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Category: Examples

Rachel Held Evans, In Memoriam: A Voice of #AssertiveSpirituality

Rachel Held Evans, In Memoriam: A Voice of #AssertiveSpirituality

This article was going to be an anniversary post, summing up my thoughts on how the definition of Assertive Spirituality has evolved in the year since I started this site, to my knowledge coining the term. But as soon as I heard the news this morning that progressive Christian author Rachel Held Evans had died at age 37 of complications from an allergic reaction to antibiotics, I knew the post I wrote today would have to shift. I’ll write the…

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On Facing Difficult Conversations from a Trauma Background

On Facing Difficult Conversations from a Trauma Background

If you’ve been following the Assertive Spirituality Facebook feed closely, you know I had one of those difficult conversations this week. Without sharing personal details about the encounter, I asked for support there. Because no matter how skilled you are and knowledgeable you are about conflict, these things are hard. That is especially true when there is a trauma background involved in the conversation—and there was on both sides of this particular encounter. This week’s long-and-raw but hopefully worth it…

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Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

We’ve spent a few weeks discussing the toxic patterns that can be enabled by conflict-avoiding “Christian nice” spiritualities and the ways they can make us sick. It’s high time we discuss what healthier spiritual responses to conflict look like. In this post, I’ll outline what I see as an excellent constructive way to approach conflict in abuse situations by jumping off an excellent reflection by Abbot Tryphon, the leader of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church on…

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Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Note: This post is an example of me enacting Assertive Spirituality. It is doing so about the recent zero tolerance US immigration policies. If you’re new to this site and want to know what Assertive Spirituality is, check out my part 1 and part 2 of the site’s definition posts. If you want to know what’s going on at the US border, please google major news outlets that fact-check their work and admit to errors when they accidentally commit them….

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Swear-policing part 2/”Christian Nice” part 3: The Robert DeNiro Vulgarity Case

Swear-policing part 2/”Christian Nice” part 3: The Robert DeNiro Vulgarity Case

So as I started writing this I was recovering from a Facebook conversation about the Robert DeNiro’s vulgarity. (Literally recovering—as will be discussed in next week’s post, I feel aggression of all kinds can cause literal pain under some circumstances, and as I’ve said, I’ve been there and done that regarding all kinds of conflict situations.) At any rate, I’m very glad I pushed through the twinges to engage in the conversation thoroughly with those of opposing perspectives, if only…

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The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

Since I wrote my post on the toxicity of “Christian Nice,” two friends in Christian ministry contexts sent me this tips and tricks piece published at Christianity Today. This article, specifically directed at Christian pastors, offers specific conflict confrontation tips to deal with the passive-aggression of “Christian Nice.” Especially since one reader of the previous piece wanted more examples and healthy conflict confrontation tips, I wanted to offer it here, and also put in my two cents, including some cautions….

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The Truths about Stress, Trauma, and Gun Violence

The Truths about Stress, Trauma, and Gun Violence

Note: I originally wrote a shorter version of this article this in February in response to the Parkland school shooting and posted it on Facebook. The arguments about gun violence in the United States still stand, regrettably, so I’m reposting it here. I especially wanted to post this on Memorial Day, since this year more American children died in school shootings than military personnel in active combat zones. This is a major human rights issue we need to keep speaking…

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Christian Folk, Can We Please Stop the Swear-Policing?

Christian Folk, Can We Please Stop the Swear-Policing?

I used to be one of those Christians that would roll my eyes and dismiss anything you had to say if you said any “four letter words.” And h*ll, sometimes I miss those days. Life was simpler then, living in a world where the avoidance of particular words meant I got to ignore other opinions and feel more holy. It was simpler to think that I was better and others who didn’t follow that code were lesser. It was simpler…

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On Celebrating Assertiveness Wins in the Face of Evil

On Celebrating Assertiveness Wins in the Face of Evil

I won’t lie, friends: it’s been a tough week to be grading final exams. Don’t get me wrong: I dearly love seeing the wins during these interpersonal and small group communication and leadership take-home finals. There’s usually nothing as cool as hearing about the ways the concepts my students are learning about conflict styles and stress and shame and civility are already impacting lives. There’s usually nothing so fabulous as hearing the super-smart and shy students talk about how much…

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On the Emotional Labor of Assertiveness (in Grading)

On the Emotional Labor of Assertiveness (in Grading)

Greetings! I still have 14 final papers to grade before tomorrow for my interpersonal communication class, but since it’s #TeacherAppreciationWeek, I wanted to take a short break to talk about the emotional labor involved in assertive grading. Especially for us recovering avoider-accommodators, but also I think for recovering aggressors as well, it’s not easy to tell students their work doesn’t meet the standards I’ve laid out. It’s just not. I say this having taken many steps over the years to…

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In Which I Cut Open a Vein and Speak about My Divorce

In Which I Cut Open a Vein and Speak about My Divorce

Surely you’ve heard what Hemingway said about writing, haven’t you? You know: “Writing is easy. You just cut open a vein and bleed.” (Or something like that.) At any rate, I was asked to speak in the “Encounters with the Risen Christ” short talks my local PCUSA church has as part of the Easter season services last Sunday. I wanted to share the talk I gave in part because I really feel like I practiced assertive spirituality in that talk….

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