The Unhealthy Rhetoric of Spiritual Bypassing

The Unhealthy Rhetoric of Spiritual Bypassing

“Everything happens for a reason.” “She’s in a better place.” Some of us find these kinds of statements helpful, but others of us shudder when we hear them, especially when paired with other spiritual language. In this blog post I plan to unwrap some of the dynamics of why the thing termed spiritual bypassing can be toxic and harmful to a lot of people even when the same techniques and phrases help others. My Background and Standpoint As always, I’ll…

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On Sin-Leveling and Classified Documents

On Sin-Leveling and Classified Documents

Wow, we’ve been hearing a lot about classified documents in the US news lately. If you’re not paying attention to the rhetoric closely enough, it seems like it’s suddenly this huge problem that EVERYONE in government has. AND, significantly, like everyone ON ALL SIDES of US government is equally guilty of mishandling classified documents. In this piece I plan to unwrap why that simply isn’t so, and how this kind of largely right-wing rhetoric mirrors nature and the effects of…

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When Shame–Er, Purity Culture—Becomes a God Term

When Shame–Er, Purity Culture—Becomes a God Term

So this week I had the strange experience of re-reading the book Pure by Linda Kay Klein when an article came out suggesting that Evangelical missionary, martyr, and purity culture icon Jim Elliot seems to have longed for death at the end of his life because of struggle against something unspecified that he deemed a (sexual) sin. Considering Pure is an ethnographic study of the damage and trauma caused by the Evangelical purity culture movement that was in part pioneered…

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How to Respond When the Bullies (Seem to) Win

How to Respond When the Bullies (Seem to) Win

I don’t know about you, but there are times in weeks like this past one when it just feels so much like however much progress we make, like the systems in place are just too flawed, and allow the bad guys—you know, the bullies and abusers—to win much much too often. In today’s piece I want to unwrap some of the dynamics of these issues and how to understand and healthily respond when things seem like this. (This is going…

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An Open Letter to My Former Less Assertive Self

An Open Letter to My Former Less Assertive Self

This week, in honor of opening a new year, I wanted to use this space to write an open letter to my former more conservative self that was trained on some level to believe that assertiveness was immoral. (If you’re just joining us, or forgot, I’m a former pastor’s kid from a right-leaning denomination who went on to get a PhD in Communication. There are lots of places on this blog you can learn about where I came from and…

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When the GOP Fails to Denounce Nazis—A Call to Action

When the GOP Fails to Denounce Nazis—A Call to Action

I have to confess—I’ve been choking back an awful lot of “I told you so’s” this past week or so as people marveled at the fact that the former president of the US (you know, the one who still thinks he didn’t lose a legitimate election in 2020 and has been shown to have fomented an insurrection to maintain power) hosted alt-right extremist Nick Fuentes for dinner at his home, and so so few GOP leaders decried the choice. In…

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When Women Use Abortion as a Devil Term

When Women Use Abortion as a Devil Term

This week an AS follower came to me with a request. She had been engaged in a lot of recent discussions with right-wing women, specifically, about the questions around abortion rights. She was very frustrated with these discussions and wanted my take on them as well as my encouragement and advice. In today’s blog post I plan to talk about some breakthroughs in understanding I had in the process of analyzing these situations with her, specifically understanding better why and…

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When Mortality Rates Are Higher in Conservative States

When Mortality Rates Are Higher in Conservative States

This week a USA Today article about mortality rates being higher in red states popped into my email inbox that would have been useful to speed my way to voting reasonably faster. That is, it would have had I seen it when I was still voting only based on narrowly “pro-life” views as I was conditioned to. I wish I could have seen it back then, but hopefully drawing your attention to it now will help encourage you and/or others…

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When Right-Wing Media Poisons the Well Against the DOJ

When Right-Wing Media Poisons the Well Against the DOJ

This week a member of the AS community sent me an article they had seen a pastor in the US post on social media from the right-wing source the Daily Wire. They asked for an analysis. This Daily Wire post (which I won’t link to here but you are welcome to Google) was about a supposed “new development” in the case which has already led to many convictions in the case of Keith Raniere’s multi-level marketing scheme meets sex cult/sex…

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QAnon, the Satanic Panic, and Poisoning the Well Against Survivors

QAnon, the Satanic Panic, and Poisoning the Well Against Survivors

Okay, so awhile back I blogged, as part of my series about William Cooper, the conspiracy theorist who popularized the word “sheeple,” about QAnon, who claims Cooper as an inspiration. In that post, I specifically talked about how QAnon, with its horrible SaveTheChildren hashtag, was poisoning the well and distracting from genuine cases of sex trafficking. Well, this week I plan to build on that work and connect it to a similar movement I’ve been seeing with people who are…

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Talking About Assertive Spirituality with the What in God’s Name Podcast

Talking About Assertive Spirituality with the What in God’s Name Podcast

I had the privilege recently of talking with the lovely folks over at the What in God’s Name podcast about the ideas and background behind this Assertive Spirituality project, and if you’re reading this before Wednesday, September 28, 2022 there still may be an opportunity for you to join in a Zoom talk back session with all of us at 7 p.m. Eastern. Here’s what you need to know: The podcast is in a 3-part series, with an intro, the…

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When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

Okay, so I’ll confess I had to go back and read up on Heather Cox Richardson’s latest update when I started seeing memes and posts about GOP immigration nonsense in my feed again. At any rate, it doesn’t actually feel all that new at all. That’s because this rhetoric is old as the fascistic hills. So today I wanted to unwrap a bit more of what happens in general with unhealthy rhetoric that frames “open borders” as a devil term—and…

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When (Loan) Forgiveness Becomes a Conservative (Christian) Devil Term

When (Loan) Forgiveness Becomes a Conservative (Christian) Devil Term

There’s been some gold out there in the reasonable world the last few days since the student loan forgiveness policy was announced, especially in responding to the conservative Christian rhetoric critiquing the policy. In the remainder of this piece, I hope to build on these excellent critiques that are already out there as well as some previous pieces here. In so doing I plan to discuss the details of why at least some conservative Christians are decrying student loan forgiveness…

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The Human Cost of Unhealthy Politics

The Human Cost of Unhealthy Politics

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with a lot of political talk that cast both debating and politics as the types of activities that were presumed to have no cost EXCEPT to the home team. The home team (in this case, conservatives) were clearly the victimized ones. But no one else was likely to be hurt by any of these activities. The kind of “snowflake” rhetoric that’s emerged since then has come out of this attitude I…

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When Despising Democrats Becomes a Cover for Right-Wing Bigotry

When Despising Democrats Becomes a Cover for Right-Wing Bigotry

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a lot of the right-leaning people I grew up with would swear to the ends of the earth that they’re not bigots. (I mean, “bigot” is clearly the worst bad word, right? Cue many eyeroll emojis.) But at the same time, they saw Democrats as one of the biggest threats in their world. In this week’s blog post I plan to unwrap the complexities of how these fears of Democrats (created…

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