I have been blogging since 2003 and this WordPress futuristguy blog was the fifth one I started over the years. (I had a futuristguy blog previously on another platform that, alas, got hacked and exists no more.) I began this futuristguy incarnation in 2007, to coincide with processing my thoughts on a “missional order” summit I’d just attended. That event dealt with creating an ancient-future type of rule and rhythm to everyday life as a disciple, living out our faith in community. Much of the content of this blog is relevant to the ongoing development of a “missional” perspective.
On that note, the best description of conventional and missional forms of Christianity comes from my friend Brent Toderash, known online as Brother Maynard. The conventional dualistic view is” Live your life. Share your faith.” The missional holistic view is “Live your faith and share your life.” To that I’d add, the conventional view splits our identity from our activity, and divides discipleship from lifestyle in ways that isolate us from others. A missional version keeps our identity and activity unified. To keep connected with culture, we need to move within the missional view, plant ourselves in the places where the Holy Spirit leads us, and become “people of peace” in those locations – a welcoming presence for people to see Christlikeness in their own communities.
So, this blog started out as an exploration of being missional-minded. But as my life unfolded, this blog transformed into something I didn’t expect. I had been involved in the “emerging” ministry movement in post-Christendom culture starting in the mid-1990s. But in 2008, I began processing my decades of experiences under the influences of controlling and spiritually abusive leaders in churches and ministries. I participated in the research on survivors of spiritual abuse conducted by Barb Orlowski for her Doctor of Ministry degree. So, topics related to spiritual abuse and recovery became part of the ongoing content here.
Eventually, futuristguy became a time capsule of my analysis of key topics to help disciples who got tired of all the deconstruction about church and ministry, and were ready to move into reconstruction. I used it to present ideas and technical analysis I’d been developing since the mid-1990s about healthy versus toxic paradigms, cultures, organizational systems, and social transformation enterprises. (These topics have been a focal point since my cross-cultural linguistics studies in the 1970s. In the decades since, I have pursued both principles and practices for how to resonate with a host culture and yet resist it wisely where its values go against biblical principles for personal morality and social ethics.)
Over time, the emphasis in futuristguy shifted. It’s always covered issues on deconstructing “malignant ministry,” but I began including more on social transformation and “quadruple bottom line” enterprises as an emerging form of connecting and teamwork. As futuristguy went into its seventh year (2013), the emphasis was on research and development for reconstructing your paradigm, and participating in sustainable social and spiritual transformation projects.
Much of my online writing in 2012 consisted of comments posted on blogs related to spiritual abuse, including at The Wartburg Watch and blogs related to the O’Neal/Beaverton Grace Bible Church defamation lawsuit against blogger Julie Anne Smith and four other defendants, and spiritual abuse survivors from Sovereign Grace Ministries churches/leaders. (The O’Neal/BGBC lawsuit ended in victory for the defendants, and late in 2012, a class action lawsuit was filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries [SGM].) You can find my comments on those blogs as “brad/futuristguy.” Many offer general analysis of spiritually abusive leaders and toxic organizational structures. With the ongoing SGM lawsuit process, it seems the emphasis of my analysis was move toward the questions of how we dismantle authoritarian cultures of abuse and subjugation that keep disciples immature, bound up in legalism, perfectionism, and false obedience to demanding leaders.
All of these topics provide the core of my Opal Design Systems curriculum for understanding cultures, customizing discipleship systems, and creating sustainable ministry systems. In 2009, I started the editing process on a mountain of material for this series. There will likely be five book/workbook volumes in the Opal Design Systems series. Stay tuned for news of that at Futuristguy’s Field Guides – “Resources for designing holistic social transformation with a systems approach that uses an integrative paradigm, interdisciplinary processes, and intercultural partnerships.”
This series, and producing case studies that go with it, has occupied much of my writing time in the past few years. I’ve posted less frequently, but mostly thought pieces in response to current issues in spiritual abuse survivor communities, or thought pieces that process my own history and relate to the Opal Design Systems series. And then, in April 2016, I officially became a “screenager,” having blogged for 13 years!
I don’t quite know what I’ll be blogging about once the Field Guide series gets finished … something surprising, most likely, as blogging has constantly taken me into unexpected places and shifted my trajectory. Meanwhile, thanks for dropping by futuristguy, and I hope you’ll find something of interest here!
Brad – “futuristguy”