Questioning Our Assumptions


We heard from poet, essayist, teacher, speaker, and thrift-store shopper Heather Lanier. Heather's daughter Fiona has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a genetic condition that results in developmental delays, but that doesn't make her tragic, angelic, or any of the other stereotypes about kids like her. As she shared about the beautiful, complicated, joyful, and hard journey of Raising a Rare Girl, Heather questioned our assumptions about what makes a life "good" or "bad," challenged us to stop fixating on solutions for whatever we deem not "normal," and instead to take life as it comes.

An assistant professor of creative writing at Rowan University, Heather Lanier's work spans a range of subjects, from parenting and disability to pop culture and religion. She is the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks, The Story You Tell Yourself and Heart-Shaped Bed in Hiroshima, along with the nonfiction book, Teaching in the Terrordome: Two Years in West Baltimore with Teach for America, which MacArthur Genius Deborah Meier called "a heart-wrenching much-needed account." Heather has received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Vermont Creation Grant. In her viral Vela Magazine essay, SuperBabies Don't Cry, she chronicles her daughter's diagnosis of a rare chromosomal syndrome and explores the ways pregnant women are pressured to create perfect humans. As a mother and a disability advocate, Heather shines a light on ableist attitudes, encourages readers to see disability as an aspect of diversity, and marvels at the strange beauty of being human.

We invite you to bring a spirit of curiosity to these gatherings, and especially to all aspects of your life and ministry. What are you noticing? Where is Spirit moving? How are you being invited to participate?