Thursday, January 5, 2017

More Like Love in 2017

I'm re-reading Herman Melville's classic work, "Moby Dick," for the first time in almost 30 years. I was pierced in the early pages as Melville paints a verbal portrait of the story of Jonah - telling how the son of Amittai set out in "willful disobedience to the command of God"  ... because he didn't like the command of God!

God's command was for Jonah to go and preach the gospel of redeeming grace to his enemies - to warn them of the impending danger that hearkened at their heels - in order that they might be saved from it.

Boiled down to the barest bones it was a command for Jonah to go and love his enemies as much as he loved himself. But, the command to love those he loathed was distasteful to Jonah (as it is to us) - so distasteful that he set out to sea in the absolute opposite direction of obedience.

Jonah willfully disobeyed the command of God because it conflicted with his own personal likes and lusts. God's commands often do ... because by nature we're pretty stinkin' selfish (I know I am!). If honest, we're often selfish even in our acts of supposed selfless service - we do them because they make us feel good inside or because (theological horror of horrors) we might errantly think they could possibly produce some kind of "cosmic karma" that will boomerang back around to our own benefit one day. (That's another post for another time!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Isn't Any Evil Evil?

I'm not one who regularly writes about political things. Truth be told I don't think I've ever written about a political thing. However, I am one who regularly writes about Biblical things, and in doing so I often encourage those who call themselves Christian to look at all things (which would include political things) from a Biblical perspective and through a Biblical lens. That's the point of this post. 

This is not a post about a particular candidate (per se), or even about a particular party.  Instead, it's a post about a menacing mantra, a prevalent "proverb", a troubling train of thought that I am being bombarded with via social media, and am hearing more and more in coffee shop conversations as well as in check-out line chatter.  

It's a post about a statement that says a lot about whether we are living our life by principle or by pragmatism.

The statement is this:  "I guess I'll have to vote for the lesser of two evils."   And when it's said by someone I'm left to assume that they really believe that the only two choices they have are between two varying shades of iniquitous evil.  (Sidenote:  if you don't really believe that the choice is between two actual evils you can probably stop reading ... but maybe you should consider selecting a softer synonym.)

In response here's my point for you to ponder: 

Isn't the "lesser of two evils" still an evil?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Angst of Autism: "How Does Autism Feel In Me?"

One of the questions I’m most often asked by parents of people living with autism (and one of the questions I’m honestly most afraid to answer) is “What does autism feel like?”

My fear comes from two places.  

The first is that I never want anyone to take my personal experience of living life on the spectrum as being the universal experience of living life on the spectrum.  My story is just that - my story, and while there are always common denominators in the autistic experience, there is also much diversity.  That’s why they call it a spectrum.  

Dr. Stephen Shore once said, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”  

The specific ways that autism feels and manifests in me may be very different from the specific ways in which it feels and manifests in someone else.  So, I’m sometimes afraid to say how it feels because I don’t want to ever be set up as the autistic standard.

The second source of my fear is that there have been some folks who’ve just not been very nice when they’ve learned what life’s actually like for me.  I’ve been called "crazy," and "cuckoo," and "a couple of fries short of a happy meal."  I’ve been labeled a lunatic and laughed at by those who really should know better.  I’ve had people talk terribly about me behind my back - not knowing that their words would eventually make their way to the front of my face...and more painfully to the center of my heart.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grammar and the Gospel

I grew up the progeny of a professor.  My mom held a PhD in English and taught various forms of that field at the university level.  She was a lover of literature and a guardian of grammar.  In our home, words mattered and the improper use of syntactic structure could get you in as much trouble as the crude use of cursing. 

Mom taught me that grammar is the glue that holds context and content together.  When the glue is improperly applied, meaning can fall apart and crucial pieces of conversation can be lost. We talked often of using accurate articles, properly applied pronouns, and correct verb tense. 

I didn’t care much for those language lessons as a child (particularly not as they were being drilled into me over summer vacation!), but, as the years have rolled on I’ve grown in my gratitude for the phonemic pedagogy of my parent.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Word For the Secret Keepers of the World

My kids have always loved literature. When they were little I would enter our local library with a HUGE wicker laundry basket whose high purpose in life was not much unlike that of a pack mule.  That faithful old basket would bear the books that would become our companions for the next few days.  

It wasn't unusual for us to leave with 50 or more books per trip ... and then return in a few days to do it all over again.  

Through the years I became quite familiar with almost everything in the children's stacks - because we had checked out almost everything in the children's stacks. 

I knew the good books, the bad books, the boring books, and the books that pierced the human heart in poignant ways. 

At the top of my list for poignant piercing parables is a fairy tale written by Kate Coombs. It's called "The Secret Keeper"  and it tells the tale of a single woman named Kalli who (literally) keeps all the secrets of all the people who live in the village of Maldinga.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Scene From My Story Along the Autistic Road to Belief

Everyone has a story.  The details may differ. The settings may not be the same. The tale of one man may look like a divine comedy, while that of another may best align itself with an allegorical adventure.  


Well, I like to think of my story as Greek tragedy meets the Twilight Zone. 

I came crashing on the scene as the result of an adulterous affair.  My birth parents were middle-aged professionals and they weren’t banking on a baby. The introduction of my story would add a whole heap of conflict to the narratives of quite a few other folks.  In response, it was decided that I would be aborted and I narrowly escaped that fate when my birth mom abruptly exited the abortion clinic she had earlier entered, committing to carry me to term - at great personal cost to herself. 

I was adopted, but all was not well. My adoptive mom, a brilliant woman, suffered from mental illness and I sometimes suffered at the hands of that which haunted her.  Years later, after I was married and had children of my own, her paranoia pushed her to cast me out of her life completely - re-orphaning me in the dust. She told me that she no longer loved me and really never had. 

Those are hard words to hear.

At her request, the relationship remained severed until only a few weeks before her death. In God's kindness she allowed me to be with her as she died - even asking me to wash her feet during her final day of clear cognition. Her last words were spoken to me in that moment.  As I kneeled before her with basin and towel in hand, remembering 4 decades of struggle and strife, she simply said, "Please forgive me." 

I did forgive her - because Christ has forgiven me!

My adolescence was spent as an angry atheist.  From my earliest years I had longed to know and understand God, but my constant questions were either met with petty pat answers, calls to blind belief, or hypocritical hubris. Fed up with it all, I turned the page on God in high school and began a new chapter of theistic disdain. That section of my story could best be described as “a dark and stormy night.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

His Absence Changes Everything

This past Friday I was filling out a form that required me to write down the day’s date. 

The date was April 10th, and as is always the case, seeing that date sent a flood of memories surging through my mind.  I shared the following statement on my Facebook page not long after having traveled back through the corridor of time:

“April 10, 1985 ... 30 years ago.

On that date, I was a sophomore in high school - one who'd grown deeply weary of living.  It was a bright and sunny Wednesday outside, but in my heart and head all was bleak and black.
I skipped school that day, after having purchased a bottle full of pills - pills that I thought might finally lead me to a place of peace and rest, for in my life I knew no peace and rest. 
I was a weary young woman who had no hope and I was on the verge of my first true consideration of and attempt at suicide. 
I battled against that bottle for hours, finally flinging it aside - not from a place of faith that things would get better in life, but from one of fear that I might fail in my attempt and find myself in even worse straits than the current moment contained.
While my reason for remaining wasn't the best (and wouldn't truly be resolved until years later when once again I sat in a suicidal state and was met by the saving mercy of Christ), I am thankful for the fear that foiled my foolishness.
Today, 30 years later,  I'm thankful for April 10, 2015 - thankful that I'm even here to write this post, thankful for all the other manifold moments of mercy that have met me, and thankful for the sovereign grace of God that has kept me. HE is why I am here."

The comments on my page resounded with cries of thanksgiving, gladness, joy, and praise. 

The post was seen as good news in the face of what could have been the most macabre of moments.
The next evening, while scanning my Facebook news feed, I ran across a post from an old high school friend.  I was surprised to see that it was a “cut and paste” version of the quote above. 

What had been “cut” was any record of my Redeemer.  

Here’s how it read:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pitfalls & Pathways to Grasping the Gospel: Lessons From the Life of a Saint on the Spectrum

Below you'll find a video version of a workshop I presented at "The Accessible Kingdom Conference" which was sponsored by Joni & Friends and MNA's Special Needs Ministry.

It was an honor to be involved in this event and a privilege to be asked to speak on the important issue of autism and evangelism.  
Here is a copy of the YouTube link if that is easier for you ( and I've also included a print version of the workshop in the "read more" section if that is more helpful.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Personal Reflection About "When Church Hurts," Because Often It Does

A good friend, who knows our family's fierce battle to survive Sunday morning church amidst the angst of autism, recently shared a blog article entitled "When Church Hurts." You can read it here and it would be well worth your time to do so. 

Being autistic, I regularly receive messages from families who are literally warring their way through the issues of church attendance and autism. Many of those families finally just give up and quit going to church all together. They're tired - really tired. I understand their exhaustion and I can sympathize with the things that have driven them to eventually cave in to quitting.  

The things that this blogger/mother references are very real for those of us who live life on the spectrum, and it would seem that these church challenges are pretty stinkin' pandemic. It grieves my heart. (By the way - before any of you jump my ecclesiastical jugular, let me say that I don't agree with everything that the blogger says in her post, but I do understand the struggles her family faces. Please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater for perhaps through her post you will begin to understand as well.) 

Our son Josh has made great strides where worship is concerned, even in the past few months. But, church is still terribly trying for him - it's terribly trying even in spite of the fact that we have a very low sensory stressing service at Redeemer.  Many of the issues raised and most of the examples given in the article have been our reality every single week since our son was 2 1/2 years old - many years before we knew autism to be the driving force behind his struggle (as well as behind my own).

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Fruitless Fig, a Cursing Christ, and How Picasso and Rembrandt Can Help Us Understand

In spite of all the enmity and antagonism He'd just faced after turning tables in the temple, Jesus got up the next morning and headed right back into the thick of things. There was still important work to be done and those clerics who were critics wouldn't keep Him from His calling.

Matthew Henry writes:  "We must never be driven off from our duty either by the malice of our foes or the unkindness of our friends."

Wise words! Words I need to heed!

How often have I caved because of someone's cruelty?  How often have I packed up my toys and headed home because someone didn't play nice with me?  How often have I just given up on doing the caring thing because someone did an unkind thing?  

Sadly, too many times.

Thankfully my Savior was and is much more tolerant and tenacious than I, or I'd still be dead in my sins!!

Think about it, the all-knowing Jesus knew full well that arrest and trial, mocking and scourging, even pain and death awaited Him from that place and from those people.  There would be MUCH malice, but He would not be moved from His mission! 

Jesus had come to die for His enemies and sacrifice Himself to save sinners - and nothing and no one would stop Him!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Turning Tables to Reform and to Redeem

When Christ the King came into His city He didn't parade into a palace and plop down on a throne. He didn't rush to a regal hall or head to a house of state. No, Jesus made a bee line for the temple - because His rule was to be religious and His kingdom spiritual.

Christ came to reform His church and to redeem His people, and thus He went straight-a-way to the place where God's business should have been going on.  What He found there seemed to be anything but holy labor.  The house of God wasn't filled with priests praying for the poor, it was overflowing with priests praying on the poor.  

The house of prayer had become a den of thieves, and Jesus was about to teach the priestly peddlers a lesson or two by overturning a table or two! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Monarch Like No Other Man

History is replete with portraits of proud potentates.  There are narcissists like Napoleon, Caligula, and Herod the Great; egomaniacs like Timur-e Lang (the Mongol lord), Qin Shi Huang (the first Chinese emperor), and Nero (the rowdy Roman "demigod"); as well as the extremely extravagant such as George IV, Louis the XIV, and James I.  

All these men loved applause, and power, and they regularly sought the spotlight.

History tell us of another King, One who was very much unlike any of these others.  His name was Jesus, and as the events surrounding His public "coronation" unfold, I am struck with just how different from all other dignitaries He truly was ... and still remains!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Never Too Busy for a Beggar

Leaving Jericho, Jesus was headed to Jerusalem.  

The triumphal entry, planned from eternity past as a type of coronation for Calvary's King, was probably less than a day away. 

After that, there would be a temple to cleanse, parables to teach, Pharisees to put in their place, a Passover to prepare, a new Supper to institute, feet to wash, a friend to be betrayed by, an arrest to endure, a trial to face, a scourging to receive, a cross to carry, and an almost innumerable number of people to die for. 

The most significant event in all of history, the crucifixion of Christ - where the Son of God would be slain for sinners, was to happen before this week drew to a close. 

There was much to do.  M U C H  to do! 

Have you ever been at the beginning of one of those weeks where the calendar is just overflowing with fullness? The events of the days ahead are critical ones.  The things that you must do will have far reaching affects on others.  There will be little time for sleep and not a second to spare. "Tick tock. Tickety tock!"  Every moment can seem manic because you've just  so  much  to  do!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Cause and Cure for Quarreling

The lust for power, pleasure and preference can cause all kinds of problems. Our wants lead to wars.  Our desires do damage.  Our flesh starts fights. Our cravings bring conflict. 

James (the same James from my last post - the one who selfishly wanted the best seat in heaven's house) understood this.  He wrote:
"What causes quarrels and conflicts among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war within? You desire and do not have; so you commit murder.  You covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel."  (James 4:1-2)

James knew that passions within are the things that lead to problems without, and I'm pretty sure he learned the lesson from Jesus. It seems the great Teacher was often schooling His students in the subjects of selfish hearts and the need for improving interpersonal relationships.

Rodney King wondered "why can't we all just get along?" and Jesus gives us the answer.  In Matthew 20 He gives us a glimpse into the cause of quarreling and offers to us the cure.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Seeking the Best Seat in Heaven's House

Our society seeks success.  We can be crass creatures of competition. Chomping to eat others in our jobs. Chanting to defeat others with our teams. Choosing to cheat others in order to get our way and achieve our goal.  

We're proud people who far too often mistake our own merit.  
"I deserve that dignity!" 
"I've earned that honor!"  
"I'm owed that award!"  

In our craving of the crown we may knock out our neighbor, sell out our sister, and throw our brother under the bus.  And for what?  All that we might secure the best seat in the house - the place of preeminence where others' eyes might look upon us and marvel at just how wonderful we are. 

Now, you might be thinking, "Oh, the wicked world!!  How terribly they can treat one another!" 

And at times it's true, they do!  

But is the church a whole lot different?  
Are Christians free from the tentacles of this temptation?  
Are pastors immune?
Do sheep and shepherds ever become carnivorous cannibals?
Do I ever hurt you in order to help myself?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Good 'Nuff for Glory (?)

Without question, one of my favorite New Testament narratives is the account of the rich young ruler's conversation with Christ.  

Here is a young man pondering perhaps the most important issue any of us ever can - the issue of eternal life. Here is a rich man, one who has so many things of temporal worth, actually pausing to contemplate things of eternal value.  

We'd do well to contemplate with him.

People regularly came and asked Jesus questions.  Often it was the Pharisees, but sadly they came with queries that sought to trick and trap the Messiah. This dude seems different.  He comes humbly and respectfully. In his words, posture, considerations and cogitations he appears unique. When he approaches Jesus it is not to tempt, but to be taught. 

We could learn a thing or two from him.
We can learn a lot more from the One to whom he talks!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Carrying Our Kids to Christ

Opposition can come from the strangest places; discouragement from the oddest sources; and both at the most unexpected times. 

When someone is seeking the Savior you would presume that the Savior's servants would be excited. But that's not always the case. 
Sadly there are times when ministers can be mean, congregants cruel, and leaders just plain lousy. There are times, if we're honest, when you and I may be much more of a discourager than an encourager to a soul on their journey to Jesus.  

In Matthew 19:13-15 we are told of a time when a group of children were brought to Jesus in order that He might lay His hands on them and pray.  Sounds like a good thing, but that good thing was oddly disdained by the disciples - disdained to the point that they began to rebuke the parents for carrying their kids to Christ! 

Crazy, huh?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hardness of Heart and the Ruin of Relationships

Modern divorce rates are high. The last official statistic I found from the CDC was that somewhere around 50% of marriages now end in divorce. In the arena of special needs, where my own family exists, the rates are even higher - hovering around the 80% mark (often due to the weight of physical and emotional burden that husband and wife carry). These are heartbreaking figures, and they result in heartbroken lives. 

Sure, living under the same roof can be rough and marriage can be hard, but then again, since the fall, what relationship isn't? 

Parents and progeny fuss and fight. 
Friends become foes. 
Churches split.  
Relationships rupture.
Many marriages are a mess.

This morning, my quiet time took me to Matthew 19 and a section on divorce.  In the text, a group of Pharisees have come up to try and trick Jesus – as was their custom.  They toss out a question about whether divorce is or isn’t lawful (and lawful “for any cause at all”) and then misquote Moses hoping to trip and trap my Lord.

As is always the case, they fail in their folly.  How do you ever outsmart omniscience?  Jesus does a beautiful job of correcting their twisted teaching by driving them all the way back to the institution of marriage  - marriage before sin made a mess of it.  He looks at the original portrait of the Master rather than the marred imitation of the impostor. 

There’s much I could write on this, but today’s post is actually not one on marriage per se, or about divorce in particular – though it clearly has a ripple effect on both.

This is a post about hard hearts.  My hard heart, your hard heart, the ravaging effect of hard hearts, and ultimately about the One who changes hard hearts.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Parable of Pardon

"Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea...                                             
...until they have to forgive someone!”  

Those words of C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, hit me hard as I read them.  

Selfishly, I want to be forgiven. 
Sadly, I don’t always want to forgive. 

More often than I wish to admit, I’m pretty pitiful at pardoning and fairly fickle with forgiving.  While Peter asked Jesus just how much he had to forgive a sinning brother, I seem to be often guilty of wondering just how little must I?

Forgiving can be a hard thing, but as we grow weary let us remember that forgiving is a gospel thing.

According to the Bible we are called to forgive fully and freely because in Christ we've been forgiven fully and freely.  Driving that idea home, Lewis wrote in another book (The Weight of Glory) that “to be a Christian is to be willing to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

I’m not sure that this picture is portrayed in any more piercing fashion than it is in the story of “The Unmerciful Servant.”  This is a parable of pardon and it is one that convicts me to the core.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Just How Much??

Over the course of my life many of its circumstances have forced me to really wrestle through the concept of forgiveness. 

Friends have failed. Family has bailed.  How am I to respond?   

I’ve been wronged - should I forgive?
I’ve been abandoned - can I forgive? 
I’ve been betrayed - will I forgive?
I’ve been abused – must I forgive?

Forgiveness can be a tough teaching because, if I'm really honest, forgiveness goes against the grain of my nature.  

When you push me, my natural response is to push back.  
When you talk about me, my innate reaction is to talk about you.  
When you walk away from me my first reflex is not to walk towards you... 
     ...well, at least it’s not to walk towards you with Christ like love.  Sadly, if truth be told it may be to walk towards you with balled up fist much more than with outstretched arm!  

I often don't feel like forgiving.

Yet, in spite of my feelings, God’s Word tells me to forgive.  Over and over and over it tells me to forgive!
In response I ask, “Well, how much, God?  JUST HOW MUCH do I have to forgive THAT person who did THOSE things to me??” 
Or if more honestly stated, perhaps the real question is “just how little forgiveness can I get away with?”

Monday, April 28, 2014

Interviewing Autism (A Christian Perspective) - Part 5 - Autism & The Church: Wrap Up, Resources, & Questions From a Parent

Previous Links:
Part 1: Interviewing Autism - "An Introduction to My Life, Conversion, & Diagnosis" 

Part 2: Interviewing Autism - "An Overview of Autsim As It Manifests in Me" 

Part 3: Interviewing Autism -  "The Challenges to & Benefits of Faith as Well as Some Tallk About Tangibles"

Part 4: Interviewing Autism "Autism & The Church : Serving Not Severing"

What are things that Christians and the church should be sensitive to in ministering to autistic people?  I think we’ve touched on quite a few of these things in other questions and therefore trust that some deducing can be done from those answers. There is however, one almost humorous thing that immediately comes to mind - primarily because I hear so many people who live with autism talk about it.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Interviewing Autism (A Christian Perspective) - Part 4 - Autism & The Church: Serving & Not Severing

Previous links:
Part 1: Interviewing Autism - "An Introduction  to My Life, Conversion, & Diagnosis" 

Part 2: Interviewing Autism -  "An Overview of Autism As It Manifests In Me.

Part 3: Interviewing Autism - "The Challenges to and Benefits of Faith As Well As Some Talk About Tangibles" 

In what way can the church serve autistic believers better? And what about reaching out to autistics that are unbelievers?  David, there are so many things that could and should be addressed in this question. People with autism and their families face such a plethora of challenges in the church setting.  This one interrogative is an absolute interview all its own. 

Rather than exposing all of the nuts and bolts of the specific struggles those with autism could use encouragement with (struggles such as trying to make it through, or even into a worship service; struggles to partake of the Lord’s Supper due to sensory or conscience conflicts; or struggles to figure out how to connect with those in the congregation) let me lay a more foundational answer to this question.

I sincerely believe that the starting place for the church to serve is for the church to seek to understand.

In the past 6 months I have had a number of conversations with adult on the spectrum, with parents of children on the spectrum, with pastors of parishioners on the spectrum, and with elders who are called to shepherd sheep on the spectrum.  Those conversations have revealed a lot to me about autism and the church.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Interviewing Autism (A Christian Perspective) - Part 3 - Living With Autism: The Challenges to & Benefits of Faith, as Well as Some Talk About Tangibles

Previous links:
Part 1: Interviewing Autism - "An Introduction To My Life, Conversion, & Diagnosis" 

Part 2: Interviewing Autism - "An Overview of Autism As It Manifests in Me

In what ways has being diagnosed with autism challenged your Christian faith? You know, David, I don’t know that I can say that the actual diagnosis of autism has been a challenge to my Christian faith.  Instead, discovering the truth of autism within me has actually been an incredible encouragement to my faith.

The diagnosis has finally solved some of the mysteries of my life and faith journey. It has granted me a greater understanding of this thorn in my flesh that at times wars against my spirit, and now gives me an anchor which helps to moor me against the assaulting doubts when they begin to rise.

I now understand the physiological and psychological wiring that makes doubt a greater temptation for me than it may be for others.  My battle to believe actually makes some sense now and thus the diagnosis has granted me an additional helpful hook on which I am able to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.  Autism has explained so many of the dark shadows that have always served as haunting apparitions upon my soul and psyche and in an interesting way the diagnosis has served as a catalyst to enable me to settle into Christ more easily.  For that I am grateful.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Interviewing Autism (A Christian Perspective) - Part 2 - Living With Autism: An Overview of Autism as It Manifests in Me

Previous Link
Part 1: Interviewing Autism - "An Introduction to My Life, Conversion, & Diagnosis"

Autism covers a wide spectrum of symptoms. Can you describe your own experience of it?  Thank you, David, for bringing up the idea of the wide spectrum. This is a crucial point to consider if our conversation here is to be truly helpful.  It is crucial because I will be speaking to you from my spot on the spectrum and not presuming to speak for all spots on the spectrum. It has been said that “if you’ve met one person who lives with autism, you’ve met one person who lives with autism!"  I take that a bit farther and say, “ if you’ve met one of us on Tuesday, just wait, Wednesday’s coming and something will probably be different with us then!”

The variables between those of us on the autism spectrum are vast and thus my story and my experience may differ greatly from another’s. (I am by no means the standard bearer.)  Along this spectrum you’ll find such “labels” as autistic disorder, rett syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS).  You’ll find folks with autism who are non-speaking, others who are very verbal, and some who can’t talk but can type up a tantrum. There are the mathematically minded and then there are those to whom math is an utter anathema, but who can slice and dice words like a mental meat grinder.  There is a multiplicity of diversity, but there are some common denominators as well.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Interviewing Autism (A Christian Perspective) - Part 1

A while back, Dr. David Murray tossed some wonderfully thought provoking questions my way in an email interview.  Those questions were about autism (particularly issues of faith and doubt as they relate to it) and about how the church can help. My answers to those questions took up more than a brief blog could handle and we stuck the info on the back burner trying to determine the proper venue for the information. As time has passed, quite a few friends who have had access to this have reminded me that there are incredibly important things here.  I have repeatedly been encouraged to share some of the information, yet have always been a bit hesitant. Despite my hesitancy, at their encouragement. I'm moving forward with sharing this with you now.

Truth be told, there's just not a lot out there dealing with autism from a Christian perspective. There's even less out there that looks at it from a personal Christian perspective - that of a person actually living with autism who is also a believer.  Recent studies suggest that 1 in 68 children are now diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Recognizing that there are many in your communities and congregations who are battling this beast I'd ask you to consider carving out some time to read some of these ramblings.  I'll dish them out to you in several servings. Perhaps they'll help you gain some understanding about our struggles with autism - and perhaps that understanding will be used to encourage you to reach out to some families in your church who live with autism - families who probably need a little bit of help and hope.

Here in Part I a few of the introductory details of my life and diagnosis are dealt with. There is also an incredibly pertinent piece of the puzzle for helping you understand why those living with ASD may seem "disconnected" in this life. Part II begins to deal with the nuts and bolts of the autistic struggle. The remaining parts will continue in that vein. (And as a simple FYI - this is an un-edited personal copy of the interview, so have some mercy!)

Hi Lori, I’m looking forward to getting to know you and to sharing some of your journey with our readers. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself? How old are you, where were you born, what family do you have, and what are your hobbies or interests?
David, thanks so much for the opportunity!  I am 45 years old and grew up in the “booming metropolis” of Cowpens, SC.  I was born in Sumter, SC and the details of how I came to "be" are a picture of the glorious grace and perfect providence of an all-wise and wonderfully kind God - a God who truly works all things (even horribly hard things) together for the good of His children.
I was conceived as the result of an adulterous affair between a single woman and a married man - a married man who had 6 other children!  When they found out that an unplanned child was on the way the decision was made to abort me due to the stigma and inconvenience of the situation.