Got this link from Casdok's blog. Despite her seemingly nonsensical actions and sounds, Amanda Baggs is relating to her world as she understands it and is very intelligent. She made this video as a political statement about the treatment of autistics, which as you well know from the news is finally recognized as a human rights issue.
Autistic folks should not be afraid of being locked up, medicated, shocked or worse because of their inability to connect with others. When I first saw this video, I thought that Baggs made a lot of sense. Who am I to say which sort of "language" is better? I'm nobody to think that I'm so superior because I have a different take on the world or because my neurons (or whatever!) are arranged differently. That would be rather much like my saying that I'm better because I'm taller. Did God not make us different, yet each in His image?
Then I thought about what the Bible might have to say. God's Word is very specific about not putting stumbling blocks before the blind. About caring for the orphan and the widow- those people who are powerless in society. About mercy being more important than sacrifice. It's about fellowship with the saints and caring for others more than we care for ourselves.
It's about being connected with our communities, dysfunctional and wrong as they may be at times. How often did Paul have to admonish the churches of his day... yet they were filled with God's saints! It's not for me to be judmental of someone who is unable to fellowship as I would due to a neurological impairment. It's my duty to not only love those people as they are, but also to pray for healing and wholeness in their lives. Even when I'm brokenhearted because that healing and wholeness never comes.
I know I'm going to get flak for this, but autism cannot be the ideal given what the Bible says about our connectedness with each other. But we live in a fallen world and there are people out there with disabilities and needs. We show Jesus in how we relate to those people as they are, while helping them to be as integrated with others as they can be. We grow in our Christian walk by making efforts to treat them as we would want to be treated.
People with autism really *are* "differently abled." We all are. Even within the spectrum, we each are gifted with different abilities and insights. G and Elf both are autistic, but very different from one another. G functions well in group settings for the most part but balks when things seem unjust to him. He simply cannnot see the forest for the trees when something is "off" in his mind. But he can play well with others and actually travels very well (unlike me!).
Elf is a smart little guy who can read and write well. He can sing and run and play just like any other child. He just can't be in a large group without special help most of the time. He's simply unable to do it. God's Word talks about fellowship, and here this child is unable to fellowship in this particular way. The ideal doesn't change. I have to change his environment or help him so that he can have the best worship experience possible.
I just don't know how.