SECTIONS ON THIS INDEX PAGE
- Trends in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2012-2016)
- Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month: Emerging Issues, 2012 (January 31, 2012).
- “Hangover Unholiness” Left by Malignant Ministers: Spiritual Abuse Recovery Questions for 2013 (January 29, 2013).
- Spiritual Abuse Survivors: The “Community” Becomes a ”Movement” (January 31, 2013).
- Trends, Turning Points, and Tipping Points in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2014) – Part 1: Setting the Stage (November 30, 2014).
- Trends, Turning Points, and Tipping Points in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2014) – Part 2: New Observations, Analysis, Interpretations (November 30, 2014).
- Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities ~ 10 Trend Projections and Predictions for 2016-2020 (January 1, 2016).
- Spiritual Sounding Board: The Legacy That a Defamation Lawsuit Left to the Survivor Community (February 22, 2016).
- Survivor Blogging Trends (2017)
- Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part One – Past Articles (2012-2016) on Trends in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (May 1, 2017).
- Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Two – Survivor Blogs Aren’t the Same as Discernment Blogs (May 1, 2017).
- Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Three – Positive Trends in Survivor Blog Communities (May 9, 2017).
- Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Four – Challenge #1 – We’re Working Mostly in Words (May 25, 2017).
- Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Four – Challenge #2 – Natural Limits of Crowd-Sourced Fact Gathering (November 2, 2017).
- Survivor Blogging Background, Trends, and Analysis (2018)
- Forty Years of Trends Leading to #MeToo, #ChurchToo, and #SBCToo (September 5, 2018).
- Reflections on The Courage Conference 2018 (October 25, 2018).
- GC2 and Questions to Evaluate Our Expertise on Systemic Abuse and Sexual Violence (November 17, 2018).
- Cultural Geography (2019)
- A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities (January 2019).
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09-INDEX Trends in Abuse Survivor Communities
The following summaries and links are for posts that appear in futuristguy blog category on Trends in Survivor Communities.
Trends in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2012-2016)
Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month: Emerging Issues, 2012 (January 31, 2012). For a few years now, January has been designated as “Spiritual Abuse Awareness” month. So, I wanted to post a list of “barometer” readings of recent events in the “spiritual abuse survivors’ community,” plus suggest emerging issues that help us identify indications of change in the cultural atmosphere on issues of spiritual abuse. This post considers changes to the number of support and resource networks for survivors of spiritual abuse. It also looks at four emerging issues of note:
- De-Churched Christians.
- No virtual pass for abusive actions by leaders.
- More “citizen journalist” reports with detailed documentation of alleged spiritual abuse.
- Expanding the concept of accountability to “system partners” that enable abusive behavior by celebrity Christians.
“Hangover Unholiness” Left by Malignant Ministers: Spiritual Abuse Recovery Questions for 2013 (January 29, 2013). I’ve been blogging on spiritual abuse the past five years, mostly on analyzing dynamics of “malignant ministers,” spiritually abusive organizational structures, and toxic cultures they create. Some of my writing has been on personal recovery issues, and it seems some new dimensions on this topic are on line for me to explore this year. Much of my practical synthesis of materials comes out of questions raised by personal experiences, and this year’s writings incorporate those, plus what I’ve been learning from the experiences of others.
For 2013, it seems my focus may be shifting to writing about organizational and systemic questions dealing with the aftermath of years of intact cultures of toxicity, and how to dismantle them – if they can even be salvaged. And what unique issues will be faced by multiple generations when they have been immersed in these abusive environments of faulty doctrines (e.g., authoritarianism, patriarchalism, legalism, perfectionism), and the organizational structures that institutionalized those anti-biblical rules?
Spiritual Abuse Survivors: The “Community” Becomes a ”Movement.” (January 31, 2013). If you read my post on ““Hangover Unholiness” Left by Malignant Ministers: Spiritual Abuse Recovery Questions for 2013,” you may not have caught the comment that came in from my friend Linda of Kingdomgrace. She’s been a pioneer blogger in the spiritual abuse survivors community, and I appreciate her big-picture perspective on healing for individuals and how this works out in systems. Here’s what she said: “Brad, Really good questions. It seems detox has mostly been addressed at the personal level. You are doing important work identifying systemic issues at the organizational level. I think there is also a social-cultural aspect of detox that exists beyond the organization having to do with social identity, relationships, group think, etc. Your questions reminded me of how complex this issue is and how comprehensive approaches to healing must be.” My reply covers some things I’ve been thinking about for a while on the impact of toxic systems dynamics, and I felt it was important enough to highlight in a follow-up post to the one on “Hangover Unholiness.”
Trends, Turning Points, and Tipping Points in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2014). Part 1: Setting the Stage (November 30, 2014). Part 1 introduces the overall framework I use for analyzing developments in abuse survivor communities:
- Trends – general patterns in beliefs, actions, and consequences.
- Turning points – noticeable course corrections for the better, or changes for the worse.
- Tipping points – passing the threshold for sustaining a trajectory in the long run.
Trends, Turning Points, and Tipping Points in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (2014). Part 2: New Observations, Analysis, Interpretations (November 30, 2014). Part 2 shares a series of specifics in those three categories.
- Trends – survivors from different types of abuse connecting; and public apologies by people culpable for or complicit in abuse.
- Turning points – wiser crowd-sourcing of information; getting better at navigating legal issues involved in confronting abuse; and increased emphasis on prevention practices and starting healthier systems.
- Tipping points – interpreting from a systems mindset.
Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities ~ 10 Trend Projections and Predictions for 2016-2020 (January 1, 2016). These trends and related predictions are in no particular order other than in when they came to mind.
- Four core false doctrines [word of faith, health-and-wealth/prosperity gospel, shepherding movement, Eternal Subordination of the Son], and three core toxic systems [authoritarianism, monetarism, patriarchalism].
- Networking is moving toward more collaborative action.
- Increased calling out of abusers plus their commenders, defenders, and enablers.
- Implosion of the Southern Baptist Convention and other ministry associations.
- Lawsuits against allegedly abusive religious non-profit boards, staffs, and membership.
- Child abuse prevention training.
- Organizational evaluation and certification for preventing spiritual abuse.
- IRS regulations and investigations on religious non-profits will change.
- Abuse survivor specialists in academic, practitioner, and ministry fields.
- Advances in trauma psychology and research.
Spiritual Sounding Board: The Legacy That a Defamation Lawsuit Left to the Survivor Community (February 22, 2016). Who would’ve thought that a pastor’s defamation lawsuit that seemed meant to intimidate and destroy former congregants, instead had the opposite impact? It sparked resources to comfort and edify spiritual abuse survivors. This post marks the four-year anniversary of the beginning of the lawsuit by Charles O’Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church (BGBC) against Julie Anne Smith and four other defendants. In that time, Julie Anne’s Spiritual Sounding Board blog has become a beacon for survivors of spiritual abuse and other types of abuse/violence. She has posted 920 articles in 169 categories with nearly 1000 tags to help in search processes, and tallied nearly 1 million views on the home page.
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Survivor Blogging Trends (2017)
Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part One – Past Articles (2012-2016) on Trends in Spiritual Abuse Survivor Communities (May 1, 2017). Part One in this series lays out the plan for blogging in 2017 about recent trends in survivor communities, plus gives summaries for each of the previous trend posts from 2012 through 2016.
Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Two – Survivor Blogs Aren’t the Same as Discernment Blogs (May 1, 2017). Part Two looks at two issues I’m seeing as coming into the foreground.
- First, how critics of survivor bloggers seem to conflate them with discernment blogs when they’re not, and some thoughts on sources of conflict they have with survivor blogs.
- Second, things known probably just by those who host survivor blogs and write for them, about the reflection and restraint that goes on behind the scenes. [Teamwork, women and men working as colleagues, input from other survivor bloggers to serve as peer review/input panel, and some of the behind-the-scenes processes that go into discerning if and when to publish articles.]
Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Three – Positive Trends in Survivor Blog Communities (May 9, 2017). Overviews four constructive trends that have emerged:
- Building of working relationships with news agencies.
- Accessing research/recovery materials through cross-listing, mega-link lists, indexing, archiving, categories, and tags.
- Increasing numbers of people conducting academic-level research, curricula, and trainings.
- Deeper discussions about systemic elements and issues that perpetuate abuse, including theologies, church polities, organizational insiders and outsiders who enable abusers, and toxic organizational strategies and structures.
Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Four – Challenge #1 – We’re Working Mostly in Words (May 25, 2017). We abuse survivors tend to have a lot of issues to address in our thinking, feelings, and actions. Participating in survivor blog threads doesn’t automatically fill in all gaps in our understanding, or correct any flaws in our paradigm – even if it does offer us a community of people who get it about the trauma we’ve gone through. Many social media types are tough to use in talking about abuse survival and recovery, because they’re mostly just words in print. When the meaning of the words is ambiguous, “The 40/60 Rule” helps us understand why social media is stressful. According to that rule, only 40% of intended meaning comes from (1) the words themselves, and the other 60% comes from the larger context, which includes (2) tone of voice, (3) facial expression, and (4) overall body language. Since most social media works only in writing, that lends itself to conflicts beyond the content of the words themselves, such as dealing with “tone policing.”
Survivor Blogging Trends 2017: Part Four – Challenge #2 – Natural Limits of Crowd-Sourced Fact Gathering (November 2, 2017). In survivor blogging, a lot of the writers I know invest time in “due diligence.” They’re seeking to get their information straight – collecting as many facts and observations as possible so they can sort through what’s relevant to patterns that indicate abuse. As I see it, there can be a problem involving this critical thinking equation. It’s about the limits of crowd-sourcing additional facts, and discussing them. When a comment thread has reached the limit of factual information available, that creates a sort of threshold for when a thread tends to go off-topic and and gets more unproductive on the original topic. The ultimate impact can be a problem: The post (or the whole blog) loses readers who get frustrated with irrelevant comments and opinions, emotional reactions to the situations, and/or speculations. How could/should blog owners deal with this to keep comments on-topic and productive?
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Survivor Blogging Background, Trends, and Analysis (2018)
Forty Years of Trends Leading to #MeToo, #ChurchToo, and #SBCToo (September 5, 2018). This post begins with historical background on the #MeToo, #ChurchToo, and #SBCToo movements and hashtag campaigns. It then compiles a series of comments I made using futurist concepts and techniques on a post at The Wartburg Watch in June 2018 about the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the impact of abuse survivor movements.
- The STEEPER tool for the order things tend to change in for different social-cultural domains.
- Tipping points for change, and how deep-level change takes place through paradigm shifts.
- The big question of whether #MeToo and #ChurchToo are long-term drivers of change that will last 50 years or more, or just mere fads that will lose steam within a few years.
- Trends and movements of the last 40 years that set the stage for #MeToo.
Reflections on The Courage Conference 2018 (October 25, 2018). I attended the third annual Courage Conference, October 20-21. This post shares some observations and trends about survivor communities (on resources, gender equity, and racial diversity), plus some thoughts on how to process patterns and track social change. The section on processing patterns provides the base for much of the rest of this series.
GC2 and Questions to Evaluate Our Expertise on Systemic Abuse and Sexual Violence (November 17, 2018).
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Cultural Geography (2019)
A Cultural Geography of Survivor Communities.What cartography, GPS, and Google map videos do for physical landscapes, “cultural geography” does for cultural landscapes and their surrounding social eco-systems. This interdisciplinary approach to human ecology seeks to capture the composition contours and key issue features in some kind of social group, culture, or organization. That’s what I hope to do for Christian abuse/violence survivor communities, at least in a preliminary way, from what I’ve absorbed while working in and around them.
I know from my past studies in analyzing subculture emergence, social movements, and cultural paradigm shifts, that it’s difficult to be precise when you’re trying to survey what’s happening at the same time that you’re swirling in a whirlpool of change. But certain kinds of things do become evident – or at least present themselves of indicators of which ways the waters are moving. And that’s the situation that confronts us with the #MeToo movement and its related Church-based counterparts. There are some things we can grab on to fairly easily, but still a lot of questions floating around.
This series is a first-draft attempt on my part to share what I see as happening in mostly North American Christian dimensions of what has become known as the #MeToo movement. This will combine elements of:
- Where this movement came from.
- Some of the key people and organizations involved historically and currently.
- What values, beliefs, and practices participants tend to have in common.
- How things seem to work (or not work) in these communities – for survivors, their support advocates, and social change advocates.
But I use the term survivor communities (plural) intentionally, because this is a complex social movement with many sub-groups in the collective that have intersecting dimensions but not total overlap. So, while there is common ground for the common good, there are many dynamics of difference that can make collaboration difficult – even among those who all believe some equivalent of, “No one deserves abuse, and every victim deserves advocacy.”
So, I will attempt capture various ways that larger layers of participants and particular subgroup boundaries integrate to create an open or closed system. In other words, try to determine who’s in it, who’s not, who wants to be in but isn’t accepted by the larger collective. And, more importantly, try to figure out why some are in or out – what exactly is the paradigm glue that holds the collective together, and how background demographic issues (economic, racial/ethnic, political, social, theological) are potential sources of conflict between sub-groups within the larger movement.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: A CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY OF SURVIVOR COMMUNITIES
- Listing of Posts, Summaries, and Links
- Part 1A: Paradigm Profiling, Subcultural Emergence, Social Transformation Tracking
- Part 1B: Application to the Collective Christian #MeToo Movement
- Part 2: Confirmation Bias Much?
- Part 3: Abuse Survivor Storying Systems
- Part 4: Investigations and Integrations
- Part 5: The Contours of “Watchblog” Communities
- Part 6A: Introducing a Range of Institutional Responses Designed to Shut Down Survivors
- Part 6B: Legal But Harmful Institutional Tools of Conformity and Control
- Part 6C: Processes That Promise Resolution, But Instead Can Promote Silence
- Part 6D: Analyzing Misused Tools and Processes: What are Key Problems and Their System Impact?
- Part 6E: What Makes Systemic Abuse and Historic Oppression Different from Isolated Incidents of Abuse?
- Part 6F: Why is “Restorative Justice” a Better Way Out of Systemic Abuse and Historical Oppression Than are Retaliation or Misused Alternative Dispute Resolution?
- Part 7A: Frameworks for Evaluating Christian Agencies for Investigation, Public Relations, Crisis Management, Legal Aid, Arbitration, Conciliation, and/or Mediation
- Part 7B1. Understand Community Values for Insights Into Response Patterns
- Part 7B2: Examples of What Survivor Communities Have Actually Been Up Against
- Part 7B3: Researching Key Concerns About Major Christian Investigation/Resolution Agencies
- Part 8: Coming Full Circle on Issues That Could Divide Us
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All materials (c) Brad Sargent except where otherwise noted.