Surprises from Post-Apartheid South Africa

I know I’ve posted more in the past few weeks than, like, the entire year before. But this kind of amazing thing happened and at what I think is a significant time, so I thought I’d share it.

Every so often, while I’m doing research, I’m drawn to particular books and don’t know why at the time. Sometimes it’s the entire book that turns out to be important, or I stumble across an amazing quote in it. Occasionally, it turns out to be something else. Continue reading

Commenders Who Prop Up and Perpetuate an Authoritarian System

SOME POINTS OF BACKGROUND/DISCLOSURE: I have been a student of political sociology, dynamics of dissent and social change, and organizational development since the mid-1970s. Since January of 2009, I have been writing a book for non-profits about dealing with leadership and organizational systems where abuse of power is involved. I had already been tracking many potentially relevant situations in the larger evangelical community for a long time prior to that, including goings on around Emergent Village and many other “streams” that came out of the “emerging ministry movement” of the mid-1990s to early 2000s.

On June 8, 2014, I published a blog post entitled, Thoughts on Redemption in the Wake of Abuse: Agents of Damage versus Agents of Healing. (The post below will make more sense if you read the Agents of Damage/Healing post.) There is a section in that post where I introduced an original framework I developed over the past five years on “10 Pairs of Roles in Systems of Damage versus Healing.” This is the same set of 10 roles that I’ve been using to talk about a “Pyramid of Responsibility” and what level of direct culpability or indirect complicity people have in toxic systems.

What follows here is an until-now-unpublished companion piece on “Commenders” that I produced around that same time as I published the Agents of Damage/Healing piece (June 2014). I present it here **without any editorial changes** except that I have removed the Fotolia images that I planned to use. I note that in part because I used the term “theological thugs,” which also appears in this important post on David Hayward’s Naked Pastor blog where I am simultaneously publishing this post as a comment. David Hayward’s post started out being about Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology? However, it turned into a significant thread about issues with people related with Emergent Village.

I didn’t write about Commenders with this current Emergent Village situation in mind, but because I have generally been seeing an increased level of push-back against Commenders from the spiritual abuse survivor community over the past five years. (For instance, see this post on Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month: Emerging Issues, 2012 – Issue #4 is Expanding the concept of accountability to “system partners” that enable abusive behavior by celebrity Christians.) I suspect we will see much more such push-back to come … Continue reading

Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse – Part 3H – Step 5, Layer 4 – Affected Groups Need to Deal with Sick Organizational Systems

Part 3 – Concepts, Questions, and Continuums for Building a Comprehensive “Remediation Plan”

Part 3H. Step 5, Layer 4.

Affected Groups Need to Deal with Sick Organizational Systems

ABUSIVE LEADERS

Layer 1 – How to determine the levels of personal growth and recovery needed by leaders who harm others, regardless of how gifted they are or how much they help others.

Layer 2 – How to identify what levels of peace-making are needed in personal relationships where a leader has caused damage.

AFFECTED GROUPS

Layer 3 – How to ensure individuals qualified for roles to lead the organization stay, when those disqualified should be removed, and when/if they should ever be restored to a former position.

Layer 4 – How to discern whether an organization that is toxic can be repaired, or should not even survive.

[Click on the chart to view a larger version.]

Step 5, Layer 4 ~ Affected Groups Need to Deal with Sick Organizational Systems

Step 5, Layer 4 ~ Affected Groups Need to Deal with Sick Organizational Systems

There are so many questions when it comes to the people in an organization deciding what to do about problems in it:

  • Why would an organization need to be shut down?
  • What issues make it our choice on what to do with repairing or shutting down our organization, and what issues could take that choice out of our hands?
  • What makes for a “safe” or “optimal” environment for teamwork? Is “unsafe” or “unhealthy” the exact opposite of that?
  • What does “healthy” – not “perfect” – look like?
  • Who should we exclude from input or oversight on carrying out major organizational renovation or actual shut-down?
  • How do we deal publicly with toxic, sidelined leaders who need to be called out?
  • Is there such a thing as “organizational repentance,” and if so, what does it look like?
  • Why is hope an integral part of the process of dealing with sick organizational systems?

Continue reading

Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse – Part 3G – Step 5, Layer 3 – Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

Part 3 – Concepts, Questions, and Continuums for Building a Comprehensive “Remediation Plan”

Part 3G. Step 5, Layer 3.

Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

ABUSIVE LEADERS

Layer 1 – How to determine the levels of personal growth and recovery needed by leaders who harm others, regardless of how gifted they are or how much they help others.

Layer 2 – How to identify what levels of peace-making are needed in personal relationships where a leader has caused damage.

AFFECTED GROUPS

Layer 3 – How to ensure individuals qualified for roles to lead the organization stay, when those disqualified should be removed, and when/if they should ever be restored to a former position.

Layer 4 – How to discern whether an organization that is toxic can be repaired, or should not even survive.

[Click on the chart to view a larger version.]

Step 5, Layer 3 ~ Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

Step 5, Layer 3 ~ Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

Introduction

At this point, we switch from a focus on the individual leader with problems to address, to move to the organizations they’ve built. These are influenced by and infused with toxic strategies and structures, processes and procedures. Addressing them means shifting from individual responsibility to corporate discernment and decision-making. To put it bluntly: At this Layer, the sidelined leader is no longer in the driver seat. Period. Continue reading