Protect Your Noggin

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PLANNED RELEASE DATE FOR VOLUME 1: December, 2019.

Protect Your Noggin is an upcoming series of book studies for individuals, small groups, and families to develop intellectual skills and personal confidence to resist various forms of religious and relationship manipulation and abuse.

The author, Jeff Mallinson, has served as a church worker and professor for more than two decades, and applies his understanding of young adult concerns to this important but surprisingly life-giving process of reflection, healing, and growth.

Proposed Volumes:

  1. Jesus

  2. Solomon (including Proverbs and Ecclesiastes)

  3. St. Augustine

  4. Julian of Norwich

  5. Martin Luther

  6. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Requests are appreciated. Non-Christian teachers such as Eastern and Greek philosophers and contemporary thinkers will be considered for future cycles as well.

PREVIEW

If you would like to pre-order volume one, or if you would like to participate in a trial study to help us get the curriculum dialed in through student evaluation and feedback, you can get in touch by emailing taosurfers@gmail.com.

THE BACKSTORY

Throughout his more than two decades of teaching young people, Dr. Mallinson has come to realize that we humans have a hard time staying out manipulative relationships, whether they be religious, relational, or financial. It would be humorous if it didn’t lead to such traumatizing consequences. In the face of story after story of various forms of religious abuse—and in a wide array of religious contexts—it became clear that people of good will need to come together and help put an end to whatever has led to the traumatizing of generation after generation by people who misuse their power and authority.

There are lawyers who have helped prosecute, journalists who have helped expose, advocates who have helped keep the light shining on, and therapists who have helped heal from abusive systems. But what about prevention? Background checks and institutional policies are of course important, but Mallinson believes that we need to rethink the way we educate people in religious communities.

Mallinson has been a guest on countless radio shows and podcasts, and was the Co-Host for the popular religion and culture podcast  Virtue in the Wasteland , which ran for nearly 6 years.

Mallinson has been a guest on countless radio shows and podcasts, and was the Co-Host for the popular religion and culture podcast Virtue in the Wasteland, which ran for nearly 6 years.

Simply put: if we teach people the “truth” in authoritarian ways, they may have the right set of beliefs but will be vulnerable to other forms of authoritarian manipulation. But if we teach people to believe what they think they should believe, we will better cultivate empowered and healthy individuals.

Jeff plans to spend the next several years producing curriculum that will ask profound questions for discussion and reflection. By looking to the liberating teachings from major theological, philosophical, and theological teachers, these studies will equip people of all ages to become confident, spiritually-mature members of their communities. The hope is that this will lead to a new way of teaching and living within various traditions … a way that is less enslaving and thoroughly emancipating.

He and his wife Stacie have both witnessed and also experienced forms of religious abuse, legalism, and malpractice. Jeff first decided to study theology after he ran away from a weird fundamentalist elementary school that whacked kids with a little cricket bat when they misbehaved. Later in high school, he composed a research report to his church, arguing against participating in the educational conferences of Bill Gothard who was subsequently accused of multiple instances of inappropriate behavior. Over the years, Jeff and Stacie have discretely helped individuals get out of cults and have helped students find peace and confidence after leaving unhealthy situations. This isn’t about therapy—which is incredibly important but is not Mallinson’s training—but about intellectual and spiritual maturity, which arguably is, given his graduate work in religious epistemology and experiences within religious education.