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!”

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.

HOW TO APPLY TO REVIEW FIELD GUIDE #1, AND TIMELINE

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.

SERIES OVERVIEW

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.

ABOUT FIELD GUIDES #1 AND #2

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.

COMPONENTS FOR LEARNING AND WHY THIS FORMAT

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.

KEY PRODUCTION AND LAUNCH DETAILS

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.

GROUPS I DEVELOPED THIS TRAINING SERIES FOR

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.

WHAT I’M ASKING REVIEWERS TO DO

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.

REVIEW TEAM APPLICATION ~ FUTURISTGUY’S FIELD GUIDE #1

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

Futuristguy’s Field Guides — Essentials Tutorial #3

Introducing Tutorial Essentials #3:

There are many forms of abuse, harassment, and violence in our world. These incidents and ongoing patterns take place in multiple kinds of settings, with perpetrators using many kinds of techniques to exercise power over other people.

With so many tactics under consideration, how do we come up with a system that is manageable? How do we categorize them in meaningful ways – yet so the methods and models are not oversimplified such that they can no longer help interpret the largest and most complex situations that arise?

My tutorial for Essentials #3 is the non-technical version that shares some of the process I used, and the building blocks for the analysis models I’ll share in tutorials for Essentials #4 through #7. (And after that, perhaps I’ll post a more technical version of the process I used to create the scaled-down edition in Essentials #3.)

Tentative Tutorials in Series 1:

  • Essentials #1 Three core individual freedoms, drawn from global sources.
  • Essentials #2 The road to institutionalization via reversing of our freedoms.
  • Essentials #3 Categorizing many specific manipulation techniques into a “Taxonomy of Toxic Tactics.”
  • Essentials #4 Increasingly restrictive individual conditioning.
  • Essentials #5 Increasingly restrictive institutional control.
  • Essentials #6 What this looks like in a “totalist psychology” social control by ideological conformity, including four variations on total control organizations/societies.
  • Essentials #7 A series of increasingly large organizational forms that lead from an organizational “Pyramid of Abuse” to a “Totalist Machine.”

UPDATE June 04, 2018. I have changed my plans and instead of the 10-slide series, see this post on my Futuristguy’s Field Guides blog: 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. Material from the longer/10-slide versions will be incorporated in the Field Guides.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Essentials Slide 21

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Continue reading

Futuristguy’s Field Guides — Essentials Tutorials #1 and #2

In 2007, I started a phase of research writing that required me to process deeply my multiple experiences of spiritual abuse. Half a dozen situations with malgnant people and toxic organizations had eaten up nearly 20 years of my then 35 years in churches and ministries.

As I detailed what I’d experienced and began analyzing them, I started seeing that some of these situations did not fit what seemed to be the usual pattern. In fact, some had more in common with global societies and intense subjects I had been studying, some of them since the 1980s. The footprint of some abusive systems I’d experienced was more control by compliance to rules and regulations (like the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc). Some exerted control by chaos where nothing was predictable (like the Chinese Cultural Revolution). Some had especially charismatic leaders who could convince you of just about anything (like Jim Jones with The Peoples Temple). And some functioned off of competition among leaders and/or members (like how Hitler treated the top leaders in his regime).

I started seeing other patterns, and also pathways that led from small-scale situations and organizations all the way to large-scale “industrial complexes” and totalitarian societies. So it wasn’t just all about individual bullies. Some had more elements of institutions. Still others had elements of ideology (like Apartheid, and racism in America). All of this, combined with my work and volunteer experiences with non-profits regularly since the early 1970s, forged in me a systems perspective on forms of abuse and societal oppression.

Now that the first Field Guide in my “Do Good Plus Do No Harm” training series is due to be released this summer, I thought I would introduce the material by boiling down key points into an “Essentials” series of tutorials. To keep it as short as possible, I worked in PowerPoint instead of in Word and limited myself to about 10 slides per tutorial. I found this process forced me to focus on what is most important.

See what you think of this experiment — I’d appreciate your feedback! There are 20 slides total in Essentials #1 and #2, plus a Review/Preview slide at the end. I’ve numbered the slides for easier reference, in case you have comments on particular topics or certain slides.

And for those who prefer “long form” reads, I give links to some articles most relevant to Essentials #1 and #2 at the bottom of this post.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Tentative Tutorials in Series 1:

  • Essentials #1 Three core individual freedoms, drawn from global sources.
  • Essentials #2 The road to institutionalization via reversing of our freedoms.
  • Essentials #3 Categorizing many specific manipulation techniques into a “Taxonomy of Toxic Tactics.”
  • Essentials #4 Increasingly restrictive individual conditioning.
  • Essentials #5 Increasingly restrictive institutional control.
  • Essentials #6 What this looks like in a “totalist psychology” social control by ideological conformity, including four variations on total control organizations/societies.
  • Essentials #7 A series of increasingly large organizational forms that lead from an organizational “Pyramid of Abuse” to a “Totalist Machine.”

UPDATE June 04, 2018. I have changed my plans and instead of the 10-slide series, see this post on my Futuristguy’s Field Guides blog: 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. Material from the longer/10-slide versions will be incorporated in the Field Guides.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Essentials Slide 01

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Continue reading

Domestic Violence, Ministry, and Controversy in Conservative Christianity: Some Historical Context and Perspective

This article also appears on Spiritual Sounding Board as a guest post.

Although I am known for my more recent research writings on spiritual abuse from a systemic perspective, I have also written and edited on other forms of abuse and violence since the 1980s.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Contemporary Conservative Christianity

and Questions About Abuse

Contention over abuse and violence in Christian communities has heightened in the era of #metoo and #churchtoo. However, controversies over theology, advocacy, and actions have been with us for a very long time. Recently, comments on abuse made by Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, resurfaced and ignited a social media firestorm. Continue reading

A “Systems Approach” and Some Historical Background on Dealing with Abuse and Violence

To deal with “systemic abuse,” we must understand systems, victimization, and what makes individuals and institutions vulnerable.

By Brad Sargent with input from Julie Anne Smith.

Cross-posted as a guest post at Spiritual Sounding Board.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

How will our church serve those who’ve suffered the harm of childhood sexual abuse, and seek to prevent it from happening to others? On this difficult but foundational issue of human dignity and care, will we choose conscience and compassion – or corrosion and complacency? The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide and the range of other resources from GRACE equip us with clear definitions, well-organized knowledge, and practical skills to follow a right and righteous path on these global problems of violence and abuse.

In the previous post, I gave a brief preview of key features for The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide from a systems perspective, and listed other resources from GRACE and New Growth Press. In this post, I will add my thoughts on the big picture of systemic abuse, why we’ve needed a set of resources to deal with it, and share some personal and historical perspectives on how the Policy Guide and other books produced by GRACE represent answers to some longstanding prayers. Continue reading

Book Review: The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide, by Boz Tchividjian and Shira Berkovits

Key component in a system of resources on child sexual abuse for policy makers, survivors, educators, and advocates.

By Brad Sargent with input from Julie Anne Smith.

Cross-posted as a guest post at Spiritual Sounding Board.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

NOTE [JUNE 2021]: The original links to New Growth Press were not working. I have updated them. You will also find details and purchase links on the book and booklet resources page on the GRACE website.

Spiritual Sounding Board was invited to participate in the Litfuse “blog tour” for the recently released Child Safeguarding Policy Guide. They asked us to post a one-paragraph summary of our overall response to this resource book, so that could be used as an excerpt on other sites. Here is what I wrote:

How will our church serve those who’ve suffered the harm of childhood sexual abuse, and seek to prevent it from happening to others? On this difficult but foundational issue of human dignity and care, will we choose conscience and compassion – or corrosion and complacency? The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide and the range of other resources from GRACE equip us with clear definitions, well-organized knowledge, and practical skills to follow a right and righteous path on these global problems of violence and abuse.

Available reviews of the Policy Guide share about its concepts and content from a variety of angles. Already posted on Amazon are great summaries, detailed insights from church leaders, poignant personal accounts from survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Litfuse Publicity Group has review excerpts and links to full posts, and New Growth Press, which published this book, has additional endorsements.

In this post, I will give a brief preview of key features from a systems perspective, and list other resources from GRACE and New Growth Press. In a follow-up post, I will add my thoughts on the big picture of systemic abuse, why we’ve needed a set of resources to deal with it, and share some personal perspectives on how the Policy Guide and other books produced by GRACE represent answers to some longstanding prayers. Continue reading

Field Guide #1 Manuscript Finished! Launching into Publishing Steps Soon …

Done, done,

done, done,

D – O – N – E,

DONE!

There are many more steps to get from here to a printed copy. But, after all this time, it’s more than amazing to be able to stand still for a moment, recognize God’s faithfulness in bringing me this far along, and just give Him thanks! Amen? Amen! Continue reading

Training Series: Next-to-Last Draft of Field Guide #1 is Done!

Yesterday I completed the last workbook segment that goes into Field Guide #1 of 4 on systemic abuse, recovery, advocacy, activism, and setting up organizations geared to intervene in/prevent abuse of power. Some beta-readers have been giving me valuable feedback, and there is more clean-up work to do until this next-to-final draft is ready for next steps.

I’ll be giving my brain a break while I catch up on other projects that need completion. But, milestone moments are also a good time to back away from details for a bit, take a look at the big picture again, and give thanks for the process. So, here’s an overview of the providential production of this Do Good Plus Do No Harm curriculum series. Continue reading

Training Series Progress Update: Halfway Done with Final Draft of Chapters in Field Guide #1

This morning I finished the final draft of Chapter 8. Who Plays What Roles in a Fully Developed System That Benefits the Few and Takes Advantage of the Many? This is in Futuristguy’s Field Guide #1, which deals with systems and systemic abuse. This marks the halfway point in finalizing the chapters in that volume. After eight more chapters, I have the workbook sections, and then it will be ready for first-readers and then publishing!

Here’s a summary of this chapter, which ties together material on the Pyramid of Abuse. For me, this is a biggee, as far as a milestone. It took a few years to develop this Pyramid of Abuse, describe the roles, and refine the system. Later chapters in the training series will have similar kinds of Pyramids of Advocacy and Activism.

pyramid-of-abuse-2017-b

Pyramid of Abuse (c) 2014-2017 Brad Sargent.

The very top of the hierarchical “Pyramid of Abuse” consists of an autocrat (dictator), oligarchy (group of elites) or plutarchy (group of rich people). These PERPETRATORS run the system, openly and/or secretly.

The next layer down involves people who enforce the will of the one(s) at the top. These PERPETUATORS also typically benefit directly from the system by reaping power, prestige, and prosperity.

The next layer down involves functionaries who keep things running, pressure others into conformity through both positive and negative conditioning, and “just follow orders.” These PROCURATORS are often trying to work their way up in the Pyramid.

Those at the bottom are the masses who are milked as the sources of numbers, funds, and applause to keep the organization going. These PAWNS stay in the system for different reasons: They may know but ignore signs of toxicity, adore the leaders and what they say they stand for, or may be ignorant of warning signs.

LOYAL OPPOSITION seek to change the system from the inside; they can be in any layer of the Pyramid, but tend to be in the lower levels.

As a system, the Pyramid of Abuse also includes outsiders who perform parallel functions. COMMENDERS are supporters who lend their personal reputation and organization’s resources to prop up someone else’s system. In return, they become part of an interlocking directory that keeps multiple such Pyramids afloat in an ocean of victims. RESISTERS against a Pyramid often are survivors of victimization in it or by it. Or, they may just otherwise grasp the devastating human impact of an inhumane system and be committed to bringing justice to the situation. They become relational advocates to support other survivors and/or social activists to hold the insiders accountable for the damage they do.

Copyright and image license notes.

Pyramid of Abuse © 2014-2017 Brad Sargent. (Earlier versions called “Pyramid of Responsibility.”)

All “Gold Guy” images are © Scott Maxwell from Fotolia .com and licensed to Brad Sargent.

PERPETRATORS. Dictators: “Pointing in Hovering Futuristic Chair,” #12413672.

PERPETUATORS. Enforcers: “boxing dummy,” #1368447. Commenders: “superhero dollar,” #713804. Benefitters: “V.I.P. Access,” #5984057.

PROCURATORS. Silencers: “Alien Secret,” #9310273. Prompters: “Alien Thumbs Up,” #9310400. Diverters: “Basketball Big Hand Defense,” #6589772. Drill Instructors: “Gold Guy Thumbs Up,” #20266769. Negators: “Gold Guy Yelling And Pointing Directions,” #15452348. Validators: “Smiling Two Thumbs Up,” #9868732.

PAWNS. Avoiders: “hear see speak no,” #201421. Applauders: “award worship,” #202010. Pawns: “Puzzled Gold Guy,” #16713464. Loyal Opposition: “trapped in gear,” #810428.

 

Continue reading