Hi, my name is Blake Shelley, and I am a speaker, blogger, and author of an upcoming book. For the last 26 years, I have lived with Cerebral Palsy, commonly known as CP. CP is a disorder that affects my muscle movements, but in no way impacts my intellect. The reason I am making this video is to introduce myself and explain why I speak, why make videos, and ultimately why I am writing a book.
A little bit about me is that I am a graduate of George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. I graduated with a Bachelors in Christian Ministries and have a concentration in Youth Ministry. For the last 5 or 6 years, I have been a director of a local disability ministry called Young Life Capernaum.
You know a lot of people ask me, “Blake, why do you bother making a video blog or for writing a book or going out and doing speaking engagements?” And for me, it is a way for me to impact the community and impact the world through sharing my experiences.
Where are you going to throw your stone?
I was watching a video clip from The Today Show last night, and Kathie Lee Gifford was giving a very touching tribute to her husband, and then she was talking about their trip to the holy land and seeing where David defeated the giant with a stone. She was talking about how the miracle is not that David took down the giant, the miracle was that despite all of his skills, he still chose to have a relationship with a living God and let Him work through David so he could impact the world. And at the end of her tribute, she asked everyone, “Where are you going to throw your stone?”
So, for me, this video blog, the book, the speaking engagements are my way of throwing my stone as far as I can. Now, what do I talk about, what do I write about, that is simple, I talk about my experience not only as a man with Cerebral Palsy, but a young professional, as an entrepreneur, and as a person trying to live my life in the best way possible.
My message is that people need to break free from their chains. This comes from the book Isaiah:
This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’Isaiah 58:6 (MSG)
I want to take this message to every person with a disability, to every person who has ever felt bound by chains, whether that’s circumstances or attitude. We need to break free because people with disabilities are being oppressed. Yes, even In today’s world where we have ADA laws that prevent discrimination and laws to protect us, people like me are being oppressed. I want to help change your view of people with disabilities. I want to help the world by encouraging an attitude of perseverance and inclusion.