The SBC and Polity — and Authority, Civic Responsibility, Systems Connectivity, and Toxicity

A Facebook friend of mine asked, “How does Church polity effect reform, in your opinion?

What follows is a compilation I posted on how it could both affect and effect needed reforms related to abuse survivors and predatory ministers.

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What Do Abuse Survivors Want? Some FAQs and Observations for Leaders of the SBC

Many people with Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) backgrounds are voicing questions and concerns about abuse, in the wake of the Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News series on “Abuse of Faith” in the SBC. I compiled this article from a series of tweets on February 12, 2019, to offer some basic information and constructive study sources for dealing with problems of systemic abuse, enablement, and concealment. I’ve edited it slightly for publishing here. Continue reading

Houston Chronicle’s “Abuse of Faith” in the SBC – Article #1 of 3 – Resources for Additional Research

Readers new to “abuse survivor blogs” may not be aware, but there is a huge reservoir of research and resource material from abuse survivors, advocates, and activists that corroborates the “Abuse of Faith” series. This page compiles background resources to all the situations and stories covered in the first article of the “Abuse of Faith” series from the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.

Putting this out there helps show the continuity and solidarity of survivor communities. It also reinforces that the investigative journalists did an exceptional job in piecing together a mosaic of personal stories and institutional responses that help us grasp the big picture of the deep and long-term problems with abuse and concealment in the Southern Baptist Convention.

This resource bibliography prepared by brad/futuristguy, and is cross-posted at Spiritual Sounding Board. Continue reading

A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities – Part 7B2: Examples of What Survivor Communities Have Actually Been Up Against

PART 7B2

Examples of What Survivor Communities

Have Actually Been Up Against.

This post serves as a “reader’s guide” to what has become a quintessential litmus-test case in the kinds of abuse, cover-up, and deflection that survivors and their communities have had to endure.

In this case of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM; more recently renamed Sovereign Grace Churches) and their celebrity leader, CJ Mahaney, that state of unresolved trauma and ongoing triggering for many victims of child abuse and reported spiritual abuse, has gone on for decades.

I chose this case study because it came into existence long before any form of the #MeToo movement got going, and it has resurfaced annually since then. A protective shell of other well-known evangelical individuals and institutions keep surrounding SGM and CJ Mahaney. This adds to the frustration of survivors, their loved ones, and their advocates who seek justice but have been met with silencing.

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A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities – Part 7B1: Understand Community Values for Insights Into Response Patterns

In recent years, we’ve seen an increased number of abuse survivors refuse offers of involvement in investigations or negotiations with reportedly abusive individuals and institutions. Typically, these processes have required private, partial, or internal investigations; and/or arbitration, conciliation, mediation services as a gateway to “reconciliation.” How do we evaluate whether they are trustworthy and the process is just?

Part 7A lays out frameworks for evaluating the inputs and impact of these various approaches to “making things right.” It lists questions to use for analyzing: (1) the ethical environment in which proposed resolutions are offered, (2) the infrastructures for interaction, and (3) resolution arrangements.

Part 7B applies these three frameworks (ethics, infrastructures, and resolutions), plus resonance with core values of abuse survivor communities, to major Christian agencies involved in victim situations. 

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A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities – Part 7A: Frameworks for Evaluating Christian Agencies for Investigation, Public Relations, Crisis Management, Legal Aid, Arbitration, Conciliation, and/or Mediation

PART 7A

Evaluating Christian Agencies for Investigation,

Public Relations, Crisis Management, Legal Aid,

Arbitration, Conciliation, and/or Mediation

In recent years, we’ve seen an increased number of abuse survivors refuse offers of involvement in investigations or negotiations with reportedly abusive individuals and institutions. Typically, these processes have required private, partial, or internal investigations; and/or arbitration, conciliation, mediation services as a gateway to “reconciliation.” How do we evaluate whether they are trustworthy and the process is just?

Part 7A lays out frameworks for evaluating the inputs and impact of these various approaches to “making things right.” It lists questions to use for analyzing: (1) the ethical environment in which proposed resolutions are offered, (2) the infrastructures for interaction, and (3) resolution arrangements. Part 7B applies these three frameworks (ethics, infrastructures, and resolutions), plus resonance with core values of abuse survivor communities, to major Christian agencies involved in victim situations.

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A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities – Part 6F: Why is “Restorative Justice” a Better Way Out of Systemic Abuse and Historical Oppression Than are Retaliation or Misused Alternative Dispute Resolution?

PART 6F

Why is “Restorative Justice” a Better Way Out of

Systemic Abuse and Historical Oppression Than

are Retaliation or Misused Alternative Dispute Resolution?

 

Part 6F. In this final segment for Part 6, we look at the better way of resolution to situations involving systemic abuse and historical/societal oppression, through truth-finding before reconciliation. This last element sets up the basis for Part 7, comparing and contrasting agencies that promote independent investigations and restorative justice versus those that promote internal or partial investigations and dispute resolution processes that fail to dismantle systemic abuse.

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