27 December 2007

Autism and God

Occasionally I have posted on the topic of autism and religion. These have been very general thoughts about how the Church, the religious, and God (whichever may be yours) view autism and autistics.

Ginger Taylor, on the other hand, has written an in-depth discussion of autism from a Christian point of view in a series of posts she calls Autism in God's Economy. Originally posted last spring during Autism Awareness Month, she has re-posted them for the Christmas season.

Here's how Ginger describes the series:

Because so much is at stake, the autism discussion and debate grows louder and more fevered, often making it difficult for those involved to really take in various perspectives. Even when we do, they are all still flawed human perspectives. Even the best, brightest, wisest and most experienced of us do not have the whole story.

But God does.

So in “Autism in God’s Economy” over the next six days I will discuss a few things that the Bible tells us about God’s perspective on those with Autism and on the rest of us. This series is predicated on the deity of Christ and the inerrancy of Scripture, which may be controversial ideas to some of my regular visitors. If they are to you, I invite you to read on none the less, and take a look at what God of the Bible says. If you are a professing Christian, then this is an important series for you to read no matter how autism affects you.
The series includes, as Ginger mentions, six parts:
The Least of These - In God’s economy, the weak, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the overlooked, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the sick, the oppressed, the grieving, the bullied, the exhausted, and those at the end of their rope are the ones who get into the VIP section. They are the ones who gain the attention and compassion of the God of the Universe.

Those with Autism - What Matthew 25 means to you whose autism has allowed you to be mistreated is profound. It means that not only does The God of the Universe see what happens to you, He stands behind you at all times taking careful note of all your interactions with others. He records who victimizes you, who ignores you and who works their butt off to get to know you give you what you need.

Parents of Autistic Children - Once you become the parent of a disabled child, you begin to see what that ‘blessing’ really means in concrete terms, because one of the first things that happens to you, in your early grief, is that you become grounded. All of the trivial distractions, the petty rivalries, the BS ego trips, the vain ambitions and the frivolities of life suddenly become very unimportant. The crap in your life starts to fall away and it is replaced by seriousness about things of true value.

Friends and Family - It is their innocence and vulnerability that God stands behinds and uses to judge those who come into their sphere of influence. It is precisely because they are so easy to dismiss and mistreat, that God watches closely to see which of us have extracted ourselves from our own self-centeredness and selfish ambitions to notice someone who is need and to bear their burden with them.

Those in Power over Those with Autism - If you have taken responsibility for any part of the life of someone with autism, or even if that responsibility has been thrust upon you, take this time to measure yourself. Have you lived up to the responsibilities that you have been given to the innocent and vulnerable lives that Jesus has chosen to represent Him for the purposes of His judgment in his absence?

For All of Us Who Have Failed in Our Duty - When those of us with autistic people in our lives take a hard, honest look at ourselves, we realize the question is not have we failed them, it is how often and how big have we failed them.
As fellow autism dad Wade Rankin says in his post about Ginger's series, "For anyone who has an interest in the spiritual side of this autism thing, or who may have questions about reconciling the notion of a benevolent God with the autism epidemic, it makes for good reading." Make sure you check out the comments discussion between Ginger and Jonathon for even more on the latter.

25 December 2007

Autism book clubs on Shelfari.com

One of the various reasons I finally got around to posting my review of Portia Iverson's Strange Son was my signing up for an account at Shelfari.com, a social networking site to connect those who still engage in the fading activity of reading. As I was adding books to my shelf I wanted to add a review of at least one book, so I dusted off that review and posted it to Shelfari, as well as here (where it would, admittedly, reach a bit larger audience).

One of the other things that Shelfari provides is the ability to create groups, what seem to me to essentially be a virtual book club. I created one, Books by Autism Parents and Autistics, to provide a forum to discuss, well, books by autism parents and autistics. So far, the group is just me. I'd love to have some company. (hint hint ;-)

On a side note, I understand that there are several different sites for managing a book shelf and that converting from one to another is a bit of a pain. I actually went through this when switching from iRead within Facebook to Shelfari. (I wrote a bit about the myriad options, and headaches they cause (for me, at least) in Time out, please? last summer.) If you don't want to switch your entire shelf over to Shelfari, perhaps just come on over for the group discussion.

Hope to see you there.