I was watching a TED talk of one of my mentors, Temple Grandin, and she gave me the best idea ever.
“Now, I wanna emphasize that not every autistic kid’s gonna be a visual thinker…The thing is, the visual thinker is just one kind of mind. You see, the autistic mind tends to be a specialist mind; good at one thing, bad at something else…Now another kind of mind is the pattern thinker; more abstract. These are your engineers, your computer programmers…music and math minds…and then there’s a verbal mind. They know every fact about everything. [Hey, she said it. Not me.]…The animal mind–and also my mind–puts sensory based information into categories…Now, this ability to put information into categories, I find a lot of people are not very good at this…Is it a minor problem with something simple I can fix? Or is the whole design of the system wrong? People have a hard time figuring that out.”
Temple Grandin, “The world needs all kinds of minds” TED2010
Here’s the thing. I don’t.
At the most basic level, my mind thinks in concepts. Much like Temple Grandin, my brain is wired to sort things into categories incredibly well. I have a pattern-finding, verbal-music thinking brain. I am constantly thinking in music. “Everything is a song queue.” Maybe not everyone thinks that way? I didn’t realize that.
I couldn’t imagine a day where I didn’t hear music in my mind for at least 90% of that day. Days where I am not singing to myself or thinking of music in my mind are terrible days. I am depressed when I’m not listening to music.
My most fundamental theological concepts are actually based on music lyrics. Derek Webb is my Scripture as much as Matthew or John. Relient K is my Scripture as much as Luke and Acts. Jars of Clay is my Scripture as much as Mark or Paul or Peter. What was important for me in forming my theological concepts, and therefore my social-personal concepts, was the people involved with them.
“If I’m wrong, I’m wrong in good company.”
I don’t want to be right. I want to be wrong in good company. I’m always going to be wrong at some level. I’m a stupid human being. I’m never going to be as intelligent as God, and there already exist human beings right now far more intelligent than myself. I can’t feign arrogance in the face of those overwhelming facts. I’m not very smart at all. I have a lot to learn about a lot of things. And these things interest me, so I don’t see any good reason not to learn about them.
One of the things that interests me is people. I have always loved people. That’s evident in my book; in fact, it’s why I wrote it in the first place. I wanted to know more about myself, because I am a person. If I were not a person…I wouldn’t be interested in myself. Why wouldn’t I be interested in myself?
Did I think of myself as subhuman? Superhuman? Maybe that was the problem all along? It wasn’t just thinking about myself as “equal” to other human beings. It was also thinking of them as equal to me. Well, that changes the game a little bit. Because…If I’m honest (and I value honestly a lot).
I’m a piece of shit.
I’m an asshole, y’all. I have been an asshole for a long time, and I’ve yelled at people I haven’t meant to, and I’ve made more enemies than I really care to admit. I wish I could take a lot of that back. But, let me tell you, I sort of don’t at the same time. And the reason came to me because of an old friend. Another mentor who I’ve been listening to for years, and who himself seems to have forgotten his own words, somewhat.
Well, I can always tell a liar, and I always know a thief.
I know them like my family, because brother, I’m the chief.
I’m a dangerous crusader, because I need to tell the truth.
So, I’m turning over tables in my own living room.
Then, I might nail indictments up on every door in town,
‘Cause it’s not right or safe to let my conscience down
So, I don’t care if nobody loves me.
Nobody loves me?
Nobody loves me…but You.
‘Cause the Truth is never sexy, so It’s not an easy sell.
Well, you can dress Her like the culture, but She’ll shock ’em just as well.
“And, She don’t need an apology for bein’ who She is.
And, She don’t need your help makin’ enemies.“
“So, I don’t care if nobody loves Me.
Nobody loves Me?
Nobody loves Me but you!”
[God’s saying this to us as well, Derek.]
So, I’ll do whatever it takes to squeeze us into this wedding gown.
Well, I’ll say words that rattle your nerves.
Words like sin and faith alone.
Derek Webb, “Nobody Loves Me (But You)”
from She Must and Shall Go Free
This song is about Martin Luther. But it is also about Derek Webb. And it’s also about myself. And it’s also about Paul. This is the pattern found in every “prodigal with no way home, [who] puts Him on just like a ring of gold.”
The necessary quality of a person living for Jesus Christ is this: brokenness.
If God has not broken you, friend, you have not submitted. If you think yourself better than God, you have conjured a vague idea of a concept that is foreign to my brain in an apparently unique way. My God breaks my mind every day. I pray one thing these days, friends, and only one thing.
“Good morning, Lord. Surprise me.”
If I trust the Lord, then I trust that he will bring me good things. If I’ve already given my life to God, however long ago that may be…then I should have no problem being surprised by God–one way or another.
“So, I am a whore. I do confess. I put you on just like a wedding dress, and I run down the aisle.”
I’m an asshole. Yeshu’a still loves me.
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:30-32 (ESV)
Peace, assholes. ❤
My next book Aphantastic Brain: Thinking in Music is my next project. Be looking for it in the near future!
Image Credit: wallpapercave.com
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