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Autistic Liberation Theology

Autistic Liberation Theology

By Laura Sommer

I am a queer autistic theology enthusiast with no formal training. In my podcast episodes I will sit down with future pastors and present to them the theological theories that have formed from accumulated knowledge. personal experiences and pop culture, all filtered through the prism of my mysterious, trauma-informed autistic brain. I will ask my guests wether my ideas are boring mainstream opinions, radical groundbreaking new theology or just plain heresy.

Should be fun! :-)
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... and a Tax Collector in a Fig Tree 🎶

Autistic Liberation Theology

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Simon, You Rock! - A D ownright H yperactive  D iciple
Simon, You Rock! - A D ownright H yperactive D iciple
I know, I have announced and teasered this episode for probably over a year now... So, finally, here it is! Peter interpreted through an ADHD lense.  My friend Michi and I have had a lot of fun talking about our ADHD experiences, feeling for Peter and laughing at his and our own troubles with the neurotypical world.  I hope you'll enjoy this episode as much as we did.
59:09
September 06, 2022
Joseph and the Amazing Original Neuroqueer Pride Flag - Part III
Joseph and the Amazing Original Neuroqueer Pride Flag - Part III
The last part of our Neuroqueer nerd indulgence. We talk about trauma, family, reconsiliation... sounds fun, right?? Timestamps: 0:00 - Summary of the previous two parts 2:00 - How Joseph’s brothers and father are suffering during the famine; they’d rejected the neuroqueer gifts that could have saved them 5:35 - Joseph forced to face their past trauma. Punitive vs. restorative justice — the latter requires a shift in power dynamics, security for the wronged 27:10 - Second trip to Egypt: Joseph continues to test the brothers to see if they’ve truly changed; struggles to hold it together while closeted / masking 35:15 - Joseph comes out, reveals their identity to their brothers. What prevented the brothers from recognizing them?  39:47 - What to make of Joseph’s understanding of “God’s plan”: Joseph takes control of his own narrative, sees how God transforms suffering into good. Celebrating the good that comes out of evil without justifying evil 50:20 - Even in reconciling, Joseph never goes home, back to the site of that first trauma & to dynamics where their brothers hold the power over them — connecting to church efforts to become truly inclusive 55:55 - not a tidy ending: relationship will never be the same; brothers struggle to believe Joseph doesn’t want revenge. “None of us has to be the slave!” 1:00:30 - the oppressed can offer oppressors insights about themselves; double consciousness & masking — the Autistic community’s debt to Black scholarship 1:05:35 - Joseph as a bicultural figure; both cultures associated both with home & trauma 1:07:58 - Jacob gives the primary blessing to Joseph’s second son: continuing the trend of subverting status quo. God always on the side of the marginalized  1:14:55 - Wrapping up
01:18:09
August 29, 2022
Joseph and the Amazing Original Neuroqueer Pride Flag - Part II
Joseph and the Amazing Original Neuroqueer Pride Flag - Part II
Part II of one of our favourite topics: Neuroqueering Joseph!🐂🌾✨🎉🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ Timestamps: (0 - 7:52) Any power Joseph gains while enslaved is precarious; vulnerable to sexual harassment (starting 7:53) Nevertheless, Joseph manages to thrive; marginalized communities take shunned spaces & make them sanctuary spaces  (12:47) Queer & autistic experiences abroad; the toll certain stereotypes take (16:53) Meaning-making: God's presence in pain; Dreamcoat song emphasizes how human violence can't stomp out inner gifts (21:36) Joseph & Pharaoh: the gift once feared is now revered; autistic tendency to disregard power dynamics  (38:34) This could be the happy ending: wife & kids, stability & appreciation -- reconciliation with brothers not necessary, but helpful (42:19) Closing with more midrash about Joseph being a hottie Related links: https://wibbleywobbleyminds.wordpress.com/Joseph/ https://lifeisasacredtext.substack.com/p/queering-joseph
47:09
August 05, 2022
Joseph and the Amazing Original Neuroqueer Pride Flag - Part I
Joseph and the Amazing Original Neuroqueer Pride Flag - Part I
For quite a while now my friend Avery and I have been looking forward to recording an episode about THE queer autistic Bible character. Naturally we couldn´t contain the excited infodump to anything near 60 minutes... So I proudly present the first part of a 3-episode-special on our neuroqueer sibling Joseph!
57:28
May 19, 2022
The Gethsemane of things
The Gethsemane of things
This is a really melancholy and earnest episode. My friend Avery is joining me to discuss the right to grieve and to experess our fear and pain. We also take on Mary of Bethany's perspective of being unable to see a loved one in pain and fear and not being able to take that away, yet validating and comforting them in their experience. If you need some somberness for Holy Week, you've come to the right address.  Also, Avery - in addition to editing the episode - has provided some time stamps for orientation: 0:00 - 3:21 Introducing the topics 3:22 - 9:33 First story: John  12:1-8 — reading; discussing Judas 9:34 - 14:19 Hierarchy of luxury — judging the spending of poor & disabled persons, activists  14:20 - 16:17 Mary had to use oil on Lazarus’ body not long before; now she can use it on Jesus while he’s still alive to appreciate it — “Give us our flowers while we’re here” 16:18 - 18:03 Diluting people’s message after their death — MLK, Jesus 18:04 - 28:59 Mary affirms Jesus’s identity and mission when no one else does — versus avoiding, blaming, denying, or trying to fix disabled persons’ pain 29:00 - 34:08 The oil will follow Jesus through his suffering; comfort to Mary as well; it’s hard to feel helpless as the person suffering or the person watching that suffering 34:09 - 41:08 Second story: Mark 14’s Gethsemane story; comparing the disciples’ sleep to coping with reality by shutting our eyes 41:09 - 48:20 Jesus took the time and space to sit with his grief; disabled people deserve to grieve their own experiences without it “betraying the cause” — allowed to settle into the Gethsemane of things 48:21 - 50:21 community members who affirm your experience make all the difference; it makes sense that it’s the women who “get” Jesus because they know what it’s like to have their pain & reality dismissed 50:22 - 57:03 Our personal troubles — finding safety and comfort in the space Jesus has carved out in Gethsemane; teaching ourselves to sit with others in their Gethsemane  57:04 - end support from friends in the things we “can’t not do,” but that lead to pain
01:03:17
April 11, 2022
Subversive Foot-Washing
Subversive Foot-Washing
For the third time I am joined by my fried Felix. We start out at the broad topic of hierarchy and biblical narratives of reversing or subverting hierarchies. We then wander off to examine anarchy, power dynamics and the autistic urge to speak the truth regardless of consequences. It is, again, a long and possibly chaotic episode but we manage to get back on track in the end… :)
01:09:53
January 17, 2022
MagnAUtism
MagnAUtism
This is an episode that Avery and I have really been looking forward to. Jesus and John the Baptist, autistic cousins and weirdos with mutual understanding and love for eacht other. We divided the episode in three parts that keep leaking into each other:  Parents as allies to queer and neurodivergent children Mutual recognition and neuro-attraction between neurodivergent people = Magnautism Isolation and frustration when people don´t get us Have fun with this one! We certainly did =)
01:10:02
November 04, 2021
Abel-ism
Abel-ism
It's finally here! The episode where my guest Avery and I establish the concept of Abel-ism. I'm really excited for y'all feedback and hopefully will be doing some more episodes with this exegetic lense.
01:04:11
July 25, 2021
God, a-parent-ly
God, a-parent-ly
For the second time Felix joins me for an episode. This time we talk about parent-child-relationships, trauma and healing and we examine how the concept of God as a parent can help to make us understand that our parents are also vulnerable children. I know my episodes keep getting longer. We always knew this would happen…
01:15:41
June 10, 2021
Toxic Mask-ulinity
Toxic Mask-ulinity
I'm so excited! My queer autistic fellow podcaster Avery Smith and I have finally recorded one of our usual zoom nerd fests and y'all can benefit from our info dumps. Our starting point is autistic masking and being closeted trans and somehow we end up talking about Jesus being frustrated with Peter and God making godself tiny and fragile for Elijah.  This was great fun! We'll definitely do a cross-over episode again.
01:10:36
June 09, 2021
Dis-illusion of Borders
Dis-illusion of Borders
This is a long one, but bear with us... My friend Felix and I tried to connect the story of Cain and Abel with the Holy Communion. On our journey we managed to collect some topics along the way. 
59:56
February 23, 2021
... and a Tax Collector in a Fig Tree 🎶
... and a Tax Collector in a Fig Tree 🎶
Together with my guest  Jonas  I take  - Luke 19,  - the Christmas narrative  - and an icon from a French monastry  and stir them all together in a big bowl to get this Christmas episode.
49:32
January 04, 2021
Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water I Will Lay Me Down... On A Cushion
Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water I Will Lay Me Down... On A Cushion
In the fourth episode of Autistic Liberation Theology Corni and I are takimg a closer look at two iconic New Testament stories - Jesus walking on water and Jesus calming the storm. Listen once again how I force my autistic projection onto the Son of God.
41:57
December 01, 2020
Donkey Business
Donkey Business
In this Episode I talk to Jan-Niklas about Balaam (Bileam in German) and his talking donkey and try twist this already confusing narrative into an analogy about executive functioning and lack thereof. Bear with me...  
32:50
November 24, 2020
Babelism
Babelism
In this, my second episode I am zooming with Michael Streib who is currently in Yale studying Theology. We are discussing whether the story of the Tower of Babel can be read as the creation of diversity and empathy instead of simply God wanting to restrict human creativity. 
37:07
November 17, 2020
Jesus is not a creepy child
Jesus is not a creepy child
In this, my first episode of Autistic Liberation Theology my guest Jonas Lauter and I are discussing Luke 2,40-52 where the 12 year-old Jesus is found by his parents in the temple, infodumping at scholars.
32:58
November 11, 2020
Promotion Autistic Liberation Theology Podcast
Promotion Autistic Liberation Theology Podcast
I am a queer autistic theology enthusiast with no formal training. In my podcast episodes I will sit down with future pastors and present to them the theological theories that have formed from accumulated knowledge. personal experiences and pop culture, all filtered through the prism of my mysterious, trauma-informed autistic brain. I will ask my guests wether my ideas are boring mainstream opinions, radical groundbreaking new theology or just plain heresy. Should be fun! :-)
00:26
November 05, 2020