Dee's Blog
www.takecourage.org
Wed 02/11/2009
Focusing on Podcasts

Some have written out of concern that I am either ill or abandoning my ministry of education and support to those who are wrestling with the questions of collusion with sexual and domestic abuse.

I want to assure you that neither is the case.  I simply have felt the need to use my time more efficiently and to focus on other avenues of this ministry. 

Much of my focus has been on preparing podcasts for the use of www.advocateweb.org  that will be available to visitors on that site.  All of these can be found at http://www.takecourage.org/podcasts.htm   You'll also find each of these individual podcasts referred to at various locations throughout the site.  However, ALL podcasts can be accessed at http://www.takecourage.org/podcasts.htm

If you find any of these helpful, I'd like to know.  And I want to continue hearing from any visitor to the site who wishes to write.  I remain committed and hope you will take time to explore the topics that are found on this blog already.  Each one is as timely as the day it was written. 


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:29 PM CST
Fri 01/02/2009
Accessing Entries

The blog entries are organized by topic.  They can be accessed through the links at the right.  Regardless of the date of each entry, I trust that you will find them just as applicable to your needs today as they have ever been.

If you have questions about anything on this blog or on anything you find at www.takecourage.org , please do not hesitate to let me know.  I will answer as promptly as possible.

Dee Ann Miller

writerdee@cox.net


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Thu 01/01/2009
A New Year with New Aspirations
Topic: Making Changes

Happy New Year to all of you!   I hope you are looking forward more than you are looking backward, as you anticipate a new year. 

As the song says, "time keeps slipping into the future." 

I hope that I am able to make a ton of positive changes in 2009, in the "story" that living this life allows me to "write."  I also hope that I have many more years to make a difference in the lives of the people I meet. 

After twenty years of advocacy writing, I'm making a major shift this year.  Always with the option of shifting back as my heart leads me. 

What I have written about collusion, as well as all the other topics that I've touched on, through this website and through books and publications, is out there.  The written word continues to do it's on work and have a life of it's own.  That's the beauty of it.

For me, the greatest part about writing is having the opportunity to connect with readers.  That's something I plan to continue doing, as I hear from people with specific questions or needs.

My mission in life has not changed.  It has only changed focus throughout my adult life.  Always seeking to give of myself in whatever I do, as an expression of my faith, my spirituality, my sklls, and belief system--all of them constantly evolving.

I am not closing this blog today.  However, with this entry, I am taking a break in order to explore some other avenues of reaching out and personal development. 

As I will explain again tomorrow, in a much briefer note:  The blog entries can always be accessed by topics (found on this page), and I hope that you and other readers will return to review each topic as it fits your needs.

Please feel free--each of you--to drop me a line.  I will do my best to answer, as always, as quickly as possible, while returning to my focus of responding with the most urgency to new contacts. 

If you wish to be informed, when and if I resume the almost daily entries, please drop me an e-mail.

Thank you for walking with me this far.  I wish you the best as you seek to develop companionships on your individual journey.  Please embrace that journey, wherever it leads you.   Remember that I am there in spirit and interested to hear from you.

 


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 4:09 PM CST
Mon 12/29/2008
Out of the Mouth of a Grandchild
Topic: Aliens

Sometimes discrimination just sticks out like a sore thumb.

Other times, we adults see differences and find ourselves feeling very awkward as we try to show sensitivity to someone who has an obvious burden or handicap.  

Little children can be so good at accepting differences.  I suppose it's because they haven't had a lot of time to practice rationalizations that allow them to feel separated from people with differences.  In fact, they have a way of seeing "handicaps" in a different light altogether.

Like all of our grandchildren, 4-year-old Kellyn has never seen her grandfather walking without a serious limp, caused by a severe spinal injury 45 years ago.  In fact, I suspect that one thing children adore most about him is that this limitation never allows him to get ahead of them.

Tonight as Kellyn and her sister made their way upstairs at bedtime, I didn't pay much attention to Kellyn's waddling side to side, until she proudly announced:  "I'm trying to learn to walk like Papa!" 

Oh, that we could have such a perspective about so many things that set others apart!


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:24 PM CST
Updated: Mon 12/29/2008 8:26 PM CST
Thu 12/25/2008
A New Carol
Topic: Christmas

Sojourners magazine (www.sojo.net) calls it a subversive carol.  They invite us to all sing it this year.  I just sung every word.  Living it will be much harder, but I'm working on it as I'm trying to re-imagine Christmas in some new ways this year.  I think you'll know, as soon as you read the first two lines, what tune to bellow out.

May you have a very merry christmas and a peace and justice new year, as well--all year long!

Have Yourself a Peace and Justice Christmas

Have yourself a peace and justice Christmas,
Set your heart a-right.
Flee the malls and focus on Christ’s guiding light.

Have yourself a peace and justice Christmas,
Give your time a way.
Share God’s love, And serve “the least of these” today.

Here we are, as we pray for peace,
We’ll live simply and give more.
We care for those far and near to us,
Which brings cheer to us, once more.

God brings down
The haughty from high places,
And lifts up the low.
God cares for the hungry and the humble, so –
Forget the stress and let the peace and justice flow!


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Wed 12/24/2008
Time to Connect
Topic: Christmas

Many victims of violence say that they feel disconnected from the world, as if they no longer belong.  Christmas offers us a time to connect in some ways we may have forgotten, through meaningful traditions that have not been ruined by the actions of others.

May you focus this week on the ways that remain and the people who are still strong in your life, rather the ones who may have brought sorrow or, through their actions, have robbed you of a sense of well-being.

More importantly, may we all find ways to connect and be compassionate toward those whom we may have harmed.  Especially those that we have unknowingly harmed through omissions.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Tue 12/23/2008
Healing Shame
Topic: Shame

The church is responsible for finding it's own healing from shame.  It will only come when it is able to separate it's own collective guilt from shame--same as every individual among us. 

What better time to allow this process to begin than at Christmas. 

As the words from the carol "Let All Moral Flesh" say:

"Christ our God to earth descendeth," Note that this is on-going, not exclusively past nor future.  Always giving us new opportunity.

 


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Mon 12/22/2008
Arrogancy
Topic: Shame

Sometimes when I'm feeling threatened or shamed, I can so easily fall into the ditch of arrogancy.  Same as people of institutional power.  Isn't it odd how the powerless and the powerful can so easily fall into the same ditch?  The powerful, hiding their immense shame with denial, while fearing they will lose power if they admit to having it.  The powerless (or less powerful, actually) fearing shame at being beaten down further.

Recognizing this in others, we can smile inwardly.   If both parties could simply be honest enough to talk about the things that unite us all--shame and insecurity, for whatever reason--then, and only then, is there a hope for real change. 

Perhaps that was what Christ was trying to say to us all.  That's the Joy that can come from the dark night--if only we all stop trying to be perfect, stop expecting others to be, accepting the fact that we can only work for things to get better.  Thereby, acting with true compassion. 


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Sun 12/21/2008
Time to Stop Being Cool
Topic: Shame

Today in Iowa, we aren't cool.  We are downright cold, with several inches of ice under our feet and snow on top of it!

That's not the kind of cool that endangers us if we are trying to live an authentic life, a life where we are emotionally honest and not ashamed to say how we feel.

Society doesn't encourage authenticity.  Western cultures encourage us to be "cool."

Being "cool" in the church isn't the same as being "cool" in our culture.  Yet either kind of "cool" is a killer.  To authenticity, that is.

Shame resiliency means that I am confident, rather than easily shamed by people who need for me to fit into the belief system or feelings of everyone else.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Fri 12/19/2008

Topic: Christmas
This story came in No. 6 for TIME magazine's list of under-reported stories in 2008.  Just behind several stories of international atrocities or major goof's!  The Southern Baptist Convention may not be as thrilled to see it as I am--chances are it will find a way not to notice that they made the list because of the data-base rejection instead of the Convention's pledge to somehow rid itself of child predators.
To me, it feels like an odd gift, considering how long I've been writing about the problem of collusion, while working mostly behind the scenes, knowing that there is no real hope unless people in any system are willing to do the honest, heart work that is a pre-requisite to the reduction of denial and defensiveness. 
My contention has always been that, without an independent review board (a whole other issue that will repeatedly be rejected faster than the data-base), even the data-base would be virtually worthless.  Most Baptists still don't want to believe, as Presbyterians have recently recognized, that collusion will be profound whenver the decisions are left to those who are leaders inside the system!  That opinion just comes from nearly a lifetime of experience, living inside the system, and having experienced the power of the belief system that is impossible to penetrate.
In fact, when Christa Brown told me a couple of years ago of her plans to push this idea, I suggested that it would be a waste of time because there was no hope of getting this accomplished.  I told her she would just be setting herself up for devastating disappointment.  When the SBC decided to set up a committee to study the possibility, I feared that the renewed hope of Brown and many other survivors was just going to be dashed against the rocks of despair, as they fell further into hopelessness, under the power of the denomination. 
In a way, I was correct in that prediction--pursuing it was a "failure" so far as getting the SBC to choose safety over protection of the patriarchal power that is preserved by doing nothing.  Yet Christa's incredible hope kept her going so that she was successful in bringing about an outcome that illuminates the problem.  Even if the system seems impossible to penetrate, the outside world, at least, recognizes the problem. 
Ironically, because the press has helped to bring this story forward, churches are going to be less likely to have the opportunity to even be informed.  Some survivors will be able to go to the police, where they may find support and credibility.  Yet many more are less likely to waste their time and energy in hoping to be heard by a system that is impotent in offering real protection.  They will figure out the sad truth that the only hope for spiritual recovery may be to go elsewhere or to leave organized religion entirely and seek other sources for spiritual renewal.   The only other hope will be the small number who can somehow find a way through the legal loopholes, individually or collectively, to speak through the courts or the press.  So, ironically, the only hope of being heard will result in alienating most people within the system that has sworn to offer protection! 
Yet, with the speaking, some may see a grain of hope for change in a system so resistant and impotent?  Time will tell--both TIME magazine and the time it takes for the historic unfolding of a story that is far from finished!
So here we are, at the end of 2008, with the Good Lord once again showing a sense of humor through this Time Magazine recognition of the arrogant and naive refusal of a group that still believes that someday churches can be trusted to govern themselves in matters for which they have absolutely no expertise, a matter that doesn't just put their financial books at risk, but the far more important treasures--the hearts and souls of vulnerable people.  Along with the reputation of the Convention.
Of course, if those souls can be silenced and easily coaxed into just going away quietly, then who really cares?

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Thu 12/18/2008 11:57 AM CST

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