Diane Langberg is advocating for abuse victims, but… (pt 3 of series on SBC’s ChurchCares program)
I know many victims and victim-advocates have found Diane Langberg’s work valuable. In her counseling, public speaking and writing she is raising awareness about abuse. She is reaching conservative leaders and she’s trained many counselors and church-goers about how to identify and respond to abuse, trauma and narcissistic leadership.
Diane is one of the training team for Church Cares which is the video training which the SBC will be putting out soon. (See part 1 of this series for a description of Church Cares.)
I am grateful for the positive influence Diane is having. At the same time, I do see some things about her work that I believe she could change to make it even better.
Last year I briefly tweeted some of my concerns about the ways Diane sometimes words things. I got instant heavy push-back from other advocates and victims. It was like I’d poked an ‘untouchable’. People told me I was wrong. They told me I was arrogant. Some of them told me I should take my concern to Diane privately; so I did. I wrote Diane an email, telling her, with example quotes from her published materials, what I thought was good about her work, and what I thought was problematic but could easily be improved by her changing her wording a bit.
I have had occasional email contact with Diane over the years, so I sent her a brief email first, checking to see if she was willing for me to send her my feedback and asking her which email address of hers was the best one to use. She replied promptly saying she was willing for me to send my feedback and told me which email address to use.
So I sent her my long email with the feedback. She never responded. She did not even acknowledge that she had received it.
So much for me giving her my feedback privately.
I decided to sit with my disappointment and do nothing. But when I saw Diane had been appointed to the Church Cares team and then I saw Phil Monroe (a colleague of Diane’s) recommending her blog post Recommendations for Churches Dealing With Abuse, I decided to read her post.
And what I saw in that post of hers was what I’d seen before: quite a lot of good points, but some language and phraseology concerned me. So I submitted two comments to her post. Diane has not (yet) published my comments at her blog. Shall I conclude that she is blocking her ears to me? It certainly seems so. This is disappointing since I only want to help her improve what she is doing so she can be an even more effective advocate.
You may take the view that I’m arrogant and conceited to think I can see faults in Diane’s work and suggest how she could improve it. But is there some kind of elite class of advocates who are untouchable and others who are ‘lesser’ and can be disregarded? (especially when they’ve touched the untouchables?)
I can only ask you to keep an open mind. Please read Diane’s blog post, then read the two comments I submitted to it which are in the screen shots below. Evaluate the evidence for yourself and see if you think my concerns are valid.
To help you evaluate the evidence, I’ll give you again the table which I’ve been using in the series.
Read Diane’s post here: Recommendations for Churches Dealing with Abuse
Then read my two comments. They initial two screen shots show my first comment. The last two screen shots show my second comment. —
For more on Don Hennessy see my Don Hennessy Digest
Other parts of this 5-part series on the ChurchCares teaching team: