God and Autism: An Author's Personal Words

Posted by Brant Hansen on

For National Autism Awareness Month, author Brant Hansen shares his thoughts on how Jesus would treat someone on the autism spectrum. As a popular radio host and author of two books, Hansen is in a unique position to share his thoughts on "loving thy neighbor". I just talked to a dad. “My son," he told me, "he’s in fifth grade, and he just came home from school yesterday and told me, ‘My friends spat at me today. They kept spitting on me.’” What? “Yeah, it breaks my heart. I told him, ‘I’m sorry, but – honey, this is hard – but they’re not friends. They’re really not. There are other people who can be your friends.’ He didn’t understand. He couldn’t understand. It hurts. He just doesn’t know. He really thinks those are his friends.” It is heartbreaking. And I know what he’s talking about. His son is on the autism spectrum, and so am I. That’s why he was telling me the story. He was thankful that I could understand. That I could understand his son. It's because I can’t read people, either. Because I can't read people, I take them at face value, and I don’t pick up what they’re apparently laying down. I study humans, and I’m very skeptical of human nature, but I’m naïve about the people right in front of me. We’re friends, right? We’re on the same side? You say you want to help me, so we’re friends… right? Wait… you just wanted my money? Sure, I’m on the autism spectrum, but I’m in my forties, and feel like I should better by now. My wife helps me. My co-workers help me. I have a job, but it’s – surprise! – working as a radio host, where I don’t have to read anyone’s body language at all. And I don’t have to force eye contact. Radio is wonderful. It’s Christian radio, too, so I get to talk about Jesus. It’s kind of bracing for people, too, because they may be used to listening to Christian Radio ™ but not so much about Jesus, himself. But I really like him. I know we’re supposed to love him, but I also like him. I’m convinced some of that is because I’m on the autism spectrum. I like him because he’s blunt. He actually says what he means, directly to people. Desperate people don’t have to guess. I like him because he loves underdogs. People on the autism spectrum tend to side with little ones, animals, and broken toys. We have a heart for misfits, and so does he. I like him because he blasts the Big Shots. He lets them have it. That warms me. A lot. I like him because he keeps promising he’s with us, until the very end. I don’t “feel” him around, honestly, and I need that particular promise. I’m glad he said that. I like him because he skipped all the Qualified People when he chose his disciples. Because I never feel qualified, honestly. I like him because he says no one is actually “good.” This jibes with my impression of all of us. He punctures self-righteousness and leaves people muttering. I like him because he’s misunderstood. But loved people anyway. I can learn from that. I like him because he, too, was spat on. His “friends” abandoned him. He can identify with awkward fifth-grade boys who know the hollow pain of loneliness. He said that if we’ve seen him, we’ve seen God. If God’s like that, this “autistic” heart rejoices.

brant Hansen, blessed are the misfits, god and autism, christianity and autismBrant Hansen is a radio host who has won multiple National Personality of the Year awards. He also works with CURE International, a worldwide network of hospitals that brings life-changing medical care and the good news of God’s love to children with treatable conditions. Brant currently lives in Northern California with his wife, Carolyn; his son, Justice; and his daughter, Julia. He can be found at @branthansen on Twitter, or on his podcast, The Brant & Sherri Oddcast.

He is the author of two books: Unoffendable and Blessed are the Misfits.
Autism Blessed are the Misfits Brant Hansen Category_Blog Posts Unoffendable

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