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The following is an exerpt from the March, 2004 article (published by the American Family Association), that I wanted to share with you ---
Scott Spalding’s idea of Christian activism has always been a bit off center – even revolutionary – according to friends.
“God has given me a gift of recognizing, then filling unusual ministry needs in a between-the-cracks fashion,” said the 44-year-old Ashland, Oregon, man.
Spalding knows about seeing the world from a different perspective. He suffers from as many as 17 diagnosed medical maladies, the most debilitating being Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.
Although Asperger’s Syndrome has rendered Spalding severely disabled and, in his own words, “socially impaired,” his love for Christ and desire to share the Gospel is strong and healthy. In fact, in some ways, God has used Spalding’s disabilities to define a local ministry niche and to keep him focused and assertive in fulfilling that call.
“God has given me a passion to rescue hell-bound people,” he says. “When I realized I could not work with people due to problems related to Asperger’s Syndrome, I decided to switch to mainly doing project-driven activities, where I could work primarily with things instead of people.” Spalding said that a psychologist recently described his condition – using computer jargon – as “missing his social chip.”
Asperger’s Syndrome, officially recognized in 1993, is a high-functioning developmental disorder. Those who suffer from the disability are frequently unable to recognize social cues such as facial expressions, speech inflections and body language. For Spalding, this neurological problem has led to a string of lost jobs and painful rejections. He was declared fully disabled at age 39.
However, in some ways Spalding’s disabilities have proven to be an asset in ministry. His very high energy level – a result of Asperger’s Syndrome – combined with his disabled status has enabled him to devote his full time and great enthusiasm to evangelistic projects.
Spalding’s record of creating opportunities to share the gospel began shortly after he was born again during his senior year in high school in 1978. “My first big project was to send out over 200 hand-written Christmas cards to witness to everybody I knew,” he recalled.
Over the years, Spalding has used whatever circumstances and resources (which God has provided) to spread the Gospel message. His efforts have included a “Cruisin’ for Christ” mini-truck ministry; mounting posters on Bulletin Boards throughout his local community (which are often removed prematurely); mounting an LED-driven Reader Board in the rear window of his 1991 Nissan pickup to display during "American Graffitti style" night-time Car Cruises (the board was programmed with 4 minutes of Gospel messages); providing CDs to a nearby Christian-owned Smooth Jazz station, Lighthouse Radio's “The Wave”; initiating a Christian music & worship service presentation in a "Sociology of Religion" class in 1984 (by setting up his entire Home Stereo System); and maintaining an aggressive and successful campaign for over 10 years to convince several Cable TV providers to add Christian networks to their channel line-ups.
Today, Spalding’s main endeavor is to share Christ (as many ways as possible) in his community. He pursues this calling by setting up and maintaining racks of free Christian literature in several high-traffic retail stores & restaurants in the area.
It’s a challenging ministry in a community that boasts more than its share of non-Christian influences, including Avatar Universe, Awakened Heart, Awakening Mandala, Baha'i Faith, Breath of Spirit, 4 Buddhist sects (including Dechen Ling, Tashi Choling, Tibetan, and Zen), Center of Spiritual Awareness, Christian Science, Community of Mindful Living, Dance of Self Awareness, Eckankar, Golden Earth Center, Hare Krishna, Healing Through Awareness, Kagyu Sukha Choling, Kirtan, Kundalini, Movements of Love Community, a Muslim Congregation, Satsang, Spirit in Bloom, the Sufi Heart Circle, Thai Therapeutics, Touched by the Infinite, Unitarian and Unity, as well as numerous wicca covens. Ashland is also home to three Jewish synagogues (plus an additional Messianic one).
Spalding distributes several hundred pieces of Christian literature each month, including the local Christian newspaper. The literature racks require daily maintence, largely due to vandalism.
He has been especially gratified with his growing friendships with Store Managers, particular some who are not Christians. “In fact, they have sometimes been more receptive to the literature racks than friends at church have been,” he laments.
In December of 2009 (after seven years of petitioning Charter Communications with numerous referendums), the company launched 8 new Christian channels, which resulted from Spalding's encouragement to add more Christian TV networks.
In his hometown of Ashland, both "JUCE TV" (see: JUCEtv.tv) and "The Worship Network" (see: Worship.net) have successfully been launched. His efforts during the Summer of 2010 were aimed at the addition of 10 more Christian & family-friendly channels on the local Ashland TV Cable System.
Spalding, who says his theme song is “Change the World”’ by pop singer Eric Clapton, is committed to spreading the Gospel in his community, using whatever means are available. However, his desire is to find a position in a national Christian ministry.
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