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.
I am interested in this discussion, is there any particular aspect of church you are thinking about?
Interactions with people who don’t understand what’s going on inside. Plus finding it hard to concentrate for a long sermon, smaller bites would be easier.
Practicing Christian myself; was raised in the Church. I can get very anxious in services at times - the whole 'sin' thing can be quite upsetting. It doesn't help that my vicar's sermons can be very long and rambling.
There are many different styles of worship, and I think some are more naturally autism friendly than others. My son, who is on the autistic spectrum, couldn't stand the noise level and the number of people milling about at ours, and there was a girl there who picked on him as well. He couldn't understand why, as a Christian, she was being so horrible, and gave up on the whole thing. I think that if there are enough people in the congregation, (and ideally the leadership) who understand ASD that an adjustment or modification could be made, but it didn't happen here.
Do you know of any churches where there are autism friendly sermons or meetings?
As autistics we are probably better at recognising sin than neurotypicals, as for us it is black and white, therefore we are less likely to justify our actions with some absurdly incorrect argument. Hence, the Autistic Christian could be seen as a purer Christian if you follow my arguement.
As someone who’s father is a retired vicar I can sympathise about the rambling sermon. Why is it that after about ten to fifteen minutes they have made some great points and it would make a great sermon if only they would stop there. So often though they continue it and ruin it by then waffling on.
Unfortunately not, but I am trying to persuade our minister to try breaking the sermon down into a number of mini-sermons. We already do it for all age worship with a number of distinct segments, so why not with a normal sermon. Most people can not concentrate for more than fifteen minutes and they start to wane after five, so why not a series of short punchy mini-sermons.
Mind you I suspect the Quaker’s is probably the most autistic friendly worship style as it’s almost if not actually silent as I understand it.
I feel a sense of distress about your son as that’s very unfortunate. Did you ever bring the problem up with her parents or the ministry team? As that’s kind of the thing that’s covered by Matthew 18:15-16
I am a Christian too. I go to a charismatic church with ultra-long sermons. I'm trying to start an extra sermon group who meet just through the sermons, but it looks as if I might have to do it myself! There are about 5 or 6 people who would benefit from this. The church has around 200 people each Sunday morning. I hate it when they tell us to sit down - they say "Take a seat" I might respond "where to?" I have to adjust what is said sometimes!!
In the meantime,
Happy Christmas to everyone!
As far as the bullying went, it was happening outside of the hall, and my son didn't tell me about it. I found out from someone else, when it was already too late to sort it out. The issues with sensitivity to noise, etc. weren't really addressed, because it was just him. He spent a few weeks sitting quietly in a side room playing Nintendo with my husband and I taking it in turns to sit with him, before refusing to come at all. I hadn't realised how sad I felt about it until I came to write it down here, I am almost in tears typing this. Sorry.
Sorry it wasn’t meant as any sort of criticism, just a question, it’s difficukt to know what to say about such issues as trying to do something can also make things worse as I found out with my daughter’s primary school.
I just find it upsetting myself when another Christian gets put off.
To be honest I do not think anyone benefits from ultra long sermons, except perhaps the minister’s ego.
As for church seating, I have an intense dislike of forward facing rows of seats as they do not allow inclusive worship, far from it. Early Christians shared worship and fellowship over meals not sat facing a minister.
Does raise the interesting question as to what an autistic friendly church would look like and an autistic friendly service would be like?