Aspies in the Church

On Rachel Held Evans’ site, there is an excellent post by Erin Thomas on Embracing Faith As an Aspie.  The post is excellent, as were many of the comments.  But my favorite comment was by lainiep:

“As an aspie female myself, I resonate with a lot of what Erin has to say. One of the difficulties with Asperger’s Syndrome is that it is often very difficult to find safe community. Ironically, this can be particularly difficult in churches that emphasize ‘relationships,’ ‘transparency,’ etc. For many people in these churches, someone who needs time to get to know others is clearly broken and in need of fixing.

“(An aspie is also vulnerable to abusers/bullies/power-trippers in churches who use the rhetoric of community.)

“Until churches are willing to acknowledge that genuine relationships take time to develop and stop expecting instant intimacy, aspies may have a difficult time finding a suitable worshiping community.”

And Maddie_Faddenoid has a good response to that:

“I don’t have aspergers but I’m introverted and I can relate to that so much. I went to a church that was all about ‘relationships’ and ‘accountability’ and I felt under a lot of pressure to share my biggest struggles and deepest vulnerabilities with people I wasn’t totally comfortable with because I didn’t know them very well at all. It was difficult. I was treated as if I had something wrong with me and it was hur[t]ful. The super-extroverted youth pastor just didn’t get me at all and would leap to hurtful conclusions about me, my family, my upbringing and what he considered to be ‘my issues’ (none of his ‘counsel’ was solicited). It’s horrible to have to justify who you cannot possibly help being when who you cannot possibly help being is treated as defective.  This was all in the name of relationships and accountability.”

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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2 Responses to Aspies in the Church

  1. loubyjo says:

    um i agree i used to go to church but i do have aspergers i know it sounds like an excuse but could not cope with the hugging hapy people the minster lived not far from me and got the extinct fealing he could not get away from quickly enough his whole world evolved around god well mine does not !!

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  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Yeah, I don’t mind the hugging part, myself, though I can understand why many Aspies may not like that. On centering one’s life around God, I’ll admit, I’ve always found that to be too abstract of a concept for me to get.

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