#NotAll Commentary: Unpacking Tangential Responses

#NotAll Commentary: Unpacking Tangential Responses

This week on the AS FB page I’ve been accused of attacking a wide variety of groups as per usual, simply by posting memes that critique unhealthy systems and behaviors. This happens fairly regularly here at the Assertive Spirituality page, mind you—but this week was special as I can’t remember the last time I remember having been accused of attacking so many groups in a few days. At any rate, I’ve been wanting to do a general post for awhile…

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How to Make Conversations about Forgiveness Less Contentious

How to Make Conversations about Forgiveness Less Contentious

I started this project to make space for people of all stripes that are AGAINST unhealthy stuff in the religio-political sphere and FOR a healthier world for us all. The thing is, we don’t all (naturally) agree on all topics. As a result, the AS FB page can become contentious at times, even among long-established followers. This never seems to happen quite as strongly as when the topic of forgiveness comes up. It happened again this week when I posted…

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When Capitalism Gets Confused with God

When Capitalism Gets Confused with God

This week on the AS Facebook page I posted a meme that no longer seems controversial to me at all. It’s about how the plots of the classic Christmas narratives It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are critiquing predatory capitalism. And yet, when I posted it, it stirred up a firestorm. The conservative responses that came in helped me remember why such an idea would have been controversial to the right-leaning people I grew up with, and helped…

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When Women Get Seen as People Pleasers (Especially in Complmentarianism)

When Women Get Seen as People Pleasers (Especially in Complmentarianism)

So this week a TikTok got posted in one of the groups I’m in on Facebook about the oddness of the term “people pleaser.” That TikTok (here it is if you want to see it!) called out how the term gets applied in often strange ways—pointing out that people pleasing implies that someone’s being pleased, for instance, which often isn’t the case. That led my brain down the rabbit hole of all the concepts I teach in my university classes…

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Why Religious Differences Become So Fraught

Why Religious Differences Become So Fraught

So this week I had several interactions with members of the AS audience that reminded me just how many stress responses get caught up in discussing religious differences. And since I literally teach theories in my university communication classes that explain why this is, I thought it may be helpful to delve deeper into this in today’s blog posts. At a time when polarization is high and there’s a lot of trauma around religious differences, I hope this can help…

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Nick Offerman, Martin Bonham, and the Narratives of Possibility

Nick Offerman, Martin Bonham, and the Narratives of Possibility

A while back, I blogged here about the film Women Talking and how its dialogues tended to break down dichotomies and help its viewers’ minds break through to narratives of possibility about grieving out abuses and moving forward. In this week’s blog post I plan to look at two recently released books–one by Nick Offerman and the other by Robert Hudson–and discuss the ways they present differing but similar visions of what Assertive Spirituality could look like. Both of these…

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“Do Your Own Research”: When Facts and Ethics Get Seen as Partisan (Part 2)

“Do Your Own Research”: When Facts and Ethics Get Seen as Partisan (Part 2)

In a previous blog post I talked about some of the strange things that happen when facts and ethics get seen as partisan. This week I plan to continue that theme, but with a different example—specifically, looking at the various uses and interpretations of the phrase “do your own research.” It struck me recently in an in-class discussion that I’ve heard this term used on all sides of the partisan divide in political conversations in the US in recent years….

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When Mothers Are Aging Faster than Presidents

When Mothers Are Aging Faster than Presidents

So I always teach a unit of my university courses on stress, because it has such an impact on communication. And I tend to show this video in class that talks about how mothers of disabled children are too often aging 6 years for every year of caregiving of a sick or disabled child. When I get to that point, I’ve taken to stopping the video lately to explain that presidents, for all the stress of their jobs, actually age…

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When Facts (and Ethics) Get Seen as Partisan

When Facts (and Ethics) Get Seen as Partisan

I’m going to be real, here. Watching the rhetorical situation change over the last few years has been absolutely WILD from the perspective of teaching communication concepts in a university classroom as well as working through these things within this project. It’s been both fascinating and disturbing to see what it takes to teach students the basic principles of communication in a world where fascistic rhetoric is attempting to portray facts, ethics, and empathy as partisan, as well as to…

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When Unhealthy Christian Nationalism Has the Loudest Voice

When Unhealthy Christian Nationalism Has the Loudest Voice

Okay, so it’s been quite awhile now since fascistic Christian nationalism has been working hard to get an increasingly loud voice in US politics, and I’ve been noticing some increasingly complex dynamics at play because of this. Since a huge part of why I founded this project is to convince people to raise their voices against the unhealthy dynamics in this specific abuse of the fusion of religion and politics (alongside other unhealthy dynamics), I wanted to take some time…

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When Salvation Is Used as a Culture Wars Weapon

When Salvation Is Used as a Culture Wars Weapon

Well, if you haven’t heard, another forecasted “rapture” came and went on Friday, September 22, 2023. While I didn’t grow up in a tradition that overtly used the end times as a weapon for terrorizing people within the denomination (at least not regularly that I’m aware of!), I’ve come to realize that some of those I grew up with in my right-leaning moderate denomination did—and very much still do—either wittingly or unwittingly use salvation as a weapon. In today’s blog…

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When Anti-Trans Legislation Just Keeps Coming

When Anti-Trans Legislation Just Keeps Coming

I’ll confess that I was rather casually looking around for another aspect of anti-trans rhetoric to analyze for this week’s blog post. Like most of us, I knew on an intellectual level that it was absolutely a huge thing that was still happening, and I was considering writing about bathroom bills, but I’d been hearing them for so long. Were they still a thing? When I found a great source that tracks anti-trans legislation (keep reading for a link!), I…

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When Conservative Pastors Rail Against Consent

When Conservative Pastors Rail Against Consent

So apparently there’s yet another conservative Christian article out about the theology of sex from a patriarchal perspective. (Apparently that narrative is super important to defend—all the eyeroll emojis.) Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to look that particular article up after the trainwreck that was the last one I wrote about, but hearing about it got me thinking this week about a sermon I heard a few years back from a nuanced but right-leaning pastor in which the idea of…

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Women Talking and the Narrative of Possibility

Women Talking and the Narrative of Possibility

This week I finally saw the Oscar-winning film Women Talking, which masterfully depicts women problem-solving how to respond a gigantic situation of systemic sexual abuse and assault by men in an isolated religious community. Today I want to take some of the tools of my trade—communication theory and narrative theory—to explain why I saw the film as an excellent expression of #AssertiveSpirituality on so many levels. Thanks for giving me a few minutes to see how I saw so much…

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When Conservative Male Politicians Cry Witch Hunt (Repeatedly)

When Conservative Male Politicians Cry Witch Hunt (Repeatedly)

Okay, so if you’ve been paying attention to the right-wing political rhetoric lately, you’ll be noticing that a lot of the rhetoric from (mostly male) proponents of The Big Lie about the 2020 Election “being stolen” have once again contained the phrase “witch hunt.” This phrase has been used many times in the past by the same people, and honestly I’m a little tired of it, but as so often happens with rhetorical analysis, new layers of meaning were popping…

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