Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Evening all, Dave here. I am speaking here entirely for my self. Certain events today based on my thoughts on a podcast from New Wine have made me very cross. It seems that some people feel I have been wrong and perhaps I should apologise. I feel in no mood to do so, I shall simply lay out my thoughts and feelings here and let you decide, but first a link to said podcast.  


I am now 57 years old, I was diagnosed with sight loss as far back as 1987. I was registered blind in 2000, became a guide dog owner in 2001.

I trained for priesthood from 1980 - 1983 with the RC Church, was ordained a deacon and was only weeks away from full ordination when I blew the whistle on a priest abusing children and was ordered to leave. 

I have a BA in Theology and Philosophy, I have a BEd In Education and an MA in Access Audit. 

I have had two books published on visual impairment and have been commissioned by Guide Dogs, The RNIB and Action For Blind People in the past to do work on their behalf. I have made a movie on visual impairment and written countless articles and help guides. 

If all of this does not give me the right to speak with some authority on issues of faith and visual impairment, then quite frankly I'm buggered if I know what does.  

In the early days of Disability and Jesus I was dropped and blocked as a friend by the north east regional director of New Wine because I dared to ask disabled people for their thoughts on how accessible their summer camp was, a simple question I have asked many organisations, in no way was New Wine being singled out for unfair treatment. 

I have requested information about the qualifications and experience of their speakers on disability and been studiously ignored. We have often explained the principal of "nothing about us without us" and again have been studiously ignored. 

Please listen to the above podcast, I believe the tone implies that "what else could a blind person do but beg". As you can see from my qualifications and experience, quite a bit actually. 

The subsequent hoo ha on Twitter has been very hurtful to me and I consider it arrogant and unacceptable from such an organisation as New Wine.

I shall not be apologising for my response and would respectfully request that in future they use actual disabled people to speak on such matters.

I am aware that even Bill & Katie may not agree, I don't know as I have not asked them, I'm speaking for myself alone but seldom have I felt like this in response to anything written by a fellow Christian. 

Maybe I am being overly sensitive, only you can decide but my blindness is far too emotive a subject for me to simply back down.



  1. Praying. Because you're right. Praying, because they need insight. Praying because you're hurting and I wish you well.

  2. Thanks Miriam, very much appreciated.

  3. This is a difficult one Dave. I listened very carefully and I think the point they were trying to make was that ministering to people in need was a way of people showing their love for God and the blind man had been included in this group. Being blind in Biblical times did not stop you from being someone like a priest or contributing to society but I suspect that many people may have found it very difficult. This man's reaction tends to indicate that he was a do-er rather than someone who simply waited to be served, probably someone quite like yourself in character perhaps. I think Naomi generalised in a way that she might not have done if she had thought more about the impact her words might have but I suspect she was focussing on the role of the blind man as being someone who could be used to show the glory of God rather than his nature as a human being. I am sorry that they have not responded to your requests - that is discourteous to say the least - and I hope that you can forgive them and help them to learn how their words might be received. Not sure if this will help your hurt or not but hope you feel more positive soon. If you continue to treat them as you would wish to be treated you will be on the right track.

  4. Hi Sue, I have no problem with her intention, the fact is as a non blind person she lacks the authority or understanding and should have consulted with someone who did, time and again we have asked them to use real disabled people, warning them of the hurt that could be caused by not doing so and so today someone was really hurt, sadly that someone is me but rather someone like me than someone more vulnerable. I know Naomi has apologised, that is not what is needed here, what is needed is a commitment to using real disabled people in future, for me nothing less can be acceptable

    1. I can understand what you are saying Dave and this is something you obviously feel very strongly about. I think that possibly not everyone is as confident as you are and for some people the fact that someone is talking about something that affects their life when possibly they don't feel confident enough to put their heads above the parapet is more important than whether they themselves are blind or not. They can then correct or educate the speaker privately if they show that they have a lack of empathy. Does that make sense? Some people may possibly need a voice because they spend so much of their lives being 'different' and don't want to draw more attention to themselves. Hopefully Naomi will be able to learn from you.

    2. Had another thought! I think what I am trying to convey is that you don't want to be typecast as 'the blind guy' when actually you should be cast as the hero sometimes.

    3. I think you get it perfectly Sue. Few blind people are as confident as I am, they would hear this podcast and very possibly this would just force them further in on themselves. This is something I don't think we should allow to happen.

  5. Standing beside you Dave ... always and for all ways. You do not apologize...ever 🌹

  6. Standing beside you Dave ... always and for all ways. You do not apologize...ever 🌹