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It was this month I bumped into a BBC article highlighting a new word that seems to be doing the rounds at the present: ableism. The article explained: “It’s a single word which people are using instead of the longer phrases “disability discrimination” or “disability prejudice”. Racial discrimination and gender discrimination have their own single words – racism and sexism – and so those ideas can be expressed a little more easily. ” In our “one-touch”, sound bite world, we have come to recognise that there is a whole order of difference between using a single word instead of two.
Reading the story of Job in the Bible, where this god-fearing righteous man has to endure great suffering without being told why, he wraps up by telling us of a huge discovery that he has made, which effectively immersed the whole thing with meaning and worth, he says: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42 Verse 5 This statement reveals that Job has undergone a highly significant step change in his understanding.
He has transitioned from the distant two-word realm of “heard about” to the more intimate single-word realm of “seen”. I wonder, if you would describe yourself as a person of faith, would yours be more akin to a lower-voltage, ecoChristian variety, the type that doesn’t tend to shine very brightly; that lower order two-word strain that only “knows about” God but has not the certainty to respond that it plainly “knows” God? Jeremiah, I think, states the real target well when he says: “…let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me…”. I wonder what our level of “able” is today?