Let me say from the start that I have a strong faith and although I’m willing to discuss it, I have not started this thread to try and evangelise anyone. Simply I’d like to discuss with other autistic Christians how they cope with church, other Christians and trying to resolve their head around everything.
My experience of church has been weddings and funerals.
The seating is awful, uncomfortable long rigid benches, no personal space, trapped.
No clock, no timeline of events, no knowing when you will be back to your personal space.
Hi, Our church has comfy seating and is always warm, well hot this last Sunday. We all take our coats off as we sit down. As for the clock, I can turn around and see it. But the timeline thing, is you've got to get used to what is happening. Each week we follow the same routine, but it isn't written down anywhere. That would be a good thing for our church to do, to make it more autistic friendly. We have individual seats, though these are joined at their feet. We always unhook two of them for us at the end of a row, so I'm not enclosed.
We have underfloor heating. It keeps your coffee warm during the service (I don't think that's the reason though). It keeps your feet warm, well all of your body. I like to sit in the church for coffee afterwards and before (but they don't always like this), as it gives me space and getting away from the crush of people queuing for drinks.
But I do like our service. (Just not the long sermon), though extra long ones are gone now, as they do these on Monday evenings and call them lectures on a series of something.
Happy Christmas to one and all, and sorry for my ramblings,
Its interesting that you say about coffee before and after as I am well renowned for making a mug of tea just before the service and drinking it at the sound desk. However, I have to be discrete as if like old could kill at times.
The Church I am a member of has individual seats and underfloor heating too, although due to a leak the heating is rather temperamental at the moment despite only being 4 years old. There is a clock on the side wall, which is easily seen depending where one sits. I do think though that long sermons should be replaced by more ear friendly short bursts of good teaching. Paul’s letters, which are in effect sermons, could each read in ten minutes so why do modern pastors prattle on. Surely teaching and discussion would be far more useful then 45mins. What would you suggest to make your own church more friendly other than a stated timeline?
Church is a baffling place to the younger generations - do you do anything as you enter/leave, who are the official people there and what do they do? are they approachable? who do you approach for what? what are services for? how are you supposed to act? do? feel? You are talked at - no discussion, no challenging, no asking about things you don't understand.
The following is candid observations from my childhood, there is no offence meant to you with this, it was my thoughts at around 11 years old. When I was at school, Christianity was very male dominated, no women in office in church, it seemed like a place by men for men - nothing for girls there other than persecution for shame, for corrupting men.... I beg your pardon! Women through centuries have been blamed for man's weaknesses and failings if you want to go to the flip side. Why would I want to go to a place run by men telling me, an innocent young girl, that I am the ultimate sinner by mere gender?! There's nothing in church for girls but blame for sin - being told off for things I don't even know about! I'm a girl, I want to laugh and be happy! I don't want all these miserable threats/blame! I found it all quite ludicrous and blameless male orientated. God loves us all - but man persecutes woman for the sins of Eve! why would I want to be a part of such mysogynistic establishment?! it was all so unjust! I challenged and asked impertinent questions, is there anything good about women in the bible other than Mary and why don't you tell us about that as half the class is female?! why? why? why not? why? What for? why?
I got a lot of detention in R.E. and when doing my options, the teacher suggested that I did not continue with the subject. Obviously didn't want the disruption from me! I wish I'd had a better teacher that indulged me and engaged me. I saw it as fundamentally wrong in its male gender bias as I found Enid Blyton to be when at junior school for her stereotyping and refused to read her books, at that young age I couldn't articulate why, they were wrong, girls want adventures too, not just to look after the picnic and stuff!
Its good to see females in the robes now, very long overdue.
Did you want a reply to this stuff or were you venting anger and frustration. The churches are full of people who have God as their motivation rather than themselves. The world is run by evil people for evil people with occasional reference to God when the body of Christ is with it enough to care. Churches are not filled and never have been with perfect people because we have free will get things wrong. mostly people in the church have god motivation but we are all seeking god the same so the church will of course not get it all right. A lot of sunday attendance is simply the people gathering and meeting together with a common interest. The focus is singing prayer and a sermon that's an inherited culture that comes from a mixture of bible study and previous practices. The more charismatic elements focus on emotional expression and the catholic/Anglican/non conformists focus on liturgy and the one day a week get together. But many churches do offer mid week gatherings for sharing prayer and bible studies. Change is always a challenge to those people who are comfortable or set in their ways. It is impossible to quantify what the holy spirit is doing to change the whole church experience but from my experience and bible knowledge I would suggest that a lot of church experience is not relating to many people who need more than what is currently on offer. Yes the culture on the churches has always been male dominated. the Holy Spirit is changing that but it takes time. A whole generation died off in the wilderness in exodus through numbers because there was not the motivation to move into the things god wanted. We as human beings are no different from then. But I think that the difference between a person who follows Jesus from someone who does not is that of forgiveness and salvation. basically a relationship with god himself.
Do you have hurts. Do you feel bitter. Do you and have you had bad experiences. Then the message of the jesus is still the same as it was for the People of god back then. follow god and put behind you your bad experiences because jesus has purchased them on the cross. Trade in all the stuff you see in yourself that you don't like and buy freedom. Buy peace buy self control buy a supernatural ability to overcome that cant be found in the world or in what you have experiences on you church going so far. You may not find your answers in the churches you are near at the moment but you may well find them with the help of the Holy spirit in the bible. From the point of view of the world its just a book but when read with the holy spirit it is the written expression of some of god. The rest you have to find for yourself when you relate to god for yourself. There never has been a substitute for knowing god for yourself because then you will have a revelation of who god is that's relevant for who you are. hope this helps. if you want more then request a private message. If you just wanted to vent bad stuff then that will only get you so far at some point you may want more. Please excuse for the long message in that I am very aspie and do like to open up my soul. If its not relevant to you then please ignore. There are lots of women in the bible and in the story of jesus you just have to know where to look. Also there can be no good expression of god without women because humanity is man and woman both sexes both different and both respecting each other with their own function and value. We are made in the image of god and made to have relationship with each other and god.
NAS35494 said: I challenged and asked impertinent questions, is there anything good about women in the bible other than Mary and why don't you tell us about that as half the class is female?!
With the Aspergian thing, i.e. ~ very early reader and pattern recognition strong ~ I got into comparative metaphysics when I was about 6 from the Egyptian stuff, philosophy from the Greek stuff, and then religion with the 1885 K.J.V. Bible when I was 8.
Oh my whole life and amazed factor ten ~ I started reading the new testaments, then the old through to the new again, and I was done in five days.
It was for me the reason I have no faith; because I got something so so much more. Now I did not nor could not do anything other than read the Bible day in and day out ~ until I had finished my first full reading of it.
There were a few things that really did not fit the linguistic structures of Hebrew or Greek though, but the morning I finished reading the Bible was the morning a Vicar was doing the morning assembly talk, so I thought I would ask him about these seemingly blatant irregularities.
Unfortunately ~ I was late getting to the school, which really annoyed me because by the time I got there, assembly would be over. None the less though I met the vicar as he was coming out from the main building, and I apologised for missing his assembly as I had just finished reading the Bible. He thought I meant the primary school 'new-testament' version, and asked if I liked the pictures, and I said, "Yes, but I meant the 1885 King James Version Bible." He was a bit taken aback, and then I asked if he would answer a question for me, to which he adjusted his suit-jacket proudly and answered, "Why of course . . . " so I asked, "What's all this business about God being a bloke then?" and he got really annoyed and walked off at a hurried pace.
I was remarkably puzzled, and thought '(That's another problem added to the list then!)' involving all the other reams of questions other people found too difficult or challenging to answer. I asked other Vicars, Priests and followers, but the sexism thing was of course way too pervasive back then, so the question got moved onto the strictly to be solved by myself and not mentioned again list ~ mainly because I got confronted, warned and even threatened several times by furious husbands about discussing this issue with their wives.
Due though to intense bullying at secondary school, I got rather sidetracked from my spiritual and religious reading on account of numerous mental breakdowns, and did not get back to the research for another fifteen years. But I learnt how to interpret Hebrew and Greek, and solved the problem about God being a bloke, along with few others.
In Hebrew ~ the word 'Elohim' describes the infinite marriage train or procession of the Goddess of God, yet 'Elohim' is normally miss-transliterated as 'Lord' in the old testament.
Also the Greek texts use masculine, feminine and adrogyne tenses when describing God, and these have not been transliterated through into the English standardised versions of the Bible.
Basically though ~ we have the God of life, and the Goddess of nature, as being the one and only unity of the in-visible and absolute Father, with the visible and infinite Mother.
Thus in the image of God as being the Goddess we were made 'male-'and'-female' (spirit 'and' flesh) each of us ~ as a paraphrase of Genesis 1:27., and also a quote of Psalm 139:7., "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
In the book of Genesis also what God thinks is what the Goddess speaks, so, "Let there be light?" was a mutual request of each other, with God being Loving and the Goddess as his consort being wise, and thus all things together have come to be so.
Very interesting Deepthought. I could sit and talk to you for hours about this.
BlueRay said:Very interesting Deepthought. I could sit and talk to you for hours about this.
Well, there was a documentary series on BBC 2 some time back (2011 perhaps) called 'The Bible's Hidden Secrets', and episode two, 'Did God Have A Wife' ~ which covered the above topic brilliantly from the archaeological and the scriptural standpoints. So maybe if you have the tech and the credit ~ you could sit and watch for an hour about this; via the following link: