PDF Reference Guide to the “Do Good Plus Do No Harm” Training Series

Just posted: PDF Reference Guide for my training series on “Do Good Plus Do No Harm.” This was the last chunk of work I needed to complete before going into sabbatical mode until 2020.

Futuristguys Field Guides – Series Reference Guide – Version 1, Sept. 2019

This document overviews content components and curriculum outcomes for the entire training series, then details the 2 Courses in the Futuristguy’s Field Guides series.

It lists “essentials” (concept frameworks, key charts, major case studies) for each of 4 Field Guides, and all 72 chapter FAQs I address. The Reference Guide also gives one-paragraph summaries for all chapters in Course 1 (Field Guides #1 and #2) on Deconstructing Sick Systems and for all 13 “proof of concept” case studies that apply the concepts to relevant situations in history or media. I’ll update the Guide when I’m ready to finalize Course 2 on (Re)Constructing Robust Systems.

So–this is the “espresso” of what it’s taken me 13 years of developing, writing, and editing to produce! I estimate that I’ve spent 1,000 hours a year minimum on the project–20 hours a week x 50 weeks a year–and that it will total 500,000 words in the 4 book/workbook Field Guides plus the companion website and related case studies.

I already have about half the content finalized, a quarter of it at the first-draft stage, and a quarter outlined but needing to fill it in.

Which all helps explain why I’m taking two weeks a month off for the rest of the year to rest, and will be minimizing how much I’m on social media. I’m feeling totally whooped, but I’m also happily saying, “Yippity-skippity and zippity-whoopie!”


UN-accountable: Case Study in Systems Analysis and Ministerial Accountability

I am a blogging team member at Spiritual Sounding Board. We are posting there a five-part case study that I developed in late 2017. (All segments will be posted on Spiritual Sounding Board, only my introduction will be on this futuristguy blog.) The series covers concepts about systems, systemic abuse, repentance/damage repair, and accountability. I used Tullian Tchividjian’s documented situation of clergy sexual misconduct and spiritual abuses of his role as pastor and speaker to illustrate the concepts.

The introduction and Note from Julie Anne Smith explain some of the providential reasons for publishing this material now, when it was finished almost two full years ago. An outline of the series, plus links to its posts and other key resources, follows the introduction.
Continue reading

Case Studies on Successful Media/Transmedia Franchising: Could *Dune* be Next?

Could Dune be The Next Big Franchise?

I am a fan of Frank Herbert’s Dune saga. I came to Arrakis in mid-life, when my sci-fi aficionado friend Deb introduced me to the series 20+ years ago when I was 40-ish. Perhaps because I started into the series as an adult, halfway through a career that included too many experiences of toxic leaders, I especially appreciated Herbert’s exploration of power and its impact (“Power is a magnet that draws the corruptible.”). As an amateur organizational ecologist, I also dug into his principles for developing a sustainable environment, and, as a futurist, his explorations of human elements in possible futures.

I’ve posted about his views on power, developed my own version of a chronological “reader’s guide” to the entire series, and even set up a “visual bibliography” fansite with some of the classic products that have been licensed to tell the story of Dune in other types of media — movies, games, audiobooks, toys, music, etc. This is all a part of my fascination with transmedia and the inner workings of successful storying franchises. This is something I’ve been tracking since the days of Harry Potter books and films and Lord of the Rings movie series, and more recently with The Hunger Games.

A recent discussion on Twitter initiated by Secrets of Dune asked whether people thought that Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming adaptations of Frank Herbert’s Dune could become the next Lord of the Rings or Star Wars franchise. I thought about this a while, and this was my response: Continue reading

Want to apply for the Futuristguy’s Field Guide #1 book Review Team? Here are the details.

Thanks for your interest in my “Do Good Plus Do No Harm” training series, and applying to be a Reviewer for Field Guide #1! I’ve been developing this curriculum since 2007, and am excited – and relieved – that it is about to launch!

This article includes the application form plus background on the project, groups I believe will benefit from it, and expectations for Review Team members. There is a lot of detail here for those who want it, and for one very important reason:

Because this Field Guide is a combination book/workbook of about 100,000 words – THAT’S OVER 50% LONGER than the usual trade paperback these days – I am providing extensive information up front so you can better consider whether this commitment is for you or not.


The following sections over the project and expectations. To apply for the Review Team, please read them and submit the required information in the Application Form. The Application Form is at the bottom of this page. Here’s the projected timeline:

** Applications are open through Thursday, August 1, 2019. EXTENDED THROUGH SUNDAY, AUGUST 4TH.

** Application review group will make final decisions and contact those selected by August 10.

** I ask that your review be submitted by October 1 – about 6 weeks – but if you need until October 15, that’s okay.

** The book will be finalized and in production as soon as possible after October 1.


I’ve worked for and volunteered with non-profits since 1972. Most of these were great experiences! But I’ve also ended up in business, non-profit, and team situations that turned out toxic. I’ve come to believe that, to accomplish the good, we must be aware of the bad. I’ve written the “Do Good Plus Do No Harm” training series to capture what I’ve learned from these experiences, both the healthy and the sickly.

The series covers essential concept frameworks, practitioner skills, practical learning exercises, and impact evaluation metrics needed for creating common ground for the common good – for promoting robust organizations and intervening in and preventing toxic ones. I designed the series to equip participants in a wide range of start-ups and organizational types. These include entities like community development projects, faith-based ministries, for-benefit businesses, and non-profit agencies.

The project currently consists of:

(1) a four-volume Field Guide training series, with

(2) a companion website with resources and visual bibliography for each chapter, and

(3) online case studies with guides to practice applying the principles.

I’ve sequenced the material to create two Courses, the first two volumes on how to identify and deal with toxic systems and malignant people in them, the second two on how to start up or transition to an organization that embodies a paradigm that is safer from abuse and therefore more sustainable as we develop teams, projects, and partnerships.


More specifically, Field Guide #1 covers what systems are made of, what systemic abuse is, how to identify malignant leaders and sick systems, and issues of responsibility and accountability. This is the first of two volumes on Deconstructing and Dealing With Toxic Systems.

Field Guide #2 is due out in 2020. It is on detoxification, and covers tactics and traumas of abuse, how survivors recover from them, forms of advocacy to support survivors, forms of activism to challenge abusive systems, rehabilitation for abusive individuals who choose to change, and remediation (repair work) for organizations where abusive practices have become institutionalized.

NOTE: Those on the Review Team for Field Guide #1 will be given priority consideration if they are interested in being first readers/reviewers on Field Guide #2, which is tentatively due out in late 2020.


The volumes use a variety of presentation techniques that appeal to different ways people process information. As “field guides,” they are heavily illustrated – 200+ graphics each – to capture the essence of the concepts explored, or show the emotional impact of ideas involved. Workbook sections include personal reflection and group questions, and case studies drawn from history, movies, and other media that focus on identifying how various concepts play out in real-life situations. My theory is: If we can’t see key concepts while in the safe environment of watching a documentary or movie, what makes use think we can spot these problems when they’re right in front of us in our own organizations?

I use this format with diverse elements on purpose, despite knowing that what appeals to some people will annoy others. The reality is, if we’re working on teams, every kind of information processing preference is likely to be present. Are we going to squeeze everyone into the way(s) we most readily learn – or find better ways to collaborate where these elements would otherwise bring conflict?

You can preview the training series concepts, components, case studies, and samples of writings and workbook sections on the companion website.


This series has not turned out to be a standard sort of resource, and this won’t be a typical launch process. It’s a niche training/reference resource, to be distributed/sold by a non-profit enterprise. A few key details:

Field Guides will be self-published by print-on-demand. They will be available in printed form only, with no eBook/ePub or audiobook versions.

Sales will be managed by Creative Interfaces, a non-profit run by people I’ve known over 20 years. Field Guides will be available for purchase through its website and eBay store, with a discounted price schedule for multiple copies.

At this time, new copies will not be available through other sales outlets like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Discount Booksellers, etc., because of their required return policies, discount percentages, and invoice payment practices.


While Do Good Plus Do No Harm does focus on the impact of abuse on individuals and institutions, and how to make things right, this isn’t just for abuse survivors. I had in mind three audiences who seek to make a constructive difference to counteract personal and organizational abuse and promote health:

SURVIVORS – survivors of abuse, those who support them as personal advocates, and those who take up their cause as social activists.

INVESTIGATORS – writers and resourcers on abuse, recovery, and organizational responsibility; students of history, culture, and strategic foresight (futuring).

BUILDERS – change agents who are: social entrepreneurs (issue-oriented), community or congregation developers (place-oriented), and help/health professionals (people-oriented).

One of my main goals was to create an integrated set of concepts and definitions to help these three groups find a common vocabulary for communicating and working together better. That goal shaped who I feel I need involved in my launch process, to give the broadest possible review of the material.


Space on the Review Team is limited. I anticipate a Team of 30 to 45 people from a balance of those three groups: survivors, investigators, and builders. I’m asking those selected to do the following. (Details will be included in the Review Team Pack.)

1. Respond to any questions in Review Team emails. (I don’t expect there to be many updates.)

2. Read the PDF overview document that summarizes the complete training series, plus gives some detail on the first two Field Guides on how to deconstruct toxic organizations and situations, and what to do about them.

3. I will provide either a PDF or a prototype print copy (to be determined). Read Field Guide #1, and look at the related visual bibliographies on the companion website.

4. Read the companion website introduction to the “Proof of Concept” case studies and look through case #1 (The Hunger Games), #2 (Assassin’s Creed), and #3 (Dune) to see what you think.

5. Write your review about the Field Guide, website, and case studies. Send to Creative Interfaces to post on the sales website. NOTE: Your review may appear in the book’s endorsement section, if you have given your permission for that in your application.

6. Promote the book/your review on social media. I appreciate your linking to Creative Interfaces’ sales site, as this volume will NOT be available from any other source at this time.

7. Any additional feedback is welcomed. I hope to edit the series once all the Field Guides have been released, to make it more consistent in a way that’s not possible until all volumes are done.


Application process for the Review Team is open through August 1, 2019.

Analysis of the SBC International Mission Board “Examination Update” and Recommendations from Gray Plant Mooty


Post Overview and My Purposes

This purpose of this particular post is to give my analysis of the Examination Update on the Gray Plant Mooty (GPM) legal firm’s independent investigation of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). GPM’s interim report was posted as a news article on the IMB website on May 22, 2019.

As a futurist, two main concerns I have are to: (1) equip individuals and groups to discern and decide their most preferable pathway forward, and (2) give constructive reasoning and resources for having hope. I have invested much time over the last 45 years, studying systems and abuse issues. Many of my writings come out of those studies and my ongoing interest in developing case studies that help identify systemic abuse in organizations, and give some well-reasoned guidance on how to repair past damages to people, dismantle institutional elements that are harmful and replace them with healthier ones, and prevent future abuse. Continue reading

Review of SBC “Caring Well” Report–1 Background and Executive Summary

Series Purpose and Post Overview

As a futurist, two main concerns I have are to: (1) equip individuals and groups to discern and decide their most preferable pathway forward, and (2) give constructive reasoning and resources for having hope. I have invested much time over the last 45 years, studying systems and abuse issues. Many of my writings come out of those studies and my ongoing interest in developing case studies that help identify systemic abuse in organizations, and give some well-reasoned guidance on how to repair past damages to people, dismantle institutional elements that are harmful and replace them with healthier ones, and prevent future abuse.

This purpose of this particular series is to give my analysis of Caring Well: A Report from the SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group (SAAG), posted June 8, 2019. Continue reading

Thirty Years Ago: “Troubles” At and After Tiananmen Square

This post is one I have mulled over for almost as long as I’ve been blogging, and that’s over 15 years–half the timespan between events related to the massacres in Tiananmen and the lesser-remembered Tianfu Squares, and now. I’ve delayed writing it, not just because it’s about some difficult and disturbing subject matter, but because if I were to write about this at all, I knew I needed to write with discretion, to do my best to shield a friend from China.

I have had many international friends over the years. Some were students, others a friend’s spouse; some immigrants, others refugees. They’ve come from every continent—except Antarctica!—and a range of generations. I’ve learned fascinating things from their personal stories while sharing coffee (or tea) and conversations, working with them or for them, or responding to their request for feedback on a project.

What the perfume district of Tehran was like in the era before Khomeini.

What life was like in the U.S. for a woman academic originally from the Middle East.

How tea tasters brew samples to grade the quality of tea leaf harvests.

Harrowing experiences on the open sea as a boat person escaping genocidal tyrants in Southeast Asia.

Cultural dynamics in South Asia among various castes and between different religious groups.

Ministry journeys that involved travel to every country in Central and South America.

Some of the changes during the early decades of post-colonial West Africa.

Punk rockers and missional ministers from Australia and other South Pacific islands.

Surviving the bombing of Coventry during World War II.

The prayer and devotional life of people who carried Bibles to believers behind the Iron Curtain.

What it was like to come of age during Mao’s cultural revolution, or around the time of Beijing Spring, or in the decade just before the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Which brings me full circle, back to this particular friend from China. Hopefully you can see from that rather random listing from around the globe that I care deeply about my friends, their stories, their cultures. So it should make sense that I found the Tiananmen events incredibly distressing. I’d had periodic correspondence with one particular friend for years before that event. But after Tiananmen, I didn’t hear anything … month after month after month.

I discovered there can be a great deal of angst in not knowing:

Have they been at all involved?

Is any Chinese citizen in jeopardy, simply for having been in the West?

Will I ever hear from them again?

There was also a great deal to learn about waiting and watchfulness.

How do we best pray for people under persecution?

What things must we do to protect others as best we can, to avoid putting them in danger?

How can we show solidarity with them when we cannot communicate directly?

Finally, something like six or seven months after the massacre, I received a letter from my friend. What a relief to see that distinctive penmanship and that international stamp!

My immediate response was to want to write back. But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “Discretion is the better part of valor.” So I slowed myself down and devoured that letter, reading it time and again to see what I could discern between the lines.

Clearly, it was cautiously written. I recall one passing comment along the lines of, “There were some troubles recently but everything is all right.” That was before a section on various happenings workwise and otherwise. I took it as a veiled reference to the massacre and the widespread crackdown that followed.

What to do now, though? I felt my friend was telling me as discretely as possible that they’d come through this period of national trials, but the letter also had a tone to it of saying goodbye.

Sadly, I strongly felt I should not write back. Sometimes I’ve regretted not doing so, but overall feel that was the best decision in this sensitive situation.

And so, this 30-year milestone for Tiananmen brings forth a flood of emotions. I am thankful that my friend was safe—though our ongoing friendship was lost, and I doubt those lines of communication can ever be reestablished. I do find some degree of comfort in trusting that God holds all people in His hands and heart of providence.

And this post is my way of saying a goodbye now that I could not then …