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RESOURCES

Here are a few resources I've found helpful along my own journey toward healing and wholeness.

Books

Here are some books that I've found helpful presented in no particular order. While some speak directly to spiritual abuse and trauma, others do not. All have been incredibly helpful or instructive to me in some way. Not all are easy reads, but have added to my understanding of spiritual abuse, trauma, and healing.

Click the book cover to find on Bookshop.org, or the button to find on Amazon.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon and Bookshop Associate, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Spiritual Abuse & Religious Trauma

The Lord Is My Courage

KJ Ramsey

This book started my journey toward healing. KJ offers a trauma-informed journey through each word of Psalm 23. 

Get it on Amazon
The Soul of Desire

Curt Thompson, MD

We are made to be seen, soothed, safe, and secure. We are created to recognize and create beauty. We are created to be in community. Read Dr. Thompson's masterful work guiding you through each realization and how to get there. 

Get it on Amazon
The Deepest Place

Curt Thompson, M.D.

Using Romans 5:1‚Äď5 as a framework, Dr. Thompson presents a theology of suffering as a path toward healing and beauty through the compassionate care of community.

Get it on Amazon
Something's Not Right

Wade Mullen

When you can tell something doesn't feel right but don't know how to name or identify it, Mullen offers a way to help you to identify and describe tactics that were previously unidentifiable and indescribable, and give you the language you need to move toward freedom and create a safer future for yourself and others.

get it on Amazon
Try Softer

Aundi Kolber

Can't recommend this enough. What if instead of white-knuckling our way through life and always trying harder, we choose to try softer?

A trauma-informed therapist, Kolber presents a clear explanation of how our bodies and minds are connected, how trauma affects our "window of tolerance," and how to recognize and respond to our world. 

Get it on Amazon
A Church Called TOV

Scot McKnight & Laura Barringer

There is hope for the church, and Scot and Laura share their vision of it. They offer an honest look at the state of the church today in the wake of allegations and scandals and the case for a more biblical and goodness-filled church.

Get it on Amazon
PIVOT

Scot McKnight & Laura Barringer

Where TOV offers a vision for a church culture of goodness, PIVOT offers the practical steps. Through deep, meaningful questions for reflection and a long view of cultural transformation, PIVOT provides direction for cultivating the culture.

Get it on Amazon
Redeeming Power

Diane Langberg

Langberg offers a clinical and theological framework for understanding how power operates, the effects of the abuse of power, and how power can be redeemed and restored to its proper God-given place in relationships and institutions.

Get it on Amazon
When Narcissism Comes to Church 

Chuck DeGroat

An excellent and thorough look at the root of narcissism. DeGroat offers an empathetic take on narcissists while not excusing their behavior, and presents nine different faces of narcissists in churches.

Get it on Amazon
The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse 

David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen

This might be the first book I read on the topic. While written in the 1990s, it feels like it could have been written this year.

Get it on Amazon
Trauma in the Pews

Dr. Janyne McConnaughey

Sharing from her personal story and experience, McConnaughey walks through a trauma-informed approach to Richard Foster's spiritual practices and disciplines.

Get it on Amazon
Cultish

Amanda Montell

A fascinating and well-laid-out look at how language is often a defining factor of cults and cult-ish organizations. From Jonestown to churches to MLMs and CrossFit, Montell breaks down common factors and red flags for us.

Get it on Amazon
Bully Pulpit

Michael J Kruger

A unique perspective for both church leaders and church members on the problem of spiritual abuse, how to spot it, and how to handle it in the church.

Get it on Amazon
Prey Tell

Tiffany Bluhm

Exploring the complex dynamics of power and abuse in systems, Tiffany tells stories of how women have overcome silence to expose the truth about their ministry and professional leaders--and the backlash they so often face. In so doing, she empowers others to speak up against abuses of power.

Get it on Amazon
Why Am I Like This?

Kobe Campbell

A seminary-trained, licensed trauma therapist helps us understand why it’s so hard to break these patterns as she offers us a deeper understanding of how our past shapes our present.

Get it on Amazon
When Religion Hurts You

Dr. Laura Anderson

Drawing from her own life and therapy practice, she helps readers understand what religious trauma is and isn't, and how high-control churches can be harmful and abusive.

Recognizing that healing is a lifelong rather than a linear process, she offers markers of healing and hope for finding wholeness after religious trauma.

Get it on Amazon
Attached to God

Krispin Mayfield

Our ability to process trauma is directly tied to our healthy attachments in childhood. Mayfield offers an understanding of attachment theory and how it affects our view of and relationship to God.

Get it on Amazon
When to Walk Away 

Gary Thomas

In the gospels, Jesus doesn't always move to reconcile. In fact, he walks away from others 41 times in the gospels. Some distracted him from his mission, others were toxic, and at times he simply needed renewal and rest. This book provides an excellent guide on drawing boundaries and learning to find freedom from toxic people.

Get it on Amazon
Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse

Dr. Lisa Oakley & Justin Humphreys

Written with a view from the UK, this offers a researched and well-surveyed approach to recognizing the symptoms and effects of spiritual abuse, along with principles for healthier cultures.

Get it on Amazon
The Body Keeps the Score

Bessel van der Kolk

I actually don't recommend this for most. As van der Kolk provides a thorough and detailed look at trauma and how it affects the brain and body, it can be triggering for many. However, he provides an amazing look at how and why trauma affects us the way it does, along with many modalities and methods for processing that trauma.

Get it on Amazon

Church History & Culture

Jesus and John Wayne

Kristin Kobes du Mez

For those wondering "how did we get here", Du Mez presents a sweeping history and clear picture of the last 75 years of white evangelicalism. Follow her clear picture of how the American church progressed from Billy Graham and John Wayne to VeggieTales and Donald Trump.

Get it on Amazon
American Idolatry

Andrew Whitehead

A leading scholar on Christian nationalism, Whitehead offers his take on how the three idols of power, fear, and violence have corrupted American Christianity.

Get it on Amazon
Tell Her Story

Nijay Gupta

Women were there. Gupta provides carefully researched evidence from scripture and contextual historical documents that women were actively involved in ministry, at the frontier of the gospel mission, and respected church leaders.

Get it on Amazon
Strange Religion

Nijay Gupta

Covering topics like a cultural view of the gods, keeping household idols, early worship and religious hierarchy, Gupta provides us with an incredible and immersive view of Roman life and its cultural religious practices with clear contrasts on just how different and countercultural the first Christians were.

Get it on Amazon
Orphaned Believers

Sara Billups

Having grown up in the evangelical church in the 80s and 90s, Billups offers a disentangling from the culture wars of the American church and offers a different way forward.

Get it on Amazon
An Untidy Faith

Kate Boyd

A gentle companion, Kate Boyd walks alongside those who have questions but can’t ask them for fear of being labeled by or cast out of their communities. An Untidy Faith is a guidebook for those who want to be equipped with practices to rebuild their faith and shape their communities to look more like Jesus.

Get it on Amazon

Miscellaneous Topics

As Long As You Need

J.S. Park

A masterclass on the many expressions of grief and the gracious permission to take as much space and time to honor our losses and memories.

Get it on Amazon
Liminal

Mike Brown

When you feel stuck in the already-but-not-yet of not where you've been and not yet where you're going, you're in liminal space. Brown guides you through that space with grace, compassion, and understanding.

Get it on Amazon
Right Here, Right Now

Amy Oden

A simple yet profound look at how mindfulness has been part of the Christian faith tradition since its beginning and how it has been practiced throughout the years. Oden presents practical ways to wake up to the present moment and offers step by step instruction on practicing mindfulness.

Get it on Amazon
Joy in Our Weakness

Marva Dawn

More than a study or commentary on the book of Revelation, Dawn provides a theology of suffering. She offers a different perspective on living with chronic illness or pain as something to be lived with and through, and not prayed away.

Get it on Amazon
Life of the Beloved

Henri Nouwen

An invitation to acknowledge our brokenness and awaken to our unchangeable identity as God's Beloved, this classic explains the spiritual life in simple terms.

Get it on Amazon

Instagram accounts

Here are some Instagram accounts I've found helpful in no particular order. Click on a name or handle to see the account.

Broken to Beloved

@brokentobeloved

You're following us, right?

KJ Ramsey

@kjramseywrites

Author (The Lord Is My Courage) and trauma-informed therapist. Thoughtful poetry, prose, and lots of beauty.

Jess Fadel

@jessicalfadel

Writer, listener, creator. Sunday prayers and writing for you.

Justin McRoberts

@justinmcroberts

Writer, author (Sacred Strides). Typewriter prose.

Kate Boyd

@kateboyd.co

Author (An Untidy Faith), Bible teacher, safe place for honest conversations about reading and interpreting the Bible.

Unraveling Free

@unravelingfree

Mental health services centering on deconstruction, religious trauma, and purity culture.

Benjamin Cremer

@brcremer

Pastor, writer.

Janyne McConnaughey

@drjanynemc

Author (Trauma in the Pews) and advocate for those healing from trauma.

JS Park

@jspark3000

Chaplain, author (The Voices We Carry).

Ryan Ramsey

@rramseywrites

Chaplain, advocate, and writer.

Erin Hung

@erinhung_studio

Artist and advocate.

Jenai Auman

@jenaiauman

Author and advocate for the othered.

Katherine Spearing

@katherinespearing

Artist and advocate.

Pricelis Dominguez

@pricelispd

Coach, author, advocate for the Body of Christ to live whole.

Aundi Kolber

@aundikolber

Trauma therapist, author (Try Softer & Strong Like Water). Solid gold.

Krispin Mayfield

@krispinmayfield

Trauma therapist, author (Attached to God).

Diane Langberg

@diane.langberg

Psychologist, trauma expert, author, speaker.

Chuck DeGroat

@chuckdegroat

Professor, therapist, author (When Narcissism Comes to Church).

David Gate

@davidgatepoet

Poet, writer.