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.
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
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.
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.
Part 5 – The Contours of “Watchblog” Communities
5 – The Contours of “Watchblog” Communities. In a recently filed defamation lawsuit, James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel labeled the people he’s suing as “attack bloggers.” Are they really just attacking him for reasons of revenge – or are they simply attempting to reveal individual and institutional actions that have harmed people whom the church should have helped, and shine a light on the ideologies that drove them?
Blogs have become a significant source of investigative information for survivor communities. So, they have sometimes been called “watchblogs.” But are all sites that engage in exposés of reported abuses actually survivor-friendly? What are the contours of blogging among survivor communities – along with subcategories and the distinctives of each? How does blogging relate to various types of abuse, and what are important patterns and trends that we see among them? This post maps out contours of the wider watchblog communities. Continue reading
Part 3 – Abuse Survivor Storying Systems
3 – Abuse Survivor Storying Systems. In this post, I describe key changes I’ve seen since beginning in 2007 to track how abuse survivors have been sharing their personal accounts of victimization, push-back, and recovery. It includes storying opportunities for abuse survivors, provided by six sources:
(1) in-person sharing,
(2) “survivor blogs,”
(3) social media platforms and campaigns,
(4) conventional media/news sources,
(5) conferences, and
(6) independent investigations.
If I receive permission from the parties involved, this post will also include an example of how one person’s sharing of their story created a pebble-in-the-pond effect that has already rippled out to reach at least two more rings of impact. Continue reading
This post serves as an index to posts in the forthcoming series, “A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities,” and to previous posts appearing in the futuristguy category of “Trends in Survivor Communities.” I have been working on some segments in the cultural geography for over six months, and hope to have most of the series posted before the end of 2018. The trends articles were posted as early as 2012, but often with observations and analysis going back to as early as the mid-1970s.
These are based on my personal experiences far more than theoretical research. As such, they are idiosyncratic — what I have observed, analyzed, and interpreted — rather than synthesizing the research of others. Still, I hope these resources will help those inside and outside the range of abuse/violence survivor communities to better understand some of the dimensions and dynamics involved.
~ brad/futuristguy, December 4, 2018