Posted in movie review, Uncategorized

Movie Review: Autistic Driving School

I published this on The Quiet Life, my personal blog, earlier. But with so much negative news out there, such ugly discernment fighting, so much false teaching, dispiriting politics, and just general hate, I thought a breath of fresh air was needed, and I’d post this here too. Because it’s positive, inspiring, and heartfelt.

Autistic Driving School is a 2010 one-hour documentary on Netflix (and perhaps other places too) highlighting Julia Malkin’s founding of a UK driving school that caters to teaching autistic people how to drive. Malkin is autistic herself.

With a driving license comes freedom, something most people want. For autistic teens and young adults however, the challenges of learning to drive safely can seem insurmountable, especially if receiving an instructor with no knowledge of how to teach to their special needs. As was stated in the movie, Autistic people are literal, so there’s no saying ‘take the next left’ because they’re likely to wind up in someone’s garden. Some autistic people do not take instruction or correction well. While some can become excessively distracted, following anything and everything that interests them like a rabbit, others hardly notice anything around them, both of which are a problem when driving. The possibility of becoming overwhelmed and having a meltdown while driving is real. And more.

In comes Julia Malkin.

A woman with autism herself, Julia suffered through years of bullying in school, attempted suicide twice, one at age 16 and another at age 18, suffered through a nervous breakdown at 18, and lived as an adult by subsisting on dead end jobs…until….

Her diagnosis at age 40.

Since then, following her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, Julia started up Excel Driver and Instructor Academy, which expanded rapidly and now helps people with autism learn to drive, provides education support and offers counselling, is still the only one of its kind in the UK.

She has achieved highest honors for her profession as the safest driver in England, earning an OBE, which is “The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry; rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the Civil Service.”

According to the information given at the link, Julia attained four degrees in six years at two separate universities between 2008 and 2015 and became a Doctor of Philosophy, and founded another course of training to train Driving Instructors to teach autistic clients. The UK National Autistic Society shortlisted her as one of three finalists for the National Autistic Society’s award for outstanding achievement by a professional with an autism spectrum disorder.

Wow.

If you listen to Julia on the documentary it’s obvious she is brilliant. She is articulate, passionate, and her powers of observation are astounding. At one point during the movie, she’d been asked to speak out loud what goes through her mind as she drives down the road…her observations of her surroundings combined with lightning fast sifting of that information was remarkable.

The documentary wasn’t about Julia directly though. With sensitivity and compassion, several youths were featured in their process of the two-pronged driving training they must go through to attain a license. There is the book test and the on the road test. Several candidates were followed. Each student spoke of the special challenges unique to autistic drivers, according to the student him or herself, or according to their parents. One young main has set a goal for himself to become a Military Transport driver, so of course passing his first license test was important. But a wrinkle to his story is that his doctor had recommended taking a certain prescription medication for his OCD, but if one is on or has ever taken such a drug, it would immediately disqualify him for ever entering the military in the UK. He had a dilemma. He decided to forego the medication, but the result was he’d have to work even harder to manage his condition while he was on the road.

A 22 year old mother had earned her licence a few years prior, but had lost her nerve to drive. Another, a set of twins, create crafts and wanted to found a business of traveling town to town to fairs and such, selling them.

They all wanted freedom and independence that a driving license would provide.

I found the documentary instructive and interesting. It was produced and edited in such a way that you pull for the students and cheer the inspiring story of Julia. With so little attention paid to adults with Autism, and with so few generally inspiring stories around, this was a documentary I’d recommend as a DON’T MISS!

This is part of the documentary, ‘Autistic Driving School’ which was broadcast on BBC3. It tells the story of Julia Malkin, the most qualified driving instructor in the UK. It shows her battle with autism and her mission of inclusion in education both inside and outside the driver training industry.

Posted in beth moore, john hagee, judge not, prophecy, sarah young

Thoughts about the judge not crowd, fringe prophecy, use of photos, my friend bronchitis

Here are a few updates and thoughts about the blog.

Last October I got the flu. By November it had left me with bronchitis. I’ve been struggling with bronchitis ever since. In November I went to the walk-in clinic and got a course of antibiotics, but it did not defeat the bronchitis. By December, the flu season was in full sway and it was impossible to get seen at the local clinics. I tried three times in person, and once I called for a renewal of the antibiotics. No go. Packed.


In January and February it subsided to manageable levels, and I coughed only infrequently, but was still dragging. The daytime work takes it all out of me and at night it’s only through the strength of the Holy Spirit that I write and study and complete my personal chores around the house. Last week, I got a cold and it revived the bronchitis totally. Yesterday I coughed non-stop. I am home on a sick day today. Even though the course of drugs in November didn’t help, nothing else since has helped either. (Rest, fluids, over the counter remedies, home remedies…) I will likely have to go back to the clinic. I do not like the clinic.

If you notice the photos on the blog, some are labeled “EPrata photo”. I have lots of photos and I like to use them. However you may see other photos with no attribution. It is not that I am failing to attribute, but these photos are Creative Common, license-free photos that require no attribution. Here is a snippet of a photo I used earlier and the CC statement:

Here is the terms of use:

Via download provided Images on Pixabay are bound to Creative Commons Deed CC0. To the extent possible under law, uploaders of Pixabay have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to these Images. You are free to adapt and use the Images for commercial purposes without attributing the original author or source. Although absolutely not required, a link back to Pixabay would be nice.

Pixabay is a nice site and I appreciate the donated photos.

I monitor comments and when warranted, I ruthlessly delete. However for the most part, I do try to give people their say and I enjoy that it gives me an opportunity to engage with folks, and to share insight and verses with them and from them. However I am getting impatient with the plethora of comments that incorrectly use the “judge not lest ye be judged” verse from Matthew 7:1.

It seems that it is the go-to response of everyone who wants to criticize. I appreciate criticism, but when a person uses the ‘judge not’ chestnut, I know they have no biblical understanding of sin, of studying the bible correctly and are simply parroting the one verse they have learned, bless their heart. Most don’t even to add the chapter and verse, but simply and out of context say ‘judge not’ as if that solves everything. It is the religious equivalent in a debate to Godwin’s Law.

Godwin’s Law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an Internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches—​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism. … there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin’s law. (Wikipedia)

We can say the same about “Judge Not”. It is the religious Godwin’s Law. Let’s call it the UnGodly Law.

‘UnGodly Law is a new Internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion about sin, especially homosexuality, grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving judgment approaches—​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will trot out the misused verse from Matthew 7:1 and say “judge not!”. … there may be a new tradition forming in many newsgroups and other Christian discussion forums (OK, just on this blog) that once such a statement is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the judge not chestnut has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress and will be deleted without mercy or second thought.’

I decided that if anyone uses the ‘judge not’ verse in the incorrect way from now on it will be a trigger for automatic delete. In the past, I’ve attempted to reason with the judge not crowd, but their gross lack of understanding is too weighty to overcome in the space allowed in the comment box, and too deep to instruct in the time a life can be lived. So. Delete.

Back when I started the blog 8 years ago, I enjoyed posting some of the more speculative prophetic passages such as Nephilim, or cryptids, or sinkholes, or the changing behavior the animal kingdom is exhibiting, and musing on them in light of contemporary news. The autistic brain excels at seeing patterns, and with the Holy Spirit inside, and the bible to show all of human history, detecting a pattern is made even easier.

I still enjoy seeing today’s news, knowing history, and looking back to see where the current news fits in to the past pattern. However I haven’t posted about that for a while. Here’s why.

— I don’t want to go beyond scripture. I don’t think I have done that in the past, but I don’t want to even creep off the yellow center line by an inch because the longer I go on in sanctification the less I trust myself,

— I don’t want to cause someone else to stumble,

— Mainly because it seems that even a mere mention of such things nowadays opens the floodgates. In the last 5 years, people have gotten both stupid and irrational about the scriptures. Not that people weren’t before, but like interest that compounds, the stupidity and irrationality has compounded to levels unmanageable by me. Spiritual discernment is at an all-time low (a record which will likely be broken tomorrow) and biblical literacy is at an even all-time lower level. People don’t know their bible, they don’t quote their bible, they don’t use the bible as a basis for discussion, and they go off the deep end into conspiracies at the drop of a hat.

The acceptance of demonic proclamations by Beth Moore and Kim Walker Smith in visions and Sarah Young’s declarations in book form attest to this. So does the popularity of Johnathan Cahn’s books in 2012 such as The Harbinger and the Mystery of the Shemitah: The 3,000-Year-Old Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future, the World’s Future, and Your Future!, and John Hagee’s  Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change book published a year later.

I mean, come onnn. The hubris of Cahn’s proclamation that he knows the future of all persons on earth (who would buy his book) and the world’s future ‘unlocked’ nearly equals satan’s when satan promised to unseat God from the throne.

And as bad as Edgar Cayce and Jeanne Dixon were, at least they were more specific in their false prophecies than Hagee, who simply subtitles his book, “something is about to change.” Really? I’d never have guessed that. Let me know when it happens.

That people accept these ‘Christian’ books and visions and attempt to learn from them is saddening. In stepping to the fringe, people nowadays seem to more easily hurl themselves off the edge of solid biblical foundations. They gleefully run toward the latest prophetic fad, and in so doing, give real prophecy a bad name. It makes many people not want to study prophecy and the times, but that is not good either. As my friend and pastor in Maine said,

My brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of the Lord not to dismiss current events or to become discouraged by them. 

We don’t live under a rock. We live in the world, and that means we are living in biblical prophecy because prophecy is always current. World events are important, and when understand the times and we point to the Lord it ignites our fervor for His soon return, which grounds us in our work until He comes.

However today’s superficial, nominal, or false Christian doesn’t get to the end of the last sentence. They focus on current events as if they are the be-all and end-all of truth. When I try to turn their head to Jesus, the author of these events, they balk. When you try to say that some of these things go beyond scripture and we should be careful, they scream judge not! ‘men of Issachar!’

Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command. (1 Chronicles 12:32)

As the Treasury of Scripture says of the Men of Issachar verse,

understanding of the times That is, as the following words indicate, intelligent men, who understood the signs of the times, well versed in political affairs, and knew what was proper to be done in all the exigencies of human life; and who now perceived that it was both the duty and political interest of Israel to advance David to the throne.

If I may be allowed to paraphrase, we have understanding of the times, That is, as the following words indicate, intelligent men, who understood the signs of the times, well versed in political affairs, and knew what was proper to be done in all the exigencies of human life; and who now perceived that it was both the duty and spiritual interest of the church to advance Jesus on His throne.

I have been remiss. I have not thanked you, the readers, in a while. I do thank you and am energized by you and I do love you. The Holy Spirit fills me with strength and insight and for the sake of the Name I want to share what He does in my mind and heart when I open the bible. That people out there would read and respond and as some of you have said, pray for me, is simply lovely. It is the expression of the Kingdom on earth, the church glorious and invisible, worldwide and intimate. Thank you friends.

Posted in autism, encouragement, love, patience

The positive aspects of having an Autistic/Asperger’s person in your congregation

The puzzle pieces in the autism awareness ribbon
represent the complexity of the disorder,
as well as the diversity of people
living with autism. (Wikipedia)

As an autistic person, I often wonder about God’s plan for me. I did not come to faith in Jesus until I was 43 years old. I did not learn I was autistic until I was 48 years old. I’m 53 now. As I progress in sanctification by God’s grace, sometimes I’m relieved to know what is “the matter” with me, and other times I’m frustrated because I wish I didn’t know.

All people sin all the time but most people have a particular sin that they need God’s daily help to conquer. For example, I don’t covet. I don’t care about ‘stuff’ that much. Therefore I’m not especially mired in that sin, while others covet constantly. Some people struggle with wanting alcohol, and battle a daily temptation. In these cases, it is to the obvious glory of God that we can resist, thanks to His Holy Spirit. What we cannot accomplish on our own, Jesus helps us with as our High Priest,

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

With me, it is love. Autistic people are not known for empathy, and feel and express love differently than neuro-typical people. Our brains are literally wired differently.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-V) defines autism in part as a person having

deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, and deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships (source)

Because relationships and emotions are so difficult for us, we’re also loners. This need to be alone isnecessary survival mechanism, because we take in all stimuli and can’t screen any of it out. Neuro-typical people readily and unconsciously dispense with incoming stimuli that they don’t or won’t need. Their brains do that automatically. Ours don’t. So it all comes in.

not a lifestyle preference. It is a

Being among lots of people (and to me that means more than one) who talk at varying volumes, wear different colors, speak at different rates, and all incomprehensibly too, is just overwhelming. It’s easier to stay home and be quiet. Some Sundays, attending church is easier than others. On the tough Sundays I have to make myself go, and I come home exhausted and sleep for hours, and I’m groggy the rest of the day with what I call Aspergers residue.

Yet though I’m wired not to love in the same way as others and dislike being among people, I must love and be among people. Why? Jesus said so. It’s that simple.

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:39-40, cf Galatians 5:14)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:10-11)

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8)

So you see, it is a necessity to do the things I’m not wired to do but to do what Jesus demands anyway. Sometimes I wonder about the difficulty of being wired not to do the things that He commands us to do but then I realize that in so doing, HE gets the glory.

If I can usually not do these things on my own steam, and yet I do them, it should be obvious that it is the precious Holy Spirit sustaining me and my wonderful Savior enabling me. Romans 12:9a says,

Let love be genuine. …

The NLT says “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them….”

If an autistic person can really love a person deeply then wouldn’t it be to the glory of Jesus that He enabled me to do this?

So I focus on the positive. He made me this way so I can give Him glory by being grown in the Spirit, and I can edify the Body with the particular personality that He knit in me operating in the gifts of the Spirit. I focus on the positive rather than bemoan, “Why am I like this?” That answer is simple too, because God wants it that way.

On the plus side, an autistic person’s penchant for always telling the truth, if combined with the Spirit’s deliverance of the gift of exhortation, is literally a match made in heaven. A further plus is that we are already on the edge of the social milieu, and we don’t mind telling the truth even if it means rejection. (It hurts, but our allegiance to the truth dominates, and this becomes full-flower when Christianity enters the scene).

All autistic people have one life-dominating special interest, and mine is the bible. That means I study it relentlessly. This subject is also a relief to me, because all man-made subjects eventually are exhausted. I’ve gone through King Arthur, (teens), heraldry (20s), mollusks (30s), and journalism (40s). But I will never exhaust the bible (50s—>eternity). We have good memories, so remembering past discussions in class, a sermon from a year ago, or a bible verse comes more easily to us. In this way we can often knit a larger truth or set something in context for ourselves or in discussions.

We generally don’t care if a person is rich, poor, socially high-end, or down and out. We mostly care that a person listens when we have something to say. That’s it. We truly live out James 2:1, showing no partiality.

There are pluses for neuro-typical people to have an autistic person in the congregation and there are pluses for an autistic person to be there. Each person in the faith is gifted by the Spirit, as He wills. We function as a unit. As much as we like to be apart, it is not good for us to be so. I’m sure as much as NT people may desire want us to be apart sometimes, it is not good for them either, lol.

Make an effort to be patient if there is an autistic child in the congregation. Say hello to an autistic person in your group, bible study or congregation, (but don’t hug). A simple hello goes a long way. We do not know how to initiate social contact, and the church greeting time is especially hard. There are a great many things we learn to be patient with in church, and I would hope that the NT people would also learn to be patient with us as well. We are one body, learning to function as a unit. With the help of Jesus, we will be beautiful to Him as we grow together, one flesh, one body, one church- but each of us lovely in our own way.

This snowy landscape is beautiful in harmony of the season, but it is made of billions of individual snowflakes. That’s His church, each unique, each filling in their part in the landscape of Jesus’ heart.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:4-8)

Posted in christian, encouragement

The Autistic Christian, part 3

The Autistic Christian, part 1
The Autistic Christian, part 2

As an autistic person, albeit high functioning, life is a struggle. The world is awesome in its complexity. It

By Michael, Creative Commons

contains all the customary codes of social conduct, a myriad of occupations and vocations, behavioral nuances of every description, emotional obligations, and ethical standards. All of those escape me.

In addition, I’m afraid of or intensely dislike the color orange, the telephone ringing, conversation, interruption in my routine, loud noises, certain locations, running into people I know when I’m out of the house, Jiffy Pop, raucous laughter, makeup, fingerpaint, non-symmetrical things, unanswered questions, unfinished conversations, any and all games, unsolved mysteries, and so on. I have issues with sympathy and empathy, I’m a bundle of nerves and I need notes in my pocket to help me remember what to say when I am one-on-one. I’m a loner, eschew fellowship, people in general, and like to study one subject until I exhaust it.

I rigidly adhere to routines, demand my apartment looks a certain way with everything in its place, and only eat a limited range of foods. I haven’t been out of my geographical range for five years.

For 43 years I never knew why I thought the thoughts I had, or behaved the way I did, I just knew I was different. I was a disappointment to loved ones, a mystery to teachers, someone pitied by my friends.

Public Domain

I am autistic.

In the previous two essays I related my life from birth to 2004 when I was 43 years old. I was not saved and never had steady religious instruction nor attended church in any meaningful way. I was an enemy of Jesus, a craven sinner.

I was lost.

In December 2003 I was saved. In only two weeks, on January 2004 I made some important decisions. I bought and began to read the bible. I grew rapidly in Christ and 18 months later in mid 2006 when I finished my work in Maine I moved to Georgia. I began attending church.

In 2008 I was faced once again with a conundrum of how to maintain myself financially and professionally. Just like going to college in 1978, after my divorce in 1986 and after my other divorce in 2004, I was alone and needed employment in order to support myself. I had sold my business and was living on the proceeds and also supplementing my income with freelance writing for the daily newspaper here in GA. My savings was dwindling fast. I needed a steady job.

Frankly, I was frustrated with myself. Why was it that I never seemed to be able to maintain long-term relationships? Why was it so tough to support myself? Why did I put something on the stove, wander off, and burn it so the smoke alarm goes off and the pan is ruined? Like, every night? Why did I forget to pay bills? Why did I dread being with people? Why was I so rigid in my routine? Why was everything so hard?

Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?
(Job 31:15)
I decided to go back to the last job I’d formerly had, in 1990, teaching. I added my name to the sub list and began substitute teaching in my county. The next year I was hired as a Special Education para-professional.

It was through my job I discovered my autism. In working with autistic children, and in studying the Encyclopedia of Autism, and speaking with the professionals I worked with, I finally understood the answers to all the above questions, and more.

However, now I had different questions.

Ice Crystal by yellowcloud

Why did God make me this way? What was it about my personality and brain that could glorify Him uniquely? What were my spiritual gifts?

Being in Christ meant that I was at long last docked in a world where things finally made sense. I finally had found a worthy Person to serve: Jesus. Truth was the highest priority. Finally, the unvarnished truth was valued! Holy living by His set of standards was also the priority. The rules were clearly laid out in the bible. I love that. I have a manual that explains how to love, love, relate, and worship!! It’s all written down! No more guessing for me, no sir. And… at long last I’d found a subject I couldn’t exhaust. God is infinite and the bible is an infinite training manual. (2 Timothy 3:16).

While media often depicts an autistic person obsessively studying and talking about one subject their whole lives, like trains for instance, all subjects are finite. Eventually one reaches the end of the road with learning it. Or at least I had gone as far as I could given the resources I’d had. For example, I earned a 4.0 in my Masters program of Literacy Education and the only next step I could take was obtaining a PhD, something that would require a great amount of expense and travel for over two hours to the nearest University that offered one in my area of learning. I exhausted journalism, mollusks, heraldry, King Arthur, and education, topics I’d studied at different points in my life. There is no new information to be added to the collection of information about King Arthur, once you’ve studied it all, you’re done. This is disconcerting to an autistic person. I constantly worried about the end, and what to study next.

The bible is infinite!! There never will be an end to it! What a relief!

In addition, the bible lays out clear rules for living, and many how-to’s. The routine of going to church is a comfort.

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, (Isaiah 44:24)In actuality, Christianity seemed like a perfect fit. In secular life, there are many speculations from unsaved people about the autistic brain and whether an autistic person can accept religion.

Autism May Diminish Belief in God
People who have more traits of autism are less likely to believe in God that those that do not have such traits, according to new research that suggests that belief is boosted by the ability to see into the minds of others. This ability, often called theory of mind, or mentalizing, is diminished in people with autism spectrum disorders, a cluster of conditions marked by communication and social difficulties. Because people’s beliefs in God are often marked by feelings of having a personal relationship with the deity, prayer and worship may require a sense of what God could be thinking, researchers report Wednesday (May 30) in the journal PLoS ONE.

Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism
Persons with autistic spectrum disorder were much more likely than those in our neurotypical comparison group to identify as atheist or agnostic, and, if religious, were more likely to construct their own religious belief system. Nonbelief was also higher in those who were attracted to systemizing activities, as measured by the Systemizing Quotient.

HOGWASH!

Though those articles claim that it is harder for an autistic person to believe in God, personally I believe it is easier. First, the Lord put eternity in the hearts of all men (Ecc 3:11), and “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them”. (Romans 1:19). So in that respect, it is easy to believe in God. But because men are depraved, they suppress what they know about God in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18). So everyone, autistic or not, has an innate sense of God’s existence simply by being alive on His planet.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)Secondly, I mentioned that I spent a great deal of time in the natural world. As a child growing up it was where I went to decompress. I also lived on a sailboat for two years, and in a camper van camping outdoors for three months across country. I traveled a lot and hiked, walked, or otherwise saw many amazing natural sights. It was obvious and logical to me that this world was not an accident from a big bang. It was created. And since it had to have been created, God must have created it. Logically, this conclusion seemed to me to be almost a given.

Thirdly, even though God obviously made the world, I was not so sure about the name of Jesus. God was one thing but Jesus and the whole blood, wrath, and sin thing was another. However every person on the planet who lives nor or who ever lived, except for Jesus, has a sin nature and denies Jesus and their need for a savior as a matter of course. (Romans 3:11; Psalm 53:2). So no one comes to saving grace unless the Spirit draws him, autistic or not. Hence the hogwash comment, scientists. (1 Timothy 6:20). No one can believe in Jesus but everyone can plainly see there is a God (Romans 1:18-21).

I see now in hindsight that Jesus gave me the talent of writing, honed over many decades, so that after I was saved, I could write about Him. He gave me and honed in me the talent of speaking/teaching so I could support myself. When the time came, He gave me the spiritual gift of teaching. (Romans 12:7).

What a grand thing it is as an autistic person to be given an almost inability to lie and a severe love of the truth, and then come into His Truth so as to proclaim it! This is the gift of exhortation. (Romans 12:8). And as an autistic person constantly researching my favorite subjects, I have a tremendous ability to quickly sift through massive amounts of information and dispense with the invalid or useless and detect the useful. Also I can organize massive amounts of information into a coherent progression of thought. And thus He gave me the spiritual gift of Distinguishing of Spirits, or discernment. (1 Cor. 12:10).

I am a spiritual snowflake.

John MacArthur has some thoughts on the spiritual gifts and the dispensing of them

Josef Reischig, Wikimedia CC

I believe that every Christian is a spiritual snowflake. Just like you are literally the only one of your kind, even if you’re a twin you’re different than your twin. Your fingerprints are different, your teeth are different, and other parts of you are different. Every one of us stamped with absolute uniqueness, we are all creative idiots, in that sense. We are peculiar, we are unique. There’s no one like us. We are spiritual snowflakes. And I believe that when the Spirit of God gives to every believer gifts, He gives them individually to each believer absolutely peculiar to that believer. 

You say, “Well, you know, there’s only about a dozen of them listed here. How you going to divide a dozen gifts up among millions of Christians and make them all different?”

Let me tell you how. I believe you have a list of gifts in Romans 12, a list of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. The fact that they are different shows how much latitude there is in their definition. Paul lists some in the Roman passage, he lists some in the Corinthian passage and there is some duplication and some non‑duplication. And it’s almost as if he’s just suggesting broad categories. The best way to understand it would be that they’re like colors on a palette and each gift would be a color and as God takes His brush and paints you, He dips into different color categories and paints you a unique color. You’re not the same as someone else. Even if you had fifteen people or twenty or five thousand who all had a gift of teaching, you could have them all teach and they would all teach differently, uniquely. (source)

As the Spirit does with all people, He gives gifts in various amounts to glorify Jesus so that each one of us uniquely can exalt Him through our walk.

Certain of my struggles in Christianity might be unique to autism but the fact that I am a human being who struggles with sins or with obedience to Jesus is not unique at all. We all have that, no matter who we are. Where the bible says to speak the truth (Ephesians 4:15a) I can do this even when it is uncomfortable. However the verse says to speak the truth in love, and this is harder. I am unfamiliar with the usual expressions of love and I have to work a little harder to be sure not to be ungentle.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 says to study the bible, which is a great and easy thing for me to do because I love to have a study-hobby that will be ever changing and inexhaustible … now with the eternal benefit of learning about an infinite Savior, but it also says to fellowship and meet together, (1 John 1:3, Hebrews 10:25) something that is very hard for me to do.

So I struggle with fellowship, restoring gently, and mercy, but what human doesn’t struggle with some aspect of church life, obedience, or sins? Some struggle with coveting, others lying, or forgiveness. All humans find certain aspects of the rules for holy living difficult. This is a human thing, not necessarily an autistic thing.

My LORD made me. The same hand that knitted me together, autistic brain and all, also stretched out the universe. Since He made me, and all that He does is Good, then it must be good that I am the way I am. The only thing that remains is to revel in His goodness and seek ways to exalt and honor Him.

God created every snowflake in this scene unique, and perfect in its uniqueness. We are all on the same road to glory, which ends at the feet of Jesus.

Iain Thompson, Creative Commons

Who am I to question His knitting of me? He put me on this earth, HIS earth, to enjoy His creation, to live and develop talents, and at His timing to be brought into the Kingdom a repentant sinner so as to glorify Him by the gifts He gave me. It does not matter who is male or female, who is young or old, who is gifted with mercy or who is gifted with teaching. It does not matter who is autistic, who is a paraplegic, who uses a cane to walk into church and who bounds up the steps with energy. It does not matter who was saved young and who was saved old.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus..” (Galatians 3:28).

In Christ, I am not autistic. The only label that eternally matters is that I am called a child of the Most High God. What a glorious label!

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Galatians 3:26)

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Further reading

The Autistic Christian, part 1
The Autistic Christian, part 2

The Christian Institute on Disability 
How should Christian parents respond if their child has a learning disability? 
What effects do conditions like autism, attachment disorder, ADHD, etc., have on the Christian life?

 

Posted in christian

The Autistic Christian, part 2

In part 1 of The Autistic Christian, I’d shared about my life from birth to high school. This part will be about adulthood, relationships, and employment for the autistic person. Part 3 will be the Autistic Christian. The Lord made me this way and gave me spiritual gifts uniquely formed and perfectly suited for an autistic person to glorify Him. I don’t normally like to talk about myself. Rather, it’s all about Jesus. But I’ve looked for resources about the autistic Christian and have found very little. What I did find was not helpful. Therefore, in the interest of perhaps encouraging someone else, I’ll speak about my experience.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Toward the end of high school I’d had a growing awareness of other people in relation to myself. To put it more bluntly and truthfully, I became aware that other people existed. More than that, they mattered. Autistic people know there are other people, of course, it’s just that we aren’t aware of our own impact on them nor of them on us. My constant headaches and stomach troubles were physical manifestations of the nervousness, worry, and stress I felt being among people. I can’t make conversation, my conversational topics differ from most people, and I hate chitchat and greetings/goodbyes. I am unable to screen out most stimuli, so colors, emotional faces, sounds, and lighting impact my ability to speak casually. All this adds up to the fact that I am unable to understand how to interact successfully. Cognitively I was unaware of the fact of feeling the stress, nor did I understand why I felt like I did. Hence, the physical pain.

It’s like Spirograph.

Spirograph: Wikipedia commons

Spirograph was invented in 1900 but released as a children’s toy in 1965. As an autistic child, I saw people each as one of the above designs, and as an island unto itself. As an older teen and young college adult, I began to understand that I was but one point or dot within each design. I was part of a complex system, traveling in circles, crossing paths with others, and I impacted them and they impacted me. This was a problem.

In choosing which college to attend, I had different criteria than non-autistic people. I wanted to go as far away from my home base as possible, yet stay in New England. I wanted the distance because I thought that all the bad memories and crushing events were because everybody where I lived was the problem, and if I went to a new place, all would be well. The staying in New England part was because I instinctively recognized that going to a completely new geographic area would be too much to absorb. There would be a new climate, new accents, new flora and fauna, new foods, etc. New England was safer. I chose a state university because I wanted a large population of people around me. It is easier to hide in a crowd than in a small group. So I chose University of Maine, college population 11,000.

College was a shock. It was a shock because I had all of the same social and emotional problems I’d had in Rhode Island. The problem was me and I can’t outrun me, but I didn’t know it at the time. So I kept on having headaches and stomach aches.

In addition, it was shocking because now I had to do for myself what my mother had done for me for 18 years: feed me, get me clothes, and provide a safe haven into which to retreat. In this aspect, autistic kids are the same as NT kids. We all have these first-year college issues, just different flavors of them. Feeding was the least problem. I lived in the dorms, and I bought a cafeteria pass. If I showed up at the right time the lunch ladies would feed me. Even with my food issues I’d find something to keep me alive. Because stores were too overstimulating and malls (just being invented then) were anathema, I decided I’d keep the clothes I had and be very careful with them. Of course, I hadn’t counted on gaining the “Freshman 15” so when my pants got too tight I found a small thrift store in the opposite direction people usually went to get clothes. Instead of Bangor, I went to Old Town.

The safe haven was an extreme issue. It was a time of America’s colleges and universities being overcrowded. At the end of WWII a baby boom occurred. My generation (1960) was the tail end and we were the last of the big post-war baby group to go to college. I was in an overflow dorm room off-campus with two other girls. I’d never lived in the same bedroom with someone before. Suddenly there was no safe haven.

An Autistic person absolutely requires a place to go and reduce stimuli. We literally cannot screen out all the world’s noise, smells, sights, sounds. It all goes in and through us like we’re sponges under a fire hose. But in my room there were two other girls playing music and covering their beds with bedspreads in horror colors (for me, it’s orange), the entire dorm was a teeming mass of loud, drinking, horsing around kids.

Thankfully the overcrowding evened out by mid-semester with kids moving or dropping out and I was moved on-campus to a room with an older roommate who had friends in other dorms where she went most of the time. Phew.

Academics were a dream because once I got the basic required classes over with I could elect what I wanted to study. For me that was liberal arts, English, history and the like. My hunch about hiding in plain sight was correct, no one noticed me. Lecture halls were large with 200 or more students and I didn’t have to say a word, just show up and listen. I was used to being on my own and managing my time so structuring study times wasn’t hard. I didn’t engage in extra-curricular activities so that was that. By sophomore year I felt that maybe I could do this living in the world thing.

I’d said in part 1 that high school dating was too stressful and was fraught with issues I couldn’t handle. Social conventions like conversation are hard for me to engage in. Small talk and chitchat are ridiculous wastes of time. Conversational greeting and closing language is superfluous. Talking about any subject except the one I’m currently entranced by is not gonna happen. I’m a dream date, right?

I met a man in the first dorm I’d lived in and by sophomore year we moved in together. (I was not saved by Christ until I was 43 years old). That was occurring societally a lot by 1979, 1980. People lived together. We found an efficiency apartment adjacent to the campus which was cozy, found some bare furniture and a 9 inch tv, and with cable’s invention, we were all set, domestically.

I nixed the veil. Nothing can be on my face

An autistic person does have emotions, we just express them differently. We handle relationships differently. While it is hard to feel empathy or sympathy, we do feel extreme loyalty to those with whom we decide are safe to love. My kindergarten teacher was one. The one friend in high school was another. Now this man.

I finished college and we got married. Of course I’d chosen someone unsuitable for me. You saw my decision-making process for college. It was the same with relationships. I had a wrong set of criteria. I thought people were basically mix-N-match, all the same and any relationship could be handled logically. Anyone who is married knows this isn’t true.

We moved a bit south in Maine, found jobs and began adult life. My goal was to get a Masters and a PhD and teach college. Several of his family members were teachers and they encouraged me to get a job substituting while I saved up for graduate school. It turned out I could teach well and connected with children admirably.

An autistic person lives for information. Information is king. We seek patterns in the world. Discovering about Fibonacci’s sequence was a delight. Reading Flatland was an eye-opener. I thought if I chronicled it enough that a pattern would emerge. I felt if I knew enough I could control things. The most loving gift I could give someone was information that would help them. That is one reason why we talk a lot to certain people. Here is how a situation might go. If a co-worker has a sick child in the hospital, and I knew that the child loved Legos, instead of the usual comforting chitchat non-autistic people say like “I’m sorry your son is in the hospital, how is he doing?” I might say,

“A new Lego man was just released by Hasbro last week.”

In my mind, if the sick child loves Legos, and I tell the mom that a new piece was available, she might go to the store and buy it and give it to her son, who would then become happy. I see the connections clearly but most often, the person I’m trying to converse with doesn’t. What I say is just a weird non-sequitur.

In 1982, after one month of general subbing, my principal asked me to substitute for a 5th grade teacher who was going to be out for the rest of the year. (She had cancer). The next year he gave me a job as a kindergarten parapro. A year after that, I had earned my teaching certificate and taught first grade.

Being regularly employed is hard for the autistic person. Social rules mean getting along with a large array of people, many of whom are different from you. It means not speaking up when something is stupid, especially to your boss. It means doing things that are not useful, if you want to stay employed. It means being nice in the way the world wants us to be nice. That meant putting a lid on talking about our favorite subject, not telling your boss he’s wrong, and even our humor isn’t appreciated. Once one of my bosses told me that my humor at staff meetings wasn’t understood or accepted by my peers and basically to shut up.

For the record, I got the hippo joke. I thought it was funny…except he should have said stones, not marbles. It is one of my autistic traits to constantly correct or edit. Things have to be right.

An autistic person adheres to certain qualities above all else, or at least I do. I have to be careful about making generalities because autism is a spectrum and my placement on the spectrum is different from another’s. My peeves are correct information, justice, truth, and patterns.

In this paper, “Living the categorical imperative: autistic perspectives on lying and truth telling,” it is stated of autistic people, “Lying is a common phenomenon amongst human beings. It seems to play a role in making social interactions run more smoothly. Too much honesty can be regarded as impolite or downright rude. Remarkably, lying is not a common phenomenon amongst normally intelligent human beings who are on the autism spectrum. They appear to be ‘attractively morally innocent’ and seem to have an above average moral conscientious objection against deception. … From a care ethics perspective, on the other hand, a way should be found to allow the high-functioning persons with autism to respect the feelings and needs of other persons as sometimes overruling the duty of truthfulness.”

Ha ha, you can try, academic person, but nothing overrules the duty of truthfulness.

I learned however that bosses or co-workers don’t appreciate it when you tell them they are doing it wrong. While some lying is expected, (“Yes, you look great in that dress!”) it is impossible for us to do. If you ask me a question I’ll answer plainly and truthfully. (“No, that dress is a waste of money and you look fat in it.”) I remember my mother asking me what I wanted to major in and be when I graduated. I said “Maybe a diplomat.” She laughed so hard she doubled over. I was offended at her laughter and I asked why she thought me being a diplomat was so funny.

“Because you’re the most tactless person I ever met.”

This week a sick co-worker said “I feel terrible.” I said, “I know. You look horrible.” I still lack tact but there are occasional successes when I DON’T say the thing I want badly to say. Not that time though.

My old school with some of the school’s cheerleaders.
I taught 4th grade at that time

Teaching was a good profession for me because I could deliver information to children, who were also brutally honest, but the colleague and boss thing was problematic. So was the husband, we divorced in 1986. He had an affair and left to marry another woman. During the in-between time of finding out and not yet divorced, it was easier for me to live with the adultery than his  deception about it. The lying was the deal breaker. I cannot abide liars. If information is king, and truth is to be told above all else, then I have no patience for false information. The worst thing you could possibly do to me is lie.

In 1990 I quit teaching. It was the last time I was regularly employed in a system or corporation (my brief foray into retail was a huge fail) until 2008. I lived by reducing my expenditures and freelancing, either writing or research. I also married again in 1994, this time to a rich husband. We divorced in 2004, but at least it kept me alive until I figured out how to live on my own. This is a constant struggle for an autistic person, especially because employment is so difficult to maintain. As a result, we often go into relationships for the wrong reasons. Parents of autistic kids, watch for that. LOL, ALL parents have to watch for that, don’t they. Autistic kids are the same as NT kids in many ways.

For the third time, (1978, 1986, 2004) I was adrift in a world I didn’t understand and didn’t understand me. I wanted to be where there was truth and justice above all else, where relationships would be based on externally known and mutually agreed upon truth, relationships were based on mutual trust and an unalterable set of rules, where the rules were laid out clearly and concretely, where I could speak the truth and it would be appreciated, and where the subject I study would never be exhausted. You see where this is going: Coming up, part 3: The Autistic Christian.

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The Autistic Christian, Part 1
The Autistic Christian, part 3

What is Autism?

Posted in asperger's, christian

The Autistic Christian, part 1

The Autistic Christian, part 2
The Autistic Christian, part 3

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I am an Asperger’s person. Aspergers is part of the Autism spectrum. Wikipedia defines “A spectrum (plural spectra or spectrums) is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary infinitely within a continuum.”

When a person has pneumonia, they have a discrete set of particular symptoms. Autism isn’t like that. In the past, and perhaps even today after years of education about what autism is, people think of an autistic person as only the uncontrollable person wearing a helmet banging their head against the wall and screaming loudly. Not so.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD.” (source)

So now I guess I should say I’m autistic, rather than Asperger’s. This will be a multi-part series about autism and the Christian, from a first-person point of view. This part is birth through high school. Part 2 will be about adulthood, relationships, and employment for the autistic person. Part 3 will be the Autistic Christian. The Lord made me this way and gave me spiritual gifts uniquely formed and perfectly suited for an autistic person to glorify Him.

I don’t normally like to talk about myself. Rather, it’s all about Jesus. But I’ve looked for resources about the autistic Christian and have found very little. What I did find was not helpful. Therefore, in the interest of perhaps encouraging someone else, I’ll speak about my experience.

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I was born in December 1960 four weeks premature at a little over 3 pounds. I was in an incubator for a month. I had pneumonia and a host of other issues. It is a wonder I survived. The Lord knew.

18 months old. I always liked the feel of grass under my feet

Growing up in the 60s was an interesting experience. My very first memory was of the Beatles making an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I had turned three years old just 8 weeks prior. I got all ready, laying on the floor on my tummy, with a pillow and my chin in my hands. When The Beatles came on, I remember being aggravated that I couldn’t hear the music. Everyone was talking about The Beatles and I’d wanted to see what all the hubbub was about, but the screaming from the audience kept me from hearing the actual music. I thought that was stupid. Ed Sullivan should quiet them down. I thought that people should just be quiet and assess things and get on with it. The silly girls screaming and covering their faces and crying were dumb. Plus, they scared me.

Right off the bat there are three issues that I still deal with today:
–in that situation, it wasn’t logical to scream
–expressions of extreme emotion are difficult or even scary to be around (twisted faces, threatening hand gestures, tears)
— excessive noise

I think it’s funny that my very first memory is one of being irritated at the world, people’s behavior, and how things were being run. It is an attitude that carries through to this day, 50 years later.

Age 3 in the house I lived in until age 8, with mother

By age 8 I was experiencing massive health issues. I had debilitating migraines and terrible stomach aches. Autistic people often are diagnosed with gastrointestinal issues, and the headaches were from being unable to screen out all the stimuli that was flowing through my brain.

Many people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty processing everyday sensory information such as sounds, sights and smells. This is usually called having sensory integration difficulties, or sensory sensitivity. It can have a profound effect on a person’s life.

Our central nervous system (brain) processes all the sensory information we receive and helps us to organise, prioritise and understand the information. We then respond through thoughts, feelings, motor responses (behaviour) or a combination of these.

We have receptors all over our bodies that pick up sensory information, or ‘stimuli’. Our hands and feet contain the most receptors. Most of the time, we process sensory information automatically, without needing to think about it much. People with sensory integration difficulties – including many people with an ASD – have difficulty processing everyday sensory information. People who struggle to deal with all this information are likely to become stressed or anxious, and possibly feel physical pain..” (source)

My parents took me to doctor after doctor, psychiatrists and psychologists and counselors, and if there had been witch doctors they would have taken me there too. I even had a spinal tap, and the pain from that gives me shudders to this day. I asked my mother what the result of all this was and she said one word:

Psychosomatic“.

The definition of psychosomatic is (of a physical illness or other condition) caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress

Age 8. See the smile? I’m ecstatic.
It’s the beach!! And the soft robe! We summered on Cape Cod.
The water in front of the sand bar was always warm.

and that was not far from the truth of what was known about autism in 1968. In 1968, autism was not even included as its own diagnostic category in the second release of the DSM. So when I asked my mother what it meant, she said,

It’s all in your head.”

I knew it was not all in my head. I knew it. I knew what I was experiencing was real, and to me, it was normal. Everything was very logical, usual, and in fact, I was perfectly content. After all that pain and endless doctor visits and intrusive questions, shots, questionnaires, and time spent, they still couldn’t tell me why I had such terrible headaches and stomach-aches? Immediately I gained a disdain for doctors and I distrusted them from that point on. This is an attitude that carries to this day. I distrust any and all doctors.

Lunchtime in the cafeteria was a nightmare. It was loud and the unpredictable movements of 300 kids in one small space was scary. I hated the food, too. The foods I’d eat were extremely limited. I rarely ate and I remember the adult duty teacher always walking by and tapping my tray and saying “eat, eat.” I’d come home and my mother would ask what I ate and I’d describe it. However I described it as it looked to me, not as it actually was. So I’d say something like, the meat was gray and hairy and there was something blue and gross and it all tasted bad. I said all this with great conviction. Enough days of that and my mother had a conference with the school lunch ladies and they assured her that all the food was normal.

At home I’d drive my mother nuts at dinner time. For example, if she served chop suey I’d patiently pick out all the hamburger before I’d eat a bite. Of course everyone was done eating long before and I’d still be sitting there picking out the hamburger. She would yell for me to just eat it. I thought the logical thing to do would be to serve me some without the hamburger. But there you go.

Food was always an issue. In High School all us kids would go to the creamery after the movie and get sundaes. I didn’t like ice cream so I’d get an English muffin and hot tea. They called me weird but to me it was a perfect meal. Picture a gang of boisterous teens sitting at the ice cream counter laughing uproariously and me sitting in the middle of all that sipping tea and looking perplexed and/or grumpy and not saying anything at all the whole time. To this day I have a limited number of foods I’ll eat and I am very, VERY happy eating the same thing over and over every day.

Not my school but a cafeteria in 1967. Source, OK to reuse

After the doctor debacle, my parents kind of got tired of trying to figure out what was “wrong” with me and they pretty much gave up and left me to my own devices. Which to an autistic kid, is heaven. Those were the days when kids were able to roam far and wide in the neighborhoods, fields, and streets at will and without adult supervision until streetlights came on and moms on porches hollered for the kids to come home. I’d spend great amounts of time in the cemeteries in back of and in front of my house (it was quiet there), in the brook dabbling my feet in the water and looking at tadpoles, (rhythmic water sounds are relaxing) or reading under a tree in the woods behind my house. I liked studying the natural world and being in it. I was alone and I was content. But my parents worried I had few if any friends.

I was content alone because I’d do the same thing over and over in the same way at the same time every day. I read every Nancy Drew book in order and when I was done I’d read them again. I’d lay on my bed under the eaves and reach up to trace all the wallpaper flower patterns with my finger. I had a routine that nobody else understood and finally they gave up trying to get me to explain it. It was my security blanket, an island of safety in an insane world.

The rest of my elementary years were full of cycles of homework, teachers, recess (which I couldn’t see the point of), Phys Ed (ditto) and phrases overheard at conferences such as “Could try harder” “has more potential than she reaches” and “no affect.”

Since age three when I remember my brain waking up to coherent thought, I classified information, people, and experiences as useful, or not useful. Everything has a function and if it wasn’t useful there was no point in trying to get me to go with it. For example, screaming audience members at the Beatles concert on Ed Sullivan was not useful. Algebra was not useful. For the love of Pete, what is the point of tetherball?? And since everything has a function and if the thing, information, or person doesn’t function in my world by being useful, there is no point going on with it. End of story. The word “stubborn” came up a lot when adults referred to me. I tuned it all out.

My sister’s baptism. It’s not that I never smiled,
it’s just that I forget to smile. My resting face
always looks like this unless I animate it

No affect (AFF-ekt) meant that I rarely had an expression on my face. It simply wasn’t animated. I never looked happy, even though I was inside. As my elementary years grew to my middle and high school years, many people would tell me, daily, “You look sad.” It drove me crazy. I was FINE. I felt good, normal, content. But the problem was, my face didn’t reflect any of that. Even today my resting face looks somber when drained of emotion. And as an aside, looking at other people’s faces when theirs is full of emotion is scary, difficult, and repellent. To this very day. I close my eyes a lot at church, a place where people tend to get emotional and cry.

As for no affect, sometimes today as an adult when I forget to animate my face, people think I’m angry. This isn’t usually a problem for me, because I don’t care what people think, except at work. (In another part I’ll discuss the adult autistic person and employment). I came to understand that people have feelings that get hurt and I don’t want to hurt the feelings of my co-workers, so I try to remember to be animated. Sometimes I carry a note in my pocket that says how to look during certain situations. I dream about working where there are only autistic people and no one has to worry about feelings or if we do, then we just logically explain whatever emotional misunderstanding occurred and I know the other person will understand…

In high school things began to change. I became more aware of myself compared to how peers were feeling and thinking. I began to see I was “not normal.” My mother used to say I was not normal but I dismissed those comments as extraneous. Of course I was normal. Since I knew I was normal, so I decided the rest of the world was not normal. But in High School with a larger school population of kids and independent social activities away from home, I saw that I had few of the same interests other kids had and they acted much much different than I did. If I was at a friend’s house, her phone rang constantly. My friends would talk and laugh and it would all be so easy for them. I never knew what to talk about and my phone never, ever rang. This was perplexing but not especially worrisome.

The ‘no facial affect’ was still an issue. There was one High School counselor who tried to get my parents to pay attention, saying I was depressed. I must have seemed so, a hulking, ungainly, uncoordinated child with no friends moping around the school with a grumpy expression, sitting in the courtyard bench looking at the trees for long periods… lol. I didn’t like school dances (too loud, also too much emotion). I hated pep rallies (LOUD), football games, hockey games, basketball games (what was the point?) or extracurricular activities (I had more fun by myself). I tried dating. It didn’t go well. There were too many social conventions and emotional nuances for me to process, so I gave it up until a later time when I could handle it better.

I remember once as a teen having a fight with my mother. She was furious with me about something, and got right up in my face. Excessive facial emotions on other people at a distance are hard enough to deal with but inches away was too much to bear. I closed my eyes in order to screen it out and so I could listen to her better. From her point of view I was being completely disrespectful. She got even more angry and smacked me across the face so hard my glasses flew off and landed in the kitchen sink garbage disposal. Being a parent of an autistic kid must be very hard.

The awkward teen years. These are very difficult years
for any child but as an autistic kid, they’re torture.
Social expectations are more demanding, it’s harder to hide,
and those hormones make emotions very hard to deal with

An example of becoming aware I was different was going to movies. I had one friend, and to this day I don’t know why she was my friend because I was morose, silent, and not interested in any kid things, but anyway because she was popular and I went where she did, there were times I was in a group. Star Wars came out in 1977. I was 16. As we left the theater, all the girls were talking at once, saying their opinions of the film. I was quiet. They asked me what did I think, but I couldn’t answer. It is extremely difficult for me to say what I think of an event immediately after the event. I need a looong time to be quiet and process it. I have to think about it first. I literally cannot say what my thoughts are at that time, only later.

Of course, being 16 year old girls, by the time I was ready to say what I thought, which was the next day or the next week, they had moved on with their conversation. But how can you know what you think about something without thinking about it first? First impressions are usually wrong, and of course I didn’t want to be wrong. Careful thought was called for. Not so the non-autistic person. They just blabbed whatever. This was astounding to me, and uncalled for. I learned at that time that people think differently than me and I decided from then on that conversation was pointless.

I did enjoy studying. I loved history and literature. I had an English class where we studied King Arthur. I latched onto that and studied it obsessively. I was always like that, grabbing onto one subject and studying it exhaustively. That subject and only that subject would do.

As I reached the end of High School, I began wondering why I seemed like the only person who hated the typical High School activities and 300 other kids liked them. For example, in Junior year our Homecoming float didn’t win the competition and people cried. It was obvious ours should have won, being light years ahead of the other three classes, but there was no use crying over it. It was just another confirmation that people were usually wrong.

Academically, the ‘not trying’ became more of an issue too. Flunking algebra meant I might not graduate high school. So I was sent to summer school. When I showed up, clutching books to chest, overly large and thick eyeglasses, in a purple velour pantsuit (more on texture later) all the other kids were shocked to see me. “But we thought you were a Brain?!” they exclaimed. That was the first time I realized other people had thoughts about other people.

I graduated High School and went off to college. College was a shock. A total shock. More on that and on adulthood in part 2.

University of Maine, Orono, 1978
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The Autistic Christian, part 2
The Autistic Christian, part 3

Posted in end time, end time. prophecy, gmo, nephilim

Genetic modification and dinosaurs

Here is a theory. I am connecting some biblical dots here but not everyone subscribes to my interpretation I’ve developed based on those biblical dots.

We know that sometime around 4500 years ago, God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. (Gen 6:5). God said, … “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.” (Gen 6:12-13)

We know that Lucifer fallen to earth, for iniquity was found in him and he was cast from his place in heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18). A third of the angels followed him. (Revelation 12:4). Those dastardly guys did not take their ejection well. Satan knew that God had promised a Redeemer from Noah’s line, and definitely not wanting a redeemer to be able to emerge on earth, the angels set about helping man in his depraved ways corrupt them beyond recognition.

We know that strange men were still on the earth even after the days of the Nephilim when some of the tribes still pillaged around the Middle East subsequent to the flood, including the Raphaim, Anakites, Zamzummites, Emites, and, of course, the giant Og, King of Basham. Goliath and his four bothers as described in 1 and 2 Samuel were giants. When 10 of the 12 spies were dispatched to check out the promised land, they were petrified at seeing one of the Nephilim tribes, and even described a grape cluster so large it took two of the men to carry it. Satan was still enacting his plan to corrupt.

Here we have a glimpse of genetic tinkering with food. Not only were the Nephilim causing destructive mutations among humans and in the food supply, but also in the animals. (1 Samuel 15:3) I personally believe God did not make dinosaurs but rather they were an animal result of Nephilim and fallen angel messing with genes. I also believe the dinosaurs were not invited to the Ark and perished in the flood. I mean, why would God make an animal too big to move with too small of a brain to handle it? Dinosaurs were not biologically efficient nor elegant.

So anyway, genetic messing with our genes was the ploy the fallen angels used to wreck the bloodlines and hopefully prevent the promised redeemer. But satan never gave up, we read ahead in history and see how he is active on the earth up to this moment and beyond during Revelation times. So would satan abandon a successful tactic of destruction and ruination, corruption and perversion, such as genetic tampering? No. Now when John reminds us that satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) So here is my theory.

Having failed to corrupt man through the direct tactic of genetic manipulation from marriages of themselves to daughters of men, and the animals, they now pollute the food we eat, embarking on an indirect method to corrupt us. Have you ever wondered why we are experiencing the ever-earlier onset of puberty? It’s age 9 now, with onset as early as age 7! Why? Or why we’re all huge? Large, lumbering, fat, obese, and taller than ever? We can’t even fit on seats anymore from Depression-era movie theaters. Or why autism has quadrupled? Or why suddenly, celiac disease has sprouted up in widespread manner in the population and doctors can’t figure out why? (“Increase in celiac disease baffles doctors.”) Or why food has to be genetically modified in the first place?

The genetic mingling happened in the past, is happening now, and will happen again once more in direct manner: In Daniel 2:43 there’s a reference to someone from the fourth prophesied kingdom “mingling themselves with the seed of men” in the last days. KJV: “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” Who is the mentioned ‘they‘ mixing with seed of men? Something not man? Hmmm.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Fortunately, satan’s efforts will have only one last zenith and then he will be bound for 1000 years. He will be loosed for a short time, and then thrown alive into the lake of fire forever. Jesus triumphed on the cross and He is THE VICTOR. All who believe in Him are victors too.