Spiritual Sounding Board Update

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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I wanted to let you all know what’s going on with me personally and also to ask for some help. After much thought and prayer, last year I made the decision to go back to college full-time. My first term started April 7 and I just completed my 5th week. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve taken college classes – whoa! I’ve needed to make some changes on the home front, remove some activities, simplify, etc., to swing this.

It will be difficult for me to produce the same level (amount or length) of blog articles while maintaining a full-time college schedule. Blog articles are only a part of Spiritual Sounding Board. I’ve always said that the life of the blog is in the conversations. The articles primarily serve as a springboard for great conversation. The discussion you add typically provides more information, encouragement, and challenges for all our readers. I love that this is a healthy community where people are free to say what is on their minds and where no one gets to speak for another.

Sometimes, people are triggered by the articles or discussion and e-mail me privately. When someone feels safe enough to contact me privately or share their personal story with me, I do not take it lightly. Sometimes they are in a church crisis. This is a crucial time to give people good information and support. I figure at least 10 hours a week are spent in private blog-related e-mails and phone calls. This aspect of the blog ministry is very important to me.

So, I was trying to think of how some of the blog load can be lightened, yet maintain a consistent online presence for those who need help as they are dealing with their own challenging church or Christian group experience. I realized that having Cindy’s two articles last week was a great help to me during a very challenging school week and it became apparent that I’m going to need more help as I continue school at this level.

Many of you already contribute so much in your wonderful comments – maybe you also have a whole article or two in you … or maybe you’ve been a “lurker” and are ready to share your story or your thoughts. Either way, are you interested in helping create a well of articles on topics relevant to survivors of spiritual abuse that SSB? We need posts to draw from to keep the conversations going. I can’t guarantee every article submitted will be published, but I would love to be able to share articles from a host of people. And I do have a behind-the-scenes team to help me review possible articles and edit them when things need a bit of clarifying.

So, if you’d like to submit articles for consideration, here are some ideas:

  • Link to a current article, quoting sample sentences.  Write a few thoughts of your own about the article (a couple of sentences or a couple of paragraphs may suffice) and what strikes you about it – i.e., is it promoting an unhealthy ideology, bad belief, legalism, etc?  Do not worry about it if it’s very short in length. In fact, our SSB community has always been able to generate great discussion from a few simple sentences in a post comment.
  • Send me your personal spiritual abuse story. Personal stories are one of the primary ways people can connect and realize they went through spiritual abuse. Never minimize your experience as “trivial.” Your story may provide the missing link to someone who has been wondering what was wrong in their church and not know how to identify the problem.
  • Send a paragraph or two of church bylaws, membership agreements, church covenants, etc., that you find troubling.  Send me the website link so I can take a look at it (we don’t have to publish the link).  We can use this as a “Learn to Discern” article. These are very helpful and we can learn a lot from each other.
  • Send me your growth/success stories. We need to provide hope and let people know that there really is freedom in Christ beyond bad church experiences. What has worked for you?
  • Feel free to send your own ideas I don’t have listed.  I’m open to suggestion.

Anything you send, please be sure to let me know if you’d like me to include your real name, or a pseudonym, or “anonymous,” if we decide to publish it.

And if you have any other ideas on how to share this load while I’m in school, I’m all ears (and eyes).  Thank you!

My e-mail address:  spiritualsb@gmail.com

 

 

 

30 comments on “Spiritual Sounding Board Update

  1. Congratulations!!! What are you studying? With all the writing you have done here, college papers will be a snap. Plus you may be able to handle the grammar and spelling better than your professors. I am sorry we will see less of you, but thrilled you are enriching your life in other ways. Keep us posted on your classes and challenges. Also, when you get a break, I would love to read about your thoughts on how university and students have changed since you last attended. Good luck! I know you will succeed at whatever you put your mind to. Xo Ann

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  2. Thanks, Ann!

    I’m not sure you’ll see me less, just maybe less posts or at least less lengthy posts.

    Right now I’m getting the general classes out of the way, potentially headed towards something in Computer Sciences.

    I had only taken a few classes (23 credits of college) before I was married. It was at a community college and this doesn’t really feel much different from that experience.

    Interestingly, in the past few weeks, I have spoken to several mothers (quiver-full moms who have gone through difficult marriages and either are starting new lives or thinking about going back to college). You CAN do it. If I can do it, so can you. I’m a much better student now than I was in high school.

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  3. Good move, Julie Anne! Will be praying for your success in this new endeavor, and will contribute anything I have that might encourage folks!

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  4. This is inspiring news! You, go! I’ve batted around the same idea myself, but wondered if I might be too “old” to go back to school. You have renewed my hope that I can still take back my life. Thank you.

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  5. If they give credits for life experiences or work history, you should get some for having learned as much as you have by having this blog, winning the lawsuit, and being a good counselor to so many who have sought your help. Surprised you do not already have more education and that you are not looking at something in ministry or counseling.

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  6. Good for you! The last few years I have been toying with the idea of going back for a Master’s Degree. I love hearing of others with adult children going back to school. It encourages me.

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  7. Julie Anne,
    Awesome! Very cool if you decide to go into CS (or if you don’t 🙂 ) I’m a computer sci. major and it is challenging but interesting. Although I am having second thoughts, related to counseling & journalism & social work….end of junior year is never a good time to have those thoughts, haha.

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  8. Get the BS/BA first, and then it doesn’t matter so much. You’ve got a degree and aren’t necessarily locked into a field. You can then choose a different field of study in another discipline in many cases.

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  9. This is great news! You are never too old to learn something, especially anything to do with computers or math or something that is actually black and white. It will be a big change for you since you will see tangible results immediately. I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through writing this blog and feeling like you’re fighting a losing battle, but I can definitely tell you that once you start feeling this success it will bolster you in the rest of your activities. I am starting an exercise training tomorrow, I hurt my hand a few months ago, so i am getting back to my physical peak, and ready for that powerful feeling. I am an economics teacher, math expert and computer synesthete, so if you need any help let me know. I’d say good luck but you won’t need it, you’ve got the Holy Spirit.

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  10. Hi Julie Anne, I’ll bet you can predict what I’ll be saying. . .

    I think YOU are your best asset. You have determination, ambition, brains, tenaciousness, and a great work ethic. I’ve no doubt you’ve worked hard all your life to accomplish things. I also bet your teachers think you’re awesome (just like us)!
    You GO girl!! I know you can do whatever you set your mind to. I’m rootin’ for ya!

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  11. Good for you JA~I am happy for you!

    Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the moms here. Enjoy your day 🙂

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  12. Thanks everyone for your encouraging words. They mean so much to me.

    Happy Mother’s Day! And special thoughts and prayers for those who have difficulty on this day for whatever reason (singles, no children by choice or not by choice, etc.) I think this is a day when we honor sisters, aunts, women, not just mothers. There are some women who have acted more motherly than some biological moms. They deserve our honor, too.

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  13. Going back to school at an older age is hard but it is possible. I went back at age of 40 and 15 years later ended up with two associates degrees,one bachelors degree and a masters degree from a great catholic college in Grand Rapids Michigan. What started out to be really hard on me turned out to be way of life that I loved and it turned into career change from working as an electrician to teaching at a local community college and a voc ed public high school before retiring. Opportunities that I could only have dreamed of without the education.
    You go girl!
    Jim

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  14. Wow, JA. Good for you!!! And what a great model for your children. We never stop learning and growing. I hope you really enjoy it as often, college is wasted on the young. (wink) The love of learning is a gift from God.

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  15. JA, Computer Science!! Do I feel old. When I was an undergraduate, I remember my “computer friends” would have a ton of these cards. They took them to some building where another person would run them through a hidden mystery machine! Sometime the person would hand them back to find the one mistake on all the cards that made the program not run. I was so glad I never took the class! I think things are better! 🙂

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  16. I wanted to let you all know what’s going on with me personally and also to ask for some help. After much thought and prayer, last year I made the decision to go back to college full-time. My first term started April 7 and I just completed my 5th week. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve taken college classes – whoa! I’ve needed to make some changes on the home front, remove some activities, simplify, etc., to swing this.

    Oh, Julie Anne…

    My own college days are 35 years in the past, but when done by someone who already has a life means You’re Going to be Crazy Busy. (And heavy Dee & Dee does not count as having a life in this context…) These days with a high-stress job and a life, I look back on my college days as almost a vacation in comparison. And you’re adding the two on top of each other?

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  17. Well, I am old. It’s funny, 30 years ago, my mom and I took a class at the community college together – an intro to computers. We were in competition with each other. I barely edged by her by only a point or 2 and we still talk about that competition. I have a daughter who just finished her freshman year in college and there’s a chance that if my credits transfer over and I go to school in the summer, we can get our Bachelors the same year. That would be very cool. She’s been cheering me on.

    After graduating from high school, I worked at the local electric company. I worked in the word processing department and we worked on Vydec word processors (http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/cgi-bin/sitewise.pl?act=big&p=2203&pic=1)
    which was considered modern technology (this was early 80s). Then they switched over to Wang word processors (http://www.ricomputermuseum.org/Home/collections-gallery/wang-computer-gallery-2) for a short period before switching to IBM PCs.

    By then, I switched jobs in the company and worked in customer service analyzing electrical accounts. Part of my job was getting computer printouts of customer accounts that seemed “off.” I’d investigate to see what was going on with the jump/decrease in usage. It could be a misread by a meter reader, someone growing pot (using lots of lights), tapping into another person’s meter, etc. If it was a misread, I had to do an adjustment to the bill and what a pain it was to write out the code so the computer would accept it and change it. Those are the cards that Ann was referring to. Talk about detailed and tedious work. Those were the days that mainframes took an entire room to support a network of computers.

    I can still remember the day they pulled some of us aside to train us on this new thing called a “facsimile.” We’ve come a long ways, baby.

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  18. @Ann:

    JA, Computer Science!! Do I feel old. When I was an undergraduate, I remember my “computer friends” would have a ton of these cards. They took them to some building where another person would run them through a hidden mystery machine!

    Ah, yes. The 80-column card decks, the In and Out box in the campus computer center in the room full of Hollerith keypunch machines.

    If the deck couldn’t run, the operator would return it in the outbox with a checkbox form rubberbanded around it, with the appropriate “reason for failure” checkboxes checked off. The most memorable of those I ever saw in that outbox had ALL the checkboxes checked and a handwritten comment below them all:
    “YOUR PROGRAM IS F***ED!!!!!”

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  19. @Ann:

    Congratulations!!! What are you studying? With all the writing you have done here, college papers will be a snap. Plus you may be able to handle the grammar and spelling better than your professors.

    It’ll definitely be a change of pace from the usual papers professors are getting these days, the ones on the order of “OMG LOL 😦 #fillintheblank”.

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  20. JA,
    I had my 50th birthday while in law school. And I remember punched cards and the clunky sounding machines for making them. I also remember paper tape.to feed remote terminals as well. You have what it takes to get that degree and the job.

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  21. “I don’t know, Lydia – there’s a LOT of smart non-believers out there. “‘

    Carmen, I am one who believes the gift of learning is bestowed to everyone. Even those who are mentally disabled can “learn”. I don’t distinguish the gift as for only believers. Sorry if I did not communicate it that well. Actually, I believe many Christians in some cultic type systems see intellect as a threat. It is a gift.

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  22. My personal hope is that you will decide to to pursue a course of study that makes you an even better victims’ advocate. I continue to fancy that your initials, JA, stand metaphorically for Jeanne d’Arc, also known as Joan of Arc; except that in your case you are leading a brigade that is (rather effectively) standing athwart that army of men who have perverted Genesis 3:16 (“and he [Adam/men] shall rule over you [Eve/women]”) into a commandment to, in essence, enslave women. How fitting that God should bring these male monsters to heel by the superior, compassionate, insight He has granted to an army of women (and, hopefully, many men) bearing the sword of Love-founded truth.

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  23. I continue to fancy that your initials, JA, stand metaphorically for Jeanne d’Arc, also known as Joan of Arc…

    Just make sure to turn down all invitations to a barbecue.

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  24. Gary W,

    Victim advocacy will never leave me. It seems to me that defending the weak and oppressed should be foundational for all Christians. I will continue to use the resources and people God has placed in my life. You better believe it.

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  25. I am continually amazed at all that you are doing to make some positive changes in your life. When times get tough, know that you have a cheer squad behind you!

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  26. @ HUG Agreed: “Just make sure to turn down all invitations to a barbecue.” 🙂

    Yes, but also in a practical way, in order to be a good student, one needs to cut out a lot of social functions and lots of other fun things just to get the coursework done!
    So, yes, be choosey about BBQ invitations and many other invitations! 🙂

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