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Tag: prophetic voice

In Praise of Empathetic Anger; Or, Toward Healthy Anger Understandings

In Praise of Empathetic Anger; Or, Toward Healthy Anger Understandings

Like many of you, I was raised to be terrified of conflict and the anger that came with it. As I’ve described before, I was taught the devil term to-be-fought-at-all-costs definition of anger, one that lumped the emotion in with the most extreme forms of those emotions and also with the negative outcomes of people acting out on their anger in what I’ve been previously calling a horns effect. In the present article, I plan to praise a very different…

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The Complexities of Ostracism

The Complexities of Ostracism

As I post this we’re just entering Advent on the Christian liturgical calendar—and that means we’re entering a new year as well as a season when many are being asked to listen to voices “crying out in the wilderness.” The problem, of course, is that toxic societal patterns and trauma alike often push people to the wilderness and then tell us that their voices ought not to be heard. Whether or not you follow Christianity or practice Advent, hopefully this…

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Conflict Advice, Spirituality, and the Need for Nuance

Conflict Advice, Spirituality, and the Need for Nuance

Okay, so on the heels of last week’s Online Listening Café about Listening Across Spiritualities Even When We Disagree, it seemed too, too perfect when I learned one of my favorite podcasts, The Bible for Normal People, took on the subject of “How to Talk to People You Disagree With” in the very same week. As a scholar of stress, trauma, and conflict communication, though, I’ll admit I was sad and disturbed after listening to the conflict advice given in…

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Racial Justice, MLK, and the Toxic Sides of “Christian Nice”

Racial Justice, MLK, and the Toxic Sides of “Christian Nice”

The whole time I’ve been developing this series on the toxic sides of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice,” I haven’t been able to give credit to all of my influences in looking at the topic other than a few key concepts from my area of communication studies (helpful as though those have been!). I’ve been wanting to give credit to Martin Luther King, Jr. for awhile and connect these concepts to racial justice, and I can only apologize for…

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Book Review: Resist and Persist by Erin Wathen

Book Review: Resist and Persist by Erin Wathen

NOTE: In the spirit of last week’s post about recognizing the reasons for and coping with Outrage Fatigue, my posts over at the Assertive Spirituality Facebook page this week have been encouraging self-care even while we persist in resisting. In that same spirit, this week’s post upcycles a book review I wrote that originally appeared at the lovely Englewood Review of Books. Part of what this allows me to do is to put the final touches on the long-promised “Assertive…

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Outrage Fatigue and the Sources of Political Conflict; Or, Why We’re All So Freaking Tired

Outrage Fatigue and the Sources of Political Conflict; Or, Why We’re All So Freaking Tired

As I write this article, I’m tired. (Some call this condition outrage fatigue or compassion fatigue.) I’m tired because it’s been a long week. It’s been a long year. It’s been an extremely long (American) presidency. (Oh, and I know this is a long article. Stick with me—I think you’ll find it worth it, and encouraging, to stay to the end.) It’s felt long, and we’re all tired, because that’s what happens when abusers abuse. It’s what happens with domestic abusers. With…

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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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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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What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 2

What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 2

Where were we? Okay, so in the first part of this post we had covered the definitions of assertiveness and a bit about the definitions of what assertiveness is and how I see assertiveness to work based on my studies and teaching of stress, trauma, and conflict communication as well as my life experiences. In this part, I’ll be discussing how this applies to spirituality, and what I mean by assertive spirituality. To be honest, I was a little shocked…

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What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 1

What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 1

“So what does assertive spirituality look like?’ A friend helpfully said when I was telling her about the idea I had for this new blog. “Does it look like a good thwack over the head?” That’s when it occurred to me that I might want to start things by defining assertiveness for my prospective blog readers. So here it is, dear friends: “Assertiveness,” say Gloria J. Galanes & Katherine Adams in Effective Group Communication: Theory and Practice, “refers to communication behavior…

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