Issues Involving Individuals, Institutions, Leaders,
Relational and Systems Repair Work, and Technical Research
INTRODUCTORY NOTES: Since 2007, I have done research writing on issues related to individual, institutional, and ideological elements contributing to abuse and violence. The materials I’ve developed draw from two main sources: (1) Personal experiences of participation in organizations that turned out to have malignant leaders and so were toxic, and (2) extensive experiences working with non-profit agencies, churches, and start-ups since 1973. Many of these materials linked to here are technical, some are more personal. I have been reorganizing these and many other articles into four Field Guides to improve the logical flow, and editing them for consistency and accessibility. In the meantime, here are select articles that offer some help on particular aspects of systemic abuse issues.
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Futuristguy – Research and development blog on reconstructing your paradigm, and participating in social and spiritual transformation.
Futuristguy’s Field Guides – Resources for designing holistic social transformation with a systems approach that uses an integrative paradigm, interdisciplinary processes, and intercultural partnerships.
Futuristguy’s Systemic Abuse Researcher Notes – Technical information, research methods, and resources for abuse survivors, advocates, organizational developers, and social activists on dealing with malignant individuals and toxic institutions.
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Three Intended Audiences
Who Will Benefit From This Training, and How? I have been producing material with three audiences in mind. Not every article will be relevant to all three, but many will.
Group 1: Survivors – survivors of abuse, those who support them as personal advocates, and those who take up their cause as social activists.Personal experiences and relationships networks motivate them to expose and challenge toxic systems, and hold accountable those who are responsible.
Group 2: Investigators – students of history, culture, and strategic foresight (futuring). Students of the sources and pathways of systems, and how actions toward transformation affect their potential trajectories.
Group 3: Builders – change agents: social entrepreneurs (issue-oriented), community developers (place-oriented), and help/health professionals (people-oriented). Project and organization designers, implementers, evaluators, and revisers who facilitate dismantling systemic abuse and replacing them with constructive social systems.
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General Resources on Spiritual Abuse
Spiritual Abuse FAQs. A selection of links for FAQs on recovery, advocacy, activism, indicators of health/toxicity, etc.
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Individuals: Recovery and Support/Advocacy
3-03 Pyramid of Abuse and Culpability/Complicity. This article gives my answer to the question, “How do authoritarian leaders and their toxic control systems get into power – regardless of whether it’s a culture of compliance, chaos, charisma, or competition – and keep it going?” It looks at the roles various people take, their degree of culpability for causing harm to others, and tactics used to keep people under control.
Thoughts on Redemption in the Wake of Abuse: Agents of Damage versus Agents of Healing. Gives some snapshots from my journey in learning about victimization and recovery, and how it involves Agents of Damage and paradoxical parallel Agents of Healing.
Misogyny, Misandry, and Pathways of Peace. We get our words misogyny, misandry, and misanthropy from misos (the Greek word for “hatred”), used as a prefix to combine with an object of antipathy. Over the years, I’ve concluded that all three forms of misos are much more prevalent than we might realize, and this article looks at both the personal and social dimensions of them.
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Concept Frameworks and Health/Toxicity Indicators
Field Guide “Essentials” — A Series of Three-Frame Tutorials. This “Essentials” post has a series of three-frame tutorials, or “Threetorials,” as I have sometimes called them. In the 10 Threetorials posted, the first slide usually gives a definition of the concept framework, or a summary quote about it. The second slide usually gives some kind of visual image, chart, or graphic, plus a few details. (Note my Fotolia licensing information at the bottom of such slides.) The third slide expands on some of the most important points in the first two slides.
Project Update ~ 15 Indicators for Discerning Robust versus Hazardous Systems: Who and What Deserves Our Trust? A brief look at nine indicators to discern healthy vs. malignant leaders, and trustworthy vs. toxic organizations. I’ve put these in categories: Credentials (education, certification, verification,), Financials (capitalization, publication, association), and Influentials (reputation, promotion, protection). The article also includes brief descriptions of six indicators of “success” in social impact, in dealing with issues of: power, people, resources, cultures, trajectories, and legacies.
Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse (Compilation of Posts). This long-form article starts by looking at the roles various people take in creating and maintaining a system of abuse, their degree of culpability for causing harm to others, and tactics used to keep people under control. Then it gives a framework for thinking through degrees of damage, using the metaphor of physical and spiritual maladies. This provides the backdrop to the final sections, which give a range of indictors for identifying where abusive leaders and affected groups or organizations are along the spectrum of toxicity and appropriate kinds of solutions for that level of dysfunction and disrepair. Note: This post includes an older version of my “Pyramid of Abuse” graphic. (The newer version is here: 3-03 Pyramid of Abuse and Culpability/Complicity.)
Deconstructing the Christian Industrial Complex (Compilation of Posts). What exactly is an “industrial complex”? Why is there increased interest at this time? How do we dissect it, identify how/why it affects us, and why it’s even relevant? This long-form series compilation introduces three major frameworks I use for analyzing social movements and toxic systems, and builds toward describing what this phenomenon of a Christian Industrial Complex is, how it works, and how it can inflict damage. It also suggests a list of indicators for identifying layers of enmeshed involvement among celebrity leaders, Christian business industries, and followers/consumers in such probable toxic systems as this.
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Relational and Systems Repair Work:
Remediation and Restitution How-To’s
Systems, Systemic Abuse, and Transforming Corrupted Systems ~ Part 1. Systems and Systemic Abuse. Basics About Systems. Systemic Abuse. Transforming a Corrupted System – Lens #1: Repentance and Remediation. “Spotlight”: An Example of Research for Repentance and Reparations.
Systems, Systemic Abuse, and Transforming Corrupted Systems ~ Part 2. Transforming a Corrupted System – Lens #2: Humility and Conciliation. Examples Involving Personal and/or Systemic Repentance and Remediation. Addendum: Complex Situations, Possibilities for Transformation, and the Realities of Ambivalences.
Thoughts on Abuse, Position, Power – and Restitution. This article is a compilation of writings I posted or tweeted as part of the #IStandWithSGMVictims Twitter campaign. I hoped to provide insights into issues of damage and what actions could potentially bring relief and recovery for abuse survivors; restitution by “agents of damage”; rehabilitation of the extended Sovereign Grace Ministries system to bring health, transparency, and accountability if that were warranted and where possible; and restoration of a besmirched testimony of the Church before a watching world. It includes sections on dynamics in systems of abuse, contrasts between restitution and revenge, and prayer points for those affected by abuse. It also includes eight suggestions on restitution, three for individuals to take personal responsibility, three for institutions to develop a safer congregation/organization, and two for “injunctions” in dealing with those who refuse their responsibility/accountability.
Three Examples of Remediation (Damage Repair). This article gives three examples of dealing with systemic damage: a Christian publisher responding to plagiarized products, a denominational organization addressing the tainted legacy of a celebrity theologian , and a socio-political system on the global scene. Each is notable for seeking to engage in a constructive way parties who were directly involved, and in some cases those who were indirectly affected.
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Leaders – Qualified, UNqualified, or DISqualified
Four Categories for Evaluating Leadership Qualifications and Disqualifications. Section #2 gives brief look at criteria in four categories: character/behavior, civil responsibilities, regulatory requirements for non-profits, and professional fiduciary duty standards.
Building Blocks in a Certification System for Healthy Leaders and Holistic Organizations – Part 2. Twenty questions about problems we encounter with leaders and organizations, divided among three categories: (1) Paradigms, perspectives, and pathways. (2) Organizational strategies and structures. (3) Peers, partnerships, and projects.
What Makes a Ministry “Safe”? Introducing Four Core Questions of “Safe” versus “Sick” Systems. I have long held the opinion that it is not enough to critique what is wrong with something, if you are not interested in figuring out what is right with it and extending that, or doing something to help fix and then keep improving what is deficient. Much of my research and writing for the past seven years on futuristguy has been about evaluating problems and moving toward solutions. This article on what makes a ministry or system “safe” versus “sick” introduces four core questions to guide our thinking.
- Are we treating people with humanization and hospitality, or objectification and hostility?
- Are our leaders qualified, unqualified, or disqualified from service in a responsible public role of authority, influence, and decision-making?
- Are our organizations structured to dominate and control, or develop and give freedom?
- Are our collaborative social involvements designed for sojourners or colonizers?
In the debate between whether we should embrace and celebrate all kinds of ministry methodological models, I can only say “yes” to a “both/and” approach in the present. But, as a student of cultures and strategic foresight/futures, I’m not so sure this holds up in the long run. When I consider futurist factors affecting these opposite-paradigm models (like mega-church and missional) operating in the present, I have go to with “either/or.” Not all ministry models with present value have future validity. So, yes, I can celebrate them now for how the Spirit is using them in the Kingdom in the present – but no, I don’t embrace them as holding similar impact in the forthcoming and vastly different cultural future.
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Futuristguy’s Systemic Abuse Researcher Notes – Technical information, research methods, and resources for abuse survivors, advocates, organizational developers, and social activists on dealing with malignant individuals and toxic institutions. The intent is to provide links to various resources, including official U.S. government sources, survivor websites, and non-profit/agency websites. Major categories include:
Here is the link for an all-in-one Table of Contents page, with page titles and links at the top and an expanded contents listing of category, page, and sections at the bottom.