Political Season 2016 ~ Post 3: Living Dystopia, and the Final Fragmentation of Two-Party Politics and of “Evangelicalism”

So, a friend from Australia posted the link to a Los Angeles Times article by John Scalzi, titled, “Dystopias are fantastic in fiction. But do you really want to live in one?”

I’ve been studying dystopian fiction the last eight years while writing extensively about spiritual abuse and recovery. And I’ve run across some provocative books that analyze this genre. So, on my friend’s Facebook post, I put a link to a book from 15 years ago: Dystopian Fiction East and West: Universe of Terror and Trial, by Erika Gottlieb. A thread that runs through her analysis is this: Dystopias produced by writers in the West (Europe, North America, etc.) are the worst they can imagine. Dystopias from writers in the East (Eastern and Central Europe) are riffs on what they are already living in or have lived through. Continue reading

The Voices of Redlands ~ In-depth case study in spiritual abuse, advocacy and activism, and (hopefully) eventual restoration.

Because I write regularly on topics of malignant leaders and toxic organizations, sometimes spiritual abuse survivors ask me for help related to their story of experiencing misuse of power by people in ministry. I’m not often able to do that, but occasionally I know I must. And The Voices of Redlands book, video, and website put together by Ryan Ashton, John Baldwin, and their friends was one of those situations. Months ago, I reviewed next-to-final versions of their book. I had a few conversations with Ryan about the purposes of the project and offered feedback on their evidence and analysis.

Today they launched their RedlandsBook website and made their project public. I’ve just watched the seven-minute video of Ryan’s testimony on Facebook, skimmed through the final PDF edition of The Voices of Redlands book they posted, and took a look at their initial website. I would commend this set of materials to you as an important, in-depth case to study. It shows, not just tells, what it feels like to be embroiled in the midst of abuse, what it means to stand up for others as their advocate, how to push back on control as an activist, and ways to support a community that is confused and suffering. Besides being a call to action in their local situation, these all provide tremendous practical resources for anyone thinking through the damaging dynamics of abuse, silencing of victims, and spinning the story.

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Research Tools: State-by-State Laws on Clergy MANDATORY Reporting of Child Abuse

The most recent Research Tools post was State-by-State Laws on Sexual Violence Issues, Including Clergy Sexual Misconduct (aka “Fiduciary Duty”). There is some overlap between this post and that one’s sources for links. But that one is on broader concerns of sexual violence while this post focuses in on the issue of clergy as mandatory reporters of known/suspected child sexual abuse. Continue reading

Research Tools: State-by-State Laws on Sexual Violence Issues, Including Clergy Sexual Misconduct (aka “Fiduciary Duty”)

I’m in the midst of editing a book chapter on character/moral, legal, regulatory, and professional aspects of church and Christian non-profit leaders. In some prior tweets and posts, I’d merged the concepts of professional “fiduciary duty” with power differential in cases of clergy sexual involvement with congregants. Tweeter XianAtty let me know that the two aren’t always the same. So, I wanted to do what I could to correct my understanding of this issue, and also to find online resources that clarify when “clergy sexual misconduct” is both an ethical issue because of biblical mandates on morals and on people considered leaders, AND a legal issue because of the power differential between clergy and congregant nullifies the legal defense of “consent.” Continue reading

Project Update: Autumn 2016 – Figuring Out Final Steps for Publishing Field Guide #1!

Some of my friends are interested in the process of putting a book together. So, periodically, I post details involved in the most current stage of getting my curriculum series edited and ready for eventual publication. And there’s been a bit of news lately, so here it is.

Shifting From Publisher to Self-Publishing

It’s been four weeks since I found out the conventional publisher I’d hoped would be a match didn’t feel my curriculum series fit with their line. That was disappointing, but I knew it was a doorway to the next set of options to investigate: self-publishing.

What writing a book proposal for a publisher does in helping authors refine their content, the self-publishing prep process does in helping refine all the other details that a publisher would normally take care of. So, after working all month with a company that specializes in helping authors self-publish, now I have a final checklist of what has to be done to get the first volume actually available for sale! It’s a lot of administrative details, many of which I could do for myself, but just because I could do them doesn’t mean I should. Writers often miss identifying their mistakes when it comes to editing and proofreading. And many of us are horrible layout designers. For me, it’s also an issue of best stewardship for very limited energy. So, will just have to wait until the time comes and see what unfolds for hiring outside help from that company to complete those tasks.

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A Tribute and a Eulogy for Debbie “Mum” Jones

Debbie "Mum" Jones

Debbie “Mum” Jones

Debbie/Debra “Mum” Jones succumbed June 15th to kidney failure while ill with malaria, typhoid, and gastrointestinal bugs. She was in Gambi Hospital in Bahar Dar, Ethiopia.

She and her husband Andrew have been friends since 1995 – a third of my lifetime. Our stories have intertwined deeply at times, less so at others, but we’ve stayed connected for a very long time.

I wrote a eulogy for Debbie a day after I heard the news of her death. It’s later in this post. I’ve written before about Andrew and Debbie, most extensively in these posts:

’tis andrew jones’ birthday! so celebrate, already! (September 7, 2008).

Everyday DiscipLeaders – Andrew and Debbie Jones (originally posted January 5, 2009).

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