If you’ve read much of this blog, you’ve run across Barb Orlowski’s name a time or two. Because of Barb, I’ve written extensively about recovery from spiritual abuse. That series (still unfinished, by the way) came about because I participated in the research project on that topic that she did for her Doctor of Ministry degree.
And, at long last, Barb gives her “oral defense” for her doctorate on Thursday, October 2, from 1 until 3 in the afternoon (Pacific Coast Time). She opens with a 15-minute talk about the findings of her research, and then the committee members ask questions. I seem to recall that the draft she submitted was over 300 pages, and I for one am certainly looking forward to reading about her studies and conclusions!
I’ve been in touch with Barb periodically all year, and several times in the past few days. She doesn’t seem particularly nervous about it or anything – maybe more excited than not – but I’m sure she’d appreciate prayer for that time, and also for the final work on her report and whatever happens with it after that.
This has been an amazing journey in a Clay Shirky Here Comes Everybody! sort of way, and I think Barb got many of her survey respondents through bloggers. The internet seems to be one of the few safe places for people who are trying to find help in this area – at least half of all the search hits I get come from searches on spiritual abuse or related topics. And Barb continued to have people find links to her on the net and they wanted to take her survey, even long after her official research period closed early this year.
Participating in her survey in January was what got me processing several decades of difficult church situations, three church splits, and several other severe experiences with toxic leaders/systems in ministry. I don’t think I would’ve written on my blog about recovery from spiritual abuse for a few more years, if at all, had I not done her survey. I’ve thanked Barb already for her providential efforts that sparked mine, and also thanks go out to Peggy Brown (Yo! Virtual Abbess!) for making sure I connected with Barb!
Meanwhile, congratulations on this milestone day, Barb! I’m looking forward to seeing how the Lord uses your research and project report, especially in light of continued news of spiritual toxicity related to events in Christendom …
UPDATE: 5:30 pm (PDT). Just heard from Barb … and – The Doctor is in the house! Actually, The Doctor (and family) all went out to dinner to celebrate. Congratulations, Dr. Orlowski, from one of your many fans out here in blogdom!