For Christians on the autism spectrum, church can be an overwhelming experience. Most Sunday services are a combination of lots of sensory experiences, and social expectations that can leave those on the spectrum having a less than positive experience.
Before I go any further, I want to bring attention to the language used in this post. I am not an expert in any way shape or form when it comes to autism. I am aware that while some prefer the term “person with autism” over “autistic person”, the original poster of what I’m about to share prefers the term “autistic person”, so out of respect for the original poster, I will be using that language.
In the Christianity subreddit, an autistic Christian wanted to share their frustration with the church, and I think that every Christian needs to read it and take it to heart:
“We need your patience. I am an autistic person (not a person with autism) and I’ve been looking into multiple churches’ responses to our very existence. With no intention of being on a high horse, I don’t appreciate the response. Autism is part of who I am. Yes, it has made my life difficult, but it’s also made my life amazing.
My obsessions have been joyous, my rigorous social training has given me the ability to be a great friend, my ability to express how I feel without worry of judgement has relieved me of so much social anxiety the neurotypical world experiences regularly.
We don’t need you to “heal” us. We need you to love us. Parents, we need you to accept us. Therapists, we need you to teach us. Teachers, we need you to empathize with us.
I am not sick, I am awake. I am not something foul like the measles or smallpox.
I’m a child of God, moved by the Holy Spirit to work out my unproductive eccentricities and emphasize my productive ones.
My life is beautiful and a huge part of that is being Autistic.
The Sunday morning church experience is most comfortable for able-bodied, neurotypical people, however we are called to make the church a welcoming and loving, Christ-like environment for everybody.
Next time you’re sitting in that environment, look around, and think of those who may be desiring the comfort and acceptance you feel, and take practical steps to make the church a more loving home.
Christians Who Curse Sometimes is a brand looking to deepen your faith in real practical ways. Personally, I am a husband, father, and meme creator. I love connecting with real people, and showing that no matter what your story is, you can have an impact and change lives.