When a Strongman Tries to Demoralize Reasonable Folks

When a Strongman Tries to Demoralize Reasonable Folks

So if you’re a reasonable person, you’re likely feeling a little—or a lot—down just now. I’m here to unwrap for you enough of the context behind why that’s happening, specifically how a particular–ahem–right-wing fascistic strongman has been working to try to make their opponents seem immoral and weak—to hopefully give you some oomph to get back up off that mat and keep working toward a healthier world for us all. And let’s be clear—I first wanted to write this post…

Read More Read More

White Evangelicals, the Culture Wars, and the Rainbow as a Battleground

White Evangelicals, the Culture Wars, and the Rainbow as a Battleground

Shortly before Pride Month started, I was driving across the wide open in the Midwest, watching the stormy skies in one quadrant of the view carefully, only to find what I was hoping for—a complete double rainbow. As I came to a stop to soak it in and take pictures, I had to laugh a bit when I noticed the bow stretched over—you guessed it—one of those “seeker-friendly” white Evangelical churches. This got me thinking a lot, naturally, about the…

Read More Read More

Man vs. Bear and the Privileges of Safety

Man vs. Bear and the Privileges of Safety

I’ve been thinking a lot about the privileges of safety since this whole social media question started making the rounds on social media. You know, the one about whether you’d rather meet a man or a bear or whatever other variation in the woods (if you haven’t heard, many women when offered this question have been enthusiastically choosing the bear, and explaining their experiences and reasons for this). It makes sense that I’d been thinking about this, because the very…

Read More Read More

When Anti-Trans Rhetoric Plays on (Men’s) Fears about “ Mutilation ”

When Anti-Trans Rhetoric Plays on (Men’s) Fears about “ Mutilation ”

Something I’ve been noticing a lot lately when trolls come in with anti-trans rhetoric is HOW MUCH the word “ mutilation “ comes up. Mostly this comes up with male right-wing trolls commenting on trans concerns, but I even saw a woman who identified as (conservative) Christian recently try to say that the Bible was against “ mutilation “ clearly suggesting that gender-alteration surgeries to help people feel more like themselves were somehow morally not okay. As you’ll see if…

Read More Read More

When Conservative Christians Downplay Christian Nationalism

When Conservative Christians Downplay Christian Nationalism

This week I saw a Facebook post from an educated right-leaning man that completely downplayed the dangers of Christian nationalism, so I’ve decided to unwrap and respond to that post in this blog post. Hopefully by the end we can all get closer to agreeing on why it’s so important to continue to stand up against the very real dangers of Christian nationalism that has already been resulting in the trauma and deaths of actual human beings. Before diving in…

Read More Read More

The Halo Effect and Clergy Sexual Abuse

The Halo Effect and Clergy Sexual Abuse

So I’ve regularly taught about the halo effect in my interpersonal communication class, and it recently occurred to me that this concept helps unwrap a lot of the nuances around why clergy too often get away with sexual abuse and other abuses of power. This may seem obvious at first, but when I started to think about it it got a lot deeper than I thought it did. So stick with me as I begin to unwrap this topic and…

Read More Read More

Fascistic Christian Nationalism as a GOP Platform?

Fascistic Christian Nationalism as a GOP Platform?

One of the key reasons I founded this Assertive Spirituality project was the disturbing turn of the Republicans, in the 2016 election and beyond, toward embracing the ideals of fascistic Christian nationalism as their party platform. I believe the evidence of this ought to seem disturbing—it very much is a threat to healthy democracy in the US. It can also easily be confusing, though, so in this article I plan to unwrap how some of this rhetoric works, and why…

Read More Read More

#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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

“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….

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More