Meals

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)

Scripture as Food?

What do I think of Micah Chung’s approach to Scripture? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“He did his dissertation on a theology of food.”

So said my boss at the seminary post office to me about Micah Chung and his dissertation. At first, I wasn’t really interested. Being on the spectrum, often for me food can be a necessary evil. I hate going to social gatherings that involve food. So far I’ve gone to three crawfish events here in the area and I’ve been miserable at all of them.

Then one day, Micah came to the post office and after some chatting, I found myself intrigued and I asked him to send me his dissertation if he was fine with that. He was. Now a dissertation is normally around 200 pages long, but I still managed to finish it in a week’s time or so, a little bit less actually. I normally try to read a chapter a day of these works. This had only four chapters, but I had to split the third one into two days.

As it starts, for awhile, you wonder if you’re really reading something about food. Instead, you’re talking about models of Scripture. What this means is you come to the Scripture and you treat it a certain way that is metaphorical. This does not mean the content is metaphorical.

One major way of understanding Scripture is as light. This is easy to understand why. Scripture is light in the Psalms when it says that His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. We see Scripture as a light removing the darkness from our eyes so we can see Christ clearly.

Yet as Chung goes through his dissertation, he gets to the idea of treating Scripture as food. He says this is more powerful than light in the sense that even a blind person can read Scripture and yet not understand light. However, blind people do have to eat. Everyone does. Without food, all of us will die.

Food also includes intimacy in it. You take something in and it becomes a part of you. There’s also trust. We buy our food at the grocery store and don’t even think about it. Maybe someone poisoned it. As I write this, I think about an episode of Monk that did involve someone wanting to kill his wife by poisoning a favorite treat of hers and made sure to poison other treats of the same kind so no one would think she was targeted. Is that likely to happen to you? No, but the thing is we don’t even think about the hypothetical. (Keep in mind, this is how Muhammad died.)

We also have to consume food regularly and in the same way, Christians need to consume Scripture regularly. Scripture needs to be digested and ruminated and thought about in order to live a strong Christian life. Then someone needs to not just take in sustenance, but put it to use, such as living a Christian life.

Of course, there are parts where the parallel breaks down as no model will ever be perfect. If you take in Scripture and don’t do anything with it, I don’t think you will suffer anything like obesity. This is one point where I think the model needs some tweaking. After all, have we ever heard of someone taking in too much Scripture? On the other hand, we all know about people who take in too much food.

I also found myself wondering about what we call junk food. If Scripture is our food, is there anything that does constitute junk food? On the other hand, if something is normally considered junk food, such as say atheist writings attacking Christianity or material from cults, could there be cases where it has a benefit? As an apologist, I think it beneficial that I do read such material. Do note please that Chung nowhere says these are junk food, but I am speculating about if they are.

I also wonder where other books fit in. It has been said that the man of the book will be a man of many books. Where do other writings fit in, including Chung’s own dissertation? Are these supplements? Would these be garnishes that add flavor to the text?

Overall, I think the theory is highly convincing, but I do still have some questions, which is good. It would be a problem to read a dissertation and not have questions as every dissertation needs further research still. I look forward to hearing what others have to say about Chung’s work.

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

Pets and Food

How does feeding your pet teach you about God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Have I told you about my cat lately? If you read my blog regularly or see me on Facebook, you know that I adore my cat, Shiro, pictured above. One of my great joys in coming home to my apartment at the end of a day of school or work is getting to see Shiro.

I try to call my folks once a day on my Echo and sometimes as I sit on my loveseat, Shiro jumps up on the arm of the loveseat and my folks get to see both of their boys. When he does this, he’s usually nuzzling me to no end giving me constant kitty kisses, as I call them. This can even be after his food machine has already gone off.

Nowadays also, when I get into bed, I do some Kindle reading, but usually Shiro finds his way right up next to me and lies down right next to me. When it’s time to go to bed, he jumps down. Still, the way the boy seems to follow me everywhere is quite adorable.

As I indicated earlier, Shiro has a food machine. It goes off at 8 AM and 8 PM so I don’t have to be around to feed him, but I do have to refill it every other day. There are plenty of times that Shiro is loving to me, but there are also times that it’s right before his food goes off and I know what he’s wanting. After all, as soon as that machine goes off, it’s off to the races.

Psalm 104:27 tells us that the animals look to God for their food. That idea of dependence is something incredible to think about. If you have an indoor pet, you know this is true. An outdoor pet could possibly go out and hunt everything they eat, but in some communities even this could be a challenge.

For Shiro, he is definitely dependent on me. If I did not feed him, he would starve. I provide his food, his water, and his litter box, and on top of that I am the one person he trusts to give him attention. After all, I lived with my parents for nearly a couple of years and their chance of petting him was a hit and a miss. Sometimes he did, but many times he would still run from them.

Psalm 104:27 says that all the animals look to God for food. These are the animals that can even hunt and don’t rely on humans at all. God is responsible for the environment they live in in which they find food. I do realize that there are questions about animals eating other animals, but that is for another post.

What can we learn? The animals are meant to teach us something about ourselves. Every time I feed Shiro and see him coming to me expectantly wondering when he gets to eat, I can think of how I approach God the same way. My own meals, even though I go buy them at a store normally, come from him as well. Do I give thanks accordingly or am I living with an idea of self-sufficiency?

Technically, I’m not that. No one is. Take the richest CEO you can out there. His money comes from somewhere still. For me, I have a part-time job at the seminary and I have an active Patreon for those who want to support me and this ministry. I’m thankful for all of them. I enjoy my job and new supporters are always a blessing and encouragement and motivate me to work harder here and give me more hope.

By the way, thankfulness is serious business. Romans 1 tells us one of the problems with sinful humanity is that they did not acknowledge God nor give thanks to Him. If we do not give thanks for small blessings anyway, why should we expect God to give us more?

Right now, I’m sure Shiro is at home and probably sleeping somewhere. He’ll be fine to see me when I get home, but will still sleep some more. Later in the day, he’ll be happy to get his food and be happy as well to have me pet him some. Will I show thankfulness to the one who provides for me as well?

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

Autism Awareness: Foods

What kind of diets do we have? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters to find out.

When I have talked to other people on the spectrum, something we often have in common is our diets can be very unusual. This is probably one of the largest distinctive traits about me being on the spectrum. My diet is extremely unusual.

In the movie, Adam, the main character on the spectrum lives on Mac and Cheese. You can go to his cabinet in the movie and see that he has nothing but boxes of the stuff in there. Many of us on the spectrum can be finicky eaters.

Allie has been the only person who ever got me to change my diet, but I do hope to work on that a bit more, especially with a qualified therapist. My therapist and I are working on other issues right now, but I am sure we will get there someday. Allie got me to add quesadillas and fish to my diet, which is quite remarkable. Also, Subway sandwiches, which are now one of my favorites.

But she never managed to really get me to use silverware at all. There were some times I could do some things with silverware, but by and large, I still hate it. I prefer to eat anything I can with my hands.

One aspect of my food is that I hate it if it is messy. There were times when we met for Celebrate Recovery and the food section of the meeting was different from the social setting in some ways. There was still socializing around the food, but there was socializing elsewhere too. Sometimes she would ask me why I was out in the outer area and I would say “It’s messy in there.” She understood that that mean that the food was too messy for me and I would have internal emotional reactions to seeing it.

I also don’t like attention being drawn to my having a meal. We were once at a Christmas gathering for our small group and Allie was insisting I go and get something rather than sit on the couch reading. I went and got a tortilla chip to which the hostess, being perfectly innocent, came up to me with Allie there being so happy I was eating something.

I froze immediately.

Allie thought I was joking at first, but her laughter stopped soon. No. This wasn’t a joke. This was real. I stopped what I was doing immediately and honestly, the rest of the evening, I just wanted to go home. I was miserable. Fortunately, our hostess was very understanding and I made up with her later on, but it was a rough evening for me.

Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t have to. Honestly, it doesn’t make much sense to me either, but that is the reality of what it is. I suspect you also can’t make much sense out of some of the things that you do.

That’s also why whoever said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach never met me. If anything, when friends invited me over to their house as a teenager and small child, the parents were often amazed that I was the friend who came over and never ate anything. Most of them had their son’s friends being bottomless pits, but not me.

It is also why when I understood it in a literal sense, reading in Revelation about the wedding supper of the lamb was never appealing to me growing up. You could compare it to people who have a problem when they hear God is “Father.” We can often understand that so I look back on my younger self and try to be understanding.

If you meet someone on the spectrum, be sensitive to food issues. Not all of us are like this, but many of us are. My hope is to meet more people who are understanding and accept me the way that I am unconditionally, but also are willing to gently work with me on the issue.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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Book Plunge: Breaking The Stronghold of Food.

What do I think of Michael and Nancy Brown’s book published by Siloam? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let me be clear right at the start. I do not have this struggle. If it were possible to have all my meals in a pill form suddenly with some futuristic technology and still get all the nutrients and avoid hunger, I would have no problem with it. In my more literalist days, I could not get excited about the end of the age because people would talk about the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and I figured I’d just sit in a corner somewhere waiting until the meal was done. You can tell this looking at me. I weigh about 120 pounds and I’m a 5’7″ guy.

My diet, however, does not consist of a lot of junk. I do eat seafood and if I snack, I prefer things like granola bars and crackers and such. If we go out to eat, I would prefer to go to Smoothie King or Subway over a pizza place. I do have a fondness for something with peanut butter, but I do not have a food addiction at all. Why would I read this book then?

Because my wife does and I think part of being a good husband is understanding your wife.

Dr. Brown and his wife both struggled with a food addiction and they had to make a radical change. Dr. Brown writes about how this is also a spiritual struggle and for many people, yes, a sin struggle. It is mistreating the temple that one has been given and cutting their life short and robbing their loved ones of time with them for the sake of food. Dr. Brown is sympathetic in the book as is his wife, but he also just tells it like it is.

He’s also not preaching from Sinai. He tells about how he was one who struggled with this problem immensely. For him and his wife, much of what they did revolved around food. By removing the addiction to food, their whole lives became immensely better.

It wasn’t an easy struggle. Dr. Brown before he became a Christian was a heroin addict and once he gave his life to Christ, he went cold turkey entirely and is free. For him, giving up chocolates was harder than giving up heroin. He had to learn to change his palate radically and could not allow himself to cheat at all. Exercise was a part of it, but the biggest change was the change of diet.

Dr. Brown walks through how we tolerate often overeating, but we treat it differently from any other wrong. Who of us would say a little bit of pornography is no big deal? Who would say that a little bit of cheating on your wife is nothing major and hey, we all do it? Yet when it comes to food, we let all that fly out the window. Most of us don’t eat because we’re hungry, but because we want something else and we even have our bodies tricking us into thinking we’re hungry when we’re really not.

It also taught me that I need to be praying for my own wife in this. Granted for me, this is a challenge. I can spend a lot of time doing study and such, but prayer is hard since that’s a more relational act. Still, the idea was gripping and I hope that one day, my Princess will be free of the stronghold. I think she will be immensely healthier and happier and it will be better for the two of us.

Throughout the book, Nancy throws in her own helpful tips. One particular funny one is about how Dr. Brown saw an infomercial about another miracle weight loss product and was so excited. He really wanted to order it the next day and lose all their pounds. Nancy’s comment there begins by pointing out that this man actually has a Ph.D.! Yes. Sometimes Ph.D. can stand for phenomenally dumb. Even smart people, and Dr. Brown is certainly one, can fall for gimmicks like this. For him, there is no gimmick and the same goes for Nancy. There are no shortcuts on the way to success and there is no quarter with the enemy.

I do not struggle with this. Still, if you do or know someone who does, go through this book to open you up. I could read all about doughnuts and pizza and ice cream, which I can enjoy, and sleep peacefully not worried about temptation. (My wife says that the old adage of the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach would never have worked for me.) Dr. Brown’s book is less about diet and exercise I think than a look at the spiritual struggle with questions at the end of each chapter to make you think about the struggle more.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Do We Care About Christianity?

Is Christianity really a driving passion? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A couple of nights ago, my wife and I talked about this topic and it is one that leads to soul-searching. I am a Christian apologist. My whole life is built around Christianity. Everything I do (Or at least I hope everything I do) is informed by my Christian worldview, yet do I really care that much about the Christian worldview?

Some might think an apologist would, but remember C.S. Lewis warned years ago about some people who were so eager to show that God exists that they didn’t have anything better for Him to do than exist. Sometimes we could be so intent on proving Jesus rose that we do nothing more with that than show Christianity is true. It’s like something I’ve said about the Trinity. It’s often this nice little doctrine we keep to the side and we pull it out whenever we have to beat up visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses.

What I want to ask myself regularly and I do ask myself is if I really have a¬†passion for Christianity. Do I get excited? Now to be fair, different things will reach different people. When I hear sermons that are just largely application with no historical foundation or anything like that, then yeah, I find it easy to zone out quickly. When I’m at a church service, I often wish we could rush through the music part because many times the songs are often just so shallow and self-focused. I also think that sometimes when they’re not¬†if we paid attention to the words we say, we’d find that we’re really lying. We talk about how much we are in love with Jesus and how much joy He brings and then go home and find joy in everything else but Jesus.

I’d like to tell you I’m a great prayer warrior and someone who read plenty of the Bible every day. I’m not. I read a chapter of the Old Testament and of the New Testament every morning and a verse at night before I go to bed to give me something to think about as well as the reading of a few verses with the Mrs. If I told you that every day of reading the Bible is exciting and I learn something, I’d be lying. For prayer, I have a mentor to help me with this, but it can still be a struggle.

Years ago I remember in preparing to marry Allie, I remember someone telling me that they saw me as a great lover of God when I spoke. It wasn’t just an intellectual thing for me. It was something real. When I hear that, I get amazed. I am the last one who would describe myself as a great lover of God.

The odd thing is, it’s so easy to get excited about nearly everything else. It’s easy to get excited about a new episode of a TV show coming out that we enjoy. It’s easy to be looking forward to that movie. It’s easy to look forward to a time of romance with my wife. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look forward to these things. God gave us plenty of good things for us to enjoy. (1 Tim. 6:17.) Many of you will have your own interests.

You can say you find it hard to really learn the things of God, but how many of you know the statistics of your favorite sports team by heart? How many of you could practically write the strategy guide to your favorite video game? How many of you know all the intricacies of your favorite TV show? It’s honestly not that it’s hard, it’s just that we’re not interested.

I think one reason for this is we’ve grown up so much with Christianity that it’s become familiar. We can often wonder how skeptics don’t see the truth of Christianity, but there is something that they do see that we could bear to see. They see that it’s a radical difference from the main view of the world. We actually believe in a God who works and does miracles and that the second person of the Trinity lived among us, died, and rose again.

Let’s be honest. A lot of stuff we believe is indeed bizarre to think about. We definitely do need good evidence and while I do think we have it, let’s not lose sight of how incredible it is.

There are an endless number of truths that could get us excited every day and reveal the grace of God in our lives. We could think about the wonders of the universe and how God made this grand cosmos so we could have one planet to live on. We could go inward and think about the wonder of our own bodies and how even a tiny cell in our bodies is a living factory. We could also turn and look at our neighbor and realize that our fellow man is always a fascinating story. I have said before that a good producer could take the life story of any living human being and turn it into a highly popular major motion picture. Why? Because people are interesting.

Wonder is just something that we’ve lost. We’ve lost it because we take everything for granted. It’s become a truism for us that Christianity is true and we don’t often look at just how radical it is that Christianity is true. Do we really consider what that means?

Let’s also talk about forgiveness. Think about it. You will never face eternal judgment for all the things you’ve done wrong and you rightly deserve that eternal judgment. God is not going to give you what you deserve. Instead, more often than not, we’re whining because God doesn’t give us something that we want. It has been a great help in my life to realize that God doesn’t owe me a thing unless He’s promised it to me. That makes me more prone to view everything I have as a gift.

When I spoke about Bible reading, we take it for granted. How many of us have Bibles just sitting on our shelves? Do we not realize how many people in persecuted countries would love to have a Bible? If they have just a page of the Bible, they study that constantly hanging on to every word. We treat it like it’s a book just like any other book. We don’t realize what a privilege we have that we can read the Bible.

It is a privilege that you can go to church freely and worship. We in the West often whine about persecution. We really don’t have a clue what real persecution is like. The day that your life is in danger because you go to church because someone wants to kill you for that, I will say you know what persecution is.

I just have to pause and ask myself why is it that I don’t really take the time to appreciate and celebrate the good things that I have. As an apologist, am I more interested in showing Christianity is true than also learning what a difference it makes? I need both. Some of us have strived to be so sure that our doctrine is right that we haven’t bothered to see if our Christian walk is right.

I also don’t want to be legalistic in this. My wife and I still joke about hearing a Christian conspiracy theorist talk about the Pokemon Go game and saying that while some of you are out there playing that, you could be doing evangelism. Of course, that can lead to any number of bizarre ideas. You could take your wife out on a date which is really helpful to your marriage, but you could be doing evangelism. You could go to sleep, but you could be doing evangelism. You could go to church and worship, but you could be doing evangelism. I am not at all saying we are to be machines doing evangelism and nothing else at all.

I am just saying that I want to watch myself and I suspect a lot of you want to watch yourself. I am honestly hopeful that some of you are reading this and saying “I hear you. I could bear to get some joy over Christianity.” I want it to be that when people look at my life, they know that Christ is a passion for me.

If anything else seems like a greater passion, the goal is not to love that less. Not at all. C.S. Lewis said it’s always the goal to love Christ more. What sense does it make to say “I’m going to love X less so that it gets below my love for Christ.”? Why not raise your love for Christ?

I do think apologetics is greatly important for this. It shows us that Christianity is true and not just an idea. Once we know it is true, the onus is on us. What are we going to be doing with that? If we do not let it change the way we live our lives, do we really believe it? Maybe we do, but has it really sunk in?

Our lives are gifts, and God gave us many things that we can enjoy. There are many other gods vying for our attention. Sex, money, food, pleasure, popularity, etc. None of these are evils in themselves. All of them we can enjoy when we do so rightly, but let us never look at any of these as our ultimate. None of them can deliver for all time like Christ did. They are fine when enjoyed as Christ would have us enjoy them, but not when they become gods themselves.

Do I plan on improving myself? Yes. As an apologist it is something I have to do. There are many times our actions speak so loudly our words can’t be heard. How can I convey the importance Christ has in my life if people look at my life and don’t see that importance? (This is in fact one reason I am so pro-marriage. We Christians should be living marriage out the best so that the world will know the fake interpretation of it and think that Christians have the best marriages of all.)

I hope you’ll join me on this quest.

In Christ,
Nick Peters