dinner with Jesus

Dinner with Jesus

 

His cooking pot

there was little water

little barley

and no oil.

Would he make it do

like the bread and fishes for

the thousands?

He rises and picks up the water jar,

disappears

over the hill, to the shore.

later returning, brings Peter

with a load of fish

they caught together.

Martha mixes the dough

while he cleans the fish.

I tend the fire

James found the stone

large and flat to stand in flames.

The smell of the crispy skinned fish,

the singed barley cakes

clings in the dark

to our hunger

And later he satisfies

our souls

as we sit and chat with the dying fire

and fireflies sparkling around us,

We asked him for stories of God

and he tells us of pearls and pigs and merchants,

as Yahweh is here, with us

 

by Hilary Evans

 

God chooses and values those on the Autistic Spectrum

 

God chooses and values those on the Autistic Spectrum.

By Reverend Hilary Evans   September 17th 2016

 

God chooses a man who I believe is on the Autistic spectrum. In this short essay I will show that Joseph of the coat of many colours/stripes (Genesis chapter 37:3) shows some of the attributes of those considered on the Autistic Spectrum. I shall quote from Rev David Gray who is on that spectrum and other learned sources.

Should Joseph be on the Autistic Spectrum then there will be huge questions to ask about selection for all sorts of careers, jobs and expectations placed on our brothers and sisters of that spectrum. Here are some sources that explain some aspects of Autism.

 

(Childhood autism as described by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems

A type of pervasive developmental disorder that is defined by: (a) the presence of abnormal or impaired development that is manifest before the age of three years, and (b) the characteristic type of abnormal functioning in all the three areas of psychopathology: reciprocal social interaction, communication, and restricted, stereotyped, repetitive behaviour. In addition to these specific diagnostic features, a range of other nonspecific problems are common, such as phobias, sleeping and eating disturbances, temper tantrums, and (self-directed) aggression. (1) )

 

Historically, those who function as what we now call Asperger would be pushed to the margins. In times gone by they would have been the Sadhu’s and Prophets who cried out from the outskirts of cities and in the wilderness, warning religious, regal and political institutions where they were going wrong by failing to aim for and attain something closer to the highest good for everyone.

There are a few characters in the bible that display these characteristics. One key one is Joseph from Genesis 37 onwards details his life.

In the first few verses we hear that he was working as a shepherd with his brothers and brought a bad report of them to his father. His father had a special place for Joseph in his heart and loved him more than the others (Gen 37:3) and consequently his brothers hated him.

(Further information: Asperger syndrome and interpersonal relationships

A lack of demonstrated empathy has an impact on aspects of communal living for persons with Asperger syndrome.[4] Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (social “games” give-and-take mechanic), and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.[3])

Joseph appears to have no idea how to interact with his brothers and is unable to empathise with them. He was spoiled and that could account for some of the problems but he also seemed totally unaware of their feelings which is different from being aware and trampling on them (Gen 37:4).

We read that he dreams and tells the dream (he was a central sheaf that rose up and the others bowed down and worshipped him) and clearly the dream is about his brothers bowing down before him. Not content with angering them by his retelling of that dream, (Gen 37: 5-9) he appears to totally ignore their feelings when he tells them about his second dream. In this he claims that the sun, moon and 11 stars bowed down to him.

 

So far he ticks some of the boxes – unable to empathise, one-sided verbosity, poor social interaction.

 

Unawareness of other’s feelings:

As later he is sent to find his brothers and they decide to sell him as a slave to the Midianites shows just how enraged his attitude makes them but Joseph sets off by himself without any apparent awareness of their feelings.

 

He is sold to Potiphar where Joseph succeeds and soon is in charge of running all of Potiphar’s household. Potiphar has great faith in him. Joseph who is now in his early 20s is very good looking and Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce him but is unsuccessful so fakes an attack by him and he is thrown into prison. She is unsuccessful because of Joseph’s clear cut right and wrong.

 

Further actions of stating facts without understanding other’s feelings.

Joseph speaks the truth about the situation to Potiphar’s wife but she will not listen and in her anger she ensures that he ends up in prison. There he is so successful that the Chief Jailer likes him and commits to Joseph the care of all the prisoners and soon whatever is needed it is Joseph who deals with it.   Here again we have sight of his genius. He is a very capable manager and because of his lack/need of social interaction is able to remain removed from the prisoners and so makes a very practical and effective organiser. (Gen 39:21)

 

There are more dreams and the current King of Egypt’s imprisoned baker and cup bearer ask help for a translation. He responds to their question by referring to God as the author of the meaning of dreams. Here we have an image of Joseph as a man of God for the first time. He clearly respects God.

 

He translates the dreams and says that the baker will die and the cup bearer will be restored to his job. Joseph tells the cup bearer to tell the Pharaoh, that he is innocent and was stolen out of his land. The cup bearer forgets. (Gen 40 1-end)

 

His genius in translating dreams show that he fully understood the meaning of his own dreams and therefore the implications for his brothers.

Pharaoh is next with dreams. He dream of fat cows eating thin cows and similarly with ears of grain.(Gen 41 1-7) Joseph explains that the dream means 7 good years of harvest followed by 7 poor years of famine.

 

Pharaoh’s response to his clear interpretation and suggestion that Pharaoh should act through setting up a wise and discerning man (Gen 41:32) to oversee the collection of food in preparation for the years of famine. Pharaoh makes Joseph the Overseer as he has clear insights and intelligence. Joseph makes a success of this because when it comes to the famine he is able to be ruthless in his dealings. He takes all the money in the land of Egypt then he takes their livestock, flocks, herds and donkeys. Then he took their land and made them Pharaoh’s slaves. (Gen 47:18-21) It took a particular type of person who could take those measures to enable people to eat. Joseph needed “lack of demonstrated empathy has a significant impact on aspects of communal living for persons with Asperger syndrome.[2] Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (social “games” give-and-take mechanic), and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.” (9)

 

Joseph was also gifted:

He was brilliant in some ways, lacking empathy, single minded, very clear on right and wrong and was unable to put himself in the place of those he met. Joseph was brilliant, world-renowned, second only to the Pharaoh in Egypt.

(From the NIMH People on the Autistic Spectrum will have: Above-average intelligence; Be able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time; Be strong visual and auditory learners; Excel in math, science, music, and art (4)

I conclude that it is likely that Joseph of Genesis 37 was on the Autistic spectrum and base this on myown observations of working closely with children with diagnosed Autism, talking to parents of people who ar eon the Autistic spectrum and the articles that I have listed below.

 

God used Joseph to save the lives of thousands and thousands of people in the Egypt and the surrounding countries. He used the gifts he had and also his lack of empathy so that people survived a 7 year famine. I do not believe in a God who brings famine because as that does not fit with the wonder and awe of creation and the person of Jesus Christ. God shares information that can help us live better lives and Joseph was one who could hear God, confidently expound that information and act on it.

 

 

 

  1. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10)-2015-WHO Version for; 2015
  2. Klauk SM 2006 genetics of autism spectrum
  3. From Retrospective Asperger Insights by Rev David Gray Copyright 2012
  4. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml

External links from Wikipedia

  1. CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign – Information for parents on early childhood development and developmental disabilities.
  2. NINDS Pervasive Developmental Disorders Information Page
  3. NICHCY fact sheet on Pervasive Developmental Disorder (note: not in the public domain)
  4. Information about Pervasive Developmental Disorders Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic
  5. http://childstudycenter.yale.edu/autism/pddnos.html http://www.medicinenet.com/pervasive_development_disorders/page3.htm#treated
  6. Article Id: WHEBN0000037556 World Heritage Encyclopedia, Autism Spectrum, Gabrielle Jacobs, Autism right movement, Asperger syndrome in popular culture, autism spectrum disorders in the media. Published by World Heritage Encyclopedia. Copyright 2016
  7. Autism and Oughtism 10 Autism and Oughtism https://autismandoughtisms.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/distinguishing-giftedness-from-aspergers-will-the-dsm-5-help/

 

Further quotes and supportive writings.

 

Childhood autism as described by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems

A type of pervasive developmental disorder that is defined by: (a) the presence of abnormal or impaired development that is manifest before the age of three years, and (b) the characteristic type of abnormal functioning in all the three areas of psychopathology: reciprocal social interaction, communication, and restricted, stereotyped, repetitive behaviour. In addition to these specific diagnostic features, a range of other nonspecific problems are common, such as phobias, sleeping and eating disturbances, temper tantrums, and (self-directed) aggression. (1)

 

People with ASD may have other difficulties, such as being very sensitive to light, noise, clothing, or temperature. They may also experience sleep problems, digestion problems, and irritability.

ASD is unique in that it is common for people with ASD to have many strengths and abilities in addition to challenges.

Strengths and abilities may include:

  • Having above-average intelligence – the CDC reports  46% of ASD children have above average           intelligence
  • Being able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time
  • Being strong visual and auditory learners

excelling in math, science, music, or art. (3)

 

From Wikipedia:

As a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language.[31] Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis.[17]

 

Social interaction

Further information: Asperger syndrome and interpersonal relationships

A lack of demonstrated empathy has an impact on aspects of communal living for persons with Asperger syndrome.[4] Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (social “games” give-and-take mechanic), and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.[3]

People with AS may not be as withdrawn around others, compared with those with other, more debilitating forms of autism; they approach others, even if awkwardly. For example, a person with AS may engage in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic, while misunderstanding or not recognizing the listener’s feelings or reactions, such as a wish to change the topic of talk or end the interaction.[17] This social awkwardness has been called “active but odd”.[3] This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as disregard for other people’s feelings, and may come across as insensitive. (4)

 

From the NIMH

People on the Autistic Spectrum will have:

Above-average intelligence

Be able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time

Be strong visual and auditory learners

Excel in math, science, music, and art (4)

 

From Retrospective Asperger Insights:

The Reverend David Gray wrote an article on his own experiences and cites that he readily recognised inconsistences in older people’s approach and he says,

“As children, Aspergers tend to assume that everyone can see the obvious before their own eyes, so the teacher who talks about “respect” but doesn’t show respect is viewed as someone in confusion who lacks leadership abilities. We are unlikely to listen to instructions given by such a person in case they lead to further classroom or social dysfunction. The usual adult response is to project their own dysfunction onto the few children who can see it for what it is and because at this stage both adults and Asperger children lack insight, the result is often conflict.” (3)

 

Therefore this then asks the following question, “If this is hereditary where did he inherit it from and to whom did he pass it on?”

 

Klauk writes: Autism is a highly heritable complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by distinct impairments of cognitive function in the field of social interaction and speech development. Different approaches have been undertaken worldwide to identify susceptibility loci or genes for autism spectrum disorders. No clear conclusions can be made today about genetic loci involved in these disorders. The review will focus on relevant results from the last decade of research with emphasis on whole genome screens and association studies. (2)

 

DSM-5 removes Aspergers from the DSM altogether, but specifically folds Aspergers into the newly defined Autism Spectrum Disorder (Aspergers was already considered as being on the autism spectrum, the change just makes that even more explicit). It will be harder for a gifted child to be mistaken for a child with Aspergers, considering they now need to exhibit persistent deficits in social interaction and social communication across all three areas under “A”. But of particular note, it’s no longer enough to have intense interests (like under B (1) that I mentioned above, now represented by B (3)). Rather, the child must meet two of the criteria under B, i.e., something more than just intense interest in an area. It’s arguable too that the requirement under D that the symptoms limit and impair everyday functioning, will be harder to show for a gifted child than the previous DSM-IV requirement that it significantly impairs social “or other important areas” of functioning. (11)

 

 

 

 

The angel in the flak jacket.

 

 

The angel stood tall

The flak jacket black on her glowing, golden skin,

the machine gun glorified

a life newly lost,

A tear

crept

crawling down her cheek,

The child lay at her feet,

Clay coloured skin

Congealing bloody ebony curls,

The appalled angel

a soldier triumphant.

Her body slumped,

his head held high

She held out her hand for the hundredth time that day,

took

the tiny trembling hand,

The angel whispered and the child asked,

“Is heaven a place then,

where you take children

when grown ups have killed them?”

and clinging to her hand,

tearfully, hopeful,

“Is Mummy here too!”

Jesus bent down to take the child

and wept,

his tear tracked face,

love torn,

pierced hands

holding him,

healing his

hurting heart and

the child turned

for the angel, who

already ranging,

reached

another child,

a lifeless body,

a forsaken skeleton,

in a world where

a child’s life is cheap,

and war valued.

by

Hilary Evans

#Nice

Nice.

 

With twisted minds and warped thoughts

the gun warm hand

delivers perverted justice

and innocent deaths,

broken bodies that were

children and mothers

fathers

and brothers,

sisters and solitary others

who went out that night.

 

There was nothing of God

in the corrupt cruelty

God knows nothing of hatred, killing

and violence.

God was with the sudden

victims

holding their hands

tenderly taking

their precious souls

into the safe sanctuary

of love.

by

Hilary Evans

The Greed of War

The Greed of War.

 

The thirsty land,

sand stretched miles,

money grubbing tree

roots searching

for precious drops of

blood.

 

Tiny creatures

scuttle across

the shifting dunes

of forgotten dreams

 

Once it was green,

fertile, juice filled,

quenching, slaking

til abundance

became bound to a few.

 

Poverty steals the very

sips of sustenance

that are the

building blocks of bodies.

Changes to dustiness

humanity’s dignity.

 

Gun wielding, drone flying wealth

burn the last hopes of a fleeing people

as bonds are bound by innocent deaths

and the greed of war.

 

By

 

Hilary Evans