So I haven’t blogged in a while, or has it been a good-while? Or perhaps a long-while? I think it’s been a good-long-while.
At the risk of sounding cliche, especially for a millennial Christian, I’ve found myself in a season off of discernment the last few years. Between marrying Megan, buying a new house, and marching closer to the big “4-0,” I’ve had plenty of cause to pause and consider where I am, where God is calling me, and asking how I need to be spending my time and efforts.
Long story short, due to a number of things, I’ve arrived at a place where I believe that God is leading me to be in service to a people group to whom I believe the whole of the Christian Church is hasn’t given adequate attention. To be fair, the world at large has only recently become aware of this people group: neurodivergent people.
Why Neurodivergent People?
If you’re not familiar with the term “neurodivergent” that’s probably because it was coined less that 25 years ago and it hasn’t become popular in the common vernacular until the last ten years. If you want to read a brief explanation of what it is you can read our first blog entry on our new website here.
Full disclosure: I’m one of these people. As someone with an anxiety disorder and ADHD I’ve had internal struggles that are often not addressed by churches. And I’ve recently realized that many of the people I’m closest with are likely neurodivergent as well. I see these people and appreciate both their extraordinary talents and their struggles.
Neurodivergent(ND) people often struggle to connect with others, especially neurotypical people. While some excel at school and work, many ND people have trouble in traditional class room and/or work environments. Because of these challenges ND people and are more susceptible to depression, addiction, and self harm.
Yet very few churches are making concerted efforts to reach out to them, and in fact they often unintentionally do things to antagonize them, often labeling accommodations for these individuals as kowtowing to consumerism. I should hasten to say that this is understandable as neurotypical people are in the majority, and they have a tendency to think of neurodivergent characteristics as childish or they over-pathologize these conditions and think of them as diseases in need of cure. I would suggest that we should be thinking of those differences as potential strengths that the church might be missing out on and try to be welcoming as many neurotypes as we can.
The Church is missing out
The fact is the global Church could greatly benefit from embracing neurodiversity as with these people bring many skills to the table. People with Autism are also very good at pattern recognition. ADHD people are often more creative and can be quick at picking up new things (if they interest them.) People with dyslexia tend to be good a problem solving. People with dyspraxia are more gifted in strategic thinking. People with dysgraphia are often better story tellers. People with dyscalculia tend to be good verbal communicators. After a moment we start to hear something that sounds a great deal like the Body of Christ talked about in 1 Corinthians 12. I often wonder if what we call handicaps might in fact be part of God’s design?
Many of history’s great thinkers, entrepreneurs, and artists were probably neurodivergent and many today have been diagnosed. Alan Turing, the famous WWII code breaker and father of artificial intelligence is believed to be autistic and dyslexic. There is little doubt that Einstein was dyslexic, and also possibly autistic. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic was eventually diagnosed with ADHD. Bill Gates is dyslexic, so was JFK and he and Walt Disney are both believed to have been ADHD. No one would be surprised to hear that Jim Carey has an ADHD diagnosis, but you might be shocked to hear that both Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps do too. And while most people know that Elon Musk is autistic, you probably don’t know that Lionel Messi, Dan Aykroyd, and Eminem all have diagnoses as well.
Could you imagine people with the drive, hyperfocus, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking that we might be missing out on in the church, by not making an effort to specifically speak to people in this community? I’ve been asking myself this question and wondering what we could do to be more loving and welcoming to my fellow neurodivergent people because they need community, and we can benefit greatly from including them.
So what are we doing?
My wife and I recently decided to launch a an online store which you can find at the website NerdSupply.co. This site is just a first step in the broader dream, but it’s a step we’re excited to be taking. It is a store where we are selling shirts, hats, and other accessories. We’re coming up with funny things that we find relatable or funny as nerdy neurodivergent people ourselves. If you’re not a nerd or neurodivergent you might think they don’t make sense or that they’re goofy – in which case you might not be the target audience, but that’s ok, you can still help us out in the
What we plan to do is to give 10% of profits to organizations that benefit neurodivergent people. But we don’t want to stop there. The hope that we have is that we can eventually use the capital raised from this online store to eventually open a brick-and-mortar table-too gaming store that would become a haven for neurodivergent people to gather and engage in a healthy community with .
We can only accomplish this if the store gets sales, so that’s where you come in. You can help in several ways
- If you know anyone specifically who might be interested in our products please share the website with them. While it’s not bad to share the site on social media, people are less likely to click on a random link in their timeline than they are a link specifically sent to them by a friend.
- Find us on all the socials and follow/like us. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Threads, TikTok, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube.
- Buy from us! If you see something you like, buy it and leave a positive review for us. Please don’t be surprised if it takes a little while for your product to arrive. We’re using a print-on-demand service to keep our overhead as low as possible.
- Purchase a gift card – If you don’t see something that you would like maybe you know someone else who might, or maybe you’re just feeling generous and you want to help us get started.
- Pray for us – prayer is free, and it’s the most helpful thing you can do.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about Nerd Supply you can always email email@example.com