Disability and Inclusive Communities

Book by Kevin Timpe on disabilities with abstract pink painting

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  • Author(s):
  • Included in: Calvin Shorts
  • Published: January 15, 2019
  • Publisher: Calvin College Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-937555-32-0
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-937555-33-7
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Book by Kevin Timpe on disabilities with abstract pink painting

We're all worse off when we exclude people with disabilities from our communities.

Disability and Inclusive Communities intends to help readers learn how to build communities that fully include people with disabilities. Often our social practices unintentionally exclude those with disabilities by making it difficult for them to fully participate in the community. These practices hurt those whom we exclude. But they are also bad for our communities as a whole. Our communities—from our churches to our schools to our workplaces—are worse off when we exclude those with disabilities. We miss out on the opportunity to learn from complex, complete human beings who experience life in different ways. We miss out on becoming the Body of Christ in all its fullness. But our communities become better places for everyone when we pursue policies and practices of inclusion. Good intentions aren’t enough. We need good social practices to make our communities more inclusive. For when we do that, all of us are better off.


“Kevin has written from lived experience, not only as a parent, but as a friend. He has sat with me and listened to my deep frustrations, which has been quite healing for me.  I hope many will read this book and be a similar blessing to other disabled people.”--Carlyle King, Disabled and Autistic Advocate

“In just over an hour (which is all the time it took me read “Disability and Inclusive Communities"), author Kevin Timpe introduced me to brothers and sisters in Christ who have every reason to reject the church, yet have not. Instead, their rejection has often come from the church itself. This ought not be the case. This is a must-read for any Christian who believes the church has figured out inclusion and disability. It will make you mad, ashamed, repentant, and hopeful. Reading it prompted me toward, as Timpe suggests, “radical and deliberate reorientation of our communities.” I pray that God will use this lean but compelling manuscript to begin a redemptive reorientation of our churches and society.”--Daniel Vander Plaats, Director of Advancement at Elim Christian Services and Member, Advisory Committee, CRC/RCA Disability Concerns

 "This mighty little book is as deeply personal as it is sweeping in scope. Speaking with clarity and care from his personal experience as the parent of a child with a disability, Professor Timpe takes us on a guided tour of the terrain of disability rights, highlighting the progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done if we are to build a world that values everyone. In a single sitting, Disability and Inclusive Communities could set someone on the path to the kind of 'radical and deliberate reorientation of our communities' that is being called for."--Leah Smith, MPA, Center for Disability Rights, Rochester, NY

“Timpe’s work in this book is not only timely, careful and important - it is also a generous invitation, to see ourselves and our communities in a new light. He invites the reader to ask and imagine together what communion is, and how it is made richer, fuller - more truly communion - by inclusion rather than exclusion. I appreciate his clarity, his philosophical reflection, and the warmth that comes through his writing voice. In reading this book, I come away with more appreciation for the work that can and should and is being done to make spaces more inclusive - to make tables where everyone has a place to join.”--Hilary Yancey, author of Forgiving God, mother, and philosopher

About the Author

Kevin Timpe currently holds the William H. Jellema Chair in Christian Philosophy at Calvin College. He has been a visiting faculty or scholar at Calvin Theological Seminary, Innsbruck University, Oxford University, and Peking University. He's written and edited ten books and published nearly 50 articles. Most of his scholarly writing focuses on issues of free will, virtue ethics, philosophical theology, and the philosophy of disability. He’s also the founder and president of 22 Advocacy, which engages in educational advocacy for students with disabilities in public schools. Kevin has spoken on disability to both academic and lay audiences around the world.


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