Happy New Year and Personal Update

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I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and New Year’s holiday celebrating with family and loved ones. I’ve had a nice break from school. I had plans to get things done, but wasn’t too successful. But that’s okay, I’m listening to my body tell me that self-care is more important, and things can wait. That’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way before!

Word Press sent a notice congratulating me on 5 years of blogging. Spiritual Sounding Board went public on January 1, five years ago!  Prior to that, I had a different blog, primarily about my personal experience at Beaverton Grace Bible Church and the goings on of the defamation lawsuit my ex-pastor filed against me and four others.

Last year was difficult, yet rewarding. Most of my regular readers know that I went back to school a few years ago to get my Bachelor of Arts in Cyber Security. I didn’t know if I could keep the blog going with my full-time school load. Thankfully, between Kathi’s and my busy schedules, we’ve been able to keep plugging along.

I’m nearing the end of my undergraduate work, with only two more terms left. Whoa, it’s hard to believe I’m nearly there. I shake my head at how far I have come since the first day of class when I had to raise my hand to ask my professor how to get the cursor to move from one monitor to the second monitor. Every single time I asked my advisor to help me schedule my classes, all of the classes sounded foreign to me! I’d tell her to pick the classes because I was clueless. And she did. And each term I started my classes, I had a freak-out moment saying to myself there is no way I would be able to do this . . . and each term, I have managed to do this . . .and with grades my Mom would be proud of. This week, inevitably, someone will be getting my freak-out phone call once again. LOL

I don’t think I’ve shared why I chose cyber security. I live in an area that has limited college opportunities, but it does offer a BAS in Cyber Security. This intrigued me for a number of reasons: first, because I knew it’s a very important and relevant field with all of the recent security breaches. Secondly, it sparked my interest because of various nefarious activities that have occurred during my blogging. For example, my ex-pastor bought domain names similar to the name of my old blog in attempt to bring people to his blog that he created against me. Another time, someone reported my blog site as a malicious site and some people couldn’t access the blog. Of course it wasn’t malicious, but we still had to get that taken care of.

And one more example used social engineering, which is a very common way that hackers gain access to data. This is an interesting story. Some may remember T. W. Eston. When I first met him online, he had written a great article about Doug Philips, and I asked him permission to share it here. He agreed. Then later, he volunteered that he had another article to share on my blog. I asked him to send it to me, and he indicated that the formatting would get messed up if he sent it, and instead asked if I could designate him as a temporary blog administrator so he could post it. I wasn’t studying cyber security yet, and didn’t know the full implications of social engineering, but his idea didn’t sit right with me. I knew the formatting would be fine if he sent it to me. I did not give him administrator privileges! From that point on, I kept my dander up with him, and I was proven correct. T. W. Eston turned out to be Peter Kershaw, a man who had been trying to get revenge at Doug Philips. Who knew?!?!

As I’ve been studying cyber security, I’ve noted interesting parallels between cyber security and what I do here at SSB. In cyber security, we look for vulnerabilities that could allow the wrong people access to private data. In looking at systems of abuse, I am also looking at vulnerabilities that could allow someone to access individuals and harm them. Churches and Christian groups need to have safety guidelines to protect children against sexual predators. It’s important that church members know guidelines to protect themselves from abusive leaders. Businesses need to understand the various ways intruders can access their data and have safety guidelines for anyone who uses their systems.

When there is a data breach, an incident report is filed, and the whole system is examined to find where an outsider could gain access. When a child is harmed by a sexual predator a prudent church will take a look at their safety policies to see how the predator gained access, and correct the security breach. I’ve enjoyed discovering the parallels of both church and data security systems: how to protect systems, how to respond when there is a security breach, how to support and recovery from breaches, and how to create new safe policies. It’s so important to protect precious assets and people!

The next two terms at school will probably be the most challenging (so I’ve been told). I’m taking full loads both terms, and spring term I have a major capstone project due, as well. But we’ll keep the blog going!

Here are the top 10 posts of 2017 (articles posted in 2017):

  1. Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #DoYouSeeUs
  2. Two Posts Containing Ravi Zacharias’ Personal Emails Were Removed: Why? (Updated)
  3. A Young Woman’s Personal Story: The Residual Effects of the Teachings by Doug Philips, Bill Gothard, and Patriarchy
  4. Important New Video about Apologist Ravi Zacharias: Alleged False Credentials, Lawsuit, Online Relationship with Married Woman
  5. The Dangerous Teachings of Lori Alexander of The Transformed Wife
  6. Tullian Tchividjian and Mark Driscoll are Baaaack
  7. Saeed Abedini’s Strange Online Behavior
  8. Ravi Zacharias Must Explain: Lawsuit, Narratives, and Emails (This post was removed by Ms. Thompson’s request.)
  9. Ravi Zacharias: Email Threat and Ongoing Lack of Response About Reportedly Inflated Credentials
  10. BREAKING: Lawsuit between Calvary Chapel Visalia Pastor Bob Grenier and His Step-Son, Alex Grenier, Has Been Dropped

22 comments on “Happy New Year and Personal Update

  1. Congrats on five years! That’s a major accomplishment.

    Would love to hear about the Cyber Security degree. Sounds really tough. I remember taking a Computer Programming class in college out of curiosity—trying to figure out if I wanted to go that direction. That class ended up being so hard that I was very grateful to pass with just a C. Doing a whole degree in that sounds really hard but I’m sure you’ll do well.

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  2. I can’t believe it’s been five years here. What a wild ride. And, so close to graduating…How exciting! Kick senioritis in the butt and finish out strong!

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  3. Congratulations on five years of blogging and so much educational progress (I went back to school and got my Masters when I was 40). I appreciate your accurate reporting and courage to take on what others often claim is no big deal.

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  4. Congratulations on five years!

    I really like the analogy you drew here, “In cyber security, we look for vulnerabilities that could allow the wrong people access to private data. In looking at systems of abuse, I am also looking at vulnerabilities that could allow someone to access individuals and harm them.”

    That’s one of my interests, too, how the environment is created that tends to lead to abuse and how can we prevent it? We need a good spiritual anti-virus program and some way to build up individuals so they themselves are not deceived. I am always interested in strongholds, the unfortunate “social engineering,” that messes with our heads and how to pluck those things out of ourselves.

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  5. Avid Reader, I don’t think Cyber Security is as tough as it sounds. I took 2 programming classes, and they were more of a challenge. I understand the concepts, but have a difficult time starting from scratch. I suppose if I didn’t have other classes to distract me and could just focus on programming, it would have been easier. Now that it’s my final year, all of the foundational concepts I learned the first years are coming together and it’s so cool! Thanks you!

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  6. Happy Fifth Anniversary, Julie Anne! All the best to you as you finish your studies, and as you continue to hold abusers and their enablers in the church accountable. You and Kathi are awesome!

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  7. Thanks, JA! I did indeed start a new job last year. After over 15 years of teaching English in the Japanese public school system, I am now the acting manager of a small English conversation school. The owner is out of the country for family reasons, and I’m taking care of the business in her stead.

    Running a small business has been a challenge, and there’s still a lot to learn. But I am learning bit by bit, and I’ve had help from lots of people, not least of all God. I really needed the last few days of vacation, though — the last two months were insanely busy!

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  8. Congratulations on the five years, Julie Anne! It doesn’t seem a day past ten years! 😉 I still remember the headline “Pastor sues church member” that linked to your first blog when it was new. I have enjoyed reading and commenting these years and hope the best for you in the years to come.

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  9. Congratulations!! Hard to believe it’s been 5 years! I remember hearing about your story and realizing you were coming out of a similar crazy, fundy, fringy homeschool culture in the whole homeschool movement. Your blog has helped so many for sure, but I really appreciated it while I was deconstructing so many destructive beliefs I’d been influenced by in those years (just think Doug Phillips, Kevin Swanson, etc., ugh).
    All the best to you as you continue your studies and may you know that Jesus is right there with you and in you ☺

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  10. It’s good to hear from you, Monique! Yes, I do remember that. There were quite a few who started challenging the beliefs from Philips especially after his sex scandal. Funny thing, I, too, was deconstructing as I was blogging. Boy, it’s been a ride, for sure! Thank you!

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  11. Thanks so much, Steve! It’s good to hear from you! Yes, you were around at the beginning! I appreciate your support and your contributions over the years. Thanks, again!

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