How to Choose a Church if Autistic

CONTENT WARNING: Religion, Stigma, “Vaccine Blame” talk 

Many autistic people long for connection with things bigger than themselves. Worship tends to help those who believe in entities such as God.  

I’m going to present Christian examples, simply because that is what I know. Feel free to add your own tips and religious experiences.  

As always, correct me if I’m wrong.  

  1. Openness to Acceptance: Now, this is a hard one to start with, but there must be an acceptance of different kinds of people in the church. In Christianity’s core, Jesus’ mission (and Christians’ by choice of religion) is to “seek and save the lost.” By default, that means you ought to go looking to bring as many people, and as many different people, as you (and God with you) can. That includes the autistic.
  2. Education: Sometimes, a church and its parishioners can be turned toward acceptance by education. I know it’s hard, but educating people about the range and spectrum of autism may be necessary in the course of worship. 
  3. Vaccine Acceptance, Not Blame: Vaccines do not cause autism. End of story. And if they do not accept vaccines for any reason, then walk away. You will be exposing you and yours to debilitating, often deadly and preventable illnesses. 
  4. No Stigma/Shame: A common belief, especially in more legalistic places of worship, is that autism and mental illness are symptoms of moral failing, and that they must be corrected. In Christianity, this is a common theme among religious leaders, that God must be punishing a person with illness and disability. They are often wrong, since there are usually genetic components to these conditions.
  5. Acceptance/Encouragement of Healthy Practices: I once got encouragement from a fellow parishioner to take my required medicines to keep me healthy at church. This is actually good and proper. Medicines are often part of God’s plan to help with illnesses, disabilities and conditions, physical and mental. But, I digress. The point is, stay at a church that encourages good health practices in love.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Feel free to add more.

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About Systematic Rape and Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

WARNING: Content includes talk of rape, coverup and sexual abuse. Proceed with caution.

What can I say? That it literally took getting secular police involved to expose the scandal? That coverup and lies were the norm? That the Church has traumatized people with its policies against my loving God? It is literally the scandal of our time. Now, there is at least one person calling on the current Pope to resign. This is beginning to raise questions in the minds of people. 

Are there people who don’t know who their fathers are because of the coverup policies? The answer is yes. The media exposed at least one. Are there people who are suffering from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases because of the policies of the church? There hasn’t been anyone exposed yet, but I’m sure there are. Are there celebrities who have been abused by priests and are dealing with the repercussions in rage? I don’t know, but Kevin Smith, the mind behind the movie Dogma, is a good candidate. I’m not saying he was abused, but his material makes you wonder. 

This is also raising questions in my own mind and heart.  

Did my best friend suffer at the hands of somebody in the Catholic Church? Yes, I was best friends with a Catholic girl. We met in public school. I’m not sure if she did suffer, since I never saw her get alone with anyone working in the church, but you’re never quite sure. How many of my friends and colleagues suffered at the hands of these priests and others? How much sex did superiors extort from the priests in the coverups? You know, how much “Suck my dick or I’ll tell” happened? We may never know.  

Now here’s the meat of the conversation: How many people were turned away from God because of these actions? How much hypocrisy does it take to get people to hate God? I hear it isn’t much these days. That is what the Catholic Church ought to be worried about. Their hypocrisy has become a destructive force to their ministry. The scandal they tried to avoid, only blew up in their faces.  

What does the Catholic Church do at this point? The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is able to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) But they must do more. They must understand that people, including priests and nuns, are human, and as such, have sinful desires, such as sex with children and teenagers. They need a plan to expose and purge out the evil, not cover it up. We are living in the effect of covering it up. The Church has let the leprosy grow, and now the resulting scandal threatens them all.  

I guess, the one thing we need to learn is: Your sins will find you out.  

Getting Jesus; Faith of a Canaanite Woman

I watched “Jesus Christ Superstar” on NBC along with who knows how many people. I suspect there were many, though. Ratings will come out next week. It was a punk-rock-modern retelling, complete with multimedia and reporters among the arresting crowd. I was not offended at all that John Legend was cast. He was excellent. I was actually offended about Alice Cooper’s involvement, until Mr. Cooper’s faith came busting out of the shadows on its own. That put any offense to bed really quick. But one thing that nagged me throughout the show was this question: Did anybody around Jesus really GET Jesus?  

According to the musical, nobody really got Jesus, and they said over and over “He’s just a man.” However, the Bible tells the story of one or woman who actually got Jesus – who He was, what He was all about. Sure, they forgot to depict the Resurrection in the musical. I’m not sure Andrew Lloyd Weber really got Him. As a matter of fact, I have a confession: I don’t even know if I get Jesus half of the time. Fortunately, you don’t have to get Jesus to be loved or saved by Jesus. 

As to the woman who did, they remain unnamed to this day. The first account, in the Bible Book of Matthew (15:21-28), a Canaanite/Syro-Phoenician woman cries for help for her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus says in the account, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But the woman counters with, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Jesus healed her daughter for her great faith.  

I’m not saying I am perfect, far from it. I am saying that faith is rewarded, and there was a woman who really GOT Jesus. I want to be more like the Canaanite Woman.  

A Short Ditty about Dr. King

What can I say about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.? How he championed nonviolence? How his struggles for the black people and others spurs my own civil rights struggle? (Yes, as an autistic, and a woman, I struggle for love, acceptance and civil rights.) Yes, I can say a lot about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And his legacy, but I feel that others can do it much better than I can.  So I will let them.

“Oh No! It’s….DIFFERENT!!!!!!”*

You have to scream the title like a horror movie final girl to get the full effect.* 

How many times have you dealt with somebody who was a little different from you? Many times, I am sure. Trouble is, many of us have not dealt with different in our lives as much as others. And the sad thing is, dealing with different may just be the key to overcoming different. And yet, with the trend toward dividing up and shrinking back into racial and religious divides, fear and hate helps different keep us apart.  

Now, I know that the rich, white and powerful have most of the prejudice and hate on lockdown. That is a fact. That is how they stay in power. What I am saying is, there are people on all sides, not just black and white, need to overcome the prejudice inside their own heads in order to function.  

I’m not even talking about Black Lives Matter or antifascists at this point. I do not believe they are a terrorist group. It’s a shame that it only takes a color of skin to designate one group terrorist and another group not. It is a shame that I even have to waste space on this declaration. 

What I am talking about is the person who shuts their ears to another person, simply because there is a different trait. I am talking about the white person who closes his ears to the understanding person of color, as well as the person of color closing his ears to the understanding white person. I am talking about the person who says “You are just a ______” and name that difference. With a closed mind and a cold heart, they become part of the problem of hate that is about to destroy the United States of America.  

How does this manifest in my own life? I am glad you asked. This manifests in my life with a chilling precision; I fear these words will not get to the people who need to hear them, because I am autistic, and white, and cisgender, and female, and fat. I have just listed six reasons people shut out my words. I am sure there are many more.  

 

Why I Mourn the Orlando Shooting Victims 

I am hearing, from the dark corners of the internet, about certain so-called Christians who are not mourning the victims of the Orlando shooting.

A quick recap: Gay nightclub shot up. 50 people dead, possibly more to come. 53 people injured. The gunman among the dead. Police waited 3 hours to storm the place.

Why are these people not mourning the victims of the Orlando shooting? Simple: they were most likely homosexuals. Yes, I agree homosexuality is a sin. I am a Bible-believing Christian. Romans 1 and 2 contains several verses you may have to cut out. Sin also separates you from God.

That being said, the victims of the Orlando shooting, even those most likely gay, are no more sinful by God’s standards than anyone else. What people forget, in their crusading against other people’s sin, is that they are just as sinful. It even feels like they are using other people’s sins to mask their own – the classic “I’m not as bad as that guy!” Scenario. The trouble is, the people pointing the finger are just as sinful, as I have said before. The standard of holiness, according to God? Absolute, sinless perfection. Ever heard the saying “Nobody’s Perfect” from anyone, anyone at all? That is the trouble. Remember, people who point the finger usually have three fingers pointing back at them. It is also similar to when Christ told of the “speck” of one sin in another’s eye, you have to make sure there is a “log” of any other sin in your own eye. That illustrates another truth: that people who are pointing out one sin are often struggling with it in one form or another.

So, let me say, according to the word of God, that the best thing to do in the case of the Orlando shooting victims is, to mourn the dead. Were they targeted for their lifestyle, their differences? Yes. Were they murdered? Yes. Is their time of mercy and grace over? Yes. Do they have a chance to go back and change their minds? Of course not-they’re dead. They have no more chances. Their lives and chances were taken from them. If you were in the nightclub and got shot, you would have had a near 50/50 chance of dying from your wounds. If they deserve to die and go to hell, so do you. But Christ, in His infinite mercy and grace, paid your price. That is all I have to say about that.

It is going to be a surprise who comes into heaven. People you thought would be there are not, and people who you thought would never be there will. Sure, sin keeps you from God, but Jesus Christ received the penalty for all, so that all may come to Him. The dead of Pulse nightclub, they never had a chance. Their chances were taken away from them. Mourn for that.

Easter Symbols

In case you have not noticed, I am a Christian, which means I believe that the biggest event in history was a Roman execution of a carpenter and apparent political upstart. It’s kind of weird that we wear the instrument of execution on our bodies and in our homes. It’s even weirder that we consider the carpenter and upstart the greatest man in history. And the weirdest of all, the fact is, some of the symbols of this event have nothing to do with the event in particular. I mean, what do Crucifixion and Resurrection have to do with candy bunnies and colored eggs?

Let me get to the most important part-the gist of the Gospel of Easter: Everybody sins, and the judgment of sin is death. Everybody dies, too. But the trouble is, death sends people to the realm of Hell. We needed a savior to save us from that fate. Trouble is, everybody sins, so there is no one who can. An innocent had to put on the sins of others to provide a way out, so… God sent his son to die the most brutal death in history, and rise again from the grave, to provide a way to be with God. That’s it. So, why do bunnies, flowers, eggs and bugs figure into the celebration?

Growing up, I originally thought the bunny and the egg were a little silly. I mean, as a Christian, how does any of that fit into the story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? There were no mentions of rabbits or eggs in the Bible anywhere. Nobody told me anything as to why until I was in my teens. Then, the prevailing church came to the Easter symbols’ attack. They were originally used as fertility symbols of non-Christian gods. However, these symbols were “Christianized,” or incorporated, into the celebration, given new meanings and new places inside Christianity.

The Holiday Spot  gives a concise meaning into the various symbols associated with Easter. I am perfectly alright with these traditional symbols, given their new meanings of new life. There are even symbols I did not know were incorporated into the celebration, such as the butterfly. The butterfly represents the spiritual metamorphosis the Christian soul and spirit undergo. It is my favorite symbol of Easter and spring. From death into life, the way of God goes.