NOMADS | United
April 11, 2020
Before us is the great unknown and uncertainty across the world. The global COVID crisis situation is upside down and people are fearful not just for their future, and their present. Our faith in Jesus Christ is the good news that the world needs right now. It’s the news worth reporting 24/7, not just during Christmas and Holy Week – Good Friday and Easter. But in the past, we have become irrelevant and dare I say, unloving.
We are called to be in the world, not of it. How can we show the agape/unconditional love of God, given to us as fruit from the Holy Spirit, and live out Christ’s holiness? How do we show in real and practical ways faith, hope and love? How do we show love to the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world?
Maybe it begins by acknowledging our own anxieties and fears. Confessing our own desire for comfort and control over friendship with, and discipleship in, Christ. Casting all our cares on God the Father, being vulnerable and naked before our Abba.
Many church fellowships, large and small, have hosted a live streaming service this Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is a good start in reaching out to each other as family in these troubled times. And an opportunity to make disciples through our love for a lost and hurting world, full of isolated and lonely people.
Yes, there are more needs and opportunities now than ever so don’t take this time simply to catch up on reading, family time or Spring cleaning. Reach out to others online and for those of you who are called to safely reach out through delivery of essential services, may God protect you and give you peace.
Consider this a personal appeal to be aware of, understanding and inclusive of the neurodivergents around you. The often-invisible, oppressed neuro-cognitive minority who end up homeless, penniless and friendless. Don’t believe everything you read or hear about ADHD, dyslexic, autistic and other NDs. See us for we are. We are your brothers and sisters in Christ (for all who are believers). We are often “the least of these” in Christ (Matthew 25:40). Many are serving as apostles, prophets and evangelists. Of course, there will always be “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, but that is equally true for neurotypicals as well, those minds who dominate society and the church. Open the (virtual) door of hospitality, invite them into the Kingdom potluck of social connection and not simply the soup kitchen. In particular, I would urge you as we reflect on the founding of the church and its growth that Peter (Cephas, the rock)(Matthew 16:18) was and often still is quietly critiqued for his ADHD-like traits but Christ asked him to “feed my flock”. Paul the Apostle would most likely be diagnosed as Paul the Autistic by modern medicine. The apostles were considered outsiders, not unlike the Neurodivergents (NDs). In Acts 5:13, we are told “No one dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.”
Look beyond the disease and disorder labels given by the world and see the traits that God has knit into each ND in the womb (Psalm 139:13-18). The traits that empowered by the Holy Spirit can be used to “shame the wise … as God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (I Cor.1:27) To be clear, NDs have many gifts but they are not like the gifts of many of our fellow family members in the universal church but we are body with a diversity of parts for God’s glory and Kingdom work (I Cor. 12:18). That translates simply as this, we need all kinds of minds (in the church and in the world). And more than anywhere else, we ought to understand that God looks at people differently than humans do. May we have God’s eyes, and ensure that NDs have a seat at the table and a voice in leading the church.
Consider every creative expression whether artist, designer, entrepreneur, researcher, comic, activist or other distinct personality in the church as potential NDs with unique and rare traits that God has a purpose for and it’s up to the whole body to agree to work and share everything together, in one heart and mind (Acts 4:32).
May God be with you all this Easter, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and let us give thanks together that He died and rose for all of us. For God died and rose together so that we are no longer neurodivergent nor neurotypical, but one in Christ (Gal 3:28).
Neurodivergent & Disciple of Christ