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Summary: Christian unity is necessary for spiritual health.

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Spiritual Gifts Series # 3

Introduction

1. Illus... Asperger’s Syndrome from Homiletics Online / Source: Osborne, Lawrence. “The little professor syndrome.” New York Times Magazine. June 18, 2000, 55ff.

The syndrome was first discovered in 1944 by Hans Asperger who noticed that certain autistic children enjoyed extraordinary verbal skills while suffering the intense isolation of being unable to empathize with other human beings. According to Fred Volkmar, a child psychiatrist from Yale, people with Asperger’s Syndrome “become fixated on things that evoke their curiosity, but not always in a life-enhancing way.” They fail to see themselves as part of a whole community.

Just like all other autistic individuals, they enjoy minimal social intelligence. In other words, they are socially inept far beyond the usual awkwardness and quirks of most people. At the same time children with Asperger’s Syndrome can master a wealth of knowledge.

They look like your average grade schoolers. One reports that Mom took him to McDonald’s last night. Another announces that he skinned both knees yesterday. Yet another discloses that his next birthday party will be celebrated at the science museum. Just a group of kids sharing kid things ... until you listen more closely.

The Happy Meal lover reports that his fries were cooked in a Sigma Model 3000 deep-feet fryer. The boy with scabby knees further points out that his patella was not broken in his accident, nor were the remainder of his 205 other bones damaged. The birthday boy tells you he plans to examine the intricacies of the atomized optics wall at the science museum, but he does not tell you that the only other partiers present will be his parents and grandparents. He has no real friends.

Are they brilliant? Are they dysfunctional? Clearly, they dwell in their own little worlds. They can memorize such things as certain exotic species and telephone cable insulating companies. They can real off the names of the passengers of the Titanic, the provincial capitols of Brazil, or the birthdays of every member of Congress, but they cannot read the facial expressions of the person sitting next to them.

Notoriously difficult to befriend, Asperger’s children must learn what most children know inherently - that a crying person is sad and that a smiling person is happy.

People call them oddballs, “little professors,” and social misfits.

Trans...The apostle Paul noticed that the people of Corinth - gifted though they were - had little sense of being a part of the whole community of faith. The ancient Greek and Roman ideal of individualism and self-sufficiency was as prevalent in Paul’s day as it is today. Just like a room full of Asperger’s children, each focusing on his or her own individual fixations, the Corinthians were individualistic Christians - each with his own ideas of how the Church should work, each vying for Divine attention with little regard for the neighbors. Then alone came Paul with a curious idea: “We are the Body of Christ.” (Read I Cor. 12:12-27)


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