Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Aspergers Part of the Body of Christ

The Aspergers part of the body of Christ needs more thought. As the church contains men and women, so it also contains neurotypicals and Aspies. Women typically congregate with women and men do likewise with men when socializing.

For Aspies, socializing seems like it needs its own version of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God."

Warning: what's about to follow is both funny and not-so-funny. It's a harsh reality Aspies learn and neurotypicals cannot honestly deny. Aspies are equipped to take things direct, so are not likely to be offended. NTs being accustomed to hints may get upset, but if thought is provoked, then it has done some good.

Aspies… Do not expect to be bound closely together with neurotypical Christians; for what partnership have Aspies and neurotypicals, or what fellowship has hyper-focus with hypo-focus? Or what harmony has complexity with simplicity, or what has a hyper-thinker in common with a hypo-thinker? Or what agreement has the straight-forward with hinters? For we are the hyper-sensitive, hyper-empathetic, hyper-intuitive, hyper-vigilant, hyper-strange part of the body of Christ!

The good news for both neurotypical Christians and Aspie Christians is that the Lord says, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.

The main reason why Aspies can't expect social unity with NTs is because neither will think like the other. Confusion exists both ways. Aspies confuse NTs and NTs confuse Aspies. Cynthia Kim provides this great example when answering What is Neurotypical:

Sometimes NT behavior can be frustrating. For example, you may notice that NTs have a tendency to say something other than what they mean. If you get a new haircut and you’re not sure how it looks on you, don’t bother asking an NT. Most will tell you it looks great, even if it doesn't.

Why? Because when a neurotypical woman asks her friend “how do you like my new haircut?” she isn’t looking for her friend’s opinion, she’s looking for validation. When her friend says, “I love it” she may mean I love your hair, but what she’s really saying is I love you and value you as a person.

So when your NT friend says “how do you like my new haircut?” and you, being your aspie self, reply, “It’s a little short in the back but I like it”, your NT friend hears I secretly hate you and think you’re ugly.

Confusing, I know.

And good luck getting an opinion out of an NT when you really need one. It may help to preface your question by explicitly stating that you’re seeking an actual, honest-to-God opinion but, even then, the NT’s dogged adherence to socially appropriate behavior may inhibit their ability to say what they’re really thinking. Try to remember that NTs were born this way and their natural sensitivity to what others are thinking and feeling often makes it hard for them to be completely honest.

Don't think confusion will leave, especially when most NTs don't try to understand Asperger's because they don't really have to. These are words from a NT:

Neurotypicals are a huge majority in society and they have each other and can understand and relate to each other and society is "designed" for them, so they have little trouble functioning according to society's expectations. It's easier for them to just ignore the few people who are different from them than to try to understand them. Not understanding aspies has very little consequences for most neurotypicals, so they take the easy way out and don't even try.

At least ignoring those who are different is better than wrongly judging them.
read more "The Aspergers Part of the Body of Christ"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Risk Aspies Face With Church Fellowship

The risk Aspies face with church fellowship need to be realized and respected by neurotypical Christians. This means accepting the decisions Christian Aspies make in regard to church attendance. Most Christian Aspies never find a church where fellowship is a healthy experience for them.

Typical advice to Aspies is, “Be the best you can be.” This reveals the ignorance of knowing most adult Aspies already are being the best they can be. Sadly, that’s not good enough. What’s also unknown by almost all NTs is how dangerous it can be for Aspies to keep trying to be someone they are not. Tony Attwood knows how important it is for Aspies to be true to who they really are, but Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen does not. If he did, he would not say, “More detailed studies are needed…”

This Asperger Ministry wants to encourage Aspies to be the best they can be. This means embrace being different, accept being out of sync with the rest of the world, and don’t expect most NTs to welcome this approach. What’s the risk of not doing so? Suicidal thoughts are 1,000% more likely in adults with Asperger’s.

If Ryo and Craig did this, they probably would not have committed suicide. Caroline (Ryo’s NT mother) would not have been as motivated to explain about Asperger’s and help people understand how different it is from what most of us are used to; how differently people with Asperger’s see and experience the world. Fran (Craig’s NT mother) might have understood how Craig’s “therapy” fueled his suicidal tendency.

Susan said, “Throughout Craig’s life he made herculean, minute-by-minute efforts to become or at least appear normal.” What maybe no one else knows is that he did this because of being warned by one of his therapists, “Being around someone who accepts you as you are ‘messes up’ your therapy.” Ironically, it was when Craig was with someone who accepted him as he was, who he didn’t feel like a failure with, and who genuinely welcomed his company, he removed himself from that environment because of believing his NT therapist more than his Aspie friend who warned him about trying to be somebody he’s not.

Craig once said, “If I don’t receive the approval in gestures when I’m around others in a social environment, then I feel like a complete failure until I remove myself from that environment.” Who could make him feel more like a failure than his therapists? But yet he kept going back to the therapists. The more he went to the ‘mental health’ environment, the worse he got. Going to church can have this same depressing effect.

Ryo’s mother Caroline said, “Maybe if Ryo experienced [your] Christian faith, he would not have committed suicide.” That’s probably true, but having Christian faith doesn’t necessarily mean church fellowship would have been good for him. Ryo needed to be understood; not judged.

Chris says people with AS tend to get very drained by socializing, since it draws on so much of their mental resources. A 46 yr-old Christian Aspie man says we Aspies spend most of our life being judged and misunderstood by NTs. It’s why Aspie Samantha is at her best in the alcove of solitude.

As for other Aspies…

Jenfrog says all her "heathen" friends at work have always been much more tolerant and accepting of her differences than anyone at three different churches has been. She also says no one has been as hurtful to her in her entire life as church people. She’s darn sure that she won't be trusting them with personal information, seeking to build relationships, or foolishly giving too much of herself again. She has seen these things happen with many other people, as well.

Rachel says she sees the looks when she stands off by herself—(thou shalt not interact unless thou art commanded to come)—but her interpretation skills can be a little off, so that group of women at church she sees as a minefield might actually want me to come and chat. Seriously? This is making friends? You can’t kid her.

Lynne says to this day [Sep 29, 2009], she has found very few "religious" people who have truly embodied the beliefs they espoused.  And, she can honestly say, that many of the worst things that have ever been done to her or to people she cared about, have been done by people who professed to be "religious."

Brant Hansen, a host on Christian radio, says his Asperger's syndrome makes him feel like an alien at church. He has grown up in churches and is a Christian. He states, “Feeling out of place at work is one thing. Feeling like an alien at church is a whole other matter. Imagine Mr. Spock at an evangelical Christian tent revival, and you’ll get the idea. And my father is a pastor, so I was in church a lot… It’s true, though, others won’t understand me. I know that. I’m still an alien in the American Christian subculture. Each evening I retreat from it, and I go straight to the Gospels. It's not out of duty that I read about Jesus; it's a respite. I long for it, because I'm awash in two strange and baffling cultures, both the irreligious and religious. And I long for someone I can finally understand, and someone who might finally understand me.”

NT Stephanie, when describing her Aspie daughter’s church experience says, “The most common stumbling block is a negative experience with Christians. Aspies usually want to have contact and relationships with others… Many individuals with Asperger’s believe that, since their schools, jobs or peers had rejected them or made fun of them, surely the church will be a place to find solace and understanding. After all, the Bible commands us to love God, to love people and to follow the golden rule. This sounds like a welcome refuge to individuals who are often socially rejected, misunderstood and ostracized. But too many times, Aspies experience the same rejection in the church.”

Rejection may not appear immediately. TheatreAS was blown away on his first day visiting a new church. People were genuinely interested in him, started conversations with him, and he became part of the group. This never happened to him before. His assessment is limited to one worship service. A congregation may be curious about him when he first arrives, but the reality is this interest almost always fades away after judgments are made.

NT Steve says churches are to identify the gifts, strengths, and talents of Aspies; then offer them opportunities to use them serving in the church. He does not say what Aspies are to do when churches will not acknowledge their gifts, strengths, or talents.

A pastor says his congregation watches his teenage Aspie son. Most do not understand him, but have learned how to “take” him now and be very “sympathetic.” Tolerance with sympathy shows no appreciation for gifts, strengths, or talents. Does the Bible say, “Because I am not neurotypical, I am not a part of the body?” The Bible does not say that, but the way congregations fellowship does.
read more "The Risk Aspies Face With Church Fellowship"

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pathetical Blindness

Pathetical blindness started from biased experts forcefully implanting myths about Aspergers. This ignorance continues to perpetuate. Thank God evidence is finally pouring in to reverse the damage already done. This Asperger Ministry devotes itself to the clean up work. Doing so requires exposing what’s incorrect thinking against what’s correct. Christians need to be meek (teachable, humble) and not gullible. This is not an Aspie pride thing. It is about loving thy neighbor as thyself.

We will begin with this comment by Adam from the post Why Christians Need to Care About Autism (which also needs this ministry’s help):

How would God judge a person with autism, more specifically Asperger's syndrome? Even though someone with Asperger's usually has average or above average intelligence and understands the gospel and the fact that he wants to worship God and be a good Christian, but since people with Asperger's can't socialize or communicate efficiently with others to share or grow themselves in the faith, will God judge them more lightly than say the average, normal human being?

I’m speaking primarily teenagers and adults with Asperger's here. They can try and try to be a Christian but what if they can't progress or get past a certain threshold or barrier because of their disorder, or the inability to see their own shortcomings and usually don't have a clue on how to fix or rise above them. I’m thinking Christian counseling may be one avenue these people could look towards for help?

The article’s subtitle reads What responsibility do believers have for those with special needs? For starters, we have the responsibility to treat others how we would want them to treat us. How many believers would like to be insulted? Would you feel insulted if you were thought of as being an abnormal human being; a defect? Philippians 2:3 tells us to humbly think of others as being better than ourselves.

It is no one’s business to question how God will judge others. His ways are not our ways. He is sovereign and infinite. We’re not. God is good. We’re not. God is the one who saves us. He is able to do anything He desires. He finishes what He starts. It is a sin to question God’s ability or wisdom.

We will be judged for our faith in God. Do we trust and obey Him? Anything that is not of faith is sin. Sin is what God cares about. To claim Aspies can’t socialize or communicate efficiently with others to share or grow in faith reveals ignorance and pride. God never commands anyone to do something He does not enable them to do.

To 'try and try to be a Christian' is the mind-set of a self-righteous person. We are saved by faith; not by works. It is Christ’s righteousness that saves us. The faith to grasp this is a gift from God. God is the potter. We are the clay. Whether one is neurotypical clay or Aspie clay makes no difference. Only God is able to judge the heart.

Let’s not forget Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Aspies have no clue on how to fix their “flaws” or “rise” above them? God is not able to clue in Aspies to what He wants them to fix; nor is He able to sanctify them?

Fact: Asperger individuals do not lack empathy. Asperger’s theory does about-face is just the beginning of information long over-due. In the 1980’s, Uta Frith and Simon Baron-Cohen theorized Aspies lack empathy. Their dehumanizing work spread like fire. They were quick to speak and do not like to listen to what others have to say if what's said crosses their opinion or calls their research into question.

The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism tells how the Intense World theory could transform our understanding of Aspergers. The article reveals a lot about Henry Markram’s Aspie son Kai. Markram says of his son, “Everybody was looking at it (i.e., Aspergers) as if they (i.e., Aspies) have no empathy, no theory of mind. And actually Kai, as awkward as he was, saw through you. He had a much deeper understanding of what really was your intention.

Karla McLaren’s article Autism, empathy, and the mind-blindness of everyday people gives a human vision of autistic humanity. True Christians would value her input. She sums up by saying,

Today in 2015, as I watch my autistic friends creating autism-positive spaces and working for social justice for all disabled people, I witness their gorgeous and deep empathy, their boundless sensitivity, and their love for humanity. They have risen above the dehumanization of biomedical vision, and they can teach us more about empathy than we have ever known before.

Autistic people, pathologized and erased for so long by the mind-blindness of researchers and everyday people, are the only people who can help us truly understand autism from the inside out. It is time for us to embrace autistic people as valuable, worthwhile, and fully human beings with valid and hard-won wisdom.

The church should also appreciate Alex Plank’s interview with Henry and Kamila Markram About The Intense World Theory of Autism. It ends with this wisdom:

For autists, they will learn how to nurture rather than lockup the deep insight and how to contribute these insights to society. We will learn how to help the next generation of autists cope and express their individual genius. For society, we will learn how valuable the autistic community is for society.

Glory be to God!
read more "Pathetical Blindness"

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Suffering with Aspergers?

It’s not accurate to think there is such as thing as suffering with Aspergers. Aspergers is not a disorder, mental illness, or disease. It is a different way of thinking. Who does not suffer from being misunderstood?

Foreign cultures are misunderstood, unless one comprehends their different way of being. American Aspies in a foreign country often times have less difficulty getting along with the neurotypicals there than they do in their native country, especially if they rarely get to know tourists.

Expectations lead to judgments. Judgments may lead to a label. If someone’s way of thinking differently isn’t understood, being able to label him brings comfort. Oh what a tangled web psychiatrists weave sometimes when they create labels for their diagnostic manuals. Take homosexuality for example…

Homosexuality had been officially classified as a mental disorder in the APA's first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-1) in 1952. There it was designated as a "sociopathic personality disturbance." Viewing homosexuality as a mental illness was not controversial back then. Before the DSM-1, practicing homosexuality was known as sin. It still is, but not as commonly so. DSM-II, published in 1968, listed homosexuality as a sexual deviation, but sexual deviations were no longer categorized as a sociopathic personality disturbance. The publication of DSM-II coincided with the emergence of the gay rights movement.

The outcome of Aspergers having been placed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) led to stigmas, myths, and incorrect theories spread about Aspergers. Because of this, too many people ignorantly think Aspergers is something Aspies “suffer” with. Too commonly it’s incorrectly referred to as being a “disorder” or “disease.” For this reason, it is a good thing it is no longer in the DSM and will be removed from the next version of the ICD.

Aspies may seem like social deviants to neurotypicals, but to deviate from the norm is not necessarily a bad thing. If it was, people wouldn’t appreciate those who “think outside the box.” Aspies may think of solutions to problems NTs are not able to.

The worst thing about Asperger’s syndrome is that people can choose to ignore its existence because it’s not something visible to the typical person. This leaves the door wide open for others to endlessly criticize and make fun of someone who thinks differently. For an Aspie to be unaware of AS's existence can be worse than having an awareness of it. Aspies blessed with growing up in a loving family can feel safe and accepted for who they are. It’s hell on earth for Aspies who must endure being raised without an emotional safety haven that accepting and loving family members can provide.

People are not so quick these days to take advantage of, criticize, and/or make fun of someone obviously different physically (e.g., wheelchair bound, blind, deaf, burn victim, etc.). Since AS is so invisible to most people and difficult to prove to those who love to remain ignorant and skeptical (or those who don’t have the mental capacity to comprehend something as complex as AS), AS remains as the last frontier to overcome in regards to bigotry and bias.

It may be accurate to say Aspies are “suffering from NTs.” As one parent of an Aspie child put it, “I thought I would have to teach my son about the world; turns out I have to teach the world about him.”
read more "Suffering with Aspergers?"

Friday, February 27, 2015

Aspergers in Church

Unless an Aspie discloses his Aspergers in church, it’s highly unlikely any neurotypical person will recognize it in him. It will become apparent that the Aspie person is somehow different from the congregation in general. Judgments will be made of the one who is odd. He will be avoided whether or not Aspergers is mentioned.

As the saying goes, it takes one to know one, an Aspie in church most likely will recognize another Aspie there. It may not necessarily happen consciously. Aspies tend to gravitate towards their own kind. People like people like themselves.

Without other Aspies around to fellowship with, most adult Aspies will try to mingle in during social time. Even though this is most difficult when new at a church, it always remains difficult. Never knowing what to say or how to inject oneself into a conversation is more disappointing to an Aspie than to neurotypicals.

Aspie guys in a church usually don’t encounter the same level of stress an Aspie female will. Christian women have expectations which place a lot of tension upon an Asperger Christian. Women are in charge of refreshments and meals. Hosting comes natural to neurotypical ladies. This is not so for the Aspergian ones.

Besides food management, dressing for church isn’t necessarily smooth going for Aspie females. Clothing must be comfortable. Aspies are not ones for being aware of what’s fashionable or what others think about their choices regarding what food to bring for sharing.

When an Aspie likes something, it’s likely to appear often. Changing to something different is unnerving for Aspies. This isn’t just with clothing styles or new recipes, it’s also with socializing.

Aspies do best with one-on-one conversations. Talking casually in a group setting is difficult. Aspies tend to shut down as soon as another person is added to a two-person conversation. To expect an Aspie to host a social event, even if it’s something as simple as a home Bible study, is akin to her going for surgery in a hospital.

Prosopagnosia (face blindness) is common among Aspies. This does not mean Aspies fail to recognize emotions in facial expressions. It means failing to recognize the person when something has been changed. It can be meeting at an unexpected location unfamiliar to where meeting regularly. For example, instead of seeing someone in church, one crosses paths at a shopping mall.

More often prosopagnosia happens when an Aspie sees a person who changed their physical appearance. Examples of this would be: a different hairstyle, growing or removing a beard (or mustache), wearing a hat if one isn’t usually worn (or vice versa), etc.

Changes can have a double-negative impact upon Aspies. It’s bad knowing others feel insulted when you don’t recognize them. It’s also bad when feeling creeped out by not having had time to adjust to a change in someone's physical appearence.

NTs may find it hard to believe, but it’s true that Aspies can even fail to recognize their own parent, spouse, or even long-time sibling! Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but given the right circumstances this happens.

The lighting in a church service isn't usually a difficulty for Aspies to deal with, but sound can be. Some Aspies are exceptionally sensitive to certain sounds. For example, the pitch some women sing in can negatively affect an Aspie's highly sensitive nerves. A headache may result.

All the above should bring awareness to some of the challenges Aspies face from having “invisible”  differences NTs don’t know exist.
read more "Aspergers in Church"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Asperger's Syndrome Explained

Asperger's syndrome is briefly explained in PBS’s episode of Arthur When Carl Met George. A recent Live From Seattle interview did not allow sufficient time for an in-depth response to how accurate this explanation is. It is accurate for children. Aspergers may not be as obvious in adults, especially women. Aspergers is who one is; not what one has or does. A swimmer is a swimmer because he swims. An Aspie is an Aspie regardless of what he or she does.

In this kid’s show George said,

“One of the reasons I like Carl is that he is really honest. He’s also an amazing artist.” 

We get an idea of why it is Aspie males are seen as professors. Arthur has no female version of an Aspie. Few know Aspie females are seen as philosophers. Both genders may be gifted in creativity.

Once an Aspie starts explaining something, it becomes challenging for him to know how much is enough. One suggestion is for the neurotypical person to put up an index finger to let him know when the message has been comprehended, or when there is no desire to hear it. It’s only fair to allow the same courtesy in reverse. Unfortunately, NTs prefer to not respond.

Carl kept on gushing out his knowledge about trains to George when George waved his hand for him to stop. It wasn’t that Carl lacked empathy towards George. Carl was excited and wanted to share his excitement. His intent was not to impress. George did not make Carl feel nervous. George knew Carl was not negatively judgmental. He knew Carl looked for the good things in others and appreciated them, even though George didn’t understand Carl. George respected Carl’s different way of thinking.

Many adult Aspies do get nervous around NTs. Realizing you’re being judged, along with knowing it will likely create misperceptions and future problems, triggers frustration.  This may be the main reason Aspies have to devote nearly every ounce of processing energy they have to decoding the words others say to them. NTs don’t seem to bother to try to understand. Judging and labeling is easier and faster than putting effort towards understanding how Aspies think differently than NTs. Aspies crave to know why for many things. NTs generally don’t.
Aspies learn to expect being ignored by NTs, along with figuring out they’re usually not interested in anything Aspies have to say. An exception to this may be when a NT has a loved one who is an Aspie. This isn’t always the case. There are plenty of NTs with a beloved Aspie in their life who have no desire to hear input from a non-loved Aspie. Those are the ones likely to shove their misguided assumptions about Aspies onto others without any thought or care towards the destructive consequences of their actions. There may be some NTs who are interested in what an Aspie has to say, but they may be too embarrassed to let on they don’t understand.

In this Arthur episode about Aspergers, George is an exceptional friend to Carl. It’s an example of how children can be more accommodating than adults sometimes. In the adult world, George most likely would not like Carl. Adults are more set in their ways. When a NT adult is pushed out of his comfort zone by an Aspie, he most likely will unwittingly build up reasons to dislike the Aspie. This helps him avoid feeling guilty for treating an Aspie in a way he would not like to be treated. Given that most people are NT, this is easy to do.

Also in this episode, Aspies desire,

“You wish the scientists back on earth had given you a guide book to the strange planet but they forgot to pack one so you have to try to learn things all on your own.” 

Aspies are constantly trying to figure things out on their own, especially the older generation. The Golden Rule is confusing to Aspies. When an Aspie treats a NT as he would want to be treated, he may be shunned. Carl was honest about his thoughts on George’s picture of a lion when he told George he doesn’t like brown. Aspies don’t get hints. NTs love them. Even a NT 3-year-old will be far superior with regard to his ability to understand the pretense of others. Aspies need things direct. That’s why it’s easy for NTs to manipulate Aspies and bully them.

Attractive Aspie girls are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of by NT boys, especially if they’re not trained up by the words of scripture. God’s word in the Bible is an Aspie’s best hope against a life filled with mistakes. This is no different for NTs. The truth of the gospel has the power to set character disturbed manipulators free. It also can set victims of bullying free from becoming increasingly neurotic. If the show Arthur was a Christian one, they would have said the scientist who created earth did pack a guide book to the strange planet we live on. The Bible is a guide book for everyone.

The message we need to remember is this:

If we personally reject God’s unmerited love, it will be evident by our contentment to find fault in those whom we don’t like. Whoever would rather forfeit eternal life than give up being self-righteous, foolishly trusts in himself and privily despises others. Only the humble will say, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
read more "Asperger's Syndrome Explained"

Friday, February 20, 2015

Our Interview on KGNW

The outcome of our interview on KGNW, Live From Seattle with Michelle Mendoza last Wednesday, is based on an e-mail from Michelle. Since the Asperger Ministry is based on the east coast and KGNW is on the west coast, we had no way of knowing how it went.

No one outside of KGNW's broadcasting range could hear any part of the show. Their Internet audio feed was experiencing technical difficulties, along with their station and website. Apparently those who were within the station's range missed portions of the interview. The interview will be re-broadcasted.

Here are sections of Michelle's message received on February 20th containing the outcome of the interview, along with other details:

We are at new studios (our 2nd day) we had no internet, trouble with telephones that did not work for the first quarter of the show, our technical difficulties were unprecedented. Because of a line difficulty and having to work out the kinks in our new studio, we must re-broadcast the interview.

Please know that your interview was fantastic! You were interesting, articulate, heart warming. What portion that did actually get out over the air delighted listeners who emailed us that our signal was going in and out and wanted to hear more.

We heard stories of many who are Aspies and their families. They were so grateful that we took the issue on, so excited that there is a ministry dedicated to this issue. Those who had never heard of Asperger's were grateful, they now understood folks that they worked with or knew. 

You impacted people!  Our listeners heard a Christian Aspie who proudly took on challenges, rose up and praised God in them and is using them to help others ditch the stigma and rejoice in who they are.

I pray that this ministry of yours blossoms. 

Michelle asked for an opinion on PBS's episode of Arthur: When Carl Met George explaining about Aspergers. The feedback aired was brief. A more extensive one is in the plans for a future post. (In some countries this episode was called "George and the Missing Puzzle Piece.")

KGNW is the Northwest’s premier Christian teaching and talk station with a 50,000 watt reach that includes all of the greater Seattle Puget Sound area, along with a strong listenership in nearby Canada. We feature world class bible teachers plus experts on a variety of topics ranging from raising families to legal matters, from finances to health, and from building strong marriages to counseling. KGNW provides a platform for national, as well as local hosts, who are all working towards one common goal... to build up the body of Christ.
read more "Our Interview on KGNW"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

God at Work

How does one know when God is at work? A good sign is when things happen that one has no control over. Paul planted churches. Apollos watered them. But it is God who causes the growth. [1 Corinthians 3:6-9]

This Asperger Ministry is a seed designed to bring forth fruit for the nourishment of two different cultures – neurotypicals and Aspies – mainly those within God's family. Its seed is as small as a mustard seed. [Luke 17:6]

There are multiple Apollos' to water this ministry. God's timing is perfect, but sometimes it seems He acts surprisingly fast! Ten days after this ministry began, God worked anonymously.

Last Friday, February 13, the Asperger Ministry received an e-mail from the producer of Live From Seattle with Michelle Mendoza on KGNW 850AM radio. It was an invitation to do an interview about Aspergers, what it is, and about the Asperger Ministry on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at approximately 4:50pm PST/7:50pm EST.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 is International Asperger's Day.

The outcome of this interview will be posted on Friday, February 20th.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Corinthians 4:4] However, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. [Romans 10:17]

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. [Romans 8:5]

This ministry understands the unbelieving mind.
read more "God at Work"

Friday, February 13, 2015

Judgmental Congregation

Church surveys consistently reveal the greatest need in the body of Christ is acceptance, fellowship, and inclusion! This means include and accept everyone.

Quoting a neurotypical's observation (from Joni and Friends, Part 2: Truth for the Church; section 18:15), "If someone comes to me with poor social skills and I reject them, I've sinned - they didn't. So, if the Lord needs to bring people into my life who are somewhat incompetent, who in terms of communication wise are not the greatest, in order to teach me how to be more accepting of people, then that could potentially also be another benefit."

What makes someone think it's Aspies who are incompetent? The neurotypical majority's opinion? What exactly is incompetent about a neuro-A-typical individual? Wouldn't the incompetent one be the person who doesn't know what to do or how to think?

Teddy & Chiliswoman answer the question, "Why do some NT's find people with Asperger's so unlikeable or annoying?" quite accurately by saying, "...they (NTs) do become annoyed - at them self because now they don't know what to say or do. They have to think about how to converse with you (the Aspie). It is no longer natural and ordinary. Some people are so uncomfortable with that that they cannot continue the conversation, others muddle through, and some excel."

Many accuse adult Aspies of creating their own problems. This thought places the blame of rejection on the victim. It is no different than telling a woman who was raped she must have somehow asked for it.

It's commonly said people with Aspergers are anti-social. This perpetuates the notion that Aspies are to blame for lacking fellowship among the church's congregation. Expressing a desire for a prayer partner for an Aspie can result in being told, "There are Christians persecuted in other countries who don’t have a prayer partner." A pastor may also say, "Aspergers is something psychologists made up." Yes, they made the label up. However, things don't need a label in order to exist. Labels are a communication tool.

The church needs Aspies as much as Aspies need the church. God created man in His own image and we are all one in Christ Jesus. The body of Christ is not complete if it does not fellowship with the believers who are a social discomfort. Social discomfort is a two-way street.

The American Association of Christian Counselors includes the post Asperger’s Syndrome and Spirituality. In it, Rev. Stephanie C. Holmes, M.A. recalls a time in her daughter’s life when she was not drawn toward the church or Christians. The reality of many Aspies’ experience with religious hypocrisy grieves her. She explains why individuals with Aspergers need the church to BE the body of Christ.

It is hypocritical to think Asperger individuals are the only ones with poor social skills. What worse social skill is there than to reject a person simply because she may take you out of your comfort zone?
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Feelings Can't Hurt

Feelings can't hurt, but they can direct you towards what is in pain. The ego is fragile. It is capable of encountering painful experiences. It can because it's empty by nature. Because ego is naturally void, it's always busy trying to fill itself up. This is gleaned from Dr. Timothy Keller's 40 min/26 sec audio sermon Blessed Self-forgetfulness.

Feelings are the messenger; not the message. Just because we may not like a message we receive doesn't mean we focus on the messenger to fix it. The source needs attention. In the case of feeling offended by others, others are not the source of offense. Self is.

Others can't make us feel a particular way without our consent. It's relatively easy to push a proud person's buttons.

A truly humble person can't be made to feel hurt or offended. Humility is thinking of yourself less. It is not thinking less of yourself. The more we know how much God loves us, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the less self gets attention.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Everything flows from our heart; not to our heart. When we love God with our entire heart, we must guard that love from other loves seeping in. Anything over-riding our love for God is idolatry.

Our love for God is the root from which the fruit of our love for others ripens. Without this root, our love for others is not agape love. It's selfish and makes our ego vulnerable to pain from external sources. With this root, our ego is not fragile or empty. It will enable us to be strong in the Lord.

Anti-bully legislation sparked by no tolerance for bullies is good, but it isn't the solution. Christ's righteousness is. Those who bully others do so because they are enslaved to their self-pride and their egos are empty. Our worst bully is self-pride.

Bullies are not bullies because they lack knowledge or don't have sufficient intelligence. It's because their hearts are without God's love. Teaching does not stop bullying. A broken heart and contrite spirit, willing to repent and be a new creature in Christ, is what is necessary.

We are to pray for our enemies. If God saves them, that's wonderful. If He doesn't, then that's okay too. He will avenge His enemies. We don't know who they ultimately are, so it's best for us to leave vengeance in God's hands.

It is God's will for us to protect ourselves as much as it is in our power to do so. God gets no glory from us being doormats. What we can't control, He can and will.
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Friday, February 6, 2015

Taking Things Personal

There are two opposite ways of taking things personal. One way displays class. The other way lacks dignity.

1 Peter 4:13 tells us, "to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation." We can only do this by faith and being humble. Meekness is classy.

There is nothing dignified about the flesh. It's human nature to feel hurt when someone rejects us. Generally speaking, Aspies are challenged by this pain more than neurotypicals. We're less successful at making friends. We forget life isn't about us. It's about glorifying God in our sanctification process.
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

God can use what is meant for evil to work together for our good. For example, He can use ROTTENeCARDS to help end a habit of taking rejection personal. A website like ROTTENeCARDS reveals how depraved humanity is. Society is becoming increasingly proud about its shameful attitudes and behavior.

Aspies may often wonder "What did I do wrong now?" when a neurotypical acquaintance does not lead to a friendship. It's possible the NT acquaintance may love worldly ways (2 Corinthians 6:11-18) or he may be uncomfortable having to think about how to converse with an Aspie. A Christian Aspie may be shunned because of Christ and/or because of not being neurotypical.

It's not difficult to offer up the sacrifice of thanksgiving in our tribulations when we have right perspective. If we see by faith the wisdom of trusting God to know what He is doing and realize how foolish it is for us to think we know what's better for our own good than He does, He will make us glad with exceeding joy! Faith is the cause. Joy is the fruit. Being glad isn't the cause of everlasting trust in God. It's the outcome.

We feel like we think. To question our Heavenly Father's ways may seem like it is the result of feeling disturbed. Doubting God is sin. Unbelief is the root of sin. God does not lie. He tells us He is good. Satan wants us to judge God. God wants us to unconditionally trust Him.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

International Asperger Day

Hans Asperger was born on February 18, 1906. February 18th has become International Asperger's Day in honor of this man who identified a certain breed of humans like himself. He had difficulty finding friends and was considered a lonely, remote child. He died on October 21, 1980 at age 74. His work on Asperger's syndrome didn't become popular until a year after he died. Most things that remain famous start doing so after the author or artist is dead.

Postscript added on 1.19.16 – For those who are interesting in getting a highly detailed and accurate eye-opening account of the history on Aspergers, read the award winning 544 page book by Steve Silberman titled NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. He doesn't say as much about its future as he does about its past. However, reading the history informs readers enough for them to get an excellent perspective of how autism and Aspergers is handled by society. The first edition came out on August 25, 2015.
read more "International Asperger Day"