The NumiNous Institute for Faith & Neurodiversity exists to promote the broadening of theology and religious institutions to incorporate the unique insights, gifts, and struggles of the neurodiverse community, including those with Autism, Learning Disabilities, and ADHD (et al).
Invest through providing scholarships/grants for research into rethinking theology and religious spaces in light of the neurodiverse experience.
Inform our broader culture and religious institutions about the dual blessing & burden of neurodiversity, and the ways in which they can partner with and learn from our community.
Inspire the neurodiverse to embrace their unique perspectives as equally valid and worthy of theological discussion & institutional embodiment.
The NumiNous Institute was originally founded by Madison Lyonhart and Dr JD Lyonhart (jdlyonhart.com). Growing up with dysgraphia and severe ADHD, Jonathan Lyonhart struggled to sit through the average neurotypical church service, and barely graduated high school (learning disabled students are 3X as likely to drop out). It was only once he became passionate about religious studies during his undergraduate work that he found the vocational enthusiasm to overcome his struggles. Yet the further his studies advanced, the more his ‘disabilities’ began to seem like idiosyncratic ‘abilities’, providing him with a unique way of perceiving and thinking about reality. He credits this unique perspective with helping him edge out the competition for a scholarship to the University of Cambridge, where he completed his doctorate in only 2 years. He subsequently became an assistant professor of Theology and Philosophy at Lincoln Christian University, a fellow at the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism at the University of Cambridge, and a host of the Spiritually Incorrect Podcast. He is convinced that others also have weird and wonderful insights into the numinous nature of the divine. However, religious institutions often cater solely toward the popular masses, while neurodiverse students tend to be so discouraged and misunderstood in their early education that they rarely get far enough in higher education for their gifts to shine. In contrast, Madison Lyonhart always excelled in ministry and in school. Yet when she and Jonathan realized their children were both autistic, she found herself immersed into an ever expanding world of diagnoses, therapies, and niche terms like ‘neurotypical’. Finding that local schools, churches, and Sunday School programs were rarely equipped to deal with neurodiversity, she delved into years of hands-on research, desiring to provide her children with every opportunity for their seeming ‘burden’ to reveal its deeper nature as a blessing. Ultimately, as a family representing multiple sides of both the neurodiverse and neurotypical communities, Madison and Jonathan were inspired to seek out informational and financial resources for themselves and for others, which eventually led to them founding The NumiNous Institute for Faith and Neurodiversity.