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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 17, 2004

Molsberry Reading Describes Coping With Disability

Robert F. Molsberry, senior pastor of the United Church of Christ-Congregational in Grinnell, will read from the memoir "Blindsided by Grace: Entering the World of Disability" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be a free event at the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Molsberry, an energetic pastor, husband, father and triathlete, was nearly killed in a 1997 hit-and-run accident. Now a paraplegic, he has remained active in family, ministry and athletics.

His book reflects on his experience of disability not as a medical condition nor as a tragedy, but as an adventure similar to learning to live in a foreign country.

Molsberry also discusses religious perspectives on disability, which some traditions consider to be a consequence of sin, or an opportunity for miraculous cures.

In his introduction, he writes, "This book is an exploration of my attempt to regenerate the pieces of my life, find meaning in the new me who emerges, and discover insights along the way. I offer it hoping that it will be useful to others facing catastrophic change. If it's valuable at all, the value should transfer to anyone who is adjusting to newly imposed limitations, including those who grieve losses in their lives and those who are aging -- pretty much everybody, wouldn't you say?"

Reviewer Carla Offenburger wrote, "Molsberry leaves nothing to the imagination; covers most questions a disability novice, like myself, would have, and makes no excuses for his own behavior or opinions about his own situation and that of others with disabilities. At minimum, it is an eye-opening and refreshing read. . . .

"Molsberry lifts his story far beyond heartbreaking to a point of triumph, as his reader quickly discovers a man of immense faith, tremendous determination and purpose. It's evident in his preaching and very active ministry. It's also very evident when you see him still riding RAGBRAI -- now on a low-slung bicycle he "pedals" with his hands."

"In 'Blindsided by Grace,' Molsberry tells me countless things I did not know, did not consider or did not appreciate about the world of disability. Literally, with book in hand, I saw my world differently."

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