Theological ThinkTank

How & What We Say And What It All Means

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I have been interested in language all my life. Well-the study of language. I enjoy seeing where words come from, how they have traveled through cultures and histories and what different languages look like and how they are all interconnected. Maybe its because it helped me remember words and their meaning better if i knew a word’s story or maybe its because just always had problems learning words and needed all the details.

So of course when I went to college and decided I wanted to be a theology major– I wanted to incorporate my love of language into my theology for my undergraduate thesis. Not only was it suggested I change my focus (no one in our faculty had a huge speciality in it and we did not have a linguistic program at school and therefore there was very little support), but I was told their just wasn’t that much material out there to do a research topic.

So since then I have made it my life’s goal to try and work together the idea of theology and linguistics (or the study of language-yes, those things can be different.) I spent most of my undergrad and seminary years not only in classes but understanding God, Jesus and the Biblical text with commentary, but also taking multiple language courses in hopes to find the right path towards discovering something new in the language/theological world. After I graduated, I worked on studying linguistics directly (almost got a second masters I was so interested) to try and find a way.

Let me tell you: when you tell a Sara she cannot do it-9 times out of 10 she will find a way to do just that thing. Thank you hyper focusing and my internal drive to find that one totally unique thing. See “nth” reason why I have a hunch I’m autistic.

So the other day I was thinking about how all of this works in with my autistic self. Sorry if this part is a little random but I was thinking that how and what we say in our theology is very important. Don’t get me wrong, our actions are equally important. More important sometimes. But the right words can have a lot of power. But How we communicate with people, especially those who may not use words or pictures in their minds, reflects on how we envelope them into the church. I also realized liturgy can have a crucial play in our linguistic theology. Think of chanting monks versus the rock n’ roll praise band.

So maybe we can start and inquiry here…who is with me?! comment below!

Both-And of the Either-Or

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This blog is definitely more consistent with my blog’s theme: Musings of an Afterthought. The idea of a mild trail of thoughts after the original thought is mentioned. I thought I would give insight into my processing. This will not be very grammatically correct or orgsnized. Have fun!

Here it goes: The modern society likes to create division. The Either-Or dilemma. Only two sexes (make/female). Only two afterlives (heaven/hell). Only two of anything.

But in reality-the world isn’t like that. Afterlives have levels (even traditional thinking has three with purgatory at minimum) and science has discussed the truth that many species have more than just the either or option of sex. (Not fully researched right here and not opening up the political discussion-be nice in the comments.)

Cropped shot of a group of unidentifiable businesspeople joining their hands in a gesture of unity

I think as an autistic and ADHD person – we are created to see the both-and of the world. Its. Ot exclusive, just that we are internally programmed to look outside the norm. In school I was always “standing on the fence” of the theological debate (hi friend who knows this!) or trying to compromise or work in both opinions or perspectives. I remember reading somewhere that Autistic people are more likely to struggle in trying to balance things because we want it to be good for all. And yes-I have experienced this struggle personally.

But I do think we need to spend more time figuring out how things work together better than apart. More Both than Either.

Just a thought… comment nicely… or see you next time !

The movie going experience

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Anyone who knows my husband and I knows we like to go to the movies. My husband has a screenwriting degree and really I come along for the ride. Why not, right? It’s also an escape from the craziness of real life. But connected to my issues with transitions, I thought I would discuss a problem I’ve been having every time I see a movie.

Now this is going to be hard to explain. Mostly because its almost like an “out of body” experience. Only after talking with other autistic/neurodivergent adults did I understand what it is. It’s a transition issue. No matter what kind of movie I see (horror/action/romantic comedy), I come out of the theater still living in the world of the movie. I feel I have sucked in the soul of the movie or the sense of being from watching the characters. I know it sounds weird, but while it is like staying the fairytale you’re watching on TV, it can be very dangerous if I see a thriller or horror. For example–seeing Midsommar at 11pm on a weekday was extremely dangerous because it was a psychological thriller. It took me watching goofy kid movies to sleep. Watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood with Tom Hanks was amazing but it really tug on my heart strings. I came out of that movie with enough time to walk to my car parked on the other side of the parking lot of a mall so I was able to decompress a little.

So my therapist explained it is similar to having issues transitioning from one task to another. You see-when I watch a movie-I am in the large dark theater, typically with surround sound and so all my senses are engrossed in the movie. even to the point where the popcorn and sodas are necessary to function and digest the film. So I get sucked into the world (which takes the 1.5-3 hours of the film) and therefore when I come back, I am actually adjusting my senses back to “reality.” What’s crazy–I didn’t realize I was doing it until I recognized myself kinda “acting out” recent movies I’ve seen pretending I existed in their world. Current movie transition/connection issue?–the deep personal links the music from Frozen 2 has with my personal life and therefore I have been sorta half stuck in that world. Yes-i have almost started cosplaying Anna and know all the worlds to the songs. Grant it–it doesn’t help that one is Disney, a huge interest for me.

Any else relate to this issue? Don’t worry-no judgment from me. I was just trying to figure out why I do it or what triggers it (even though its almost every movie now) so I can better prepare myself after a movie.

Misty Rosey Colored Memories

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Do you ever try and recall your first memory? Or feeling? Just try–thinking back as far as you can go. Guess what? — I really remember mine.

I was little, can’t remember how old, but my mom for what I felt took me to a nearby babysitter for some reason. I remember feeling not scared, just off. And that I had to figure out how this place worked… instead of just letting myself go and play. They gave me pop cycles, which I to this day still hate because they’re sticky but also I can’t bite down on them, I’d rather just drink the juice. I mean, I wasn’t sad or upset. Just…there. 

The thing I remember being in a bunk bed, lower level for a nap. I was confused because I was happy it was a bunk bed ( I always wanted one because I have to change how I sleep… can’t sleep facing the end of the bed they say ( so exactly like my son it’s super crazy similar.) yet I was not sad but … maybe scared… just unsure how I was supposed to feel about a place I liked yet wasn’t mine. I was in middle ground, in limbo. In a place I didn’t understand.  And that today is where I never like hanging out. I like to know my environment. Know the limits and the rules and play within certain guidelines. Complete freedom doesn’t scare me…but it is a little chaotic, unhealthy and dangerous. 

So its weird because its not a significant memory yet it stands out so clear in my mind. I really don’t have any main memories until I’m older-like elementary school age. 

What’s the first thing you remember? Do you want to remember it? Is it something that builds who you are today? Comment below!

More Rainbow Color Soup Please!

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So in my last blog, I talked about my personal struggles about possibly being autistic along with my son. Self-awareness is beautiful and so I wanted to talk about what it has been like discovering this part of my identity.

First– I have found people like me. (lol I can now sing the sound of my people–ARROOO! ARROOO!) They have sensory food issues (i was not kidding how horribly i hate avocados/mushrooms and mustard), qerky fun things about their personalities, dye their hair or do their makeup in the most amazing colors ON PURPOSE (not for style but stimming) and have similar struggles like when I watch movies where I get stuck in the movie world and it’s hard to transitions out without acting like the movie. And other autistics don’t mind if you emotionally need a break or if you’re going through a burnout — they get it. No explanation needed. And no one is “putting on face.” or “playing a game.” We really don’t know how. Neurologically speaking. Most of wear our hearts on our sleeve or if we do hide, we get really good at it. And even if by some review of sorts I’m NOT at least neurodivergent (not sure how I feel if that were to happen…considering things) — everyone should have an autistic friend in their life. Support and love them and learn to see a little of their world. As Agony Autie says (WATCH HER VIDEOS!) — it’s a privilege.

Identifying as autistic has also helped me understand some very major aspects about myself as a child as to why I just never felt like I ever fit in.  Oh, wait, not fitting in, that’s a qualifier without me even realizing it. I am general an extroverted social person. But I can only slightly read people and NEVER know the right response. Or don’t have the time to process things. Check more on the autistic list.

Item Two: my friend count was low. Not bad. I had really great friends that many I am still friends with today. But no true one BEST FRIEND. When my mom got sick and I had to find a friend to take care of me because my dad would probably not be able to–I was scared because I had no 1 person (you got two choices anyways, but still.) And frankly– a lot of them I rarely hung out with outside of the environment I knew them in.Band Geeks (loud and proud) but never got along with band people. Was in honors but did not mesh with the popular crowd. I did girl scouts which I know struggled with keeping friends there because some girls used me (don’t worry I have a friend I live near I am grateful–but she’s half church half scouts so I don’t count that lol.)

Three (which will lead into the next part): I analyze and process SEVERAL THINGS A DAY. I am the truest sense of the word Curious. I like learning, reading or getting into the details. There were many times i thought to myself or my own mother said “people don’t think about this all the time, do they?” As an adult I have said this WAY more often about the simplest of things in which I revealed to my therapist who noted her head with that expression “Oh, NOW I see what you mean…” They usually get kicked into gear because of something I see or hear.

Lastly I am so excited to travel thru adulthood knowing my qerkiness was not just a phase. Remember me mentioning about having eye contact trouble? And expressive language issues? — I STILL struggle with those. I could never figure out why. A neurotypical person should be able to practice & get better as they work through something. But I didn’t. And i know friends & co-workers hardly have noticed. I just thought they were bad habits or me with just bad grammar. But then i realized I communicate better using things other than language.  (I felt like music filled up your whole body vs. speech and therefore auditory because the things that mattered..oh wait, sensory stuff again…sorry 😛 .) I excelled at being in school. Task-oriented functions are my speciality. I’m probably an expert on data entry (patterns). Hey-I even tried telling a guy I like him by saying ” you have to listen to this song-because it will tell you how we should feel about each other…” Yep. That was me. And I wasn’t 8. I was 18.

So i hope i haven’t bored anyone. Or scared (definitely something you do not need to be. ) Just trying to be honest. I have a habit of being too honest before. Oops..

After Thoughts

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So i know lately i have been spending a lot of my time writing on the books I’m reading. Its a goal of mine to not only keep up on the reading challenge I set my mind to but to have a way to remember it in addition to making sure I write on some regular basis.

However, I realized it is time for a non- book challenge post *ish*. And I think I will go back to my old trusty topic: theology.

So one of the new “books” I started is a daily devotional called 100 days to brave by Annie F Downs. And while I am sure I will have a post about the devotional and all its lovely qualities– I wanted to talk about the importance having a daily devotional. Or at least the intention of having one.

I have never been an intentional practicing Christian. At least not after college while trying to have a working job & more so after trying to keep a family and household together. I do believe the Spirit “blows where it wills” and that sometimes as humans we need to try and catch on before it flitters away too fast because life keeps moving (forget the fact that life comes from the Spirit but anyways…) So whenever things like “read this daily for spiritual growth” come along, I usually get annoyed, bitter and judgmental. How dare someone tell me how to connect to my faith!

Well, I should remember this post when I say things like that. For it is the gentle little focusing that helps me digest the world. It is the fact I am intentionally taking time for thought that helps me get past the sullen sulking self that leads to self-loathing, sickness and separation. Three things that can take away life if you’re not careful. And don’t get me wrong, its rough at first. Especially if you’re trying it for the first time. Sometimes you have to read sections you don’t like, follow a train of thought you can’t handle, but trust me, in the end those little devotional or practices to set time away save you greater time in the long run.

So next time you think that little devotional is not for you–think maybe the coffee you’re drinking isn’t the kind of “jolt” you need to keep yourself going. It will for sure last longer than the caffeine rush.

Books for the Year -2019

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So I don’t know how many of you out there in internet/blog land do this–but its kind of my “quirk” every year to make a book list reading goal. I never complete it. But at least I know I try to focus myself into reading–an important tastk. Let me tell you–watching my son go grab ANY book (let alone “Star Wars: I am a Droid”) and bring it to me to read during a TV shows is a huge parenting win in my book. Especially for a boy who can hardly sit still.

So to recap– this year i set a goal of 20 books. Its a little under 2 books a month. I thought “well, I’ll go to book group and work back towards reading.” HA! Have kid-having hard time keeping up on reading adult books. Realistically i have read probably 20 more bookx than expected. But the actual goal of completed adult books is 6. Reading “Night Night Groot” every night for a good 3 months doesn’t expand my mind or grow my vocabulary (it does my son’s though 🙂 )

So I’m trying to figure out how to take seriously reading. I know I can reflect my love for reading to my son. And trust me–I LOVE THAT! But its tiring. And sometimes he only wants me to read the book. Or sometime my husband. And that’s not healthy reading for an adult.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Should I go for 20 again? Set a goal of 12 (1 book a month) or even less than 6? Any special books you can remmend?