Australia Christian Living Ethics the Church

The ASK Podcast 11 – Disability, the Church and History

This weeks ASK podcast

Jack Hanrahan-Shirley is a young history student from Sydney. His story is fascinating and moving. We discuss the difficult circumstances of his birth, his Christianity, how the church treats disabled people, his love of history and Sydney Anglicanism.

Also on YouTube here 

The ASK Podcast 10 – Greg Sheridan on Paul – Christianity’s Lenin

The Real ‘Dirty Deal’ – Abortion, Northern Ireland, the BMA, Killing white babies and Sacking the Disability Commissioner


  1. 100% that Sydney Anglicans are too content. I was shocked when I read the following comment of a Sydney Anglican Senior Minister in a recent book “The Mission Before Us: Why Sydney Anglican Church Ministry?”:

    “Sometimes as I sit in cafes or on the train into the city and see the people running around in their work, their study, their shopping, their sport, I feel for Sydney something of what Jesus felt……so many people lost here on our doorstep”

    “Sometimes”??? That Minister is not fuflilling his call until his sometimes becomes “Always”.

  2. Thank you for this podcast. After introducing your guest, Jack Hanrahan-Shirley. You discussed his disability, how to treat people with disability in the church, and then you ignored the disability and had a wonderful discussion in his chosen field, where he is quite able. It touched my heart because I am an Eagle Scout (1967) and my scoutmaster had Cerebral Palsy. Just before I joined, the scout troop had hiked the continental divide (eastern divide) through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennesse / North Carolina. My scoutmaster, Miles Garber, led the entire way, although his body was twisted, walking sideways and sitting sideways while driving, facing the passenger (he drove with his left foot instead of the right and the head jerked to the left – thus the only way to control the car and see down the road). He had difficulty talking and he had facial tics (but never drooling), but when he sang a song around the campfire, he never missed a note. It was impossible to not see the handicap, but we boys knew him as the most abled person we had ever met. He was a forester with the US Forestry Service until CP robbed him of his ability to do his job. The church that sponsored the troop hired him as the custodian. About that time, I was going through my old hometown, and we stopped to pick up scouting patches. My wife found my name in the Eagle book and showed it to our boys. Suddenly, the person helping me with the patches started fumbling around, making excuses. The strange behavior ended when my scoutmaster, Miles Garber, struggled to enter the room by now needing a cane. They noticed what troop I had been in and they called him – the church only being a few blocks away. Thank you for giving me this memory, a memory of the most abled man that I ever knew, in heart, in mind, in passion, and fighting through the “disability” in physical strength as well.

  3. I found this so encouraging as a mum (and fellow Scot in Sydney) with CP. My CP certainly impacts my life and limits it in certain ways but I’m still my kids mum, a worker and soon to be a student again. And most importantly a child of God. Wishing Jack all the very best with his PhD applications etc.

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