Thursday, September 11, 2008


I was afraid you might not see this.

September 10, 2008

The Importance of Trig Being-- By Michael Gerson

WASHINGTON -- In addition to Barack Obama making history as the first African-American to be nominated for president and Sarah Palin taking her shotgun to the glass ceiling, there was a third civil rights barrier broken at the political conventions this year.
Trig Paxson Van Palin -- pronounced by his mother "beautiful" and "perfect" and applauded at center stage of the Republican convention -- smashed the chromosomal barrier. And it was all the more moving for the innocence and indifference of this 4-month-old civil rights leader.

It was not always this way. When John F. Kennedy's younger sister Rosemary was born mentally disabled in 1918, it was treated as a family secret. For decades Rosemary was hidden as a "childhood victim of spinal meningitis." Joseph Kennedy subjected his daughter to a destructive lobotomy at age 23. It was the remarkable Eunice Kennedy Shriver who talked openly of her sister's condition in 1962 and went on to found the Special Olympics as a summer camp in her backyard -- part of a great social movement of compassion and inclusion.

[From me] You'll find the rest of this outstanding article here.... and what is said of Trig is true of any 'special needs' child as the Burlesons have learned.

Thank you mister Gerson.

Paul B.


Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing. This is absolutely right on!

I can't agree with the neocon agenda, (and the fruit of that agenda so far) and therefore won't be voting Republican this year. But valuing Trig as much as anyone else is extremely important and groundbreaking as Mr. Gerson suggests. The fact that it's groundbreaking is an unfortunate commentary on our current culture.

Anyway, thanks for sharing that thoughtful article.

Paul Burleson said...


Thanks for commenting.

I had never heard of Gerson before I read his thoughtful article on our newspaper's editorial page. I believed it too good to not pass around.

I'd be interested in your understanding of the 'neocon agenda and it's fruits.' Please be free to comment here on that if you would.

I read your post on "Relationship Deal-Buster" and concur wholeheartedly. I would hear you speaking on any political issues in that spirit. I'm a bit ignorant of that topic though I've just read an article by a Frank Gaffney written immediately after the elections of 04. His name and organization were unknown to me until now. I'm interested in your view.

I realize it is political but it would be interesting to hear from you. With our understanding of the basis of relationship building it's safe to talk a bit about it from my perspective. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would have likely missed this and am so glad I didn't. Tara, my lovely wife, is an occupational therapist who works with special needs children. For years I appreciated what she did, but I really struggled to relate. It wasn't until God grabbed hold of me through a disabled child in South Africa that I truly saw God's perfection in and through each individual in His creation.

Paul Burleson said...


My own awakening came in my first pastorate in the late fifties when I took a visiting evangelist to eat in the home of some church members who had three or four children one of whom was wheelchair bound and unable to talk much at all. I was a young, inexperienced and somewhat ignorant young pastor and didn't know how to relate to such a child.

After the supper ended and we left, the visiting evangelist said to me something that changed my life. This was well before political correctness remember. He said "Paul, I noticed you were uncomfortable trying to introduce the little girl to me. I would suggest you see that kind of person as really special, because they are, and communicate that specialness directly to them. Parents ALWAYS appreciate those who recognize what is hard to see by most people though most parents certainly see it.

I heard. I learned. I can now say I have for years related to special people in a special way and it isn't to win the confidence of their family at all. It is because I believe what was written in the article.

Little did I know that I would one day have a special granddaughter that I would be able to lavish that affection on. I do and I'm blessed with a special girl for a grandchild.

Anonymous said...

I am so thakful for your comments.. and for what Trig brings to our discussions. When I was a Christian Ed. Director many years ago, I had a family come to church with a Downs child. I welcomed her and she was introduced and became part of the Sunday school for her age. (She is a very special young woman today.) Anyway, her Mom came to me and thanked me for welcoming her and accepting her, and then broke my heart by telling me we were the first church to do that, and that every other church they had visited wanted her separated from the other children. I couldn't help think of Jesus welcoming all children.

I thought this kind of stuff was finally the past, but just a few weeks ago I had a discussion with a friend who was attending a Bible college, her emphasis being Childrens Ministry. In class, the professor told them to set up "special classes" for any child with special needs and not to include them in their regular Sunday school. My friend is the ministry leader at her church for the children, and has many children with special needs, including a few in wheelchairs with cerebral palsy. She argued her point that they should be included and made to feel part of the body and welcome, and she was vehemently disagreed with. In this day and age? In the church? In a Bible college? Lord help us! She has left that college... can you blame her?

Kate J

Paul Burleson said...

Kate J,


My granddaughter just graduated from Norman [Oklahoma] highschool and was in the regular class of seniors. It was a special challenge and was a bit uncomfortable for some I'm sure, but a blessing to all if what we observed is true. She sang in the choir, ran for class office, [and won but turned it down because she wouldn't be able to function adequately to do the job] and generally grew in the experience.

This was the little infant that immediately after her birth the doctors said, because of extreme and severe spinal and brain deformities and malfunctions, was not a viable human being and should be allowed to expire because she would never know anyone or be able to communicate with anyone.

They were wrong. She does.

It takes a special person to see the perfect beauty and wonder of children that are not perfect and beautiful in the same way as others. That's what impresses me about Sara Palin and I could care less at this moment whether she is elected to office or not. I'm just grateful she is a representative [as is Todd the First Dude] of the Kingdom of God.

I could desire for all local churches to have that same eye for the sacredness and specialness of every person.

20Birds said...

ahem, signing in as the Mom mentioned above by Kate J... I had my world shattered when Jenni was born , but God told me that the mind of Christ was for anyone... and i began to pray that for my daughter, that she would have the mind of Christ, and as my first born she changed the way i parented all my future children, that became my focus, my hearts desire... Jenni changed the course of our family... she is humble, puts others before herself, prays like a special Ops agent... i mean she does serious damage to the enemy, she will not begin her day without reading her Bible and taking notes... asking God to give her verses for specific people...thank you for sharing the article.. and Kate thanks for always being a step ahead of the crowd, for standing up for the ones the church often forgets...

Paul Burleson said...


It's obvious to me that God gave you [and the family] a special gift when He gave Jenni to you. It is just as obvious to me that God gave Jenni [and the family] a special gift when He gave you to them. Thanks for commenting.

I never cease to be amazed how Kingdom living turn normal things upside down and, thus, makes what looks like abject tragedy into incredible glory. That's just the way our Great Heavenly Father seems to do things.

Aussie John said...


Appreciated your article very much.

During my years in pastoral ministry I have had some of these very special people to relate to. Their capacity to love is so amazing. Their capacity to look on another without prejudice is breathtaking. I could go on with the superlatives, but I won't, you get my drift.

I thank God for them. They taught me much.