But I do think there are some things a pastor who has Aspergers can do. I stumbled accross a list of positive traits of those with an autistic spectrum disorder. Here are some that I think are important in my situation:
2. People on the Autism Spectrum Live in the Moment
What I have found so interesting as a pastor, is how churches tend to be focused everywhere but right now. If someone has an idea, the first thing people want to do is study it. That isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes it seems like a way to not do something. I think that Aspies tend to be focused on the now and aren’t thinking far ahead about consequences.
One morning, I talked with Daniel about my lack of common sense. He noticed that I just tend to do something, not thinking about the consequences, while he is thinking about every possible reaction.
Churches seem to want to wait for something to happen. When the right pastor comes. When the new bishop arrives. When the new youth pastor is hired. Then something will happen. But the fact is NOW is the time. If churches and especially mainline churches are going to change and thrive, they have to stop waiting for When. They need to start living in the NOW.
4. Autistic People are Passionate
My biggest passions are trying to get the church out into cyberspace and good worship and preaching. My eagerness in those areas tend to bother others, probably because I’m so focused and passionate on those things. But really, don’t you WANT to have a pastor that’s excited rather than one that is friendly, but passionless? I’ve been around enough pastors that are basically coasting, and it ain’t pretty. You might have an odd pastor if you call one that is an aspie, but they will be passionate about their call.
5. People with Autism Are Not Tied to Social Expectations
For some reason, pastors are some of the best people at trying to keep up appearances. They might be suffering from terrible depression, but will never reveal it to others or even get help because of pride.
An aspie pastor doesn’t care about social expectations. They are who they are. I recently shared my diagnosis with a fellow pastor and he was glad I was being so honest about this since most pastors tend to not share their messy parts. I found that rather odd and still do. Why would one hide their problem? Why would one not seek help? Isn’t that the logical and Christian thing to do? Aren’t we supposed to live honest lives?
The fact is, my having Aspergers doesn’t mean I need to give up my call. No, I won’t be your typical pastor. But as the old saying goes, why be normal?