FAQ: your questions and answers

Note

infinitusministries.net and www.infinitusministries.net redirect to here. For our online forums, go to forums.infinitusministries.net.

Questions about the church (Infinitus Community)

  1. Why an “autistic church”?

    According to recent scientific studies, it is estimated that somewhere around 3 percent of the population is autistic, and we think it is actually an undercount due to the fact that ASC can also be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all due to clinician biases and lack of access to care. Autistic individuals often find it difficult to fit into the existing faith communities for a variety of reasons.

  2. But isn’t it more important to make existing churches inclusive for all, instead of this “self-imposed ghettoization”? After all, we are one in Christ and the “Body of Christ” ought to be one.

    Yes, in an ideal world. But in reality, our human diversity leads to manifold expressions of the universal Church in many, many localized forms. In any major U.S. city, there are churches that worship in different languages – Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and so on. There are also historically Black churches. There are also Deaf churches that worship exclusively in the sign language. While they may appear to be “reverse-discriminatory” or “exclusive,” the “Body of Christ” has historically been enriched by the cultures and experiences they bring to the table. For that matter, many of North America’s Protestant denominations originally were “ethnic churches”: for example, Christian Reformed Church has its roots in the Dutch Reformed churches planted by the immigrants from the Netherlands; the Episcopal/Anglican Church was mainly English, the Presbyterian Church was Scottish, and the Lutheran Church was Swedish and Norwegian. We build on this rich tradition by co-creating a welcoming space where neurodivergent people can take active parts in the life and leadership of the Church.

  3. Is Infinitus Community only open to autistic Christians?

    No. Just as you can visit and even join a Chinese church, a Korean church, or a Black church regardless of your ethnicity, anyone can become part of Infinitus. However, we do church in the “language” and culture of neurodivergent folks. So a sincere desire and openness to learn is a welcome trait we ask of you.

  4. When/where are you meeting for service?

    As we are brand new, we have not solidified this yet. During the summer of 2024, we are thinking of meeting outdoors on late Sunday afternoons (not sure if this will be weekly or biweekly) in the Tigard-Tualatin area near Portland, Oregon. Please reach out to us by email if you are interested in joining us!

  5. Will there be an online service or livestream?

    Not yet. If there is enough demand, we are open to hosting a separate virtual gathering on Matrix.

  6. Are children welcome? Will there be children’s programming?

    First of all, we are still new and we have not reached the point where we could possibly support programming for kids. Secondly, we believe that a church should not sequester children into a Sunday school or youth programs where potentially bad things could happen. That would be too much of a liability exposure for us. While we believe that youth should be empowered to freely explore religions and their spirituality, that should be done without the coersion and pressure by their parents or by a church (we are not interested in indoctrinating or proselytizing minors). For these reasons, minors under the age of majority (18) are not permitted to attend any of our functions unless accompanied by their parent(s) or legal guardians, and are attending by their own volition. Another reason why we do this is that our ministries focus on neurodivergent adults and their needs, that differ from those of autistic children and youth.

General questions about Infinitus Ministries at large

  1. How can I support you?

    For now, the best thing you can do is to spread the word! Tell your friends about Infinitus, especially if you know of an autistic Christian who are looking for something like this. Additionally, we are looking for volunteers to help organize our gatherings and other events in the community.

  2. Are you affiliated with any denomination or a missionary organization?

    No. We are a fully independent endeavor. We take no money or order from any denomination or mission agency. We strongly believe in the importance of a self-governing, self-propagating, and self-supporting community that is locally governed by the consensus of its members.

  3. Are you Evangelical? Fundamentalist? Progressive? etc.

    Infinitus envisions itself as “post-denominational” and “post-evangelical.” While we welcome people from all religious (or no) backgrounds, we also decided that distinctives are important since if a church does not stand for something, it will fall for anything, and statistically, such “open-minded” and “anything goes” churches simply do not grow and won’t be sustainable. We are rooted in the low-church, anti-authoritarian traditions within Protestantism, and embrace the heritage of Independent General/Universal Baptists and various Anabaptist streams, as well as the spiritual wellspring of the Charismatic/Neo-Pentecostal movement. We do, however, also appreciate the beauty of liturgical and monastic practices from other traditions and we seek to incorporate many of them.

    Infinitus aims for the best practice in biblical hermeneutics informed by history and modern scholarship, and encourages a greater biblical literacy. This means that we take the scriptures seriously and actively engage with them, but we do not idolize the Bible. We prefer to strike a good balance between literal-historical approaches and mystical-metaphysical approaches. Theologically, we are Christian Universalist in orientation.

  4. How is Infinitus Ministries organized and operated?

    From a persecuted underground sect that secretly met in homes and catacombs, to a multinational imperial church run like feudal kingdoms (eventually amassing so much power and wealth that it lorded over the actual kings and princes), and to the modern American form of church that operates mostly like a non-profit business corporation with career executives and professionalized staff, the Church has changed many times in how it is run throughout its history. In the 21st century, the Christian church has seen at least two inflection points. During the first decade of this century, many churches either downsized or converted their buildings into community spaces or social enterprises (examples of this in Portland included Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church/TaborSpace, the Oregon Community/Oregon Public House, and the Red Sea Church/Xenos House of Culture). This phenomenon began as church membership and attendance sharply declined and many congregations began thinking about what to do with their real estate. Then the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 further accelerated the transformation of the Church as congregational leaders were quickly forced to pivot to online services. As with past pandemics in human history, COVID-19 led to a massive shift in the zeitgeist, inspired rapid innovations, and changed the ways how we think of society.

    While it was before the first known case of COVID-19 when we first envisioned a church that would be now called Infinitus Community, experiences of the post-pandemic recovery years and seeing how most churches have never returned to the pre-COVID level of activity, we propose a new way of doing church: the entrepreneurial church. By “entrepreneurial” it does not mean the churches should focus on money-making through gimmicky marketing; rather, we propose to take innovative, creative actions flexibly while taking measured risks associated with them, unburdened by the ossified corporate structures and non-profit and denominational politics (cf. Mark 2:21-22) to empower the Holy Spirit to move freely through our creativity and organic relationship-building.

    Initially, the Community will be supported in part by the revenues from the fee-based services of Infinitus Explorations, and in part by volunteer work and in-kind contributions from our members.

    Infinitus Community is being organized as a free church not dependent on the regulatory powers of the state and governed organically based on member consensus and direct participation, inspired by the ethos of Independent General Baptists, Quakers, Catholic Workers Movement, and the Christian anarchists. To us, the church is neither a building nor a corporation, but rather a chosen family united in the Spirit, relating organically to one another to build up one another.

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