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)

New Autism Video

How can the church improve with people on the spectrum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This will be a short blog entry. I normally wouldn’t do something like this, but this is an important video series I think needs to get out. I was thinking of doing a series on eschatology, and that will probably come in the future. For now, I am thinking some blog posts however on that topic since I did surprise someone I admire recently with my viewpoints on end times.

Honestly, I made this video on Sunday, but I made some mistakes with how to render it properly and a lot of technical stuff and I thank a friend of mine who helped me out. In the future, I hope to someday learn how to make better videos with at least basic effects and editing. For now, this is just going to be me talking about my own experiences and thoughts on the matter.

In future videos, I will be looking at other points on how I think the church can do better to reach people on the spectrum. After all, these are also people that Jesus loves and died for and they need to know that as well. The language you use to reach someone on the spectrum will be vastly different from what you use to reach your everyday neurotypical.

For me, making the videos is ultimately the easy part. After I distribute them, it is up to the rest of the church what they will do with them. Do we want to heed the call to show Christ to the person on the spectrum, or are we going to just let this group of people fall by the wayside, which would be in disobedience to Christ? One reason I am sending this out via blog is in the hopes that some of you will watch, share, and ultimately, act.

Please keep an eye on my channel for the latest videos as I plan to produce them more often. The best way to do that, of course, is to subscribe. Also, if you really like what you see, please do consider becoming a partner on Patreon. Every little bit helps.

And here is the video:

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

Please Don’t Touch

Why is it hard on the spectrum sometimes? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

They’re getting close to me. It’s coming. I know it’s coming. I need to prepare myself. It will happen soon. Brace yourself. It’s coming.

“How are you doing?!” and a little pat on the arm or the back.

Move out of brace state. Crisis past.

If you think I am exaggerating, I am not. On the Autism spectrum, this is the way I handle it when complete strangers come up and touch me. Actually, I respond the same way when even people I know want to touch me. My own parents don’t normally get to touch me.

For boys, some of that is natural with parents. There is an age when a boy starts developing an aversion to his mother’s touch. He doesn’t like it and it’s very awkward for him. The touch of another woman? Now that is something entirely different.

For me, I think of the scene from As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson’s character walking down the street and saying “Don’t touch! Don’t touch! Don’t touch!” I don’t do that, but it would sometimes be nice to have that kind of sign. A lot of guys could be hesitant to touch a girl in public today, especially with MeToo and the threat of being charged with sexual harassment in any way. The problem is we assume that our fellow guys don’t mind.

I am sure a lot of them don’t, but those of us on the spectrum don’t come with signs that say “Spectrum!” So what relevance does this have for Christianity? Why talk about this here?

Because if there’s any place that something like this happens, it’s in the church. Many people in the church like to greet one another. If there is anything that I see as a benefit of the whole Covid scare, it’s that churches finally abolished greeting times. I hated those times so much. You shake hands and greet people and tell them how good it is to see them and you don’t interact with them the rest of the week.

Now if I do let someone touch me, that is a rare time, and it is a privilege. It is when there is a special event that has happened that has allowed me to trust someone. Just recently, I had a long conversation with a friend in person that I had had an issue with and when I told him how things looked to me on the spectrum, it was stunning and it was a time of healing for us. Towards the end, he said, “I want to touch you, but I know you don’t like that.” I said, “You can give a little.” He said he wanted to give me a hug, which he did, and I gave a one-handed one back.

Again, if you’re not on the spectrum, you might not understand this, but on the spectrum, this is the way I am. I can compare it to the old classic video games that when someone touches your character, you get damaged or in some, even die. It’s like receiving damage to an extent for me. It is asking me to cross a boundary that I don’t want to cross because I don’t know if you’re a friend or a foe yet.

So what would be my advice? Don’t touch people you don’t know at church. What if that person is on the spectrum and doesn’t like that? Instead, try to get to know them somehow first as much as you can. If someone like me on the spectrum inclines to let you touch us, then consider it that at that point you have earned tremendous trust with us. We still might not like being touched to some extent, but we will accept it.

Please in a church service be cautious how you approach a stranger. I’m someone that can brace myself and not like it, but the wrong person could have a very verbal outpost putting themselves off from church and possibly the gospel.

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

Happy Liberal Passover!

How shall we celebrate June? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When Autism Awareness Month started in April, I ordered some bracelets that say Autism Awareness on them and started wearing them. For you, my readers, I blogged on an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to have Aspergers, a subset of Autism. I did an interview on the topic for a Christian podcast as well.

I barely remember seeing one ad, I think on Hulu, about Autism Awareness.

Yesterday was June 1st, the start of Gay Pride Month.

Already, the day before Words With Friends 2 has a theme going on this week about gay pride with a bonus yesterday if you played the word “pride” and today if you play the word “trans.” I saw WatchMojo released a video on top LGBTQ+ characters in video games and I am sure more such vids are coming. I saw ads from companies like LinkedIn and others celebrating. I saw numerous people on Facebook posting messages for Gay Pride Month.

Now these businesses and people have a right to do what they want with their business. However, where was this support for the Autism community? After all, if we say we care about the people involved, does this mean that most companies today don’t care about people on the spectrum? I don’t want to think that, so perhaps there’s something else going on.

Have you seen what happens if you disagree with the LGBTQ community? You get blacklisted and “cancelled” and often sued. Is it a shock then that so many businesses are putting up rainbow images? Imagine if we changed Exodus 12 to this idea.

And the LGBTQ community said, “And we will pass through your social media accounts, and when we see the rainbow avatar, we will not destroy, but if we come to any business account that does not have a rainbow account, we will bring all our forces on you to show you are against diversity and inclusion and you’re a bigot and we will destroy you in our fury.”

Keep in mind that a few years ago, these were the people telling us we need to be tolerant. As is expected, when such people get into power, tolerance is not a virtue that is cared about anymore. It was useful for the time, but you can be sure there won’t be tolerance for evangelical Christians and others who disagree, except perhaps Muslims since we don’t want to be killed.

So as this Liberal Passover goes on (I wish the name was original to me, but a friend came up withit), other communities can be expected to be ignored as is common. I didn’t even see this much last month when it was for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Of course, that’s also because Asians likely won’t sue you if you say nothing about them.

So then for all those businesses who are treating this month like it’s the most awesome thing ever, where was the “love” when it was the month for Autism? Where was the celebration of diversity and inclusiveness? After all, I think it is pretty firmly established that we’re born this way. I don’t think many of you want to go with the idea that vaccines cause Autism since we have heard enough condemnation in Covid about the Anti-Vax community.

So let’s see. We are born this way and we have a known disability and we’re not even asking for pride. The month for April is not Autism Pride Month. It is Autism Awareness Month. I do celebrate that I am on the spectrum, but I know it’s not because of anything that I did so pride isn’t fitting. What criteria do we not fit that we get people to talk about our month?

Once again, as a Christian, while I do oppose homosexual behavior, I also support the freedom businesses have to do what they want. If you want to support Gay Pride Month, that is your choice, and if you don’t want to support Autism Awareness Month, that is also your choice. At the same time, if someone doesn’t want to support a business for their choices, that is also their choice. That’s the way freedom works after all.

I just would like to have some consistency and I would delight in hearing from businesses. Why is this month something you want to shout out about, but April was met with cold silence? Is it hatred or disapproval of the autistic community? Are we just not worth it? Why the silence?

I think I already know the answer and it’s the one I gave above, but if I’m wrong, let me know.

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

Autism Awareness: Finale

What is the conclusion? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Okay. One final example first. It looks like WordPress apparently independently decided to change my font and I am not sure how to change it back. My Aspie side is internally screaming at this. I realize others not on the spectrum could be the same way, but I definitely am being on it.

But for now, until I get that fixed, let’s discuss the heart of the matter. We’ve been looking all this month at life on the spectrum. Today, it has come to an end. By the way, as I said on Facebook, while I have every now and then seen something about Autism in an ad on a website or a commercial, it is nowhere near the celebration when it comes to identity politics. I find that interesting.

So in the end, what is the goal of all of this? It’s to help those on the outside to understand. It is not to justify any sort of bad behavior. I always say that our Autism is an explanation, but it is not a justification, which only applies if we are doing something wrong or inappropriate. I am not asking for special treatment. I just ask for understanding.

After all, who are we? We are your neighbors. We are your family. We are your friends. We are the people you see at the grocery store. We are the people who are serving you at the bank. You worship with us in a church service. You sit next to us at the DMV. We are in the halls of your schools. You befriend us, love us, and marry us.

We are different from you, but in many ways, we are also people just like you. We can be hurt emotionally, physically, verbally, mentally, and in every other way. Rejection can hit very hard for us. We really do know what it’s like to be on the outside.

Like you, deep down, we all want to be loved. We want to matter to someone else. We want to have friends. I even consider myself more of a loner, but I would not want to go through life without having friends.

The difference is that we do not have our disability out there for everyone to see. If you see someone in a wheelchair, you don’t challenge them to a footrace. Nothing in us explicitly screams “Autism” even if you can tell something is different. Today, I do wear an autism awareness bracelet. Part of it is my hope that someone will notice and at least ask me about the bracelet.

Seek to understand first. I know sometimes when I do something people don’t understand in a public place, I can hear people talking about me and thinking I can’t hear. I can. It doesn’t bother me like it used to, but that’s only after years of studying and learning all that I can. Many others on the spectrum could be less equipped.

Then, show some kindness. Be gentle. We want to know if we are doing something wrong and we don’t like it if we receive mixed messages on that. Life is confusing for all of us and we have an extra layer of that confusion.

However, if you come to know us, we are people who want to be a blessing in your life and we can be. We can be your friend and if you marry us, we can even be a lover to you. Of course, there are varying degrees of capability, but many of us strive to be all that we can be. Personally, that is my own philosophy. Life is a gift and I want to live it and appreciate all that I can of what God gave.

When the month ends, you may not be aware of people on the spectrum that same way. I am aware of it all year long. I am thankful there is a month that people can recognize us, but I wish society would take it more seriously. We are special people as well who can contribute to our world just as much as anyone else can.

Thank you for reading this month. Please be aware.

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

Autism Awareness: A Cure

What would happen if there was a cure for Autism? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This one will be my opinion in many ways. There are many fine organizations researching Autism and looking for a cure. I have no problem with this. However, I have for years now had the same opinion about the matter.

I don’t doubt there are plenty of people that have extremely difficult cases of Autism such that it is hard if not impossible for them to function. For such people, it would be a great thing if a cure came along. For me, I don’t go that route. If there was a cure today, I would not take it.

I compare it to when the third movie of the original X-Men trilogy came out. Some mutants wanted a cure for their mutation, like Rogue, who wanted to be able to experience human contact without worrying about killing someone. Others would not want it at all because they saw their mutation as helpful.

I would be in the latter group. If someone came up with a cure for Aspergers, I would not be interested in getting it. I consider the benefits that I experience greater than the costs, and there very much are real costs. When I go to a social gathering at someone’s home involving food, it can be a reminder of how I am different in a way I don’t care for.

Despite that, I prefer the benefits. I regularly use multi-tasking and memorization and traits like that. I like the way my mind works. I have even gone so far as to speculate that even in eternity, I could still be an Aspie. I am sure there won’t be any negatives at that point, but I do consider it an important part of my identity. If God takes it from me, then He knows what is best, but I would understand if He didn’t.

Now if you are on the spectrum or know someone who is and want a cure, this is nothing against you. This is just my opinion on my personal situation. If you want that cure and you are sure you will be better for it, God bless you, and I am not at all telling those in research to stop looking. I am also open to anything that improves my life overall.

Whatever side we are on with regards to a cure, whether we want one personally or not, we can all do something to raise awareness about Autism and make life better for those of us on the spectrum.

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

Autism Awareness: Emotions

How do we handle emotions? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s really difficult on the spectrum to make sense of emotions. When I am debating with an atheist who tells me I am a Christian for emotional reasons, I know not to take them seriously. If anything, when I get really emotional, that is when I am most often wrestling with emotional doubt.

Emotions are difficult for someone like me to understand. I wonder what I am supposed to feel in such and such a circumstance. I have heard also that if there is any emotion that a man can really understand and most often experiences, it’s anger. I do not consider myself an outsider on this.

I think it’s also common for men on the spectrum. In the movie Adam, when the main character, an aspie, finds out that he has been tricked by the girl he is dating, he explodes in a barrage of anger and hostility. I have been told that as a small child, if my Mom moved one of my matchbox cars during the night, I would be angry until things were put back.

I suspect this might be because we on the spectrum tend to live in a world of order. We want things to be as close to orderly as possible and fit into their place. When something goes against that, we have a hard time processing it. This is one reason small talk irritates me so much. When you call and engage in small talk, that means that time we could be spending on dealing with what we are meant to dealt with is wasted going through this routine behavior.

Consider this especially with when I have to call a place of business for technical service and have to hear the script that they read. I’m sitting there telling them I know all of this already and could quote it to me. Can we please just move on and deal with the problem?

Sometimes however, we can be very unemotional. This is especially important in a religious context. If you are trying to get someone on the spectrum to the point of feeling in religious discussion, then you could be wasting your time.

This is also why I struggle when I hear people telling me when I am struggling with something to do what you feel like God is leading you to do or what God is telling you. First off, I don’t see that kind of language in Scripture. Second, how can anyone tell what feelings come from God and what feelings don’t?

I have seen this go on at many churches. I have heard Protestant Churches talk about what God has done in their fundraising drives and I have seen an Orthodox Church do the same. I always wonder “How do you know God is behind this?” Suppose the fundraising drive didn’t work out well. Would that mean God was against you? I don’t think this is really a denominational thing. I think it’s more of an American thing.

When I am talking with someone about something, it’s really hard to see something from their perspective. I can know someone is in a lot of pain, and yet feeling it is extremely difficult for me. If you come to me for a counseling situation and expect me to resonate with your feelings, you’ll likely be disappointed. I will stick to talking about the problem at hand and what to do about it.

I even remember in the past a friend told me that they thought the world of me, but if they had a problem, Allie was better at helping them with it because of her better listening skills. I wouldn’t dispute that. I don’t claim to be a therapist. It doesn’t mean I can’t do it, but it does mean that I will not be what you expect.

Now you might be specifically wondering about love. Is an Aspie capable of love? I think unless something comes up, I will tackle that tomorrow.

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

Autism Awareness: The Internet

What difference does the internet make for us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I was in the membership class at my church and we talked about evangelism. It was discussed how it’s a mistake today to think the goal of the Christian is to get someone to go to church and then let the pastor handle everything from that point on. Every Christian needs to know what it takes to lead someone in the path of salvation and yes, that could include basic apologetics.

We also agreed that that is not just done through face-to-face communication, which I have indicated previously in another post. I know that Hugh Ross, also on the spectrum, has said he would rather talk to 100 people than to one. I am of that same opinion. I am much more comfortable addressing a crowd than I am going up and engaging with one stranger one-on-one.

Thankfully, this is the age of the internet. Now, such communication is no longer the only way to speak. I can instead speak to several people every day and engage in many conversations that sadly, most Christians will never engage in.

This doesn’t mean that I am open with everyone. I know someone else who has given this rule on Facebook and I tend to hold to it as well. If you message me out of the blue and I don’t know you and you just say hello or ask me how I’m doing or something like that, I will most likely ignore you. I do not know who you are and on the internet, you can’t be too careful. Message me something specific and you are much more likely to get a response. (See anything I have written on small talk and saying “How are you?”) The same applies even when I play Words With Friends. If someone messages me saying I did good on a play, I say thank you. If someone just says hi, I ignore. After all, many of these conversations turn into attempts to sell me something.

That’s great for those of us who are high-functioning and able to speak, but what about others? Turns out, they have also found a voice. There have been people who are non-verbal on the spectrum and have been put in front of a computer and found their voice there. The internet has been a special blessing to these people and many parents have been quite happy with the results.

Of course, we still might not know all the rules of communication on the internet, but it is a step forward. Even here on the net, we have to be on guard against interpreting messages literally, for example. Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with body language and anything else that confuses us.

For those who are not on the spectrum, keep in mind someone you are communicating with on the net could be on the spectrum. Those of us are who are more aware than some might be also need to be on guard, especially parents, since there are several predators on the internet. Do your part to make the internet a safe place for people on the spectrum.

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

Autism Awareness Month: Prayer

How do you talk to God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the difficult things for a Christian on the spectrum like myself in Christianity is prayer. I can understand evangelism. I can grasp hard doctrines like the Trinity and other such ideas. I can understand Bible study and giving to those in need.

Prayer is something that I find much more of a struggle.

Now why would that be? Picture that if you’re on the spectrum, when you’re talking to someone right in front of you, that can be difficult enough. This is someone in front of you who is actively sending social cues to you and actively responding at times. Your mind is trying to study everything and know what they are telling you and trying to understand any cues that you may be missing.

Now carry this over to prayer. When you pray, you are talking to someone who you cannot see and you’re not talking to just another person, but you’re talking to a divine person. You don’t want to treat them casually just like any other person, but you don’t want to go in acting all high and holy entirely because that can just seem fake and like you’re putting on a show.

How long do you pray? People can often talk about prayer for a long time being a struggle, but then we read about saints in the past who spend hours praying. I think of Martin Luther who said tomorrow, he would be extra busy and he would have to spend an extra hour in prayer. For someone like myself, I don’t understand being able to spend hours in prayer let alone one hour.

I understand all the formulas for prayer which are often problematic for me because they make it, well, formulaic. It can seem like you’re just going through the motions. Again, I struggle here.

Going to length, minute prayers as I call them I can sometimes understand. When I am driving and I hear sirens from a first responder going by, I say a minute prayer as I drive that all will work out well. Naturally, I don’t close my eyes or kneel down for that. I can see that as making sense, but I don’t understand the long time spent in prayer. What are the rules? How long do you go? How short is too short? How long is too long?

It’s interesting that when we look at the Lord’s Prayer, it is actually a short prayer. You can say it in under a minute. This we see in Scripture, but we also look at Scripture and see again, hours of prayer.

So keep this in mind when talking to someone on the spectrum. If normal persons are hard to relate to, divine persons can be so much harder. Give some guidance on this to your friend on the spectrum and help them out. It will be something difficult for them.

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

Autism Awareness Month: Friends

What do they mean to us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On the spectrum, I do tend to be anti-social. If anything, I usually find people more annoying than anything else. I can relate a lot to the great theologian Linus Van Pelt. I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.

I realize that’s not necessarily the Christian way, but I think it’s something we all struggle with. How many of us are bustling with love of people when we’re behind someone going very slowly in traffic or the grocery store? Fortunately, in this world, there are still bright spots.

Friends.

I have said before that in a support group I am a part of, I was asked what I can’t live without. This is a Christian support group so naturally, I gave the Jesus answer. However, I also added in something else. Friends. If I didn’t have friends, I think life would be unbearable.

I also think this is biblical. Even Jesus in His earthly ministry had His friends with Him. Friendship is a virtue Aristotle wrote a lot on. It is one of the ones that it’s not necessary for happiness really, but it’s sure a sign of an empty life without it.

Plato’s dialogue Lysis was all about what friends are. Normally, Socrates ends the dialogue with no one knowing what the item in question is and that’s that. In this one, it’s a different ending. No one knows what friendship is, but Socrates says he hopes that we will all leave as friends still.

For me, my life is greatly enriched by them and I tend to stay loyal to my friends. I hope to always be there to help them, but as my pastor told me recently, I am in a time where I need to really lean on them for now.

It has been an invaluable help for me when I can call a friend and talk to them about what’s going on and get the blessing of having them in my life. For me, I view life much like a game still and one great line I have is from Final Fantasy IV. In this, one villain tells the heroes after he beats them that weak people can join forces. Seemingly by doing this, even the weak can overcome great circumstances.

At the same time also, friends make fun a whole lot better. I can enjoy going through a dungeon in the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, but what makes it even better is if I have even one friend going through it with me. If I have even more, that makes it all the better. A multiplicity of friends makes life better.

In the age of Facebook, friendship seems to have been sadly downgraded. I do have true friends I have never met through Facebook, but I have over 3,500 Facebook friends. It’s ridiculous to think that I really know all of them. Many of our friends in this case are acquaintances.

To all my friends then, thank you. You make the journey a lot easier when it’s hard, and a lot more fun when it’s not. I am happy to fight alongside you.

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