This past month, Lutherans everywhere celebrated the 500th anniversary of the reformation. Martin Luther publicly challenged the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church. One of the beliefs he challenged was the belief that by making donations to the church, you could buy your way into heaven. Interesting ideas, like paying a toll on the highway of life.
He hoped people would listen, and those who did helped form the Protestant church. One of the not so well-known ideas of the reformation is that it is not a once and done event. Reforming is not one task, it is a set of new behaviors and beliefs that can and should be influenced by new realities.
Think about a simple product, like a refrigerator. When I was a kid they were still called ice boxes because at one time, that is exactly what they were. People had ice delivered to their homes. They put the ice into a box, and that was how food was kept cold. You couldn’t sell one now. They have been reformed.
We closed institutions, not because everything that went on there was bad, but because we now know that we can do better. We all should be constantly reforming. For example, sheltered workshops can be replaced with alternatives which will raise expectations for quality of life for staff and the people seeking supports. That is a fact. It’s already been done by a few pioneers. Both the quality of life of the people supported and the staff in those settings were better. If that is the case, why do we hold on to them? Any reason other than the funds to transition is just not acceptable.
We can and must rethink what is possible, while building hope for every service we offer, and with every life we touch.
In 2018, we have goals to build hope. We will inspire other with our example by the way we work, showing inclusion and positive approaches for everyone.