Saturday, June 14, 2008

On Hand Holding

I remember about a decade ago talking to the leader of a well known religious liberty organization. At some point we started talking about employment and he shared the fact of how he didn't like having to hold the hands of employees. His view was either employees knew something or they didn't.

For some reason, I've been thinking of his words in relation to my calling as a pastor and my own employment hassles. For a long time, I felt that someone needed to tell me what to do, or place parameters on me. I wanted someone to help me figure out how to navigate the world and be able to do the best job I could. I had these feelings long before my diagnosis, but looking back what I wanted was someone to handle me as someone with Aspergers.

The thing is, people with Aspergers do need some hand holding. It's not that we are helpless or can't do anything, but let's face it, we aren't wired like everyone else. We need someone to help us when we get stuck or have to deal with things that can stop us in our tracks.

In my own world, now that I know what is going on with me, I feel the need more and more to tell perspective churches and employers that they are going to have to make some accomodations to help me be the best person.

Gavin Bollard
talks about his children having an Individual Educational Plan, a learning device that allows kids with learning needs to get a special education plan tailored to fit them. It's the law in the US and in the UK, but for Bollard, not so in his native Australia.

Anyway, I am now thinking that any call to a church would require that they work with me to develop an Individual Employment Plan or Individual Vocation Plan. For me, it means I have to advocate for my own needs, something I am not so good at doing.

In my own little world, I would meet with a prospective church and tell them what I need. I can work well in a position that is defined and ordered. Instructions have to be spelled out and not assumed.

There are probably others, but I can think of them now. But this is an idea I need to think about more and hopefully find a situation where I can be able to do this.

Are there any churches out there like this? We shall see.

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