“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.

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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

Sample from Forthcoming Book: “Who is This Book For?”

I’ve made significant progress in editing the first book in my Opal Design Systems training curriculum. This book captures the most important patterns of principles and practices that I’ve learned from experience in my 40 years of work with non-profits, start-ups, legacy agencies that choose to lumber along, and organizational transitions for groups who want to survive into the future. I have not finalized the title yet, but am looking to launch the book in Spring 2014. What follows is the target audience section of the first chapter, which is designed to orient readers to who I am, who I’m writing for, what the book addresses, and different ways that they and their teams can go through the material for optimal impact.  Enjoy …
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Creating and Sustaining a Safer Blogging Environment

I was part of a team effort with Julie Anne Smith to write a recent post on Spiritual Sounding Board, A Warning to Commenters: Be Aware of Potential Blog Owner/Moderator Intrusiveness. This post created a significant amount of heat about spiritual abuse survivor blogs. But the controversy also potentially brought forth an important amount of light about the dynamics of survivor blog owners and commenters on them.

I spent time over the past few days trying to process it all into something clear and constructive. That’s because I found it disturbing that a huge number of assumptions were being floated in all directions. For instance, some blog owners assume it is automatically okay to use a commenter’s email to follow up with them, while others found that a horrifying intrusion through misuse of unpublished information. And some commenters assume the comment system requires them to use their real name, while others chided them for such childish ignorance.

To me, this culture clash and condescension was unnecessary. All it takes to start creating better understanding is being clear and transparent about our blog policies and practices. Then people can know exactly what we do, can grapple to comprehend why (if they want to), and post questions or challenges if they desire. But we have a deep problem if we think we are above writing out our otherwise-invisible assumptions by posting our actual concrete practices.

So, I did the best I could to summarize information that I think will contribute to a more civil and safer blogging environment – especially for those of us who come from backgrounds of spiritual abuse and are often more sensitized to anything that smacks of secrecy and/or bullying. Here are practical suggestions for commenters and for blog owners/moderators, followed by the example of revised commenting policies that I posted on my own futuristguy blog earlier today. Continue reading

Review of *UnLeader* by Lance Ford

Hear ye, hear ye … I have just posted my first-ever book review on Amazon!

It is for UnLeader: Reimagining Leadership … and Why We Must, by Lance Ford (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2012). I received a review copy in September 2012 and read it then — and have peeked at it (and the stack of notes I wrote!) off and on ever since. I was planning to post a review last year, but other circumstances took over for a while and many things disappeared into that vortex.

However, what the time-lag added to the writing of my review was the reality that for 16 months, UnLeader keeps coming back to mind as really something extraordinary. I hope what I’ve posted will give a fresh and helpful perspective on grasping the value of what Lance Ford has produced, and the gift it is to the Kingdom. I also hope you will buy a copy, read it, and be changed by the  powerful and empowering message that Lance Ford offers!

And here is that review … Continue reading

Invitation to Participate in a New Research Study on Spiritual Abuse

Dr. Barb Orlowski is looking for spiritual abuse survivors to complete a survey…

Six years ago, a friend blogged about Barb Orlowski looking for survivors of spiritual abuse to fill out a survey about their experiences and recovery. This was for Barb’s doctoral project. I participated – it changed my life!

Back then, the landscape of the survivor community was way less developed, and there was far less research available. Dr. Orlowski’s ground-breaking work deservedly got published in the book Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness (Wipf & Stock, 2010). All the while, she’s continued working behind the scenes to minister to survivors, get them connected, and provide new resources. Her compassionate investment in this marginalized community has made an incredibly positive impact for the Kingdom!

And now Dr. Orlowski is looking for spiritual abuse survivors for a new study. It uses a similar set of questions to her 2008 survey, but she is also looking to research how widespread spiritual abuse is. If you are a survivor and didn’t participate in her original study, please consider helping her with this one. I know from experience that it provides an invaluable opportunity to reflect carefully on what happened to us, and synthesize that with intuitive hunches about issues like:

  • What made me susceptible to spiritual abuse?
  • How do toxic leaders capture followers and then keep them under control?
  • What process did I undergo to bring healing from those wounds by religious wolves?

I believe you’d find taking this survey helpful to you, too, if this is the right time for you to think through the destructive impact of abuse, and how reconstruction has been happening in your personal life. The invitation letter with details from Dr. Orlowski is below. Continue reading