The Newsletter of IBTM
with Douglas Jacoby

Greetings from Bare, England

It’s been a wild week in more ways than one, beginning with 80-100 mph (130-160 kph) wind gusts. Umbrellas were unusable, trees came down, flooding was common, the wind whistled, and the rain noisily pounded on our roof. Much of Europe was in chaos with the winter storm. And we thought Scotland (our previous country) was gusty!

It’s also been a whirlwind of lesson production. Vicki and I finished recording 31 talks in On Location with Jesus (log in required). We learned a lot poring over the gospels, coordinating the events and geography as best we could, and drawing spiritual applications as we pondered the places where Jesus ministered. We hope you’ll take advantage of our new material, a month’s work of devotional lessons.

The next “conversation,” on money matters, is now ready (login required). The next will be on the topic of authority—exactly how much authority or control do ministers, small group leaders, and others have, biblically? The European School of Missions just completed its third live session (Worldviews). It’s a pleasure to assist in the training of young men and women all over Western and Central Europe.

Besides teaching and recording, it’s also healthy to sit at the feet of others. I first learned of this week’s Broken to Beloved Summit through the ministry of Scot McKnight, and share some of the thoughts that spoke to me—although as of the time of this bulletin, only one of the four days of the summit has concluded.

Vicki is currently in the States; the dog and I are holding down the fort here. (Actually, there is no fort, although there is a 1000-year-old castle three miles from here.)

This weekend I’ll be speaking in Bolton (outside Manchester), in addition to the regular online communion service, and the following weekend in another Manchester-area house church.

Bare, our town, is just over an hour from Manchester—England’s third biggest city, after London and Birmingham. Photo: Bare Village, about 1890 [the Wentworth Collection]


Vicki and I have recorded another conversation, the 14th in the series. This is accessible to all our website members. Due to the sensitive nature of the discussion, member logon is required for this particular episode.

Some things we ask:

  • Should congregations be more transparent as to where the donations go?
  • Do we give to God, or “to the church”?
  • Should members feel pressure to give?
  • Is institutional church really authentic?
  • Are house churches actually non-churches?

To hear the latest discussion, Big Church, Small Church, & Money, please log in at the Conversations page, then scroll down.


Have you experienced hurt, abuse, or trauma at the hands of the church or its leadership? Do you want to stop feeling hurt, isolated, alone, or even crazy? Do you want to learn to give language to your pain and hurt? To discover a path through the pain to healing and wholeness? Are you looking for a community of people who will hear and understand you?

Learn how to manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule with the Broken to Beloved Summit! Those are the words of invitation to the 2024 Broken to Beloved Summit.

The summit started yesterday, 23 January. I listened to all of yesterday’s talks (and plan to do the same today):

  • Chuck DeGroat: When Narcissism Comes to Church
  • Geoff & Cyd Holsclaw: Quieting An Anxious and Avoidant Faith
  • Heather Gargis: Reclaiming My Body’s Power
  • Steve Cuss: Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs
  • Dr. Laura Anderson: When Religion Hurts You
  • Nikki G: Religious Trauma and the Black Community

Broken to BelovedSome points I found helpful:
(from yesterday’s roster of speakers): *** There are different types of narcissism, some subtler than others, which not infrequently manifest in church leaders. Narcissism is born of shame. *** Not all church hurt is abuse, although all hurts require time to heal. *** We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us when they’re responding to unhealthy church pressure. *** Religious trauma can be more complicated in black churches, given the key role church has historically played in the areas of spiritual identity, education, the arts, and community life. *** Children go into protection mode or connection mode as they learn early to navigate the home environment—which in some cases may be a jungle, desert, or war zone. Adaptive behaviors continuing into adulthood are not necessarily sinful. People can change. *** Leaders need to be alert to anxiety in four “spaces”: inside us, between us and others, inside others, and between us and others. All the men and women I heard were qualified, relatable, and gracious.

[Later] note: The first 6 talks (day 1) are all excellent. Day 3 talks are also practical, solid. I esp. loved the final talk. Day 4—similar. Most of the talks of day 2, however, are edgily liberal and borderline postmodern. Impressions: church attendance is optional; LGBTQ+ is fine; "deconstruction" requires no controls. The Day 2 exception, for me, was Emily Anderson’s presentation, which I thought exceptional.

Note that the Tuesday (23 Jan) talks expire tomorrow at 8am ET. 15 more talks go live today, tomorrow, and Thursday. All 21 are free, provided we listen within 36 hours of their release. All are available at any time if we purchase the package. CLICK for more information.

NOTE: Today's (Wednesday's) talks were different. I was not as comfortable with the positions advocated or endorsed by 4 of the 5 speakers, unlike yesterday. After I've viewed the Thursday and Friday talks, I'll be in a better position to offer comments — expect them in next week's bulletin.


In the next few weeks I’d like to share some favorite quotes about truth. Today’s thoughts make me ask: “Am I someone who speaks the truth? Or one who just ‘plays it safe’? Am I growing in Christian courage?”

  • In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — George Orwell (1903-1950)
  • Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it. – Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
  • Truth is often violated by falsehood, but can be equally outraged by silence. — Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)


On offer next week: thoughts on Scripture memorization, the most amazing ancient coin collection I’ve ever seen, and more cool quotes on truth.

Thanks for all your support!

In Him,