Do Accuracy, Truthfulness, and Trust in Politics and Media Matter?

Denial

We’re living in a heavily politicized era of outrageous yet unsubstantiated claims, alternative facts, and fake news. Does it matter if a half-truth is slipped in with a series of full-truths? Does it matter if the evidence sourced for such claims is not given at all? Or if it turns out to be fake? Or if it is clearly and severely misinterpreted?

Yes. Continue reading

“Do Good Plus Do No Harm” Curriculum Project ~ Milestone Update

do-good-plus-do-no-harm-masthead-2

I spent much of January writing my final case study on which Field Guide #1 in my curriculum project is based. I also got all the completed chapters and other pieces lined up, and figured out what’s left to do. The really good news is that it looks to be 95% done! Here’s what’s left to produce, with finalizing the text after that:

  • 1 chapter to write part of, then 7 chapters to edit for consistency with the rest of the book.
  • 2 interviews to conduct and transcribe. (I’m keeping the names under wraps for now, but these individuals are very insightful on dealing with systemic abuse and recovery.)
  • 4 short case studies to write (3 movies, 1 historical), and 3 more to edit.
  • Finalize the list of add-on items: posters, worksheets, trading cards with the concepts and illustrations, etc.

I’m very thankful to be almost done, and for the prayers, encouragement, and support of friends along the way!

Starting February 2nd, I will be completing a grant proposal for a client, then I’ll be back at it with Field Guide #1 as soon as I can to finish it. After it’s done, I’ll likely be taking an extended break from social media and blogging on any new topics, as I arrange for next steps in publishing of Field Guide #1, update the companion website [Futuristguy’s Field Guides] with detailed tables of contents and additional resource bibliographies, and launch into Field Guide #2.

And if you’re interested in an overview of what what the curriculum looks, now that it’s been readjusted, see below. Continue reading

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017

What can we learn about contemporary forms of systemic abuse from questions raised by case studies of the Holocaust, collaboration, and resistance in World War II?

This post previews questions covered in Volume #2 of my curriculum for social change agents, community developers, missional ministers, and church planters. Case studies from the Holocaust will be prominent in it, but I will also use other historical and contemporary case studies, and movies from various genres, to explore issues of recovery from abuse, advocacy and activism for those who currently have no voice to speak up for themselves, and rehabilitation and remediation for individuals and organizations that have perpetrated abuse. Continue reading

PREVIEW: A Case Study in Systems and Ministry Accountability

A Word of Introduction to This Preview of “UN-accountable”

I have been writing about systems of spiritual abuse for nine years. Much of this work will eventually appear in a series of Futuristguy’s Field Guides, dealing with topics about individuals and institutions involved with toxic systems. And my “UN-accountable” case study on systems of accountability will eventually be published on Spiritual Sounding Board as a guest post series.

However, I have been involved in many discussions lately related to what malignant systems are, how to challenge them, what ways individuals and institutions involved can take responsibility for damages they’ve done, and how to implement a balanced process that keeps apparently competing interests together in a dynamic tension. Other questions have come up about the distinctions among facts, assumptions, opinions, analyses, and interpretations. So, I’m posting this article as a preview to the UN-accountable series, because it gives my thoughts on both of those areas. Continue reading

Peacemaking and Becoming People of Peace ~ Post 5: My Dad as a Person of Peace

Note: I originally posted this article for Fathers Day 2014. I am reposting it here as the (probable) endcap on my series on Peacemaking and Becoming People of Peace. (I say “probable,” as I don’t have other posts planned for this series, but then again, I’ve also learned to be careful about saying “never”!) This post has not been edited, other than to add this opening note and the series name to the title.

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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

Peacemaking and Becoming People of Peace ~ Post 4: Migrants, Refugees, Immigrants, Friends

Recently, I’ve been typing up my Mom’s oral history interviews for a memoir she’s reading next year at one of the two non-profits she’s still active in at age almost 90. Some of her specific stories remind me again of the privilege it is to have been raised in a family with people of peace on both sides. I’ll post stories from my Dad another time, but for this post, I wanted to draw together three stories based on my Mom’s memories of her parents and their family, that demonstrate facets of what it is to be people of peace: welcoming the sojourner, showing hospitality, and standing for justice. One is about migrant farm worker friends, another about refugee friends who fled from Russia, and a third about Japanese American friends during World War II.

Migrants, refugees, immigrants … friends. I think these are especially apt for Advent. If we think about it, Joseph and Mary were migrants — they had to travel back to their ancestral home. They were refugees, fleeing violence in the land that had been their home and seeking refuge in another country. They were immigrants, moving back to their homeland when it was finally safe to do so.

I wonder who they had as friends along these various journeys … and I wonder who they became friends to. Advent is definitely a season in which to reflect on the many different sorts of sojourners there are, and consider how we can connect with them as peacemakers. Continue reading

Political Season 2016 ~ Post 5: “Evangelicalism” – 1940s, Now, and the Way Back Through the 1970s

A post by Tim Fall inspired me to write out this response to thoughts I’ve been having the past few months. His post was Evangelical: the label that left me behind.”

Evangelicalism’s Origins in the 1940s, and Key Characteristics

Tim Fall begins with a definition/description of “evangelical” that he got from the website of the National Association of Evangelicals (which was formed in the 1940s):

Historian David Bebbington also provides a helpful summary of evangelical distinctives, identifying four primary characteristics of evangelicalism:

  • Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life long process of following Jesus
  • Activism: the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts
  • Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority
  • Crucicentrism: a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity

(What is an Evangelical?)

According to the About page on the website for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), “The National Association of Evangelicals has spoken as a united voice for millions of American evangelicals since 1942.” So, the NAE has lasted nearly 75 years. (See this page for more NAE history.)

The four points by Bebbington that Tim Fall noted really resonate with me, actually – when integrated, as a holistic set that sets the overall contours of “evangelicalism,” that is. But it’s become apparent to me and to many others that these are no longer interconnected, or kept in proportion with one another. I believe that’s why the term has been drained of its original intent and meaning. What were integral parts got separated and stagnated. Continue reading