(1/2) Can We Get Some Folks to Start Blogs? I’ll Help! Special Thanks to Elastigirl and Ryan Ashton.

Believe it or not, this long, luminous streak, speckled with bright blisters and pockets of material, is a spiral galaxy like our Milky Way. But how could that be?

It turns out that we see this galaxy, named NGC 3432, oriented directly edge-on to us from our vantage point here on Earth. The galaxy’s spiral arms and bright core are hidden, and we instead see the thin strip of its very outer reaches. Dark bands of cosmic dust, patches of varying brightness and pink regions of star formation help with making out the true shape of NGC 3432 — but it’s still somewhat of a challenge!

“The Internet has given us 10 or 15 new styles of communication: long messages like blogging, and then short messages like texting and tweeting. I see it all as part of an expanding array of linguistic possibilities.” David Crystal

Recently on Twitter, I expressed that we need about 30 more bloggers who deal with the same issues that I deal with here. Elastigirl and Ryan Ashton have both suggested that we put together some sort of cooperative effort.

I cannot cover everything that is presented to me. Yet, this means some stories are not being told to a wider audience. I also feel an obligation to be available to victims whose stories I’ve told her. I’m sure some of them are not happy with me.

Can we talk about this as a community? I believe there are some folks here who could be doing what I do. I am so excited that Anna Keith has started her blog noedenelsewhere.

I have been delighted to share information with her and I hope to do some collaborative things with her in the future.

So, here are my thoughts to get the discussion going.

  • Each blog should be independent. I’m not into controlling who says what.
  • Therefore, there would be different websites. That way, if I say something stupid over here, Joe doesn’t get blamed for it on his blog,
  • I post 3 days a week along with EChurch. However, that does not need to be the case for a new blogger.. Some might like to post 1x a week. It is helpful to readers to know the days they can expect posts.
  • It takes about 8 months to develop a presence on Google. That means being consistent in posting even though a blogger doesn’t receive comments. That was the case for a few months at TWW except for some friends who wanted to be nice.
  • That leads to me. I could draw attention to these independent yet somewhat affiliated blogs, posting in large print about the new posts at other blogs.
  • I am also more than willing to share the workload. I could have written 6-8 posts today. if there had been others looking for something to write, I would have been more than happy to share all of those links.
  • I want to help folks know how and why I do things that I do. For example, how do you listen to a victim and how to make it easier to write up their stories. Honestly, I think I could learn just as much from the new bloggers with their own ideas.
  • Yes, I will discuss the liability issue with you. It’s not as onerous as you might expect.
  • Some of you have particular interests like ethics. A website could be devoted to just sharing thoughts on ethics and religion.
  • I have no interest in being a controlling, central figure. I just want to help you to get started getting information out there and to support victims.
  • I learned something from the SBC which I will apply to this situation. Each church is a member of the SBC but each church is independent except for some specifics. What this specifics are would need to be worked out but I would thing it might have something to do with caring about victims and focusing on spiritual and sexual abuse. I could see someone who might like to discuss church polity that limits abusive tendencies. I bet some of you have other good ideas.

This is just to get us started. I look forward to your thoughts.


(1/2) Can We Get Some Folks to Start Blogs? I’ll Help! Special Thanks to Elastigirl and Ryan Ashton. — 76 Comments

  1. I operate a multi-author blog that has a focus on anything related to spiritual abuse, unhealthy churches and their erroneous teachings, as well as recovery from such. Anyone is free to join there and blog. I do screen the first couple of blogs for anyone before they go live. I also add an Amazon ad and usually links to other places/articles. You can read a little about it here: http://blogs.spiritualabuse.org

  2. *runs up to altar*

    Me! I would love to get in on this.

    I have been thinking about starting a blog seriously the past 2 months or so.

  3. I have contemplated starting a blog before, but I really just don’t have the time. I would be willing to read and comment, though.

  4. That depends. Would send drstevej around to all of the other blogs to try to be the first poster?

  5. One of the “powers” of this blog is the fact that Dee is who she “is”. Also, that she is a women. She will have a level of credibility with victims that many of us will not have.

  6. As a former pastor and current licensed mental health therapist, I have toyed with the idea of a blog that addressed mental health, church, spiritual health etc. issues. Feedback please from anyone. Would you read such a blog?
    Thanks for your opinions as I pray and think over this idea.

  7. Watchblogging is sort of a spiritual gift, IMO … akin to discernment. In that sense, it is a unique calling for such a time as this.

  8. Dee–I have a very large, established blog already, and I do deal with marital abuse. If it would help, I would be happy to post the occasional story that relates to churches that have failed women in abusive marriages by sending them back to abusive husbands.

    I have posted on that horrible list of 98 ways women can sign against their husbands before:

    And I’ve written several times on the problems with biblical counseling, and I’ve taken on Love & Respect.

    While I fully applaud what you do for clergy sexual abuse, that one doesn’t quite fall within my normal topics, so it would be a stretch (though I regularly tweet about it). But I could certainly do posts on how churches have failed abused women.

    MOD: I think you meant “women can sin against”. Let us know and we’ll fix it for you. GBTC

  9. Thank you for this post, Dee, with your generosity to help others become involved.

    Thank you for your blog: your astute & loving listening ear, then giving voice to stories needed to be told.

    Personally, my idea for a blog is what works, what turns around the most horrendous ordeals for the innocent that are left with a minefield to navigate, though no fault of their own. I’ve been aware of predatory situations for a long time, reported, and sometimes seen due diligence with regard to the DOJ. The church is taking a slow walk down the path to getting this right. Other institutional communities have been slow, too: education, sports, government (Kavanaugh kerfuffle this week), media, business, industry, etc.

    My fiction writing focuses on what works, as does my blog, which lists resources links (like TWW), and I also log personal Bible study. I tweet daily prayer, focusing on the least of the least, and what the Bible says about them.

    In my profession, I save lives daily, so honestly, I don’t have time to maintain a blog that captures stories of others. However, I greatly appreciate and benefit from TWW, as well as the work of Tim Fall, Todd Wilhelm, Wade Burleson, Julie Anne, and now Jeff Sharlet, and others. The comment folks are also highly informed & engaging. God bless you all. Ever grateful.

  10. Luckyforward: Would you read such a blog?

    One thing to remember is that blogging is global. There is an amazing audience, even though most may not comment. I first discovered TWW while on an overseas assignment where internet access is highly limited, and engagement is watched. Been returning to TWW ever since. Not necessarily commenting, though.

  11. Hey, Dee. Love the ideas. I have some others that I want to share with you—including databases of safe/unsafe churches, a legal defense fund, and other sections.

    I’ve made a mock-up of what this site could look like.

    I want to review these ideas with you before I unveil it. Let me know when we can discuss/meet-up/collaborate, etc.!

  12. Ryan Ashton: including databases of safe/unsafe churches

    I don’t think I’d go down that route. A healthy church can turn unhealthy and vice versa. A church could be recommended to someone but has changed since you first heard of it. And unless the place is well known, who is going to verify if it is safe or not?

  13. Luckyforward: As a former pastor and current licensed mental health therapist, I have toyed with the idea of a blog that addressed mental health, church, spiritual health etc. issues. Feedback please from anyone. Would you read such a blog?

    Short answer is yes. I have been involved for two years with an online mental health support group and have seen some success with the group helping those who are coming in need. They meet once a week and it is part of an established ministry which has multiple people blogging about issues dealing with recovery from mental health troubles. I know that this is an important issue and a great need. I have written some articles myself, but they did not get read, which is unfortunate. Finding an audience is usually the problem. Of course the real issue is “is God calling you or the others here to do this?” If so, then it should be done. If not, you will probably end up with a normal blog that does not get read much.

  14. Dee, ever since you suggested I start a blog after you wrote my story I’ve been toying with the idea. I’ve began reading some books on how to go about blogging, and it’s something that I am definitely considering. Let’s discuss soon.

  15. Luckyforward: As a former pastor and current licensed mental health therapist, I have toyed with the idea of a blog that addressed mental health, church, spiritual health etc. issues. Feedback please from anyone. Would you read such a blog?

    I would love a blog like that. I think churches need much more awareness about mental health.

  16. ok — so, since we’re just talking, what’s the first step?

    what websites can you use to make a blog?

    are some better than others? offer better features? more user-friendly?

    (whoever has knowledge)

  17. elastigirl,

    You definitely want to be on WordPress. Super easy to use, and the standard for blogs. You can find a domain quite easily using something like Godaddy.com. Choose a blog name that has something to do with clergy abuse or sex abuse in church, if you want Google to find you and rank you higher for that.

  18. My husband and I are very interested! I am currently taking an advocacy course with Ashley Easter, and she recommended I reach out to you about this very thing. Our current blog is a mish mash of topics, although many of the recent entries are about spiritual abuse. We are working on starting a new site with a more professional name. This is us, for now: https://pookyandthegeek.com/

  19. Some of us already have blogs, as I do. But I have failed to feature other such blogs. This is a great reminder for us all to list other blogs on our own sites. My own story of being fired at Calvin Seminary is at http://www.mycalvinseminarystory.blogspot.com. I begin my latest post with these words: “Here I document just one egregious episode in the administration’s long effort to rid itself of me. It is nothing short of a sexist smear. President Neal Plantinga, ignoring measurable results of my performance, drew on an old formula for ruining a woman’s career: accuse her of being hysterical.”

  20. Ruth Tucker,

    “My own story of being fired at Calvin Seminary is at http://www.mycalvinseminarystory.blogspot.com.”

    i read your account of being fired from Calvin Seminary by Neal Plantinga, Duane Kelderman, and Henry DeMoor.

    it made me sick.

    i truly hope for justice for you, and restitution in multiple forms. i hope for long overdue accountability for these bullies in christian-leader-costumes.
    (ha — i can think of a number of “christian leader” costumes. perfect for an adult halloween party!

    specific hair and hypocritical permasmiles feature in all of them. Here are three varieties:

    –skinny jeans & tight t-shirt, converse, bicep & forearm tatoos, and hair ratted and gelled upward;

    –dockers, polo shirt, nondescript shoes, and bald head;

    –fat suit, dark suit & tie, fancy shoes, and thinning hair carefully parted on the side.)
    anyone going to an adult halloween party this year? i got your costume right here!)

  21. elastigirl: “christian leader” costumes … three varieties …

    Oh Lord, elastigirl, I’ve experience “pastors” in all three categories. What a mess we’ve made of the organized church! My father once told me never to trust a preacher who dyed his hair black, unbuttoned the top 3 buttons of his shirt, and wore a gold choker-chain. (more suggestions for a Halloween preacher costume)

  22. Comment from Dee to those interested in starting blogs.

    I will be leaving for Greece and Turkey in a couple of weeks for about 11 days. We are doing the *In the Footsteps of Paul” tour with our christian medical/dental group. For those worried about the pugs, my extended family will be living in the house with them while Im gone.

    So, let’s handle it this way. If you are interested, send me your contact information in an email. When I get back, I’ll give you all a call and see what you are thinking. From there, I will arrange a group call and we can talk about various issues and ways to communicate in the future.

    In the meantime, take a look at the WordPress templates and choose what you like unless you are a genius geek and would like to build from scratch. if so, I applaud you. I am not one. When we talk, we can also discuss legal concerns, insurance coverage, etc.

    Also, think about what you want to write about. Do you want to do what I do which is to focal on abuse along with some current issues. I like to discuss legalities as well such as church membership and covenants/contracts.

    How frequently would you like to post is another biggie. Whatever you decide (and it is your decision) you meed to stick to what you tell your audience from Day 1. So, if you choose to do 2 days a week, tell them which days and always keep to that schedule.

    Look at me as a free coach sharing my experiences with you. I am also your cheerleader and may even be available to do free advertisement!! I do not plan to control you whatsoever.

    Another thing to consider is your interest in me sending you some stories or even occasionally, a victim’s story. Do you want to do that or not?

  23. Akia,

    Akia! I really want you to consider this. You have a unique insight and there are some folks I would like you to speak with. Some women would really like to see a blog designed to attract a group of women who have been abused. I will try to contact you soon to discuss your unique giftedness.

  24. elastigirl:
    ok — so, since we’re just talking, what’s the first step?

    what websites can you use to make a blog?

    are some better than others?offer better features?more user-friendly?

    (whoever has knowledge)

    I definitely agree you should use WordPress.

    If you have some computer savvy and want to keep it cheap, DigitalOcean’s virtual servers are the way to go. They are $5 a month. You create a “droplet” server, click on the Marketplace tab when setting it up and choose the wordpress option. You have to go in the console and finish the setup process, but there are tutorials on Youtube. This is a pretty good tutorial: https://youtu.be/FuIw3rx83EM Or you can message me on Twitter and I will try to walk you through it via messaging.

    For a domain, Google Domains are really easy to manage and all $12 a year. The domain takes 2 days to propagate, so I would grab that first and set up the DigitalOcean droplet after 48 hours, as that process requires a domain already setup.

  25. I should add that Blogspot is pretty good if you want to host it for free, but WordPress.com can be a lot more strict about content. If someone complains about you on any hosted provider, you may lose your blog, so for this kind of thing, hosting it yourself is definitely a better idea.

  26. You can use a WordPress format and host on other sites. I’ve never had any interference for WordPress even though I post on some difficult and descriptive topics.

  27. dee,

    I meant specifically hosting on their site wordpress.com. They are known for deleting blogs that are complained about. They can’t do anything if it’s hosted elsewhere.

  28. A younger, healthier Max would consider such a thing. As it now is, this old guy will just continue to comment on the blogs of others, providing wit and wisdom as long as I can remember how to get to my keyboard and discern who the enemies of the Cross are.

  29. I’m too depressed and fragile to blog. (Bleeping perimenopause! Yes, my depression/anxiety came back with a vengeance after a week. Trazodone fix for that was only temporary, but at least I’m finally getting some sleep.)

    However, for those of you who are nerds who might like to write blog posts using Markdown, I am the author/maintainer of a somewhat popular free and open source editor. You can copy/paste your Markdown straight to HTML to paste into WordPress.

    Here it is: http://wereturtle.github.io/ghostwriter/

    Just doing what I can to help, though probably nobody here is a nerd like me who would want to write in Markdown. Haha!

  30. Nick Bulbeck: I started a blog a few years ago, but it was rubbish and I deleted it.

    Don’t feel bad Nick.
    Mine (blog) would have been a sheep of height.

  31. Clockwork Angel: However, for those of you who are nerds who might like to write blog posts using Markdown, I am the author/maintainer of a somewhat popular free and open source editor.

    Aw, I LOVE Ghostwriter! Thank you from a fan! (I’ve written 11 books now, and many of them using Ghostwriter). I always recommend it during Nanowrimo.

  32. Luckyforward,

    I would read a blog that addressed these issues. Many Christians today think “give your anxiety, problem etc to Jesus and trust Him” will take care of it. Many times therapy, medication etc. is needed. Our bodies are broken in this sinful world and need this assistance.

  33. ishy: Aw, I LOVE Ghostwriter! Thank you from a fan! (I’ve written 11 books now, and many of them using Ghostwriter). I always recommend it during Nanowrimo.

    Holy cow! Awesome! It really blesses me when I see people blessed with it. I know that the guy who does the Pepper & Carrot comic uses it to make his scripts before drawing. That makes me happy. Any books of yours you’d like to share? What genre? I could use a good book to read. 🙂

    I miss writing…. I hope I get well soon. Looks like Nanowrimo will pass me by again this year. Just looking at ghostwriter’s issue tracker makes me want to cringe. Don’t people understand that I’m sick and maybe even want to have a life and do my own writing? Haha. (My favorite thing from the issue tracker: When they disguise a feature request as a “bug” to fix.)

  34. Clockwork Angel: Any books of yours you’d like to share? What genre?

    I write outlandish YA adventure mostly to entertain myself during Nanowrimo, but you can find a couple of my books on Amazon under Lynn Blackmar.

  35. Luckyforward,

    I would absolutely read this. I am no longer a Christian, but mental health is a priority concern of mine, mainly because I struggle with PTSD.

  36. Just to clarify. Google does NOT publicly talk about what gives you a better ranking except in very vague terms. They will also vaguely talk about what gives you a bad ranking.

    So there is a lot of speculation (wile guessing) about what can be done to improve rankings. Some firms who study and experiment a lot in this area are more than willing to take large sums of money to help sites with this.

    But in general:

    The domain name has little do to with a ranking these days unless it is a major brand or no no word. It might have in the past but all the easy names are taken. (Also stick with .com or just maybe .net/.org. Please please please. Other suffixes are the source of so much SPAM you’re starting your turn at the plate with 2 strikes.

    Getting your site hooked into Google Analytics (and the equivalent with other search engines) will get Google to visit your site at least once a day which means current information is in their search system which helps a lot.

    Getting other sites to link to you “organically” is a good thing. And may be the best thing. This means that being listed on a site that Google and others consider to be a link farm will get you down ranked. Being listed in a web article from a “major” news outlet will get you rated higher.

    It is NOT a science as some marketing firms would have you believe.

    And personally I think hosting at wordpress.com is a bad idea. I can go into it off line if anyone wants to ask why. But this is a personal opinion.

  37. Dee,
    My immediate thought was YES! However, I’m not sure I’m the right person for it. I struggle with anxiety and PTSD. Plus, I left the faith after all that happened to me. I think that might make me less credible; it might look as if I’m an unbeliever trying to discredit the church, and that might damage the stories being told. However I’d be happy to do proof reading, or tell my own story if anyone is interested. I’m happy for you to email me if any of that is helpful.

  38. Hi everyone,

    You may recall that my story was featured on this blog on 12/31/18. I have started my own blog, tenthpresbyterianchurch.com Currently, the church has filed a preliminary emergency injunction against me to stop me from coming within 1,000 feet of the church. In addition to everything they said in their last injunction, they are saying I am mentally ill, delusional, and fit the profile of a mass shooter. My civil rights lawyers are costing me one quarter of my annual income, which is putting severe stress on my marriage, so I would appreciate any donations to my gofundme site. Search for free speech in Philadelphia.

  39. ishy,

    Now I understand why you were able to go into detail about the publishing world inside the Evangelical Industrial Complex, here on TWW in past blog post.

  40. Brian:
    Now I understand why you were able to go into detail about the publishing world inside the Evangelical Industrial Complex, here on TWW in past blog post.

    That came more from working at one of the mission agencies. I edited and designed some of the books.

  41. I do plan to resurrect surviving.church, and am gradually shifting gracealexwatch.org towards more general church abuse topics.

    Also very glad to help other bloggers! Dee knows how to get in touch if I can help.

  42. Philip Snyder,

    Phil is a good guy, and I am happy to support his efforts. Additionally, efforts by Tenth Presbyterian to shut him down sound remarkably like the antics of my former rector, Bob Malm, which is troubling. If abusive clergy can shut down public criticism by falsely claiming they are threatened, we are all doomed.

  43. Dee,

    Sorry, Dee. I just saw this.

    Use my Gmail one, which is the same as the email that I use here just @gmail instead.

    If this wasn’t public I would just type it out. Haha. I hope this makes sense.