When my wife and I retired and decided to move to Florida we searched for a place near a church with a Deaf ministry. We were not raised as Deaf, but were hearing-impaired most of our lives. Due to family genetics, my wife lost whatever hearing she had and is now deaf (meaning she is now deaf, but not culturally Deaf). Old age and 60+ years of hearing-aid use have worsened my own hearing so I’m now profoundly hearing-impaired.
As believers who follow Jesus, we despaired of finding a church with a vibrant Deaf community. There are many reasons for it:
ASL for “interpreter”
I was fortunate not to be cursed to my face for being deaf or hearing-impaired. Still, I know I require more patience than usual from hearing people. I can’t help it, but because of my hearing loss, I am more aware of and dependent on body language. People may say the right words, but their body language will usually reveal true feelings.
Many years ago when I was young, I was confronted by a hearing person. The boy was a known trouble-maker, and he was looking for trouble. He swore at me, but I was unfazed by his speech. I could see from his body language he did not mean well. But, at that time I did not know any swear words and I stood there puzzled. He was not getting the expected reaction from me. When he found out I did not know, he thought it funny. Because of that, his anger was deflected from me, and I escaped to live another day.
Our family lived in Philadelphia in a big, old house. I was in second grade when I got my first hearing aid. It was so big my mother had to sew pockets inside all my t-shirts to hold it. It came with a 3-wire cord that connected the body piece in my pocket with a small earplug in my ear. It whistled a lot, the result of frequent feedback. But I was a proud owner and kids in my class at school all wanted to see it. I felt acceptance as to who I was. It was a time of innocence for schools and children.
I remember being able to walk to school. School in those days were safe places. In those old days there was no need to worry about school violence. Why now? Fences are built around school buildings. Doors are locked, identification is needed. There is armed security and scanners. Our children are rightly scared of going to school. People argue about how to protect the schools and the best way to do so. What’s different about 2018 and the 1950’s and 1960’s when I was in school?
I was born Deaf, but became deaf through a marvel of technology: the hearing-aid. What’s the difference between Deaf and deaf? Heart language and culture. There is a range in the severity of deafness. Mine was severe enough so I could not hear well enough to use a spoken language. Fortunately, hearing aids became available to me when I was in second grade. They were very large and expensive. With the hearing aid I could learn to speak English with the help of a Speach Therapist. My therapist also taught me how to read lips. English became my heart language, not ASL. So I was able to make my way through public schools. I barely made it to college, but then almost flunked out in my first term. By changing to a different major and minor, I had more teachers who spoke English without an accent. That made all the difference for me. I struggled all the way to graduation. Continue reading
The word “polite” is defined in dictionaries as having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people. I wondered why politeness seems to be disappearing from today’s society. I also wondered what the Bible had to say about being polite. In the ERV translation I found what I was looking for in Titus 3:2. But I also found that different translations rendered the original Greek using different words. It’s a lesson on how to make use of different translations to have a better understanding of the original meaning from Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek. The following excerpts are listed in order by publication date, or last revision. Continue reading