Editing Update June 28 – Piecing Up the Picks

It’s easy to think that you’re writing a book because of what you’ve learned, but I wonder if I’ve actually learned more than I would’ve otherwise BECAUSE I’m writing this book. It’s forcing me to synthesize what I’ve observed in my own experiences of surviving spiritual abuse, along with concepts I found in Scripture because I had no where else to turn for answers on what happened, along with practical things I’ve learned since then to help me move from victim to survivor to overcomer. I trust my identity is in Christ, and not in the layer of life dealing with malignant ministry leaders.

The past few days have helped me understand why this editing process bogged down for a while. Yes, editing is slow-going work. But there was something else going on …

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Editing Update June 23 – Prayer Brings Breakthrough!

Editing your own writings can be excruciating … well, make that “IS,” not “can be”! I have so much material to draw from on this first book that it’s been hard to find a pathway through it. I want to make it workable and practical and digestible, but it’s seemed impossible. Very frustrating …

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Editing *Safe Houses for God’s People* – Update June 18

Things rarely go as quickly as we think they will (or “should”). I expected to be halfway done in the final editing of the first of two companion books on developing ministries that are safe, healthy, and sustainable. While I’ve made significant progress, I’m only about a third done. So, I continue to plod on forward … Continue reading

Can I Edit *Safe Houses for God’s People* in a Month?

In one way, I have been working toward this month for 21 years, since I started a curriculum on cultural studies in 1991. In another way, it’s been over 3 years, since I did the first draft of the curriculum in 2009-2010. The experiences of surviving five different (but all devastating) malignant ministries go back 5, 10, 20, 25, and 35 years. If nothing else, this month is a milestone for transitioning from the process of “processing” the past to completion of something redemptive and constructive for the future. Perhaps the manuscript will ready for review by July. That would be amazing, and I pray it gets done by then. Watch the progress as I post update reports periodically … and would definitely appreciate your prayers for a productive month! Continue reading

Lessons from The Hunger Games 5C – Identifying Cults: Ultimate Vision, Reductionist Language, Ideological Conformity, and Social Ostracism

5. How Do We Discern Dystopian Dynamics and Totalitarian Tactics? POST SUMMARY: This post introduces and overviews Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for totalitarian thought reform (“brainwashing”) systems. It also gives some learning exercises for two groups: survivors of spiritual abuse and their personal network, and organizational designers/leaders who want to develop healthy and sustainable ministries. Note: I have split this material into three parts so readers can receive the best benefit from it.

Part 5A prepares our thinking with a review of previous points in the series for discerning an abusive/dystopian system, thoughts on totalitarian tactics from The Hunger Games trilogy, and the “before” part of the learning exercise.

Part 5B summarizes Dr. Lifton’s system for identifying “cults” and how the various elements work together. It then explores the first four of his eight criteria, dealing with: communications, motivations, absolutism, and confession.

Part 5C explores the final four of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria: ultimate vision, language, ideological conformity, and ostracism. It also gives the “after” part of the learning exercise, and draws out three key issues for putting “brainwashing” into perspective.

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Lessons from The Hunger Games 5B – Identifying Cults: Authoritarian Communications, Motivations, Restrictions, and Confessions

5. How Do We Discern Dystopian Dynamics and Totalitarian Tactics? POST SUMMARY: This post introduces and overviews Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for totalitarian thought reform (“brainwashing”) systems. It also gives some learning exercises for two groups: survivors of spiritual abuse and their personal network, and organizational designers/leaders who want to develop healthy and sustainable ministries. Note: I have split this material into three parts so readers can receive the best benefit from it.

Part 5A prepares our thinking with a review of previous points in the series for discerning an abusive/dystopian system, thoughts on totalitarian tactics from The Hunger Games trilogy, and the “before” part of the learning exercise.

Part 5B summarizes Dr. Lifton’s system for identifying “cults” and how the various elements work together. It then explores the first four of his eight criteria, dealing with: communications, motivations, absolutism, and confession.

Part 5C explores the final four of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria: ultimate vision, language, ideological conformity, and ostracism. It also gives the “after” part of the learning exercise, and draws out three key issues for putting “brainwashing” into perspective.

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Lessons from The Hunger Games 5A – Dystopian Dynamics, Totalitarian Tactics, and Lifton’s Criteria for Identifying “Cults”

5. How Do We Discern Dystopian Dynamics and Totalitarian Tactics? POST SUMMARY: This post introduces and overviews Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for totalitarian thought reform (“brainwashing”) systems. It also gives some learning exercises for two groups: survivors of spiritual abuse and their personal network, and organizational designers/leaders who want to develop healthy and sustainable ministries. Note: I have split this material into three parts so readers can receive the best benefit from it.

Part 5A prepares our thinking with a review of previous points in the series for discerning an abusive/dystopian system, thoughts on totalitarian tactics from The Hunger Games trilogy, and the “before” part of the learning exercise.

Part 5B summarizes Dr. Lifton’s system for identifying “cults” and how the various elements work together. It then explores the first four of his eight criteria, dealing with: communications, motivations, absolutism, and confession.

Part 5C explores the final four of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria: ultimate vision, language, ideological conformity, and ostracism. It also gives the “after” part of the learning exercise, and draws out three key issues for putting “brainwashing” into perspective.

Continue reading