believe that she’ll never be able to prove it wrong. She’ll always be stupid.

The story my father tells me is about when I was three and he was sick in bed with the flu. Everyone was out of the house for the day so I stayed by my father’s side. I didn’t cry or fuss or ask for anything. I just stayed there because he needed me. My father says I have the biggest heart of anyone he knows. The story tells me something about myself. This is who I believe I am.

The stories parents tell their children about them are stories that shape their identity and purpose.


When Mary and Joseph take their son Jesus to Egypt, I imagine them telling him the stories surrounding his birth, the reason they weren’t living in Palestine, and what the angels had each pronounced to them. Before he knew who he was through Scripture, he knew who he was from his parents’ stories.

When a child is disabled like my brother KC, who had a traumatic brain injury at three, the stories my parents tell are stories about a different boy, they are stories about a boy without a disability who doesn’t have seizures, who can run and play sports, who can graduate high school, who can annunciate his words, and speak clearly. They tell stories about a boy with athletic prowess and a stubborn attitude.

An accident like KC’s, however, renders the stories meaningless. With an accident like KC’s he becomes a storyless boy. How do you shape the identity and purpose of a storyless child? This is the tragedy of tragedy; it robs the power of story.

We have a God who gives us this purpose and identity so even when our stories are harmful or meaningless or shameful or stolen, we can become a part of a new story. God’s story. A story of hope, redemption, and meaning.


Ross Gale is a writer and editor from Oregon. His work is featured in Burnside Writers Collective, Antler, Relief Journal, Archipelago, and he contributes to MagicalTeaching.com. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. He blogs at rcgale.com where he’s editing the “Bereshit Bara Creativity Series” which asks 13 Creatives to wrestle with questions about what gives them the courage to create.

Will I see you on the flipside? 1

(click for source)

Cool cats used to say, “See you on the flipside.” Apparently when you flip a day onto its back you get another day, not the nighttime.

A cat (yes, I’m talking felines now) works the same way. If you flip a cat over it doesn’t hit its backside, but it’s flipside. The right side. The same side it should be on. A dog? Forget it. It’s a trip to animal hospital.

The flipside of a coin doesn’t work the same as a cat. The flipside of the coin is the other side. It’s the head or the tail: the opposite. Most people want money and not cats.

Is the flipside like the Kingdom of God?

I went to my first Special Olympics to cheer on my son in the swimming event. Backstroke and freestyle. I saw the flipside. The Kingdom of God is like the Special Olympics. Those who are always last in life get a chance to be first. It’s actually fierce competition, in case you’re wondering.

Athletes train for months. 70% of the swimmers would have bested me in the pool despite possessing Downs Syndrome, mental retardation, autism, and so forth. Counted out in every other point, but no more. It was a day of winning and accomplishment.

Athletes are grouped according to skill level, and sometimes, age. Poor swimming form meets with disqualification. Did you get that? You can be disqualified! I was stunned.

So, not everyone gets a medal in S.O.? Nope. Only one athlete gets first place. This makes the victory legit. A first place medal really means something. It really means #1. It really gives an athlete something to fully celebrate and gives a family something to truly cheer about.

The huge difference between the Special Olympics and the typical Olympics and most other sporting events, is that each athlete is treated like a winner. Everyone is acknowledged. No one is a loser. No one puts a mic in their face and says, “What went wrong?” If one flounders in the water…well, like a cat…one still gets a participation ribbon. Everyone is accepted no matter how they do.

This is how we can enact the Kingdom of God right now. Find someone who’s usually last. Economically, socially, culturally, mentally, and then find a way to make them first, to offer and enact true acceptance. It’s the flipside. It’s the righted way of the world as God’s wants it to be.

Will I see you on the flipside?

What are some ideas to reveal the Kingdom of God flipside?


Interview with Amos Yong

My conversation with the foremost Pentecostal Theologian, Amos Yong, has 2 parts. First, we talk about the themes in his new book “The Bible, Disability, and the Church”.

Click for Video (part I)

Below is part II of our talk. We cover some excellent topics like healing, God’s will, social oppression in the church, communal prayers of lament, his Disability Bible project (and more).

Click to view Part II

#PickMeEllen (Trying to help my neighbor boy get a wheelchair lift) 1

#PickMeEllen is Ellen Degeneres‘ project to spread some Christmas spirit. People tweet their requests using that hashtag. A few people will be chosen for Christmas surprises.

Please help me get a message to Ellen that my neighbor needs a wheel chair lift very badly. His mom carries him up the stairs from the road over her shoulder a few times per day. The railing is unusable and the stairs are cracked. She will fall, it’s only a matter of when. It’s very dangerous for her and him. I think it’s a great Christmas project to help them, and I need your help.Tweet this article, or contact the Ellen show (link on her name above.)

Hey, If I can’t get Ellen to be my Santa, will you help, if I set up a fund to raise money for Kristian?

Tweet this story, link to it, or do something to help about this sweet kid!

super steep stairs, crappy railing, pre-accident spot for Kristian and his mom


Kristian is 15 (he looks like a NiNJA in this pose a little, but actually he can't walk)

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