Today, At Last, I Became a “Screenager” as Futuristguy Blog Turns 13!

Today, April 1, 2016, I turn 13. Well, not me, exactly. But sort of. My blog turns 13, which means I am now officially a “screenager.” Kind of a long time online for somebody my (real) age. It means I’ve been blogging more than 20% of my entire lifespan! And by the massive word-count from all my writings and bloggings, it would certainly seem to be I’ve been sitting here doing nothing but writing for 13 years …

Anyway, I started blogging on April 1, 2003, mostly at the insistence of a few friends from the “emerging ministry” WabiSabi event in Austin, Texas, earlier that spring – primarily Andrew Jones, Shannon Hopkins, and Jessica Stricker. I purposely picked April Fool’s Day to launch, just because my life so frequently seems like it’s at the edge of silly. Or over the edge into the absurd, actually. Continue reading

March 4th and MARCH FORTH!

Today and this weekend, I’ll be able to spend quite a bit of time working on my book project, Do Good Plus Do No Harm. I’ve already gotten most of the bits and pieces of text sorted into the appropriate main folders (18 chapters), and created the “stem” file to compile all the material into order within that chapter.

Next, I have to go through all the subfolders (usually 5 to 8 per chapter) to mesh all the bits and pieces of information in those, and put the results into the stem file.

Then I’ll list the articles in each stem file so I have a reference table of contents ready for when I start shifting articles around.

Then, edit the stem files.

Then sort out the individual articles into the four major compartments:

  • FIELD GUIDE (short articles on essential topics, with many art illustrations.
  • INDICATORS (how-to’s for measuring what matters for trustworthy versus toxic leaders and organizations).
  • WORKBOOK (case studies, media studies, simulation games).
  • RESOURCES (longer articles and descriptions for those who want more information).

Then, carefully catalog the numbers and titles of the 250 to 300 art illustrations I’ll need to license.

Then, carefully catalog the titles of 200-250 films, and 150-200 books I reference.

And then, voila! Just about done!

At this stage with such a complex project, a lot of “writing” actually turns out to be file management and digital glue. Who knew?

I don’t expect to be able to get this all done in one weekend, but maybe in one month. We’ll see. But regardless, this means I’m *many* steps closer to the finish line!

Hip-hip-hooray and hallelujah! And now, time for a break and an inspirational chit-chat with Mr Coffee …

RICO Lawsuit Filed Against Former Mars Hill Church Leaders and Alleged Co-Conspirators

Earlier today, Warren Throckmorton posted RICO Lawsuit Filed Against Former Leaders of Mars Hill Church. You can find a PDF of the 42-page complaint at this link. Filed by Brian and Connie Jacobsen, and Ryan and Arica Kildea, it names Mark Driscoll and John Sutton Turner, along with other alleged co-conspirators.

This RICO lawsuit against leaders of what was Mars Hill Church has been in the making for a long time. RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. This is an extremely serious matter, and I believe there is a significant amount of information about alleged wrongdoing available. I spent at least 300 hours during 2014, researching and analyzing details in order to produce a case study on Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll. If I remember correctly, it’s about 70,000 words – the equivalent of about a 160-page paperbook book.

On the first blog page of that case study is a summary of my reasoning for why I believe this type of lawsuit against Mars Hill leaders is justifiable; the allegations are not trivial matters. And note that I wrote most of the material on that page December 1, 2014. I originally put it on my blog as an article: Capstone 2-6: A Lawsuit Against Mars Hill Church Could be a Just Cause Because … I think you’ll find the entire article informative, but here is the key section of that page and post, just as it appeared over a year ago: Continue reading

My Guest Post on Spiritual Sounding Board

This morning I did a guest post on Spiritual Sounding Board: The Legacy That a Defamation Lawsuit Left to the Survivor Community.I think it’s an important piece of history for spiritual abuse survivors.

On February 22, 2012, Julie Anne Smith was served papers about her former pastor suing her and four others for $500,000, for alleged defamation. She’d posted critical reviews online of him and his church – Beaverton Grace Bible Church. The defendants won the lawsuit and Julie Anne continued her online presence with BGBC Survivors, which eventually became Spiritual Sounding Board. In less than four years since, this blog has had nearly 1 million hits on its home page! Here’s the final paragraph in my post:

But really, who would’ve thought that a lawsuit that seemed meant to intimidate and destroy, instead sparked resources to comfort and edify? Thanks, Julie Anne, for investing yourself in finding a redemptive edge within a destructive situation, and thereby bringing light and hope to many … You.Rock.

Worth a read, and a prayer of thanksgiving to God for how Julie Anne has invested herself in ways that make a difference for the Kingdom!

Project Update ~ Manageability: Making a Mountain of Material “Accessible”

I had the opportunity this week to get out of my home office for a day and a half. This is a rarity, because it always takes a terrible toll on my stamina, and I’m feeling it this weekend. But, sometimes yuh just gotta git outta Dodge anywayz!

I got to see some old friends, meet some new people who have similar interests, and spend time in a peaceful, scenic place where I could just relax and reflect. I really needed that. Keep your nose to the grindstone for too long, and your eyes get filled with grit and block your vision. Mine had. I’d stayed too close in to my work. Getting away gave me perspective, and a chance then to iron out the last long-term, big-picture problems I’ve had: How to divide up this mountain of material into sometime manageable for readers … how to make all this complex, interconnected material accessible for them?

I’d been using a three-part framework for what “accessible” means to me:

  1. The language is understandable, meaning use shorter words that are more common, and put them together in shorter sentences more often than not.
  2. The content accommodates different learning styles, which is why I include words, pictures, movies and historical case studies, charts, discussion questions, group activities, etc.
  3. There is a consistency in format and structure that creates a type of predictability that makes things easier to digest, and easier to refer back to later.

I’ve done pretty well on the first two points, despite it taking a lot of time. But, the third part has been the bugaboo. There is so much material, and so many different kinds of it, that it’s felt impossible to figure out how to fit pieces together in a way that is both accessible and an “elegant,” creative, best-fit solution. I’ve tried multiple ways of dividing things up, but it kept being too complicated.

But, this week, it finally just clicked. I feel like I’ve got the structure accessibility strategy I needed to finish sorting out what goes where! Here’s what I came up with. Continue reading

Project Update ~ 15 Indicators for Discerning Robust versus Hazardous Systems: Who and What Deserves Our Trust?

Recently, I edited a friend’s medical research grant. It seeks funding for a follow-up study on a major public health issue in America. The research focuses on identifying specific biological indicators of a particular disease, and figuring out the mechanisms of how the interaction of body and “biomarkers” works. The core idea is that if we can discern the connections that predict the disease, then we can work on prevention and improve overall health.

That was providential timing, as I’ve been trying to finalize my list of indicators for discerning what constitutes a healthy versus malignant leader, and a trustworthy versus toxic organization. From my work with Shannon Hopkins and Andy Schofield on The Transformational Index, I know we need these kinds of project development and early warning evaluation systems. They help us “measure what matters” and be more intentional about the kinds of transformational impact we both hope to have and are actually having.

I’m aiming my forthcoming Field Guide to lead to using The Transformation Index more effectively. And, despite what seems like a very long series of “delays,” this is the year the Field Guide gets finished, Lord willing! Here’s the latest update on my progress. Continue reading

Project Update ~ Book-writing as Marathon

In a conversation about my book project that I had with a long-time friend (40+ years!), it suddenly struck me that marathons are 26+ miles and I started the research for this 26+ years ago. The project has morphed countless times since 1990, but has been on a solid trajectory the past few years.

As I go into editing the next set of chapters, *The Big Prayer* I have is that the Lord will use this to make a difference in people’s lives. The first set of chapters were the core concepts, now the application stuff starts rolling!

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten many bits and pieces for the bibliography section done, along with the framework for a related resources/media materials website, and typed up another one-inch stack of notes. Progress, slow but steady, and it really does add up over time.

Also, the more I review the source materials — the more struck I am by what a providential set of case studies I was led to over a long period of time. The major ones run the gamut from Young Adult Literature series (Divergent, Harry Potter, The Selection, The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, X-Men), to Holocaust and Apartheid studies, to the Band Aid/Live Aid and Make Poverty History charities. As a set, it deals with all the essentials I think are involved when it comes to “Do Good Plus Do No Harm.” It incorporates basic discernment principles and practical application tools about:

  • Healthy versus toxic leaders and organizational systems.
  • Freedom versus control tactics.
  • Responsibility for the traumas of abuse, recovery and advocacy for survivors of abuse, and activism to challenge or change abusive systems.
  • How we can transform organizations for the better.
  • How to look at what next generations experience from the legacies we leave.

And all of them together reinforce the “big idea” of dealing with this as a system where all these elements are interconnected.

So, I keep plugging along, as best I can. Tenacity is the name of the game — especially in a marathon!