A Brief Timeline for Young Leaders Network and Terra Nova Project, for Understanding Ron Wheeler’s Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

In the ongoing efforts to call Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church to account for past and present behaviors, his former colleague and protégé Ron Wheeler posted the following open letter: I. Am. Not. Anonymous. In it, Mr. Wheeler details his early history with Mr. Driscoll and then says:

Soon I began traveling the nation with you, speaking at various conferences, seminars and events. It was such an honor. We became involved on the ground-floor of this new movement that was shaping the landscape of evangelical Christianity. We were on the board of Young Leader network together. We were on the Terra Nova project together. We were working with some pretty amazing people. These were the early days when there was talk of the postmodern era, and the Emergent church started “emerging” and New Calvinism had yet to emerge as a thing. It was heady stuff. It was also dangerous, as some of it started wandering far from historical orthodox Christian belief and practice. [Emphasis added.]

But then I listened as you slandered and maligned the men and women we worked with behind their backs -who though we didn’t agree with some of them theologically- were wonderful people, and never deserved to be spoken of, or treated the way you did. People who I know would have considered you a friend and have no idea how you really felt about them. I have personally tried to go back and apologize to people who were “kicked to the curb”, along the way, and yes, I do feel I was complicit to your actions; guilty by way of association and being silent.

For that, I could not be more sorry.

I believe this section of the open letter holds some significance, but would be hard to interpret. That’s because the history of Young Leaders Network (sponsored by Leadership Network) and its subsequent transition into the Terra Nova Project aren’t generally known. The purposes of this post are:

  1. To offer some background on the timeline of these Generation X-oriented networks.
  2. To overview some of the relevant terminology for ministry during that early part of the modern-to-postmodern transition.
  3. To suggest how that era relates to various “streams” in contemporary Christianity that came out of that period and have been coming into fruition over a decade later.

In a later post, I may summarize the ongoing controversies about Mr. Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, from my perspective as a research writer with backgrounds in studies of spiritual abuse, organizational dynamics, recovery ministry, and social transformation. But for the moment, I’ll focus on this material about Young Leaders Network and Terra Nova Project, so that section of Mr. Wheeler’s open letter has more context. Continue reading

“The Gift Is You” by David Wolf Launches July 29th

Once in a while, I post about resources worth noting. Today, I wanted to let you know about The Gift is You – a friend’s book that officially launches on Tuesday, July 29. It’s the personal story of David Wolf, a “Type A” personality doctor who delivered over 10,000 babies during his career, did medical mission work in Haiti, and mentored many other doctors – but ended up partially paralyzed from a go-kart accident at age 53, on July 29, 2001. Instead of letting such difficult circumstances stop him, David chose to roll with and around his obstacles.

Over the years, I’ve become convinced that part of God’s design is our innate desire to make a difference. When we engage that flow from our soul, the impact of our actions is like running water: It spreads out, seeps in, helps seedlings of change grow elsewhere. But what happens when barriers appear – challenges and changes, sufferings and frustrations? That water can be stoppered and the resulting lake can stagnate, but the stream of desire to make a difference just doesn’t go away. How can it find routes around, under, and/or over the inevitable barriers that life brings our way? That’s part of what tempers our character and sparks our creativity. And how David learned to navigate with grace such drastic changes in his life is what I find the most inspirational about his story.

I had the opportunity to help shape an earlier version of his book, and trust you’ll find true what the book’s subtitle says, “Encouragement for people seeking hope during life’s tough times.” The official launch day for the book is Tuesday, July 29. Check out other reviews on Amazon, and please consider purchasing on the 29th to give his book a boost! Proceeds from sales go to non-profits with ministries in Haiti and Congo.

 

 

I’ve Launched into The Last Lap on My Long-Term Writing Project

This morning I launched into the last lap on finishing the first module in my curriculum project — which is on how to catalyze social transformation, how to challenge people and organizations that abuse power, and related topics on making a constructive difference while minimizing harm. Finally!

The first book may be done, reviewed, prepped for print-on-demand and eBooks, and available maybe as soon as next month — August 2014! Would greatly appreciate your prayers for my mental clarity and energy stamina in finishing this last stage well. Also for the preview and review processes needed to get other people’s input for the final polishing of the material. There is a long list of details on the to-do list to get done!

Meanwhile, since this is a milestone day, I’m reciting the history of it as a remembrance of what’s happened and as a reminder of God’s faithfulness throughout the process.

Continue reading

My Dad as a “Person of Peace”

Fathers Day 2014

Some things about your parents you just know because you’re there. Other things you figure out, whether early on in family life or later. And some things you may not even find out til some surprises come to light. And one of the things I’ve come to understand better over the years is that my Dad was a “person of peace” … Continue reading

Thoughts on Redemption in the Wake of Abuse: Agents of Damage versus Agents of Healing

“Good or Evil?” © Scott Maxwell / Fotolia #6928112.

“Good or Evil?” © Scott Maxwell / Fotolia #6928112.

[This post is part of the #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Twitter, and the #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Facebook.]

I suspect that acquiring a deep understanding of how relational dynamics works in the real world is something that takes us all a lifetime – as does our applications of those healing skills to bring Kingdom transformation on earth as it is in heaven. My journey with Jesus on that pathway to peace has unfolded in unexpected ways. But the longer I go with Him, the more spiritual sense it all makes. Here are some snapshots from my journey in learning about victimization and recovery and how it involves Agents of Damage and paradoxical parallel Agents of Healing. Continue reading

Thoughts on Abuse, Position, Power – and Restitution

If you’ve followed my blogging at futuristguy here on WordPress, you’ll know I’ve been doing research writing on systems and dynamics of spiritual abuse and recovery for 7 years, tracking various aspects of the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) situation for a minimum of 3 years, and first blogged something about the SGM system in 2012. Spiritual abuse survivors and others who follow what happened at the SGM association of churches and civil lawsuits from it knew that a related criminal trial was scheduled for this May. The results of the first trial came in Thursday, find Nathaniel Morales guilty on all counts. A second trial for Mr. Morales begins next week.

I find in the civil suit against SGM and related criminal cases a complex situation with many kinds of victims, perpetrators, and enablers – each category of which could use some specific messages at this time. I felt compelled to do what I could to address key issues as constructively as possible. This post is a compilation of writings posted so far. My hope is that they provide some insight into how the human systems of real people intersect the organizational systems of SGM and Covenant Life Church (CLC) in ways that caused damage – and, potentially, could bring recovery for individuals who’ve survived abuse, restitution by those who were “agents of damage,” rehabilitation of the extended SGM system (if that is even warranted, and where it is even possible) to bring health, transparency, and accountability, and restoration of  a besmirched testimony of the Church before a watching world.

This post is part of the #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Twitter, and #IStandWithSGMVictims campaign on Facebook. Continue reading

Sample: Opening to Forthcoming Book on Quadruple Bottom Line

The following sample comes from the piece I wrote as the opening in my forthcoming book, Do Good Plus Do No Harm, to summarize the book’s purpose and share my overall point of view. Editing continues, and I am now on the second Section of chapters, which deal with paradigms, perspectives that cause a lot of conflict among people (learning styles and cultural background issues), and trajectories toward transformation. Continue reading