A few weeks back, CNN Belief Blog featured a post by a Christian, Brant Hansen, with Asperger's disorder that I had to read. First, the title referenced Star Trek: Mr. Spock goes to church. Secondly, the subtitle was "How one Christian copes with Asperger's syndrome," so my interest was further piqued with the intersection of psychology and faith. And the article exceeded my expectations.
This was a beautiful, honest exploration of one's very personal faith journey, struggles and all. While Hansen's emotional experiences in his faith were influenced by his diagnosis, he was not aware of the disorder until much later. And how much pain and judgment did he face because he didn't have the particular emotional reactions expected by our communities?
What I loved was that Hansen found he could have a strong faith outside of consistent transcendent emotional experiences. While many Christians won't have trouble accepting that because of the Asperger's label he has, I think there's something he can teach all of us: Stop making expectations of what other's faith journeys and experiences should be.
Life is complex. Emotions are incredibly complex. So are cognitions. Faith is infinitely complex, in my opinion. Put all of these together, and there are no formulas. Let's keep our eyes on the ultimate goals of faith. If we or our community is sincerely striving to follow Christ and be transformed by Him, then let's give latitude to the Holy Spirit to craft and shape our journey, even if it's quite different from the journey of anyone else we know...