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 …
My coffee buddy Greg put the right term to my struggle: “meta-editing.” (See? That’s why I’m, like, a total advocate of caffeine for stimulating exceptional thought!) While part of my brain has been editing the word content, another part of my brain has been grappling with the concept content – overall flow and outlines and how to piece together all the parts I’ve picked. No wonder I’ve been so exhausted by it all!
The complexity has been rather mind-boggling. What I am writing is actually:
- how to deal with one huge topic (spiritual abuse),
- for two distinct audiences (survivors of abuse + organizational designers/developers), and showing how they need each other,
- and accommodating five different ways that various people would best grasp the material (global/big picture, analytic/detailed/conceptual, people-oriented, process-and-procedures-oriented, and story-oriented). This means I’ve recreated the material in five different formats …
I counted up the elements I’ve selected:
- I have 7 different people groupings of those affected by spiritual abuse. They go from individuals and teams in increasingly complexity all the way up to congregations, cultures, and Kingdom.
- There are 3 big-picture topics for each of the 7 people categories, describing the ministry activities most relevant to the kinds of people in that category.
- There are 5 to 10 short analysis articles for each category.
- There are 12 different topic categories for films that illustrate all the core concepts in the curriculum.
So – putting all of that together – there are approximately:
- 50 short articles on concepts (3 to 5 pages each), put in an order that makes sense to a linear-logical thinker.
- 7 section overviews and 21 topic overviews (1 to 2 pages each) designed for the big-picture thinker as an introductory guide to the various people and overall processes involved.
- 50 illustrations selected to show the emotional issues and ministry tasks involved in recovering from spiritual abuse for survivors and in building safe, healthy, and sustainable ministries for designers/developers.
- 50 film guides that show how the concepts demonstrated in the storylines relate to the topics at hand, for those who process best by what they see and hear instead of just what they read. And making sure that a broad range of movie genres get represented.
There. Mega-outline written. Meta-editing seems to be done. Pieces at peace. Time to celebrate. Cuppa coffee perhaps? Yeah …