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Monday, June 9, 2008

Deaf Culture and Ministry

I am bold facing the key points in this study. At the end we will have questions for review. It won't be hard, anything you don't remember you can continue to talk about with your family until it becomes a part of your knowledge. It's very important to not just read about the deaf, but to have the 'knowledge' of their culture to the point of being able to understand them as if we were deaf ourselves. This takes time. Notes in red are by Sisterlisa for the purpose of ministry. We will have more lessons in the future about deaf culture and history.

Deaf Culture (1)

by William Vicars, Ed.D.
Sept. 18, 2006

Deaf Culture consists of the norms, beliefs, values, and mores shared by members of the Deaf Community.

Note: the term "mores" means: "The accepted traditional customs, moral attitudes, manners and ways of a particular social group." -- dictionary.com

Culturally Deaf people in America use American Sign Language(ASL). We love to swap stories about Gallaudet University, and the various state residential schools for the deaf. We value deaf children and our Deaf heritage. We hate the thought of anything that would destroy our Deaf world. We believe that it is fine to be deaf. If given the chance to become hearing, most of us would choose to remain Deaf. We tend to congregate around the kitchen table rather than the living room sofa because the lighting is better in the kitchen. Our good-byes take nearly forever, and our hello's often consist of serious hugs. When two of us meet for the first time we tend to exchange detailed biographies and describe our social circles in considerable depth.

In general, the global "Deaf Community" consists of those deaf and hard of hearing people throughout the world who use sign language and share in deaf culture. Hearing family members, friends, interpreters, and others are also part of this community to the extent that they use sign language and share in the culture. (It is very important that we learn their culture in order to be part of their world and reach the lost)

As used here in America, the term "Deaf Community" refers to Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, (along with our families, friends, and others), who use ASL and who are culturally Deaf. Being Culturally Deaf means sharing the beliefs, values, traditions, moral attitudes, manners, and ways of the Deaf community. (It is important to keep in mind that sin is not specific to the deaf culture or hearing culture. Sin has passed upon ALL men.) Romans 5:12, " Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

The Deaf World refers to all deaf and hard-of-hearing people and the people with whom we regularly interact. For example: teachers of the deaf, interpreters, audiologists, social workers, religious workers, parents, siblings, etc. They are all part of the Deaf World but not necessarily members of the Deaf Community.

Note: Even though I make a distinction here between the Deaf World and the Deaf Community you can be sure that there are many writers / bloggers who consider those two terms to be interchangeable. Such individuals use the term "Deaf World" to refer to Deaf Community. It is a non-issue really. I'm simply striving to point out that a "community" involves a degree of sharing and interactivity that is more intimate than a "world." Some people also use the term "Deaf World" to refer to "all things experienced by a person who is deaf" or "the world as experienced by a deaf person."

Members of the Deaf Community do not consider themselves to be disabled. They see themselves as a cultural group bonded together by a common language. Members of this community don't want be be hearing! If given a choice the vast majority would choose to remain deaf!

That doesn't mean that there aren't deaf people in the U.S. who consider themselves disabled. There are indeed many, many such individuals, but they are generally not fluent in ASL and are not culturally Deaf, therefore they are generally not members of the "cultural Deaf Community." (For example, An elderly couple in my church never became a part of the deaf community. They preferred to remain among the hearing. Largely due to the sin that is prevalent among the deaf in our community. This is why we must become responsible for reaching the deaf community. Memorize Matthew 28:19-20.)Matthew 28:19-20: "19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Additional notes in red added by Sisterlisa

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1 kind words:

Tina September 3, 2008 at 4:51 AM  

This is very good! We are learning ASL as a family this year. I am going to have my gals read this article.

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