Kibbie Simmons Ruth and Karen McClintock are teachers and consultants in human sexuality issues and abuse prevention in congregations. The book deals with issues around secrecy and healthy communication, particularly related to abuse. The chapter on Correcting Poor Communication offers clear, practical strategies for discouraging and minimizing unhelpful behaviors in all areas of congregational communications. The 20-page chapter begins by explaining the importance of reversing 3 key bad habits in congregational communication: reducing triangulation, eliminating ‘pass-through’ (or 3rd hand) communication, and rejecting anonymous feedback. This section includes a summary table labeled “How to Clean Up Bad Communication Habits”. The next section of the chapter discusses dealing with unauthorized communication, including dispelling rumors, reducing information leaks, and discouraging gossip. Another table summarizes tips for minimizing leaks. Congregational leaders struggling with any of these (mis)behaviors will find this chapter helpful, as will those who seek to promote healthy communications and minimize misunderstanding and conflict in their congregations.
Reviewed by Wendy McCormick