Suggestions for Spiritual Abuse Survivors in the
How, When, and Why in Sharing Our Accounts of Recovery
I’ve been writing about spiritual abuse and recovery since 2008. Part of what started me down this path was when I took Barbara Orlowski’s survey about experiences of spiritual abuse, responses to the perpetrator and organization, and the recovery process. Sadly, I had multiple severe experiences to draw from, but I must say that the process of completing her survey made a significant difference for me in understanding what happened to me, how bully leaders work over the people under them, and areas I needed to continue healing from.
I’ve also helped people process their story to write it for themselves. And I’ve written other people’s accounts for them, or set up investigative archives for several lawsuits or other major situations involving spiritual abuse. [Unfortunately, I’m not available to do any of these right now, so please don’t contact me to ask if I can help you. I'm swamped with finishing production of a curriculum series.]
At least journaling about our experiences of spiritual abuse and recovery is a process I highly recommend. You’ll likely find yourself exploring issues and answers you might never get into otherwise. But what happens if you’re feeling a nudge to do something more than just “process”? What if you sense you may be led to do something with the product of all that processing? Is it perhaps time to tell your story? And if so, how do you know when to do this, and what you should include? In this article, I’ve captured some practical how-to advice on these and related questions. Hope you find it of help … Continue reading
Summary: Many people are now writing or commenting on spiritual abuse survivor topics. Given the damage to our souls wrought by so-called “discipleship,” it is no surprise that some of what we write demonstrates anger, sarcasm, innuendo, curses, and harsh or vulgar language. However, if this does perhaps help us in our venting about abuse and abusers, it can also prove “triggering” – not edifying – for others who read it. So, in this post, I offer some practical advice on Writing Respectfully and Defusing “Triggers” that I have learned over the years in my research writing on abuse, violence, and social action.
The following is adapted from comments I wrote for a post at The Wartburg Watch (TWW) this month, TWW Request Re: Language Used in Referencing Any Lawsuit/Ministry. This post arose from a previous comment.s someone else put on that blog that was apparently interpreted as threatening by another blogger, and this led to an extended community discussion on blog commenting policies and related language-based issues in the spiritual abuse survivors’ community. I picked up on topics related to what I see as disrespectful labeling or treatment of opponents, and language of abuse, gender, and sexual innuendo that can act as “trauma triggers” for survivors. Be sure to read the TWW post, as it also contains important suggestions and guidelines for writing about narrative accounts dealing with various kinds of abuse, and about navigating public disagreements about such situations. Continue reading
This is a day of remembrance.
In 1984, I was able to journey to Dachau. I’d already read books about the concentration camp, and while I was there I watched their documentary film and saw the site.
In 1987, I went to Flossenbürg, where nearly 100,000 prisoners went through its gates and 3 out of 10 died there. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of them. The international chapel there had stained glass windows or artwork donated by the many countries and cultures who lost citizens there. It was a solemn moment, sensing the souls of many whom history overlooks.
I am reminded today of a book related to the Holocaust that I read in the 1990s. It is by Dr. Robert Jay Lifton. Continue reading
Summary: We find that there are serious depths of melancholy and grief on all sides of the postmodern-generational divides. The older generations often want to bless the younger, but feel unable to understand their emerging world or that the community connection has been frayed by their overcontrol. The younger want to be blessed, but feel unable to live in the world of the elders and also feel they must answer to a higher authority and be/do what they were created for in the world as it now is. How do we find a language to express this disconnect, and facilitate a both/and, “wabisabi” dialogue designed to keep us connected and let all parties find purpose despite the chaos? Perhaps an answer is found in … “The Frodo Syndrome,” for how to overcome grief and melancholia in the modern-to-postmodern transition. Continue reading
All things considered, it seems appropriate that I chose April Fools’ Day to launch my blogging “career,” such as it has been, lo, these 10 years. Like most creative endeavors, you don’t really know what it actually is until it’s already underway. And – surprise, surprise – I sort of turned out to be a kind of court jester. You know how those jesters are, they can be bluntly meteoric or even metaphoric, sometimes snark or perhaps just stark, a little ironic and maybe sardonic. They also seem to say a lot of mysterious things that just don’t seem to make sense at the time, but eventually become unveiled. Yeah. That seems to be a fit.
I started up blogging on April 1, 2003, mostly because the good people leading the WabiSabi event in Austin, Texas, felt I needed to. That event was to bring together polar opposites and maintain the paradox in order to bridge the gaps between older generations with younger, men and women, emerging paradigms with conventional. Afterwards, some of the key organizers told me enough talk, now write. They included Andrew Jones, Shannon Hopkins, and Jessica Stricker. A lot of others encouraged along the way that first year or so especially, including The Austin Gang and The Dallas Gang. It may have seemed an odd endeavor at first for me. But, in retrospect, I’m very glad that I stuck with it.
The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism
and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement
Part Six: When Collaboration Just Won’t Work Well: Operating Systems of Legalism or License Instead of Liberty
Overview of Part Six
In Part Five we looked at five different ways of processing information – all of which have a unique realm of application to imperatives and principles and paradoxes in Scripture. I gave some initial analysis to show how those five epistemologies hold values that can keep us on track with liberty and freedom in Christ, or veer us off toward legalism (being rule-bound where Scripture isn’t) or license (being without bounds where Scripture is). In Part Six, we’ll conclude that exploration of legalism, license, and liberty. Continue reading