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The Aspergers Part of the Body of Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confusing, I know.

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

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

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

At least ignoring those who are different is better than wrongly judging them.

14 thoughts on “The Aspergers Part of the Body of Christ”

  1. This is an extremely thoughtful premise for a blog and discussion. Allow me to share a few of my experiences and why I think this is such a good resource.

    I will be very brief. But at 27 years, I have been a Christian for the last 8 years. I grew up in the church and have been inside many dozens of congregations, of a variety of 'denominations' and several I have even had lengthy stays and been fairly involved with the ministries. So I am very knowledgeable when I speak on matters of faith and church, and practice.

    But I have also been asked to leave a number of congregations. Other congregations I have left of my own volition, when I could tell the people who had once warmly welcomed me, now seemed to not really care if I was present or not. So needless to say, I have had my share of disappointments, but a few which I was handled notoriously and unjustly.

    One of the most unfair and hurtful treatments I have received is many who made false judgments against me, who believed I was only lukewarm, or even lying about my position to deceive people and weasel my way in. Accusations I've suffered were things that were only superficial to that I was a notorious liar, engaged in arch-evil acts.

    Perhaps being an Aspie works against me. We are so pitifully naive in many cases, we say exactly what we think, or what we feel. When you are such an altruistic person, and often say innocent altruistic things, people naturally conclude you are a liar through and through, for in their minds, no one is so selfless and morally conscientious as this person pretends to be.

    And inside of this, is the preachy, "I know the Bible better than you do and better than you ever will". People literally blow you off and act like you are a nuisance, not worth their time, just a pathetic worldly creature who couldn't perform a Christian act to save your life. But as an Aspie, this is so untrue. Many people have said I had a photographic memory, while I told them it wasn't that simple. I was more plagued with memory. I could remember vast amounts of facts, from encyclopedia and atlas entries, to perhaps information of more pivotal importance. My knowledge of the Bible tested preachers, rabbis, seminarians, even students of many years of the Bible and biblical literature. In short, my knowledge was thorough, commanding, supreme, and astonishing. But I was continually belittled as peon, a waste of life, a pathetic evildoer.

    In short, I can't tell you now that I don't hate them or wish they are destroyed for the notorious acts against Christ they have committed, and done under the pretext of doing it in His name.

    I hope to read more of your entries because this is a very optimistic discovery for me.

  2. There are some people with Aspergers who are not blunt at all, or all of the time. Although there are people with Aspergers who are blunt all the time, there are also people in general who are blunt or not blunt. To make a generalization that all people or the grand majority of people will be blunt when someone asks about their haircut is unfair at best. There are people with AS who will be quite appropriate in their responses, not just because they copy, but because it is intuitive to them. Not everything is really clear cut with Aspergers even though there are symptoms that many exhibit. But not everyone. It is true that people who are different than the norm have difficulty making or sustaining friendships, but there are people with Aspergers who have friendships with both others with AS and others without it. It all comes down to whether people want to accept each other's weaknesses or not. Christians should definitely accept one another in the body of Christ, and friendship usually thrives when you clique with others-whether or not one has Aspergers and the other doesn't. Also, people with AS are not less of a person those without it (got that sense in the post), and the qualities that are typical of AS that put people in bondage, rather than just weaknesses, should be addressed through prayer for deliverance. I think people need to pray for one another and be deeply vested in each other's lives in the body of Christ, despite differences.

  3. John,

    Please forgive this long delay in publishing your comment. What you've said is sadly very true.

    Your expressed desire to read more entries provides the feedback needed to inspire new entries. It's ironic to discover optimism within such depressing facts.

    Churches need to face their shameful ways of dealing with Christian Aspies. Personally, at this present time, I'm too stressed and tired from the consequences of making a major change in my life due to discovering how naive I am, along with learning how much hatred exists towards intelligent adults who are naive.

  4. In general, people will not accept a weakness in another person when they know their choice to do this is easily hidden, especially when they know others are like them.

  5. And yet I know I can't be in a relationship with him beyond friends– and we both desire more of a relationship with each other– until he knows Jesus and knows he has Aspergers. This man is so set in his ways at 50 years old, and he is convinced that he is always right and there's no other way of looking at things, and even understanding this is common with Aspies, it is still maddening for me as an NT who values learning from others and trying to see different perspectives, and of course as somebody who wants to be appreciated and respected for who I am and what I stand for! He says he is going to heaven because it's a free gift, and yet he mocks Jesus and defies God at every turn, and he's convinced that God either hates him or doesn't exist at all… and he feels that God set us up to fail since he knew we would sin and then suffer His wrath. No matter who he talks to about this (pastors, etc.), nobody is able to explain it to him or answer his questions to satisfy him… he has not moved an inch from what he is utterly convinced of. And I know that for all of us, the Gospel is foolishness until God removes our blinders and touches our hearts! God must first do what ONLY God can do, I totally get that! I'm just wondering if anybody has any advice for me in regards to how can I best love this man for Jesus' sake, how can I be a good witness to him from an Asperger's perspective, and how can I be in his life without feeling so emotionally beat up by his harsh words (again i know a huge part of that is me putting on the Armour of God!)… this man wants to hear only positive things and yet he's only willing to say negative things. He is by far the most negative person I've ever known, and he feels that to acknowledge anything positive it means he's sticking his head in the sand and ignoring the negative?! He is an "either / or" person, he believes everything in a relationship is a competition where somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, and he tries to control by punishing. He also believes he is superior to the rest of the human population and the world would be a better place if everybody was more like him! He feels it's his job to hold everybody else accountable, and he prides himself on being able to bring out the worst in people so they can work on their issues and weaknesses and become better people. When I tell him that he just pushes and pushes and pushes, he responds by saying, and then I push some more! And he thinks this is a good thing! Are these Aspergers characteristics and tendencies, or do they just come from his own personality, upbringing and fears? I do tend to think that his extreme arrogance is simply masking a deep insecurity (I believe this whether the person is an Aspie or an NT), and as he brings out the worst in others because he's pushed them over the edge, it helps him feel better about himself… I will value and appreciate any feedback people can give me! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my novel here, and any time you take in responding!

  6. Sharron, thank you for inspiring thoughts upon how a NT Christian can be a good witness to Aspies! Your words beautifully bring attention to what churches desperately need to be aware of. Focusing on being a good witness actually has the opposite effect because the focus is on self and not Jesus. We need to approach others with the mindset of Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Matthew Henry comments, “If you expect or experience the benefit of God's compassions to yourselves, be compassionate one to another. We must be severe upon our own faults, and quick in observing our own defects, but ready to make favourable allowances for others.” Everyone easily detects arrogance. Only by the grace of God do we detect it in ourselves. No spiritual battle is won by walking in the flesh. When we’re humble, we don’t get bitter from arrogance portrayed in others. Instead, we feel compassion. Ungodly anger and bitterness stem from our own insecurities. We unconsciously fear being judged by others, especially by those who act arrogant. Compassion isn't degrading. Thinking about how to be a good witness is. The post “Judgmental Congregation” contains this quote (from Joni and Friends, Part 2: Truth for the Church; section 18:15): "If someone comes to me with poor social skills and I reject them, I've sinned – they didn't. So, if the Lord needs to bring people into my life who are somewhat incompetent, who in terms of communication wise are not the greatest, in order to teach me how to be more accepting of people, then that could potentially also be another benefit." This NT Christian can't see how arrogant, judgmental and self-righteous his own attitude is. He's blind to how poor his own social skills are because he judges them by unfair standards. He judges his competency to be superior because of how well he communicates with other NTs. Place him in an Aspie culture and his social skills will appear inferior. If you believe you can’t be in a relationship with him beyond friends unless he knows he has Aspergers (assuming it became evident he knows Jesus), you’re unwittingly being disrespectful towards him. This is what happens when NTs have a distorted perception of Aspergers. Myths about Aspergers come from NTs. Their power and control goes beyond degrading and disrespect into embracing a eugenics agenda. Most adult Aspies see this, while most NTs don’t give this enough thought. Even though NT Christians may not seek to make people on the spectrum history, they are influenced by those who do. Being angry and attacking issues is acceptable, but not when it’s directed at someone personally. Galatians 5:19-21 describes when our anger angers God, “works of the flesh are evident: …enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,…” Christians need to combat the influence of evil in society. Attacking an individual goes after who they are. Attacking what he or she does or says does not. Aspergers is who one is; not what he has or does. Romans 12:18 tells us to do all that we can to live in peace with everyone. The dialogue between you and your Aspie friend doesn’t appear to be stemming from the Spirit, but rather from the flesh. Compassion is being replaced with bitterness. You don’t belong in his life if you are emotionally beat up by his words; nor does he in yours if he feels beat up by your words. Telling an individual why others don’t want him is counter-productive. It powerfully reinforces the issues instead of resolving them. Words need to bring healing and acceptance. As much as you want to be appreciated and respected for who you are and what you stand for, so does your Aspie friend. The answer to your question, “Are these Aspergers characteristics and tendencies, or do they just come from his own personality, upbringing and fears?” …it's from human nature; not Aspergers.

  7. I am so relieved to find that Christian Aspie's are "coming out." I have always felt so left out. After a while I decided to be not as forthcoming and keep things to myself, which is stressful. As an Aspie, I feel very comforted by meeting someone who seems to appreciate my honesty, but then I hear stuff about this person, that they might not really like me and are just being "Christian," so I would recede into myself, and stop attending fellowship meetings.
    Also I am straightforward about my shortcomings, and my less than stellar conduct. I really have faith in God that I am a work in progress, and when I sin I seek Him out. But then people will act like I am such a terrible sinner, and would question my integrity; but then, I see all of their sins clearly too. Sins that are not necessarily better or worse than mine, but they are not perfect. The thing about being an Aspie, is that one is honest about oneself, but I have seen, in my lifetime, that most neurotypicals are in denial about their own shortcomings. They think everyone else is all wrong. It kind of gets me down, when people start talking about others. I feel bad because I can easily go down that path, and judge others too, if I am trying to understand a friend's point of view. For example, my friend (before she left our fellowship group) told me a lot of other things about the rest. Like the group leader was envious of her, and another member was all about money and social status, and another was not "right in the head." She told me not to let on that I knew this things, but of course it felt awkward, and I can't blurt out that I knew because I was sworn to secrecy. So I stopped attending meetings. Later in the year I badly needed my fellow Christians, and I approached my friend. She told me to meet our old group leader, and I was really confused, after all the stuff she said that this lady exhibited unChristianlike behavior. My friend told me it was all right, why should I avoid this lady now? Well, she was right, our group leader gave lots of wonderful advice. But I can't help but feel my friend drove a wedge between me and the group, whether she meant to or not.
    And that is another aspect of being Aspie. If we find a friend who "gets it," we cling to this friend as our filter for the whole world. Truth is, everyone is struggling with their own baggage, and no one is perfect. But we will assume our friend's beliefs and points of view, and when things shift, we become very shaken and confused. That's why I keep to myself, and people wonder why.

  8. Thank you for sharing what you have in your comment. It provides a great opportunity for this reminder all Christians should adhere to:

    Talking about others in ways which question their integrity is a sign of idolatry. We show respect to God by respecting all people regardless of their level of integrity. We respect people by praying for them; not by talking about them.

  9. I find it very difficult to attend church services. Most services today have loud music with the musicians up front wiggling and bouncing to their music. There are smells and people will sit too close. Then in today's church there is the "get up and greet" time that completely stresses me. I try to politely tell people I am unable to shake hands, but many are annoyed by my refusal. I seldom go to church anymore. I do try to attend Sunday school because of the small group situation. But, I don't feel like I should announce to a group that I am autistic so they won't touch me. I am a senior citizen and have been a Christian since my early 20's. I have an on and off relationship with the Lord because of the stress of "being a good Christian" as it is preached and enough stress just trying to survive. I get overwhelmed and rest from all pretense for awhile. It's not that I don't believe. I just can't go through the motions for extended periods of time. I only found out about 6 or 7 years ago I am autistic. I have a lifetime of negative input from others without understand why.

  10. Jane, you're not alone with what you describe. Hopefully this Asperger Ministry helps you to realize this. Please share specifically what is preached about "being a good Christian" so it can be addressed on this site. This way, reading material to eliminate the stress of just trying to survive may be provided. Being overwhelmed comes from misunderstanding Scripture. God didn't design us to go through the motions for extended periods of time.

    Please also share what specific type of negative input from others you've endured. Examples would help. God wants issues such as these to receive attention. An example of one is cliques in churches. People may extend their welcome with open arms but yet keep us at arms length. It's up to us to express ourselves. Christian neurotypicals aren't motivated to work to understand what's wrong about their behavior and/or attitudes.

  11. Jane, you're not alone with what you describe. Hopefully this Asperger Ministry helps you to realize this. Please share specifically what is preached about "being a good Christian" so it can be addressed on this site. This way, reading material to eliminate the stress of just trying to survive may be provided. Being overwhelmed comes from misunderstanding Scripture. God didn't design us to go through the motions for extended periods of time.

    Please also share what specific type of negative input from others you've endured. Examples would help. God wants issues such as these to receive attention. An example of one is cliques in churches. People may extend their welcome with open arms but yet keep us at arms length. It's up to us to express ourselves. Christian neurotypicals aren't motivated to work to understand what's wrong about their behavior and/or attitudes.

  12. I am a newcomer to this site. We found out about 2 years ago my now 58 year old husband has Asperger's. I didn't realize until we married 8 yrs ago. I was myself a born again spirit filled Christian that sees the potential in everyone.My husband was same but he had Asperger's. He is the most wonderful loving smart caring man I have ever met yet when we got married he had these episodes of anger and violence and abusive language. I was a victim of abuse my whole life and I was devastated to learn my husband was an abuser. Asperger's was the culprit. I recently went through struggling with do I divorce but the bible says God hates divorce. My husband does not connect well with other people. We have been to counselling with pastors who blame him and try to deliver him but his reactions are so flat the pastors get frustrated and give up on him telling him he is attention seeking.I know this man enough to know he doesn't know enough about himself, he hates his behavior and cries out to God to change. I need to let go and stop protecting him. I have set clear boundaries,learned to love him the way God does, forgive him for his behaviors and I will continue to believe God for his miracle with him. My struggle is and always has been my own self esteem but as God has shown me so graciously my self worth and esteem comes through HIM not my husband. He loves me and I do love him but Asperger's has made our journey a walking testimony of God's love for us both.

  13. And yet I know I can't be in a relationship with him beyond friends– and we both desire more of a relationship with each other– until he knows Jesus and knows he has Aspergers. This man is so set in his ways at 50 years old, and he is convinced that he is always right and there's no other way of looking at things, and even understanding this is common with Aspies, it is still maddening for me as an NT who values learning from others and trying to see different perspectives, and of course as somebody who wants to be appreciated and respected for who I am and what I stand for! He says he is going to heaven because it's a free gift, and yet he mocks Jesus and defies God at every turn, and he's convinced that God either hates him or doesn't exist at all… and he feels that God set us up to fail since he knew we would sin and then suffer His wrath. No matter who he talks to about this (pastors, etc.), nobody is able to explain it to him or answer his questions to satisfy him… he has not moved an inch from what he is utterly convinced of. And I know that for all of us, the Gospel is foolishness until God removes our blinders and touches our hearts! God must first do what ONLY God can do, I totally get that! I'm just wondering if anybody has any advice for me in regards to how can I best love this man for Jesus' sake, how can I be a good witness to him from an Asperger's perspective, and how can I be in his life without feeling so emotionally beat up by his harsh words (again i know a huge part of that is me putting on the Armour of God!)… this man wants to hear only positive things and yet he's only willing to say negative things. He is by far the most negative person I've ever known, and he feels that to acknowledge anything positive it means he's sticking his head in the sand and ignoring the negative?! He is an "either / or" person, he believes everything in a relationship is a competition where somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, and he tries to control by punishing. He also believes he is superior to the rest of the human population and the world would be a better place if everybody was more like him! He feels it's his job to hold everybody else accountable, and he prides himself on being able to bring out the worst in people so they can work on their issues and weaknesses and become better people. When I tell him that he just pushes and pushes and pushes, he responds by saying, and then I push some more! And he thinks this is a good thing! Are these Aspergers characteristics and tendencies, or do they just come from his own personality, upbringing and fears? I do tend to think that his extreme arrogance is simply masking a deep insecurity (I believe this whether the person is an Aspie or an NT), and as he brings out the worst in others because he's pushed them over the edge, it helps him feel better about himself… I will value and appreciate any feedback people can give me! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my novel here, and any time you take in responding!

  14. Marie, who told you Aspergers is the culprit? A neurotypical “expert” or is it because that's what you want to believe? What you apparently don't know is that more Aspies are victims of abuse than being the abusers. You claim you and your husband are Christians. If this is so, you should realize that unrighteous anger issues are heart issues… NOT neurological issues.

    Unless a pastor is an Aspie, it is highly doubtful he or she will be qualified to counsel an Aspie. A piece of paper may legally qualify a person to counsel, but in God's eyes that piece of paper means nothing. Pastors who blame Aspies and give up on those who want help will have to give an account for their sinful behavior to God.

    The way you talk Marie reminds me of an excellent DVD set by Paul David Tripp called, “What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage.” He also has a book with the same title, but I doubt it could have the same impact as watching and listening to what Tripp has to say. Anyhow, it's clear you and your husband need it (especially you). You are doing just what Tripp warned against in his message. This comes out loud in clear in your words, “I know this man enough to know he doesn't know enough about himself.” May I ask does this work in reverse too?… that your husband knows you enough to know you don’t know enough about yourself?” As Tripp humorously said about couples who come to him for counseling that may think this way, “I’d be out of a job.”

    I get the impression you're behaving like an unrealistic cooperator (i.e., codependent person). This would fit given that you've said you've been abused your whole life. If you were a realistic cooperator, you wouldn’t have been abused beyond childhood (or at least stay continuously abused). Most people don’t realize anger is a symptom of fear. Fear comes from walking by the flesh rather than the Spirit (i.e., fiducia faith, which goes beyond notitia and assensus).

    If God has shown you so graciously your self worth and esteem comes through Him and not your husband, then why are you still struggling with your own self-esteem?

    Asperger’s doesn’t have the ability to make a mixed marriage between an Aspie and a NT a walking testimony of God’s love for a couple. That would be like saying a mixed marriage between an African-American and a Caucasian-American is also a walking testimony of His love. If such things are, it could only be because of prejudices. Now instead of society being unashamedly displaying bigotry towards African-Americans, it’s unashamedly displaying it towards Aspies. This would not have happened if it wasn’t for a select few ignorant NTs getting to build a destructive foundation to influence society’s opinion about Asperger’s in advance.

    Aspies process information differently than NTs. This is the ONLY difference between the two neurological cultures. It has NOTHING to do with sin. ALL relationship issues are sin issues. Different perceptions may result in different opinions. Different opinions may result in disagreements. Whether these disagreements ultimately lead to division or unity in a relationship depends on how strong each person’s self-love is or how humble each are. Couples genuinely united in Christ will become more strongly united and more humble. If either struggle with self-esteem, it’s because of self-love/self-hate (i.e., self-importance rather than Christ-importance). This is actually good news, because this means God is more than able to create a wholesome marriage without the help of a pastor, counselor, or friend. I know because of experience.

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