Do you know someone who seems to have drama and problems constantly appear around them? Whenever you relate to this person, perhaps you find yourself feeling vaguely guilty, or uncomfortable, or put down, or obligated to affirm them? Do you often feel like you’re questioning yourself and your actions because of what they say and do? You don’t feel the same way around other people; it’s just this individual who seems to attract these dramas and give rise to these feelings in you. If that’s the case, the chances are it’s not you who is the problem. It’s quite possible that the person you’re thinking of is exhibiting a pattern of behaviours that can be significantly detrimental to you and to others. This pattern of behaviours is hard to pin down; it doesn’t seem too serious in the short term, and indeed it might appear quite normal to a casual acquaintance. However, over the long term, it can cause serious problems for you and others. That’s especially true in close-knit communities, like families, churches and other Christian ministries.
This paper is a reflection on our personal experience with a small handful of people—some of whom we know well, and some of whom we know less well. Some of these people have been leaders or influential figures in various Christian ministries, which is why we believe it is especially important for us to share this (though please note that none of themare people that either of us have ever worked with in a paid capacity). This small handful of people have each exhibited a pattern of behaviours that we have chosen to call slow-burn crazy-making behaviours (SBCMB).