We chat with author of With All Your Mind: Autism and the Church, Erin Burnett about her personal experience and research into autism and the unique ways Christians with autism understand and experience God.
We ask her why she was initially attracted to more fundamentalist expressions of Christianity, what triggered her deconstruction, and why she’s now more at home in progressive Christian spaces.
After the interview Nomad hosts Tim Nash and Joy Brooks reflect on what neurotypical people can learn from the ways people with autism experience the world and spirituality.
Interviews starts at 13m 45s
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“A lot of the core characteristics like social difficulties and intense interests will be relatable to almost everyone with autism, but at the same time, it’s also really important to emphasize that I can only speak about my own experience. It’s often said that, ‘If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.'”
“Some people like what’s called ‘identity first’ – which is ‘autistic person’ – because that means autism is a part of their identity; it’s who they are, it’s not something to be ashamed of. whereas ‘person first’ language – which is ‘person with autism’ – it recognize that autism is just one of the many things that can make up an individual; so, it’s part of them but doesn’t define them.”
“Whenever I try to describe precisely how I view religion, I often flip the phrase, ‘spiritual but not religious,’ and instead I say, ‘I am religious, but not spiritual.'”
“Churches that aren’t afraid to ask hard questions – that aren’t afraid to use human reason when interpreting scripture – can be a lot more freeing for autistic people.”