Book Plunge: Our Socially Awkward Marriage

What do I think of Tom and Linda Peters’s book published by Brookside Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw this book in an email I got last night for discount books on Kindle. Seeing as it was about marriage and about Aspergers, I bought it immediately. Being on the spectrum myself, I was curious how much I could relate to.

The book is a quick read and a humorous read. Every section could be read at in the most, five minutes. You could go through and just read one section a day, but seeing as I’m writing a review of it, you know I didn’t do that.

A number of entries in here are pretty amusing. One that really sticks with me is with Linda getting frustrated with their teenage son leaving behind dirty dishes and as she prepares to go out somewhere says “Can you show him how the dishwasher works?” When she comes back, Tom and the son are watching TV and the dirty dishes are still there.

She wants to know why Tom didn’t do what she asked and he says he did. He took the boy over and explained all about how the dishwasher works. Linda is indeed a patient and understanding wife. She knew she couldn’t be mad. Tom wasn’t trying to be a jerk or find a loophole. He just heard her say “Explain how it works. As far as he was concerned, he did what he was told.

Stories like this are humorous and I remember growing up with a lot of literalness in my hearing what people said, though I have come to better understand people. Still, I sometimes do something like this just for fun. When I moved into my seminary apartment, a kind husband and wife helped me do so. The next day they had arranged to have a loveseat delivered and when it came, the wife said “Send me a picture of your apartment!”

I knew darn well what she meant, but well, the picture I sent her is a picture of my apartment, but not what she had in mind.

However, in the book in the midst of a lot of the silliness, there is some understanding. For example, sometimes tensions can rise up when one of them is hungry and the solution is to just get a snack and then come back and discuss the problem. Tom is a low-key guy with his emotions, but sometimes they do get out of hand and he needs to vent. He also hates being in a large crowd of people.

Yet there is also the lesson of learning to love someone quirks and all. After all, even if you are not on the spectrum as I am, you have your quirks. There are things you do that don’t make sense, and they might not even make sense to you. Autism can bring its own share of quirks too, but those of us on the spectrum want to be loved just like anyone else does.

If I would change anything here, I would like to see more on what their marriage is like overall. What is it like on a date night? How did Tom behave on the first date? What was it like for Linda to learn about her husband? These are questions I wanted to know about. Maybe they’ll be covered in a future book.

But for now, this is a good quick read if you’re interested in this area and I hope you will get a few good laughs out of it and some lessons about acceptance of one another too.

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

To The Aspie Who Became A Deist

What do you say to someone who thinks God has dealt them a bad hand? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was going to write more about going to seminary, but a friend messaged this to me this morning and I think it is more important. I tried to find the original, but I could not. Here is a screenshot of what was shared.

To the person who said this, I get where you’re coming from to an extent. I get that there are difficulties with being on the spectrum. I get it when people talk around me and I wonder how they notice the social cues that I am missing or if they are being sarcastic or mean what they say. I get wondering what it is that people really think about you.

You see, I do realize there are aspects that are difficult in my life too being on the spectrum. I have a refrigerator that doesn’t have a lot in it and it’s not mainly because of economic reasons, but because my diet is limited on the spectrum. I only eat foods I can eat with my hands and for me, the thought of a social get-together involving eating can be a nightmare many times.

I get the obsessiveness. I understand what it’s like to be so enthused about a topic and have people around you not really care. I also understand how hard it is when people put down your interests.

I also get what it’s like to not focus so well. I understand that in a classroom I have to have a laptop on or my mind drifts away and I don’t hear anything that is said. I understand having to have my phone with me during a talk or else the same thing happens and I zone out entirely.

I understand the fear of approaching people, especially for myself, the fairer sex. I understand sometimes that loneliness can be a real thing. You want deeply to be understood and accepted and you don’t know who around you is genuine and who isn’t.

I’m not saying these are all your experiences. I don’t know. We’re all different on the spectrum, but I hope somewhere you can relate to what I have said.

However, I want you to know so much that I value the gifts that I have been given, and a great start in my life is parents and a sister who love me and have always encouraged me to succeed. My family built in me a drive to succeed. As a gamer also, I developed a longing to take part in the battle of good versus evil. I developed a drive to win.

My folks were told early on that I would never graduate high school even. I would never go to college. I would never drive a car. I would never get married. So many things. This is what the experts in the field were saying.

My mother tells me when I went to middle school, there was concern because there were steps to go from one floor to the next and I really don’t like staircases. They took me to the school when it was empty so I could learn. My mother tells me I said, “Mom. I have to do this.” I did it.

I did graduate from the public school system. I have been told I was the first person in Knox County on the spectrum to do this. I did go on to college. Later on, I moved out to an apartment about 20 minutes away from my parents. I wanted to go to seminary in the next state over and they needed to know I could do it. By the way, I was indeed driving in all of this as I had a job regularly.

I moved away and into an apartment with my best friend and lived with him for awhile. While with him though, I met a girl and got married. Readers of my blog know that after ten years, that ended in divorce, but I have praise from many others on being a thoroughly devoted husband.

And now where am I at? Remember, I’m the autistic kid who would never do anything? I’m about 600 miles away from my parents. I live in New Orleans attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and I am working on my Master’s. I live in an apartment where it’s me and my cat.

Do I have struggles? Yep. There’s the financial struggles which is why I’m seeking better income and also why I am sharing my Patreon more in the hopes of getting more support. There’s the struggle with being a good housekeeper. I suck at cleaning. I just never find the time for that kind of thing. There’s also learning to relate to people.

Fortunately around here, I do meet many people who within a month’s time already know me by name and seem genuinely happy to see me. I have no reason to think it’s fake. I definitely still want a lady in my life, but overall, I’m doing good.

However, most important, I owe this all to Christ. Without my Christian faith, I would not have made it where I am today. You can say you think God has dealt you a bad hand, but it could just be God knows you’re a really good player and you could play that hand for good more than anyone else could.

In light of all the difficulties, I love the positives more. I love being able to think on levels most people don’t. I love being able to recall numerous quotes and facts about my field of apologetics. I love being able to do complex math in my head and get to amaze people with my trick where I tell them what day of the week they were born on when I hear their birthday. I love getting to play games with people and be really good at it.

I don’t understand being happier when God doesn’t care about you. I am thoroughly angry about the people who told you God would help you when it was time, as if you had a cancer treatment or something and was just sitting in Heaven saying, “No. I want to make you suffer more.” Of course, God does bring about suffering in our lives sometimes, but it’s never for the sake of suffering. It’s so we can be even stronger because of it.

I understand not wanting to sing his praises every Sunday. That kind of thing is a struggle for me as most praise songs I hear seem shallow. For me, praise is done in the study of my academics and in enjoying the life that God gave me. It is expressing gratitude for my friends and my family and yes, my little kitty.

My Aspergers is not a death sentence. If anything, I have reached the point where I hope in eternity when I stand before God, I will still in some way be an Aspie. I consider it overall a gift. I understand not everyone does and I’m not telling them to see it that way.

I am telling you though that if Christianity is true, every ounce of suffering that you go through in life can be redeemed. Nothing is wasted. I’m not going to say anything to you about God having a plan for your life. I don’t treat such claims seriously. The plan God has for your life is ultimately easy. God’s plan is to conform you to the likeness of Christ.

I urge you to reconsider what you have decided on. Instead, look at the evidence for something like the resurrection of Jesus. See if Christianity is true. Knowing my faith is true is a great blessing to me and I enjoy being a part of God’s story. I enjoy the adventure of living everyday in the world He created.

And not only that, but all the struggles that I have, there are other people that can help me. I found someone I can hire, for example, to come over regularly and give my apartment a deep clean. That helps. I have friends here who can help me in other areas, including my relationships with women, and I’m working on starting up gaming groups right here on campus. I am also already winning the favor of my professors and others. Overall, life is good.

Again, I don’t know you, but if you do read this and want to reach out, I’m open to talk. I always hope the church can do more for people on the spectrum. Your story is one that I hope will stay in my mind as I work to make the church more disability friendly as well.

Please do reconsider. You are loved by God regardless of how you feel or what hand you think you have been dealt. There is hope.

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

Dating: The Second Quest

How do you do this the second time around? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I was married, one thing I was thankful for was I would never have to worry about dating again. I don’t mean dating my wife, I would always do that. I meant going out and asking girls out and having to see if a girl was the right one for me or not. Nope. Done with that.

Now as I write this, I think about the original Legend of Zelda. When the game was over, you were allowed to go on a second more difficult quest. At this point, I think I am on that more difficult quest.

I spent a decade or so with my ex and didn’t have money or a chance to build up money. Now I have built up a good amount of money, but still not the amount I would like to have built up. It’s a leap of faith of sorts to go to seminary, one reason I keep sharing my Patreon hoping to get support, and now that I’m here, one of my goals is to find a wife again. That also requires being able to provide.

Generally, I rule out someone who has kids then. It’s not because I’m opposed to them. I really want them. It’s because right now I know I can’t provide for kids. That sadly rules out a lot of people around my age.

I also do want to get someone young enough that if we want to, we can have children, and I assume we will want to as I don’t want to marry someone who doesn’t want to have kids. I am only marrying a Christian, naturally, and I want to stay close to my political side in a spouse as well. However, there is the problem with me being divorced too.

Generally, that can be seen as a scarlet letter. Add in for me also that I try to be honest. I know I’m not the most handsome guy in the world, but I’m not the ugliest either. Still, a girl has to accept that and accept my oddities with being on the spectrum. How do I explain my unique diet to someone else? If I dated a fellow Aspie, that could be easier, but that’s even harder to find.

Not only that, but when I send out a like on a dating site or app and don’t get anything back or start talking and get ghosted, it’s like the rejection of divorce again. Rejection is really hard and as an Aspie, it’s hard for me to make the first move, as much as I think I am the one who has to. I do step out of my comfort zone, but it is painful.

I also wonder about the whole process. What will it be like? What will it be like to kiss another girl? What will it be like to tell another girl I love her someday? It’s said the ghost of your ex always haunts your future relationships. I wonder how it will.

I also have set up firm boundaries. A friend brought me a Legend of Zelda doormat that I shared on Amazon saying I wanted. He asked me what a girl would think if she came over to my apartment and saw it. I said she’s not coming over. I’m not coming to hers either, at least if she’s home alone. I know my temptations. I also don’t ride in a car with a woman I’m not dating or not related to.

Add in also I’m very socially unaware. I could have girl flirting at me full throttle and I might not even notice it. It’s one reason I’ve hoped that I could gather wingmen here who would be able to clue me in on if a girl is interested in me or not.

I have heard though that there is such a thing as Aspie speed dating around here. It’s not my favorite format, but it beats nothing. It would be great to find a conservative Christian on the spectrum.

I look forward to the results one day, but for now, I hate the process. Perhaps once I find a good girl to date and start doing that, it will be a lot easier, but getting there is something I don’t care for. Again, I could easily turn to anger, but I am working hard to not do that. Resentment doesn’t hurt my ex and only hurts me. When I tell you all I pray for her, I mean it.

And keep praying for me in this. Pray that I can get enough work and/or Patreon donors to make a good living here and that love will come my way.

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

Thoughts On Love On The Spectrum

What do I think of this Netflix series? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.


This is about the American version of the show. In it, we meet six people who are on the spectrum and all are trying to find love. A benefit I want to point out right off on this show is that it is family-friendly. I do not remember seeing any sex or nudity at all, nor do I think it is even mentioned.

There are three men and three women on the show and all have various degrees of being on the spectrum with how much they can function, although it looks like a lot of them do have people who work with them whether they be professionals or family members. You also meet specialists like Jennifer Cook who advises the people wanting to find love. The show shows these people going out and trying to get dates and going on dates.

I don’t know how much of this was genuinely shot accurately or was a recreation somehow. It’s hard to picture a speed dating event with someone coming to the table to speak to the autistic person and being told “Pay no attention to the cameras!” There were some moments I also hoped were not being filmed genuinely. It’s bad enough for a guy when he gets dumped be it on the phone or in person. Imagine that instead being put in a series where everyone can see it happen.

As someone on the spectrum myself, I found the series hopeful in many ways. I consider myself to be very high-functioning. After all, as I write this, I am living on my own in a seminary 10 hours away from my parents in a state that doesn’t even border them and I am making it. (Patreon below if you want to help me keep making it.) The other great goal I have personally besides my education at this point is finding another woman. I am the one who has been married and I definitely want to find someone again who wants to be treasured.

The people are also of various ages as well. I don’t know if any of them were Christian and if so, they didn’t state it explicitly. That would be nice, but people finding love are people finding love regardless. All of them are out there wanting to meet someone special.

Something you learn as well watching this if you are an outsider to the spectrum is that on the spectrum, we are vastly different, but we are also like everyone else. We want to be loved and treasured and we want someone to spend time with. It might surprise some people when I am usually a loner for the most part to know I want that as well. I definitely do. There is something I miss about the companionship that comes with having a wife.

If you are on the spectrum, you need to watch this series. If you know someone who is on the spectrum, you need to watch this series. If you are dating someone who is on the spectrum, I also encourage watching this series. It’s really great to see that people are studying more and more about a real condition and how we can interact together.

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


On The Military on Pride Month

What is the purpose of a military? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“And when the SJW mob passes through your area, when they see the rainbow flag on your house or business, they will pass over, but if they do not see the rainbow flag on your house and business, they will unleash their fury to get you cancelled and they will show no mercy.”

Such is what I have on my wall for what a friend of mine calls “Liberal Passover.” I get up and pretty much everywhere I go I see Pride flags. I didn’t even see this much for Black History Month or for Women’s History or Asian History or even for my own Autism Awareness Month. Mine is the one I least expect to see it for. After all, we don’t go and form mobs and shut down people that refuse to endorse us.

However, this is the first year I have seen the U.S. Military take this route and put up a statement for Pride Month on the first of the month.

So I did a search. Maybe I just missed something. I looked for Autism Awareness Month and the U.S. military. Nothing was coming up showing they celebrated it. I then replaced Autism Awareness with Pride Month and boom, it was right there immediately. Well, maybe people on the spectrum can’t serve. That was false also. There have been and are people on the spectrum in the military.

Now in a sense, I don’t really want the military to get involved. The military is not about raising awareness for causes necessarily. The military just needs to purely be America first. That is no longer happening.

My great concern with this? If the military can’t stand up to the SJW front, how on Earth can I expect them to stand up to our enemies? I can definitely assure you that the Russian and Chinese militaries are not spending their time making sure they’re supporting Pride Month or using proper pronouns or anything like that.

It’s also disappointing to see that if this is the case with Pride, then apparently the military is saying that the cause of Pride matters more than all those other causes, and this is part of the danger when it becomes political. Many of us on the right are very concerned that our military is becoming weaker because SJW causes are more important than the real point of the military, that of winning wars.

Do I still support the military? At the time, yes, but I am concerned about our future with this. I am more and more concerned that we are becoming a nation that is focusing on feelings instead of focusing on reality. I’m especially thinking about this after a great recommendation from someone that I read the book Strange New World. I have just recently started it and I am reading it on Audible and I definitely plan to review it as I am concerned about the Strange New World we find ourselves in.

I really hope the military returns to winning wars instead of political acceptance.

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

Theology on the Spectrum talk

Ready to talk about Autism and the church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Okay. This blog is going to be half-done in a sense so that my ministry partner can get it out, so come back later. Tomorrow at `10 AM EST, I will be doing an interview on David Popiden’s show again with my friend Erin Burnett, whose book I reviewed here, on Autism and the church.

The link can be found here.

Please do be watching!

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

It’s An Aspie Thing. Try To Understand.

Is someone on the spectrum rude? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Being on the spectrum, I find I tend to want to communicate non-verbally. Even at times when I want to express myself, I find it difficult to do so. There is some perceivably insurmountable mental barrier that pops up in my own head to keep me from speaking. Now some of you have heard me speak several times and wonder what is going on with that. Am I verbal or non-verbal?

Non-verbal is often because I don’t know if I can trust someone and I don’t think words are necessary. I am quite sure that suffering the sting of divorce doesn’t help. This is also in public. Even before I was married, I remember working at the Wal-Mart and being asked to be a greeter. I had to be one of the worst ever. I couldn’t ever work up the nerve to greet someone.

I should point out that there are still other ways to get me to speak. One is to find a point of connection. There was a time I was at Celebrate Recovery with my ex years ago when she was talking to someone and I was across the room and could only pick up bits and pieces. Later she told me that the guy talking to her was asking about me since I don’t seem to talk to anyone. She said, “You have to talk to him about something he likes to get into his world, like apologetics.” At this, the guy started asking her about what that was and before she could respond, I had shown up saying “Did somebody say apologetics?” The same can happen if I can connect with something like books and/or video games.

The problem is sometimes, people can assume that you are rude. As I have said, autism is an invisible illness. People do not see clearly that you are on the spectrum, though I do have a bracelet I wear that speaks about autism awareness, but then someone who is just sympathetic to the cause could do that.

I am again working at Wal-Mart and yesterday a pair of ladies comes to the self check-out where I am working and one of them asks if a machine takes cash. I nod my head. She asks if that’s a yes. I nod again. As I am walking back and forth through the area I come near her and I hear her complaining.

“If I had an employee who just nodded his head, he wouldn’t have a job. It’s disrespectful and rude to the customers and to the elders.” There were several other complaints along those lines. Now for me, I find this interesting. Here someone is complaining about someone out loud while they are there and then complaining about them being disrespectful. Something I have found is that the people who make the biggest deal about manners can sometimes be the rudest.

However, i also thought, “What if I was different?” I don’t mean what if I wasn’t on the spectrum, but what if I didn’t have an inner resilience and didn’t have a strong biblical basis for identity in Christ? What if I was someone who was entirely non-verbal and heard all this stuff going on? How devastated could I be?

Now keep in mind, I am not saying that people on the spectrum cannot be rude. Of course, we can be. However, just because someone perceives something as rude doesn’t mean that it is. Those who know me know I will tend to go out of the way to help someone.

Why write this? Because you could meet someone like me someday and you could be left thinking they are rude. Maybe they are, or maybe there is something you cannot see. I can assure you from my perspective that if you try to give a lecture on manners or anything like that, it doesn’t have the effect you want. When people do that to me, it leaves me wanting to speak to them even less.

It is Autism Awareness Month and I do realize it isn’t talked about nearly as much as other history months. I guess we’re not as politically advantageous. I hope readers of this blog will be different and remember that your comments could be extremely hard on someone on the spectrum and that you can’t see if they are or not just by looking. Don’t be what you condemn in someone else.

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

Book Plunge: With All Your Mind

What do I think of Erin Ruth’s booklet? Let’s plunge into the deeper waters and find out.

I really like Erin Ruth’s work. I was introduced to her through a podcast where we both being autistic Christians talked about our experiences. What was so unusual was that the first question showed that we’re also very different. Ruth contended that it was more difficult to be a Christian on the spectrum because you’re so logical. I said that it was odd that I found it the same way in that it’s easier for me to be a Christian because I’m so logical. Emotional arguments don’t really faze me, hence I’ve never really been bothered by the problem of evil.

Now, Ruth has written a booklet called With All Your Mind on being an autistic Christian, and this is from someone in the United Kingdom where Christianity is a minority definitely. This is not so much her experience however as it is recommendations to the church. How can the church better help people who are on the spectrum?

A great problem in many cases is that Christianity is often a very social faith, but autistic people like myself tend to not be social. It’s actually a paradox. We want to be involved with other people, but we want to be in our own world too. The hard reality is people who try to force you to be social often wind up being unintentionally counter-productive.

People who know me know that I hate it when someone who doesn’t know me asks “How are you?” Unfortunately, I work in retail and I get that question often. I have also been “coached” before for not approaching customers in the self check-out and talking to them. In my world, that is absolutely terrifying, something I’m having to work on with people as a once again single man seeking to remarry.

Churches can do this too. Ruth rightly points out that something as simple as giving out earplugs to people who may have sensory issues can be helpful, but I want to also add to please don’t try to be the best friend. It can take time to build up a relationship with a person on the spectrum. I know I’m notorious for saying church greeters often do more harm than good as people on the spectrum want relationships, but I don’t think we want to feel like we’re forced into them either.

Prayer is something she talks about in her book as prayer can be difficult and I’m pleased to see she spoke in ways I have often said. It’s hard enough for us to relate to someone we can’t see. How do we relate to someone we can’t see?

Add in another hurdle being that so much of Christianity is often experiential and emotional today. Many people on the spectrum have a hard time with relating emotionally to situations. When people talk about the feeling of the Holy Spirit or great joy in circumstances, people like myself can be thinking, “What are you talking about?” It’s not that we don’t have feelings, but that we often do not have the strong constant ones and we don’t know how to understand them when we do.

At the same time, this shouldn’t become a burden put on us. Some people will say to read your Bible every day. I do that, but I don’t think it should be a legalistic thing. I had been reading a lot every night, but I realized I wasn’t getting as much out of it because it was becoming more ritualistic, so I switched to reading some of the church fathers in addition to my small nightly reading to give me a small enough portion of Scripture to really think about.

If you want to understand the autistic person, find out what their interests are and engage them on it. Ruth talks about how when she was a child, it was easy to make friends. Just talk about Pokemon. That wasn’t around when I was in elementary school, but video games definitely were, and I quickly became a popular student in school when I showed a natural gift for playing video games well.

Today, that can get me excited to talk to someone as it is easy to relate to a customer I meet at work who is wearing a Legend of Zelda T-shirt for example. Also when I was married, at a Celebrate Recovery meeting once, someone asked my ex about me thinking that I seemed to be off by myself. She was trying to explain matters to him. I was watching this from across the room seated on a couch minding my own business. Then I heard her say, “You could talk about apologetics.”

He proceeded to ask what that was, but he didn’t have to wait long. I had ran up there instantly asking “Did someone say apologetics?” I think this is one reason I like to tease people a lot of times. Humor is a way I relate to people and I have been told before I should consider doing Christian comedy. (And yes, I do think about that.)

The point here is that if you do manage to find an entry way, that’s a great way to open up communication. However, do remember some people on the spectrum are non-verbal. To get back to what I said earlier, if you try to tell us how we should communicate, it can have the opposite effect. Recently, I had a customer say thank you to me for helping him. I gave a nod and then went on my way, or maybe I didn’t as usually after I help someone, I like to disappear. A little bit later I hear a voice and it’s him saying “When someone says thank you, you say ‘you’re welcome.’ ”

Think that inspires me to talk?

Not a bit. It leaves me thinking that there’s a reason I don’t like to talk to people. I am certain the guy meant well, but too many people do not understand the world of the person on the spectrum. The same rules don’t apply and if you think we’re rude, you’re really missing it.

Autistic people can also be spiritual. One way we can do this is love. We do have a capacity to love and form relationships. I have been married before and want to marry again. I know that it is possible. It can be harder, but it is possible to relate.

We can also be sometimes scrupulous in matters, which is why we can tend to fall into legalism. I worry sometimes about spending too much time on other interests and not about God as much as I would like, which really I think shows me how much I care about God that I want to do better with him. There are a number of facets of Christianity that aren’t clearly spelled out in Scripture and this can be difficult for many of us.

Ruth’s book is a welcome guide to many and a beacon of hope for autistic Christians and the people who love them. The church needs to do more to help such people as now it is likely that most every church has at least one autistic person in the congregation. Thankfully, we have been blessed to have people like her help us understand the field.

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

Aspergers and Future Plans

What are the hopes for 2022? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I want to let you all know that for the first week in January, there won’t be any new blogs. I will be in New Orleans for the Defend the Faith Conference. I have been invited to attend, though not as a speaker this time, and while there, I will also be discussing with them the possibility of my attending seminary as well there. My pastor informed me I can get a big discount at a Southern Baptist Seminary on tuition since I’m a member of a Southern Baptist Church and I know a lot of people at New Orleans so it sounded good.

I do have a Bachelor’s already, so this will be Master’s work. However, that’s a brief rundown of what’s coming. Check here after the first week in the year for updates, but I do want to share something else about it. This post is not just about future plans, but it’s also about Aspergers.

When I was growing up, my parents say they were told many things about me. After all, I spent many a time at centers for studying disability. It wasn’t until 5th grade that Autism was my diagnosis. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t there before that.

There was some concern, for example, when I went to Middle School. Why? The school had more than one story. That meant climbing stairs. I was scared of stairs then. To some extent, I still am, but my mother took me to the school beforehand when it was empty and they let me in knowing their concerns. I reportedly told my mother, “I have to do this” when climbing the stairs. Looking back at Middle School, I don’t remember stair climbing ever being an issue really.

Throughout my school years, I didn’t know much about my diagnosis and didn’t say much about it. However, my parents had been told that I would never finish school. I wouldn’t be able to hold down a job. Nothing like that.

I understand I was the first student on the spectrum in Knox County, Tennessee to go completely through the public school system. I don’t know if that’s right, but it’s what I have been told. For me, any time someone told me I couldn’t do something, it often became a challenge of “Watch me.”

Now if I was never to finish high school, surely I could never finish college. Nope. Did that too. Did a senior sermon before my entire graduating student body which consisted of about 1,000 people, including students and professors. Even months after that sermon, people who saw me in the halls would still compliment me on it.

One of my professors, David Wheeler, remarked about how when I came to college, I was quiet and not interacting with anyone. Then I found apologetics there, which became my passion, and soon I was dropping in on my professors and sharing jokes and everything He remarks about watching me come alive in college.

I had also been told I would likely never drive a car. Well, that’s been shot through of holes. I drive nearly every day and to this day, I still enjoy driving. I still consider it a remarkable gift.

One summer, I knew I wanted to get out and live on my own. I was looking for a way to convince my parents though. I knew they were protective. I had found a good place and I needed a good argument to be able to convince them to let me move in. I thought of one and one day came home from searching to find them on the back porch together and I made my case.

“I just put money down on an apartment.”

It was a very powerful argument. The next day, we started making preparations. I took this route because I wanted to attend seminary out of state and I knew my parents wouldn’t just let me go immediately. I needed a trial period, so I lived about 20-30 minutes away and fended for myself for the most part.

A year later, my best friend, David Sorrell, and myself, moved into an apartment together. David was coming from Missouri and I from Tennessee. He would be getting a Bachelor’s at the Bible College. I would be getting a Master’s at the Seminary. However, there was one thing that did change our plans.

I met a girl.

After I married Allie, the seminary chose to go after my then father-in-law and so I left there as well. I am sure the people who were the experts had told my parents I would never marry either. Well, that’s another one they got wrong. Even now after a divorce, I say I am still not stopping. I have plans to get my Master’s and to get remarried.

For me, every major success I take is something huge. It is a victory for those on the spectrum as well. I realize not all are high-functioning. There are limitations for all of us, but I want people to see what I can do and if they are on the spectrum to think, “I can do likewise.” Your dream may not be mine, but you can still follow it.

Last month I went to ETS and I considered that a victory. I am able to fly on a plane by myself, interact by myself, and to most people, I am sure I come across as a relatively normal person. When I am on a plane flying, I marvel at what God has done in my life and allowed me to do what I love here.

When I walked down the streets of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I was amazed still. Here the experts thought I would never do anything and yet, I am out on the streets living my life and making a difference. I am hanging out with scholars and not only do I know who they are, they know who I am. That still shocks me.

Next week, God willing, I will be in New Orleans. I will be discussing attending seminary and if things work out, I will be moving then to New Orleans into student housing. There’s a lot to think about, but I think the future looks good. Every time I do a debate or am interviewed or anything like that, I consider it a testimony of what God can do in the life of someone on the spectrum.

Many of you who know me know that I am a hardcore gamer. Tonight, I spent about an hour playing several games against both of my parents individually of Connect Four at their invitation. I won the overwhelming majority. When I play a game, I play to win.

For me, my own life is the ultimate game too. I am playing it to win. I want to be the best that I can be in it. I want to succeed and be somebody with my life. I don’t want to just hold a 9-5 position and have it be that. (Even though I was also told I would never hold down a job. So much for that.) I want to get a Master’s and a Ph.D. and to remarry.

Tomorrow, I plan to write something on the New Year coming and a look back. One final plea I would make here though is to please consider becoming a financial partner through Patreon. There is a link on this blog post below. Even a small amount means a lot. This is about my going to seminary, getting a teaching position, hopefully starting the podcast again, and making strides for the Kingdom of God. Whatever people donate means so much because it tells me you think my work is worth investing in. If you want to make a one-time gift for end of the year giving, that’s okay too.

Besides that, I owe so many of you thanks anyway. My family always believed in me and supported me and raised me to be the way that I am, even if sometimes they don’t like my sarcastic personality. My friends have stood by me in many times and while divorce has been the worst pain I have ever gone through, one blessing I have is I don’t think I have lost a single friend because of it. Thanks to you friends.

Please be praying for me in all of this. The future does look bright for me really. I hope I can make it bright as well.

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

On Simone Biles and Mental Illness

What do I think of the church’s treatment of mental illness? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So now the internet is erupting with talk about Simone Biles stepping down at the Olympics. I see some people who I respect saying what she did is shallow and egotistical. I also see people who I respect saying that she stepped down for her own mental health and that’s commendable. Which side is right? I have no way of knowing. I also suspect that they don’t know on either side, but I figure I can talk about what I do know about, and that is my own struggles at times on the Autism spectrum.

Keep in mind when I say this, that while I realize that there are struggles at times, I do genuinely enjoy my life and I think my “disability” for lack of a better word, gives me advantages overall. If there was a cure developed, I genuinely would not want it. I also say that realizing that not all people on the spectrum are the same. Some would be greatly benefited by a cure.

However, I do want to speak on the downsides some of being on the spectrum. The biggest way is obviously in my relationships with other people. It is difficult for me to interact with people I don’t know very well and social situations can be a danger for me. I realize this is also my own fault in many ways as I have to work to overcome this, but it is a struggle nonetheless.

Consider a few years ago at a church party. Here I was with people I knew and I was fine sitting on the couch by myself reading something while everyone else was having a meal. I generally do not like meal situations. Even when I go to my own Sunday School class evening groups, I don’t eat anything. Anyway, Allie insisted that I eat something so I went and got some chips.

Shortly after the hostess saw me as I was standing in the kitchen having some chips and came up to me and said “You’re eating something! I’m so happy!” I froze immediately. Allie was next to me and laughed some at it as she thought I was joking, but then she stopped laughing. She could tell I wasn’t joking. This was an extremely difficult experience for me and I cannot explain why. I can just say that for the rest of the evening, I just wanted to leave and go home and I was miserable for a few days. I did work it out with the hostess knowing she didn’t mean any harm, but that’s a difficulty.

Last night, I was writing something in my own personal work about being in high school. What do most high school boys think about but girls? I wasn’t an exception. I had a great interest in several of them, but ask them out? Nope. I had no idea how to do that. If approaching someone I didn’t know well or even knew well to ask a difficult request was hard, how do you approach someone like a girl you’re interested in and ask them out? I had no idea.

Eventually, when I went to Bible College, I was enrolled for some time after graduation in the Master’s program and at an event for students in the program, we all went to the president’s place there. Most brought their spouses and I brought my own parents. Someone asked me, “Nick. How did you get through here without getting married?”

Thanks for asking.

Even in one of my areas of expertise, gaming, I can still have a struggle. I thoroughly enjoy playing Final Fantasy XIV with friends, and if you play also let me know and we can be friends there too, but when I am with players I don’t know, it is still a social aspect. I wonder if I am doing the right thing or not. Am I contributing to the team or am I holding us back? If I think I am being scolded, it is difficult.

People also assume many times that I am intentionally rude on the spectrum. I recall one time doing a cashier job and a lady said something like “Have a good day, even though you are not nice at all.”

What did I do?

The best I can figure is I don’t talk to people like everyone else does. I struggle with eye contact and especially after a long day of working, my social batteries would be dead. It becomes a strain to interact with people like that. For many people, I suspect looking at someone in the eyes is perfectly natural and makes sense. For me, I have to intentionally tell myself to look someone in the eye.

Here’s something that strikes me about this. I am told I am not nice at all, but with no reason. If someone really thought that, wouldn’t the nice thing to be to say why that is and give something that needs to be improved on? I am thought rude for not doing social customs instinctively. Isn’t it more rude to assume that I am just like you? As I have said before, no one would go up to someone in a wheelchair and challenge them to a foot race. I have a disability as well, but mine is invisible, which is a downside. There is no glowing message above my head saying “Autism Spectrum Disorder!” The closest I have is a bracelet for Autism Awareness that I wear, but anyone not on the spectrum could wear that.

I recently had someone who I had had some difficulties with in a group I am in and it was causing me great anxiety as I didn’t know how to bring about a conversation. Fortunately, I prayed and I do believe God answered the prayer in a great opportunity presented itself. We ended up talking for about two hours on the matter as I pointed out matters I thought were inconsistent, rightly or wrongly, and how it was deeply affecting me. My friend apologized profusely not realizing what was going on with me and things are much better.

Here is a problem I can have in group discussions. I want to contribute, but also at times I get so caught up in my own excitement on a topic that I lose sight of how others are seeing it. You mean not everyone else is as excited as I am to talk about something like divine simplicity or the evidence for the resurrection or dealing with the problem of evil or any number of subjects? I have been accused before of trying to take over a small group because I just go on and on so much.

It’s really just wanting to be accepted and make a contribution.

When people go on and on about their personal feelings with God, I’m out of the loop. Personal feelings and emotions don’t make much sense to me. In the past, I had even doubted my own salvation because of this, but thankfully, I am for the most part past that now. Still, I cannot relate when people talk about this. This doesn’t mean I never have joy in God, but my joy comes more from an academic approach and learning something about God.

Yet like everyone else, I have many of the same basic needs. I have a need to be loved and to be encouraged and accepted. It’s one reason I treasure my friends that I have. You can always say your family loves you because they’re family, but friends are different. I am amazed that I have people who seem to genuinely enjoy my company and I’m always just wanting to do something to contribute.

To go back to the lady who said I wasn’t nice at all, anyone who knows me really would know that that’s not true. If I see someone in a need, I want to do everything that I can in my power to help them. I don’t have to know them. I have a strong sense of justice. When I have been at a job and seen one of my co-workers get yelled at by someone, I want to go over and see if they’re okay and offer an ear if they need it. How can I do that? Because that doesn’t really require me revealing my own self or making my own self vulnerable. I just have to listen to someone else and I can usually do that.

It’s also one reason I hate the question of “How are you?” People say it, but they make no attempt to have a relationship with me or call me or contact me by some other means during the week to see how I am doing. It tells me it’s just being polite and not really caring about the answer, which really isn’t polite when I think about it.

I don’t know why Simone Biles stepped out of the event she was performing in. I don’t know if it was selfish or selfless. i do know that the church has a lot of work to do on mental illnesses. I know that until you have been in the other person’s shoes, you really can’t understand. It’s why I’m not saying anything either way on what Simone did. I don’t understand and I’m not in her shoes, I can tell you my experience and what being in my shoes is like and if some of what I think here is wrong, I cannot be wrong on one aspect. It is what I really think.

When you meet that person out there who doesn’t seem to do what you think they should, it is true they could be a jerk, but it could be because of very valid reasons. It could be a struggle. Perhaps they are rude, or perhaps the rude one is the one looking at someone in a wheelchair and expecting them to walk like everyone else. The difference is my wheelchair is a social one.

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

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