My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church
In the book My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church, the author Amy Kenny reflects upon the exhaustion and anger she feels as a disabled woman in America. Amy writes her book partially as a memoir, accompanied by humour and theology, and recounts experiences of how she has been treated by Christians and the Church. With her book, Amy aspires to expose the unintentional ableism standards and narratives set by the Church and preached by Christians and to cast a new vision for Christian communities to engage in disability justice.
Her book and its chapters are divided into mainly two sections. The first sections describe the experiences and injustices Amy and others with disabilities face. She talked about the inconsistency of the Church, inviting everyone to attend as they are, but refusing to provide ramps and other necessities that specific individuals need. She also shared more personal thoughts about how she does not see her own body and mind needing to be healed and how she has embraced her disability, only to be met by other Christians saying they will pray her disability away. Amy dedicated the other section of the book to addressing ableism and what non-disabled Christians and the Church can do to become more inclusive. She addresses microaggressions, understanding other people’s needs and experiences through the wisdom of people with disabilities and even claims that God and the true Church are, in some crucial ways, also disabled. Amy highlights throughout her book that people with disabilities cannot fully belong and flourish within the Christian community before they are seen as valuable and diverse members of the body of Christ.
Dr Amy Kenny is a disabled scholar who uses a mobility scooter, whose writes on disability matters. Her writings have been featured in Teen Vogue, Sojourners, Shondaland, Reader’s Digest, and Huff Post.
“The stakes raised by the lived experience of people with disabilities could not be higher. The Church will be judged based on how it treats such people, and it risks betrayal of its mission if it fails to honor their full humanity. Moreover, the very vision to which the Church aspires is often shaped by ableist underpinnings that dramatically distort Christian witness. We need theologies equal to the magnitude of the challenge before us, and Dr. Kenny’s book is a welcome aid in the work. “– Benjamin Wyatt, the theology and history content editor for Earth & Altar
“With humorous prose and wry wit, Kenny makes a convincing case for all Christians to do more to meet access needs and embrace disabilities as part of God’s kingdom. . . . Inclusivity-minded Christians will cheer the lessons laid out here.”–Publishers Weekly
“By times wise and tender, then grab-you-by-the-lapels prophetic truth-telling, Kenny’s passion, anger, and hope for disability justice is utterly embodied. I found this book to be not only a call to justice but an invitation to deep blessing. I will be pressing this book into the hands of every ministry leader I know.”
-Sarah Bessey, editor of the New York Times bestseller A Rhythm of Prayer and author of Jesus Feminist
“Amy Kenny’s My Body Is Not a Prayer Request is holy ground. Kenny writes with devastating humor and uncommon depth that will remind readers of Anne Lamott. You will laugh, weep, and fume with rage–all on the same page. The words she writes will matter to you. They will change the way you see–everything. Kenny’s courage to say the things that need to be said is only matched by the skill with which she wields her proverbial pen. All hail this new and necessary voice.”
-Lisa Sharon Harper, author of The Very Good Gospel and Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World–and How to Repair It All