Guest / Limited Access /

Some years ago, native Texan Tony Welty turned away from the corporate world and became an Anglican priest. The associate rector of Saint George's in Nashville has now penned his first book—a slender and deeply moving children's title that will rock your world if you let it.

Books for siblings or parents of children with special needs often fail to capture our imagination in their clinical focus on therapy, outcomes, and life strategies. Welty's story about a buck-toothed, cross-eyed butterfly boarding the bus on the first day of school packs an emotional wallop for a book that can be read in the time it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn.

"It only took a moment / For Lonnie [the driver] to realize / The something very special / In Ricardo's criss-crossed eyes," Welty writes. "Here was one who would love / Love fiercely to the end. / In all the world one wouldn't find / A better, best good friend."

As the father of a child with Down syndrome, many times I have watched perplexed adults and children attempt to interact with my son, Mathias, only to see the situation transformed when he embraces the moment, proclaiming: "Love you!"

Ricardo, in his passion for life, poses a great challenge to Christians. How best can we include an exceptional person into the mission of the church? How can we view him or her as a contributor and not just a client who needs services? Welty's vision embodied in the fierce love of Ricardo points us to a new pathway.



Related Elsewhere:

Ricardo the Fierce is available from Amazon.com and other retailers.

Other reviews of books about mental disabilities include:

Looking for the 'I' | What happens to the self when the brain is injured or malformed? (Books & Culture, August 1, 2003)
Idiots, Imbeciles, Cretins ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Don't Mess with Missions
Paradigms in Conflict argues against changing missionary theories and practice.
RecommendedWhen Prolonging Life Means Prolonging Suffering
When Prolonging Life Means Prolonging Suffering
A trauma surgeon on when letting go of our loved ones is the most God-honoring thing we can do.
TrendingOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Editor's PickHow Science Became a Weapon in the Mommy Wars
How Science Became a Weapon in the Mommy Wars
Peer-reviewed research intensifies parenting debates… and can leave us even more confused.
Christianity Today
Ricardo the Fierce
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.