How it began
The mission of Mind Geographic is to equip the autistic and other neurodiverse people to become the spiritual, prophetic, and moral leaders of the coming age, and to build communities of faiths that recognize and amplify the invaluable contributions of the autistic community to the world while putting the experience of the neurodiverse individuals front and center.
Mind Geographic: the origin story.
The vision behind the ministries of Mind Geographic came to me unexpectedly: at a day-long marketing conference in Hillsboro, Oregon, on a sunny early autumn day of 2019. If that feels like something far from a place one may encounter any sort of spiritual revelation, just bear with me and read on.
I was at this conference because I was burned out. For three years I ran an unsuccessful brand agency. I tried everything I've read and heard from self-styled business gurus. I had a good deal of industry knowledge and was on top of the industrial trends. But I was deeply conflicted inside. For one, I have increasingly found most of these entrepreneurial gurus who were also peddling their self-improvement or "coaching" businesses to be unethical and morally questionable. I could not in good faith copy them or promote anyone who did. Secondly, I was too weird for the "normal" people. I wasn't taken seriously, even though most people were at least superficially polite to me. I was getting tired of these. I went to the event because I was looking for inspiration (in a worldly sense of that word), with the hope that I could "relaunch" (I hate that word, launch) my business.
Instead, an idea came into my mind: what if I focused on the autistic individuals and community by offering spiritual direction? Along with this idea came two words: Mind Geographic. I quickly ran trademark and WHOIS searches on "Mind Geographic" and it was not taken by anyone. Nor was there any search engine result with the exact phrase. (Yes, I am a brand communications professional after all.)
While there is a stereotype of autistic folks as atheists (not entirely false, as there are probably more atheists among the autistics than among the neurotypicals), I have met many religious autistics -- some of them became close friends of mine. I have been a highly religious individual for much of my teenage years and most of my adult life.
Yet, too often, existing faith communities and spiritual leaders are unwelcoming of neurodiversity. Most churches are ill-equipped if anything at all. Almost all of the available autism-related resources for religious communities are geared toward accommodating the parents and families of autistic children, instead of actually doing something more than merely babysitting and tolerating autistic kids. As for autistic adults in churches, resources are non-existent (with the sole exception of a Roman Catholic mission), My mission is to fix that.
Too often, I've been told to shut up, that I was making people "uncomfortable." I've been made unwelcome. I've been coerced into silly woo-woo exercises, excessive emotionalism, ableist "growth"/"human potential" mindset, and rigid gender norms that made no sense to us autistics. They operate from assumptions that are entirely foreign to how our minds process things.
Neurodiversity is the next frontier in religious communities. Yet, neurodiversity is, unfortunately, discouraged in most communal expressions of spiritual life.
According to a 2017 CDC estimate, 2.21 percent of the U.S. adult population is autistic; this makes us a sizable minority group larger than Native Americans and Alaska Natives (1.6 %), Puerto Ricans (1.6 %), or to Chinese-Americans (1.2 %). And we have a distinct culture, just like the Deaf community does. If the Indigenous people, ethnic Chinese, and Deaf people have churches and ministries that are contextualized to their ways of life and their languages, why can't we have ours -- and why shouldn't I be an instigator? For most of my life, I survived this world by creating opportunities for myself when none was open to me. This time, I'd like to create one for neurodivergent people.
As autistic people, we have much to offer to this world. We smell bullshit from a hundred miles away. We tend to be brutally logical and rational, yet exceedingly capable of creative out-of-the-box thinking. We're very much detail-oriented but we see the big picture.
Why "Mind Geographic"? Glad you asked. Come to think of it, every one of us has a rich, unique, complex terrain within our minds. Especially in the neurodiverse community, we often think of our minds as a world in its own right. Trek the amazing inner geography of your mind and soul like an explorer.
I'm simply here to facilitate your quest and to help make sense of it all, building upon your own uniqueness as the foundation for your strengths.
And as I meet each of you, I know that we're building an army of prophets at this challenging juncture in human history. Come join me.