Today Marks My 17th Blogiversary!

Who knows how to spell this — blogiversary, or blogaversary? Regardless, I’m blogging this!

Yes, I started my blog on April Fool’s Day, in 2003. So now I’ve been blogging for 17 years.

Futuristguy has been my main blog since 2007. But I’ve posted numerous other blogs — some that I still update, some that are archived, some (all of my Inknoise sites) that got digitally decimated by black hat hackers. If you’re interested in seeing what’s what, here are the lists and descriptions of my content blogs and media/fansite blogs.

I’ve always liked multiple forms of media, from games to comics and music and movies and more, so those have been important ways for me to collect, engage with, and learn from things other than books. So expect to see another media-related site or two to come, and more filling in of gaps when time and energy let me get photos or scans and write descriptions.

Anyway, early this morning, to celebrate the day, I reread my previous posts about blogiversary milestones. Here is the list of them in order, along with some quotes that struck me as intriguing, and my commentary on what I’m rereading about my blogging history.

Thanks for reading my blog(s), and I hope you continue to find items of interest as time goes on!

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April 1, 2003 — my very first post, reposted in 2013. The Frodo Syndrome: Overcoming Grief and Melancholia in the Modern-to-Postmodern Transition.

If you want to read one post that captures the espresso of my blogging life, this one is it. The Frodo Syndrome revolves around “WabiSabi” themes of living in between two worlds or two generations or two paradoxically opposite sides, trying to integrate the oppositions, and dealing with the inevitable grief that surfaces — and yet maintaining hope, becoming as generous as possible, and equipping whosoever will in next generations especially.

When I wrote this in 2003, I identified mostly with Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings. (Nowadays, I identify more with his faithful friend and superhero sidekick Samwise Gamgee, but that’s another story.) This quote hit me in this morning’s review of that post, in a section that quotes from the Peter Jackson movie of Fellowship of the Ring, and the interactions between Galadriel and Frodo.

As a member of the older generation, I find these to hold the essence of that kind of Kingdom wabisabi work that we find ourselves in the midst of doing: Preserve what needs to be remembered, but to leave the next generation with flexibility to transform their landscape as they find it, and to extend our story with their own. So, in that quest to transfer Kingdom reins to next generations, how will we let our Holy Father, His Son, and His Spirit work in our lives to redeem the melancholy we experience in the transition from modern to postmodern and beyond?

I had not read The Frodo Syndrome in a while. So, this morning, what it helped me see is that most of my writing life for the last 30 years has involved describing the times I’ve lived in, archiving whatever seemed to call for it (regardless of whether it turns out widely meaningful to people later or not), and letting it go while lifting up next generations in the Church who can adapt those resources for the times in which they find themselves.

That last part — the stewardship involved in letting it go while lifting up next generations — has stuck with me all morning. Frodo Baggins received the Red Book of Westmarch from Bilbo, who wrote in it about his “There and Back Again” adventures as a Hobbit. Frodo wrote in it about “The Lord of the Rings,” and gave it to Samwise Gamgee to fill in the rest with whatever would come next after Frodo had sailed to the Undying Lands of Valinor.

The last few years since turning 60, I’ve increasingly seen that my main role now is to curate what I’ve learned, and pass that along as a potential resource to whoever comes along next who feels called to build upon the themes therein.

I also realized that most of the books I have reviewed in the last 10 years have been by men and women who represent next-generation pathfinders in the Way of Jesus. They are vision carriers of themes I found dear, and I am thankful for the opportunity to showcase the deep work they’ve put into their spiritual formation and in sharing what wisdom they’ve curated from biblical truth applied to their situations.

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April 1, 2012. Big Milestone – Entering My 10th Year of Blogging.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to review from whence we’ve come, because it’s a trail of telling stories about who God’s made us to be … And hey, the milestone on blogging is cool, but the larger understanding of self and others I’ve gained through blogging is the real achievement – – no joke!

Thanks Andrew, Shannon, Jessica, and my other blogging instigator friends. Your gentle pushes in this direction have ultimately helped me better “get it” about who I am, and blogging has given me something constructive to keep me focused when energy was in short supply. I am grateful …

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April 1, 2013. My 10th Blogiversary on April Fools’ Day 2013 – No Joke!

I started up blogging on April 1, 2003, mostly because the good people leading the WabiSabi event in Austin, Texas, felt I needed to. That event was to bring together polar opposites and maintain the paradox in order to bridge the gaps between older generations with younger, men and women, emerging paradigms with conventional. Afterwards, some of the key organizers told me enough talk, now write. They included Andrew Jones, Shannon Hopkins, and Jessica Stricker.

Beside The Frodo Syndrome, a piece that I reread periodically is Two Reposts: Pursuing Questions That Lead to the Answer[er] & Finding a Culture’s Quest/ion. If you’re a curious, questioner kind of a person, you might especially enjoy reading that article.

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April 1, 2015. Happy Blogiversary … 12 years in [2003-2015] and starting into #13 …

[H]aving the strong conviction that we intellectuals should not take ourselves too seriously, I decided to inaugurate my blog curate on April 1st, 2003. Not that I expected everything I wrote to be, uhh, funny. Or punny. Or even noteworthy. It was just a journey that I’d have to see how it unfolded.

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April 1, 2016. Today, At Last, I Became a “Screenager” as Futuristguy Blog Turns 13!

I purposely picked April Fool’s Day to launch, just because my life so frequently seems like it’s at the edge of silly. Or over the edge into the absurd, actually.

I’ve gone through different phases in the kinds of things I’ve written about. I suppose that’s normal for babybloghood. But ultimately, I’ve come to see my blog as an archive for my research and analysis on missional movements, spiritual abuse and recovery, and sustainable organizational development. I’m glad I’ve done this, and I intend to continue to process my experiences and observations online.

When my blog turned 13, I invited my long-time friend Andrew Jones to write something about that. (Would that be a “blog mitzvah” present?) After all, he was one of the key people who encouraged me to write. This is an excerpt of what he wrote, with the “ten years” referring to my futuristguy WordPress blog:

Those themes have characterized much of my writing since 2007: spiritual abuse and recovery, toxic organizations and remediation, descriptions of current movements and trends that are shaping our common future. These are my own “Frodo Syndrome” melancholy issues in which to find the redemptive edge of what I’ve experienced.

The good Lord willing, and my mind and energy hold out, I will complete curating and archiving that mountain of material into the four-volume Futuristguy’s Field Guides by my 20th blogiversary. (Sidenote: I estimate that between half to two-thirds of all the first drafts of concepts in those four books were posted on my blogs.) Here’s the section on “The Field Guide Training Series in a Nutshell.”

I’m posting that excerpt because it strikes me how much the DNA I expressed my origins blog post in 2003 has carried through for nearly two decades. There really is something to the notions of spiritual and cultural DNA … It also highlights the importance of perseverance. I’m reminded of the personal beatitude I wrote during a six-month exploration into the Beatitudes we had at The Hearth, the house church I was part of during the time I began writing about my spiritual abuse experiences and what I’d processed about them over the years:

“Blessed are the tenacious, for they will eventually reach the summit,

and be able to turn and see the valleys from whence God has brought them.”

[My personal Beatitude, written in the months our church dove deep into Matthew 5.]

I hope you likewise find yourself equipped, empowered, and encouraged over time to find or craft a positive sense purpose despite whatever suffering you experience … Such “meaning making” is a facet of post-traumatic growth, crucial to resilience, recovery, and resistance against further trauma and its agents.

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April 1, 2018. Happy 15th Blogging Anniversary, Blue Moon Easter, April Fools Day, Plus Really Good News Day!

I specifically chose April Fools Day as the milestone moment to take up blogging. It just seemed right, especially after all the talk of paradox at the Wabi Sabi gathering. That “postmodern” ministry event emphasized the juxtaposition of young and old, fresh and practiced, broken and redeemed. It was a natural metaphor for so much of what I end up writing about: finding a redemptive edge in the midst of suffering. […]

I’ve been writing for over 30 years, but this season of 15 years blogging has taken me in other directions as I learned to process publicly what I was experiencing and reflecting about in real time. My main blogs – futuristguy and beyondposthuman before that – have tracked my transitions from “emerging” ministry to missional, and from church planting to social entrepreneurship. They’ve also logged my long slog toward producing a series of four books on deconstructing systemic abuse and (re)constructing healthy organizational enterprises.

We never really serve as the best evaluators of our own impact. But we may have ideas about what we’ve done that makes a difference, changes people’s lives for the better. Here are my thoughts on that as of 2018, with a few additional items I’m adding in 2020.

I thought it would make for an intriguing exercise to list what I think have been the five most memorable or important writings from this period. Here’s what I came up with: (1) The Pyramid of Abuse. (2) The Transformational Index. (3) Four Kinds of Control Cultures. (4) Six “S” Factors for Organizational Success. (5) Distinguishing between Systemic Abuse and Systemic Oppression.

1. The Pyramid of Abuse (first version in 2014, most recent version 2018, as I keep on learning!) captured my understanding of the different roles used in organizations that benefit a few people at the expense of the many, and the main kinds of tactics used to “overlord people.” I’ve gotten more positive feedback on this than anything else I’ve written, probably because a huge number of people have been victimized by bullying, abuse, and violence. Most recent version (2018):

2. The Transformational Index, on which I was a co-author with Shannon Hopkins and Andy Schofield. This is a tool for “measuring what matters” in qualitative impact from social transformation work.

3. Four Kinds of Control Cultures explores social control by compliance, chaos, charisma, or competition. Most of these are illustrated in a series I did on The Hunger Games, applying Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria of “totalist psychology” control cultures.

4. Six “S” for Organizational Success: (1) SAFE meeting ground that prevents a hostile work environment, (2) mission that is SUITABLE for the people actually involved as shareholders and stakeholders, (3) SCALE of operation that match the resources available in the setting, (4) SENSITIVE messaging that takes into account differences in processing due to learning styles and cultures, (5) methods that can SURVIVE global paradigm and cultural shifts that are beyond anyone’s control, and (6) SUSTAINABLE momentum for the organization to last beyond two generations.

5. The Pyramid of Abuse – “Layer 5” and Systemic Oppression. I haven’t posted on this yet, but have been doing the groundwork for years. The Pyramid of Abuse was about *insiders* in its system, while oppression involves *outsiders* from the Pyramid’s system. So, this is what helps understand dynamics where a system (such as oligarchy, patriarchy, racial segregation, or religious persecution) is rigged against large people groups and they are excluded from freedom and opportunity. I may post on this soon and if so, will add a link here.

I have a sense that the two most important things I’ve posted in the two years since my 15th blogiversary are these, both of which seem to be distinct contributions to the history and sociology of work done by abuse survivors and advocates.

A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities. This mega-long-form read is over 50,000 words in almost 20 posts, and took a full year to produce. It represents my best effort to capture snapshots of abuse survivor communities, and analyze their times and trends. This includes how they’ve developed, their cultural context and what key issues they face as groups, where they fit with the #MeToo movements, and where they seem to be going.

NARCISSISM NOTES #2–Do-It-Yourself Research Base on Abuse “Across All Theological Spectrums.” This post in the analysis review series I wrote about Chuck DeGroat’s book, When Narcissism Comes To Church, highlights a selection of case studies on abusive individuals and institutions. As a set, they document toxic situations arise in at least four dimensions:

1-Every THEOLOGICAL STREAM: Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Protestant (Reformed, Lutheran, Anabaptist); charismatic, evangelical, fundamental, liberal, Pentecostal, and progressive.

2-Every form of POLITY/AUTHORITY SYSTEM, whether denominational or associational: congregational, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and franchise.

3-Every ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEM TYPE: centralized / hierarchical (including multi-campus), decentralized / distributed (including flat-structure or informal network).

4-Both complementarian and egalitarian APPROACHES TO GENDER ISSUES in congregation, family, and community.

I wrote my first case study of spiritual abuse in 2008, so it took 12 years to have read enough situations or developed enough cases to produce this one post — point being: Stay with it! Something truly significant can emerge from the whole set that isn’t yet apparent in the parts!

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So, I guess that’s it for this Blogiversary 17 post. Maybe the big picture point was just to review my past in blogging, to refresh a sense of significance in it.

There is some spiritual battery recharging that comes with reciting our own “origin story,” and embracing again the providential trajectory in which we find ourselves. There are always challenges along the pathway of Christlikeness — it’s as much a steeplechase as a marathon — and embodying our originating purpose will help us navigate the challenges along the way. May we all find such deep hope seeping into our soul, this day and always …

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