Made in God’s Image

What’s the second truth about people on the spectrum you need to know? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I said people on the spectrum want to be loved. The second thing you need to know about people on the spectrum, which is something true but not everyone on the spectrum would agree with, is that we are made in God’s image. We are just as much image-bearers of God as anyone else is.

Sometimes I take comfort in 1 Cor. 1 when it talks about God using that which the world despises to bring glory to Himself. People who are genuinely disabled often fit that mold. It’s why it’s always an inspiration to me when I see someone talk to me about how my story has encouraged them. I hope it does so. I hope it continues to do so.

People on the spectrum are meant to show God. I still recall when a friend I went to seminary with called me because he found out his son was on the spectrum. What a shame so many people he called treated the diagnosis like it was a case of cancer. Those are his words, not mine. For me, I told him to just fall on his knees and thank God. He is going to get a chance to see the world through a whole new set of eyes.

Don’t get me wrong on this. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying raising a child on the spectrum would be without its difficulties. I know I sure gave my parents a lot of struggles and probably still do. My friend will have difficulty with his son. I have another friend I talk to every Sunday night with a son the spectrum who has difficulties. No child is easy. No child is without difficulties.

Yet a good parent will always say their child is worth it. I find many times when I meet parents of disabled children, they tell me that their children open them up to the world in ways they didn’t see before. That’s a gift.

Yet as I said, not everyone on the spectrum will agree with being in God’s image because not everyone on the spectrum is a Christian. A large number are atheists and agnostics. It doesn’t change reality. They still bear God’s image and they still need Jesus. Jesus loves them and died for them.

At my seminary, we had a chapel service one time this month where we said a prayer for those on the spectrum. We prayed first for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are on the spectrum. (Yes. We need your support.) We then said a prayer for those who were unbelievers that we would be able to reach them.

I hope these posts this month have better introduced you to the world of autism. I also hope that they have motivated you to make your church more friendly to people on the spectrum and put in you a desire to understand us better. Finally then, I hope that gives you a desire to share the gospel with people on the spectrum.

They need Jesus too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Wanting To Be Loved

What’s the first of the last two things you need to know about people on the spectrum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There can be a misconception among people when you seem closed off to strangers. When people try to interact with you and you don’t always interact back, that can be misunderstood. I found out when I went to Bible college that some people had tried to get to know me better, but they didn’t have any luck. The thing is, I didn’t even realize they were doing this.

For me on the spectrum, there is always a hint of suspicion. You don’t understand people and what they want and you want to know if people are really genuine or if they are just doing social niceties. This is another reason I hate small talk. Small talk makes it hard to tell who is genuine and who isn’t. If everyone asks “How are you?” regardless of whether they care or not, how am I supposed to know the people who really care?

Yet the first fact that needs to be known about people on the spectrum is like you all, we have a need to be loved too. Don’t get me wrong. I like having time to myself. When I come home, for the most part, I am okay with that time for reading and gaming and everything else.

Yet so many times throughout the day I am practically inwardly screaming for companionship and naturally as a divorced man, for a lady in my life once more.

One story I have told before is waking up for my first birthday here in New Orleans away from my family and wondering if anyone would even know or care. You see, I want people to celebrate my birthday, but I don’t want to go around telling people it’s my birthday. I want them to find out somehow on their own. In the age of Facebook, that’s not too hard. If you just tell people though, you don’t know if they’re celebrating because they’re really happy or just being nice.

Anyway, that morning, I opened my door and I found a case of cookies, a card, streamers, even a gift card. My RA and her husband had taken it upon themselves to do something special. The gifts were nice, but they weren’t the most important thing. Having people care on their own is what made it the most worthwhile.

It’s one reason I love it when I go to the mailbox and I get a card from someone and even if it doesn’t have anything in it, it tells me they took the time to think of me and do something. I delight when I get a new subscriber on Patreon because it tells me that someone believes in what I am doing and is willing to support it. Being away from family now, I definitely cherish having good friends I can talk to and especially ones that can help me understand all those relationships that don’t make sense.

Everyone wants to be loved and loved for who they are. Yes. If you love someone, you want them to change for the best, but no one wants to be a project. If all I get from someone is criticism, I find it hard to take. The ones I take criticism from best are the ones that also show admiration and regular support. I’m more prone to listen to them since it’s clear to me then that I’m not “Just a problem.”

If you really want to get to know someone on the spectrum, you might have to work harder at it as they want to know if you’re real or not. That can be hard for both you and them. I hope it’s worth it. The people that have done that with me are ones that I treasure greatly.

Love the people on the spectrum you know. They need it too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Do people on the spectrum multitask? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“Okay. This seminar is on Greek and I will be taking that at Seminary. I’d better just put my laptop down and listen entirely.”

So I said at the last ETS meeting that I went to. Robert Plummer was giving a talk and I knew this would be helpful. Let’s make sure there were no distractions.

I don’t remember a single word that was said in the talk.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of talks that I had my laptop out with me and was doing work on it at the time and I remembered very well what was said. I have since found that this is the way that I work. If I can keep my hands doing something else normally at the time, it is easier for me to pay attention.

My former in-laws discovered this once when I came to visit and I was sitting on the couch for some conversation and playing my 3DS. At the time, they thought I was being rude. Then they realized that I was able to explain everything that they said and repeat it back to them.

I like to educate myself watching YouTube videos on my Echo and I play a game at the same time. It works for me. I know what is going on. It keeps my mind from wandering. A friend of mine who attended Defend with me this year remembers me being in a talk and doing a word game on my phone and one on my Kindle at the same time and still knowing what was going on.

When I spoke to Defend myself on Autism and Christianity, I spoke about multitasking. Sometime recently, I had a mother come to me at the Post Office where I work and saying she has a daughter who is high-functioning and they just couldn’t get her to focus during lessons in homeschooling and she was struggling. Then she remembered what I said and told her daughter, “I will let you play a coloring game on the phone during the lesson.”

Her daughter aced the material then.

Sometimes if I am in a group conversation, I get my phone out and I do explain to people that this is something that actually helps me focus and they actually do understand a number of times. It’s different during a one-on-one conversation when I am actively engaged, but doing something helps me stay focused. It’s hard when so many people think this is rude when the reason that I am doing this is to avoid being rude.

When people on the spectrum come to your church, please keep this in mind. If they are small children, you could consider having small activities that they could do during the service, such as coloring. If they are older and say that they need their phones out to focus, then consider that that could be something that could help them out. Again, not all people on the spectrum are like this, but some are. Be aware of that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Want to laugh? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This might surprise some of you, but I tend to have a reputation as somewhat of a jokester.

No. Seriously.

As someone in therapy, something my therapist and I concluded is that humor is my version of small talk. Humor is how I tend to break the ice with people. When people come to the Post Office, one of my goals is to make them laugh. A lot of this is done by taking them literally.

“Can you check my mail?”


*Just sit there doing what I was doing*

“Will you check my mail?”


There are a number of professors and students who come in and leave laughing and I hope in a better mood. A professor I go out and do evangelism with has got used to it and says he knows he has to watch his words with me. There are several moments of outright laughter.

Also, once something enters into the joke vocabulary, expect it to stay there. The humor never dies. Some people have asked if I do the virgin birth thing, which I do affirm, in person. Yes. Most everyone on campus knows about affirming the virgin birth.

For me, this is also much easier to do than small talk because I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to laugh, though I am sure there are some. Jokes are easy to do and some people have told me I should consider going into Christian comedy as well.

As someone working on a philosophy degree as well, it really makes me think about language a lot more. Why do we say what we say and do we really watch the meaning of our words? A serious problem I have spoken of is how we treat the words think and feel as if they are synonyms.

In the Plato dialogue Parmenides, Parmenides tells a young Socrates to watch the common people and what they say. This is a great way of learning philosophy as you pay attention to words more and what they mean. Not only this, but learning philosophy has a side benefit of helping you know how to be more annoying at times.

The problem is this is a playful annoying and it can be hard to tell when people don’t want to do such anymore. In my mind, if something is funny, it stays funny. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way. The way humor can be off-putting for some is the very way that small talk is off-putting for me. If you want me to tune you out quickly, then a good way to do it is to come up to me and engage in this small talk.

Keep this in mind also when dealing with people on the spectrum. We also like to laugh and laughter is a great way to break through defenses and put people more at ease. Just make sure that you don’t make any humor too offensive as many on the spectrum have been used to being treated derisively.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Playing Catch-Up

How can a conversation be hard to follow? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As I talked to my therapist, I had been wondering what I would be writing about in my next blog also. I am trying to think of more and more aspects of autism that I can share. Part of the problem is that this world seems so normal to me nowadays that it takes me awhile to figure out exactly what to say.

“I feel like in a lot of conversations when I don’t know the person I’m playing catch-up.”

Well, there you go.

A few weeks ago, I’m working my job at the seminary post office sorting packages at a back counter that have come in. Not seeing what is going on at the main desk, I hear a voice say “Are you Nick Peters?”

Immediately, I have a number of thoughts go through my head.

“Who is this person?”

“How do they know my name?”

“If they know my name, why do they not know me by appearance?”

“What do they want?”

“Is this a friend or not?”

I am sure there were more, but those were some of the thoughts I was having. Unfortunately for me, I start on the side of distrust usually when I don’t know someone and suspicion. Why? I suspect it’s because of the way I have seen a lot of people behave over the years and seeing much of society that I think is fake.

Fortunately, this turned out to be a lovely meeting as the person was a mother who was thinking me for my autism talk I gave at Defend this year. She said that the information I gave on multitasking really helped her in her work with her daughter. As I have said before, get a person on the spectrum talking about something they feel safe talking about and the conversation goes much smoother.

Without this, I am instead left playing catch-up as I put it. I am trying to decode the body signals and the tone of language and everything else that I am being told or even think I am being told. I am trying to figure out all the silent signals, and some of them might not even be signals, while trying to understand what the person is saying.

One obvious difficult area for me with this is women. Ladies. You have to understand this. We men have an extremely difficult time knowing when you are flirting with us. My own therapist told me there have been times his fiance thought she could obviously know he was flirting with him and he totally missed it.

If neurotypical guys miss it, I guarantee you that people on the spectrum miss it far more. Please keep this in mind ladies. Men are not as perceptive in this area as you think we are.

So what does this mean for dealing with autistic people? Slow down some. Let them get familiar with you. If you have to and they’re not annoyed by it, ask if they understood what you just said or if they want to have anything explained or clarified. Otherwise, you could be talking about point L in your presentation and they’re still trying to interpret what you said at A.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


What are our interests? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In a number of cases, like other people, one fast way to get into the world of an autistic person is to find out what they’re interested in and be genuinely interested in it. One fast way to get excluded is to discount what they are interested in. Usually, our interests are that we are totally obsessed with something or we just don’t care for it at all.

For instance, take the TV show Smallville. It is the longest-running Superman TV show ever. All the episodes had one-word titles. There were over 200 of them as the show lasted ten glorious seasons. There was also a time of my life when I knew every single episode title in order. To this day, I can say something to my Dad like “Yeah. That showed up in season 1, episode 11. Hug.” I had a subscription to the magazine and I would read an article that said “In season 5, this happened,” I would wish I was a fact-checker because I knew it was season 6.

The same could be said for video games like Final Fantasy or the Legend of Zelda series. Games have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. They still are.

Of course, there’s also my Christian faith. Come to me and start talking about apologetics and we’re there. I used to do chapel on the hill at my old Bible College. They wanted sermons to be 15-20 minutes. I did 45 and no one complained. We even stayed once an hour after the sermon as I walked students through the first chapter of Hebrews.

When you meet someone on the spectrum who is obsessed with a topic, expect them to know it exceptionally well. If you don’t know the topic, don’t act like you do, but do show interest. If we suspect your interest is not genuine, it will not cause us to warm up to you as that comes across as fake.

Now if you don’t have any interest, one of the best things you can do then is to just not say anything. If you think you need to say something, you can ask why the person likes it so much. When people have a hobby or an interest, they do tend to like to talk about it.

Too often in our world, we look at what someone is interested in as necessarily a problem. It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. When we find out what a person is most interested in, we are getting a clue to their personality. It is something that we can learn from to figure out who they are. If we’re being honest, most of us don’t understand why it is that we like the things that we do. We just do.

When you meet someone on the spectrum, keep that in mind. Definitely if you want to have a friendship with them don’t disparage what they’re interested in. If you have a genuine interest as well in their obsession, you could have a friend for life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


How about eating on the spectrum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many people on the spectrum have issues with food. Some of us have issues with texture. Some of us have issues with looks. It’s a bizarre thing. I only eat foods that I can eat with my bare hands and even then, I am really limited.

So what happens if you combine those foods with social gatherings?

To give an example, let’s talk about a big event on my Louisiana campus every year. Crawfest. Ah yes. All these people get together to eat these messy things that I can’t even stand the sight of and it’s so much fun for everyone.

Unless you’re someone on the spectrum but you go because you know you need to be social and who knows but that you might meet someone you really like there and could date and marry. Yeah. I don’t go for the food.

But while I’m there it’s awful. Last time I was wearing a hooded jacket and just sat and put the hood over my head. I couldn’t stand to look even. When I get in these situations, it’s the same way Clark Kent reacts to kryptonite.

Last Thanksgiving, being away from home, a professor invited me to his house with some other students and staff for Thanksgiving. I told him I would come, and I did, but to please not ask me to eat anything or offer me anything. To the best that I can recall, he didn’t do that.

Any time I have had to go to an event like this, it has been something that I have dreaded that aspect of and honestly, I cannot really tell you why. It’s just the way that I am.

Back when I was engaged to my now ex-wife, I recall well going to an event where we were going to meet some donors to my then seminary. I figured these people could also someday be donors to Deeper Waters so we went together. Things were going well until some servers came by and came to me and said “And what would you like sir?”

Deer caught in the headlights.

Until I felt a hand on my leg and I heard her say “He’s not having anything. He’s finicky, but he’s fine.”

I can tell you my ex-wife had more success changing my diet than anyone else did. Strange power women possess indeed.

So when you have a friend who is on the spectrum, be aware of any food sensitivities they might have. They might have none. My friend Evan Minton who is on the spectrum has zero issues here. I have plenty of them. It’s always best to go in knowing.

Also, if we do have something, don’t make a big deal out of it. I remember going to a Bible study event once at the house of some friends and this happened. It was incredibly embarrassing to me and I was depressed the whole evening. Weird? Yes, but that’s life on the spectrum for you.

Meals may be great for you and how you bond, but for the person on the spectrum, it could be the opposite.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


How do you handle a party? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As a gamer, of course I love a party! How else are you going to overcome the evil? You need your party of adventurers to come together and form a team and then go out together fighting alongside each other to…..wait. Why are you shaking your head? Oh! You mean the other kind of party!

So yesterday, I had to have a dental extraction done. Towards the end of the day, I figured I needed to go to the campus social event. A friend of mine once told me that I should do this also because as a single guy, it would be a great way to get to meet someone special.

That being said, parties are difficult. You go and you watch all these other people together doing things and you don’t know what it is that you’re supposed to be doing. It seems like everyone else just understands how you interact and you don’t have a clue how to.

Imagine if you were invited to play a game and everyone else knew the rules of

the game and you didn’t.

Now I can talk to someone I know, but then after that, what do you do? How long do you talk? What do you talk about? I just don’t know. If there’s a food section there, I understand people mean well, but it’s awkward when after awhile people ask “Do you not want to get anything?” No. If I did, I would have. Food situations make me nervous.

I talked to a friend of mine who is not on the spectrum once, but does tend to be an introvert, and he told me the way he sums up parties. You go to one saying “I hope no one talks to me.” Then when you leave you’re left saying “Why didn’t anyone talk to me?”

I push myself for this kind of event, and I always try to stay a little bit longer than I really like. If I kind find a game that I can play, that can kind of help. So why is it difficult?

To return to the gaming analogy, unwritten rules. People seem to come together and form groups and people like myself don’t really know how to do that. We don’t really have a social circle all that much. My social circle is different in that I have several individuals that I can talk to and I usually go and talk to them individually.

So now how does this come to application? If you know someone on the spectrum and they’re open to it, help them out. Introduce them to people and if they say something, that could be something remarkable that you’re missing out on. Not that the content is remarkable, though it might be, but it could be something that they’re willing to open up and to share with you anything at all. Maybe they can blossom right in front of you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Can we be clear? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“Just take the red ink and put a good amount in there.”

So my boss said to me at the Post Office I work at when filling the stamp that we use to postmark. Turns out, I did too much. My idea of filling up wasn’t the same as hers and I guess I wanted to make sure it was sufficient.

“Just put some oil in the frying pan and put the fish on top.”

So said my mother in trying to teach me how to fix salmon and/or tilapia at home. Well, that didn’t work well. One of my neighbors came over yesterday with her husband and said, “Yes. You don’t line the pan with oil. You just put in a couple of spoons.”

Vague terms are hard for me. I need to go by specifics. I have only recently come to learn this about myself on the spectrum. Looking at it though, I looked back and realized that many times my mother when I was sick would ask me how I was feeling. The question often irritated me. How do you state that? What do you say? Feelings aren’t really definite like that be they emotional or physical.

If I have an assignment, I will usually ask “How many sources do I need?” or “How long does the paper need to be?” I am not looking for the bare minimum. I am looking for something that I can easily quantify.

It could be one reason that I love numbers so much. Numbers make sense and are easy really. They fit into a simple formula. You do A. You get B. I am taking symbolic logic this semester and at times, the material can be tricky, but once I get the formulae, I’m there. It makes sense.

As I’m thinking about this now, it’s probably one reason time matters so much to me. I usually try to arrive early for things and I follow a strict regimen with it. I take a shower at the same time. I go to bed at the same time. I get on my computer at the same time. That’s also something with order which I plan to write on soon.

It can also be one reason why in relationships, I can often times need an assurance on where things stand. I can’t understand your body language and if something seems inconsistent, it’s a problem for me. Generally, I will tend to think that someone is not wanting to be around me if that happens. I fortunately have friends who have been clear even saying that if they are ever upset with me, that they will let me know. That’s really assuring.

Why do I say all of this? Because if you are dealing with someone on the spectrum, it could be appreciated if you are really clear with what you are saying. Speak in clear terms that are definitive and to the point. It is a help to all of us.

In Christ
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Don’t Touch

Is a touch always welcome? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“And how would you like to respond when someone pats you on the back and you don’t want that?” my therapist asks me.

“Ideally, with a judo throw across the room.”

It would certainly get the point across!

Touch is a very important matter. If you can have a hard time with someone you don’t know saying words to you, touch can go a step further. Naturally, we all know there are ways that you shouldn’t touch certain people that are definitely inappropriate. That tells us that touch is nothing simple. It’s important and can convey a message.

When people ask my love languages, I tell them I have found them to be words of affirmation and physical touch. I tell a story on the latter about how when I was engaged to my ex-wife, we went to an event at SES that was to get donors. I told her we should go because if I’m in ministry, I could need to know these donors as well.

So we’re at a table before anything has been brought out laughing and sharing with the people and then the servers come by. They come to my table and say to me “And what will you have sir?”

At that point, it was just me and him in the world. I was a deer caught in the headlights. I was in absolute terror. I don’t want anything. This is a social situation. This is giving me anxiety. What do I do? What do I say?

Then I feel a warm hand under the table on my leg.

“He’s not having anything, but he’s fine. He’s just finicky.”

That touch meant so much. Throughout my marriage, I came to love that touch. It is still something I miss.

Even still, there are some exceptions. Sometimes when I go back to see my folks, my mother wants to clean my glasses and will attempt to take them off of my face on her own. I always resist this. This is something I wouldn’t even let my ex-wife do.

As I think about it, it can be that while I love words of affirmation so much, words of condemning are extremely hurtful. In the same way, if touch I want is cherished, touch I don’t want is rejected. It is crossing a boundary.

I know people mean well by it, but I wince whenever I’m walking through a crowd and someone wants to be friendly and pats me on the back. Not only do I not like that, but keep in mind I have a steel rod on my spine. That’s sensitive.

Sometimes, I have told people to just not touch me. I am now thinking to tell them to wait. I need to get to a place of trust with someone before I trust them. At the same time, there are times I think I do need some friendly touch. I just want to make sure it is from people I can fully consider friends.

Be careful with people in the spectrum in your life. Just because you think a touch can be loving doesn’t mean they will receive it as loving. It can never hurt to ask something like “Can I give you a hug?”

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)