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Category: Applied Theology

When LGBTQ+ Identity Becomes a WEC Battleground

When LGBTQ+ Identity Becomes a WEC Battleground

So yeah, in recent months and years, it’s been increasingly clear that the litmus test for whether you were a “real” white Evangelical Christian has surrounded the question of where you stand on the Culture Wars, and has been stunningly similar to the question of what made a “true conservative” in the US. And let’s be clear—the issue this has consolidated around in recent years and decades, beyond the question of whether you support abortion being illegal, is the question…

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Book Banning and the Rhetoric of Bible Reading

Book Banning and the Rhetoric of Bible Reading

Okay, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the Bible this week: and specifically the idea of how conservative Christians tend to idealize reading the Bible and assume it will somehow keep you conservative (spoiler alert: that did not happen for me). This comes in the wake of two disparate bits of news: (1) according to the 2022 State of the Bible report from the American Bible Society, Bible reading took a huge dive from early 2021-2022; and (2) that…

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The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

Okay, so we all KNOW a bunch of us get annoyed with the phrase “all lives matter”–for good reason– when it’s abused. A lot of us even know a lot of the reasons it bothers us. But com theory and related research can really help us see why it bothers us in a new light, and since that’s what I study and teach, I hope to explore what happens when seemingly good concepts like all lives matter “go bad,” and…

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Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Editor’s Note: This guest blog piece by Matthijs Kronemeijer was written before the recent horrific anti-trans legislation was passed in Texas. This legislation accuses healthy loving parents and caregivers of trans children of child abuse for affirming trans children’s identities and trying to protect them from the disturbingly high suicide rates among trans folx. I hate the fact that I even have to write a note about how much it is NOT ABUSE to affirm children who don’t fit pre-existing…

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Why Christian Nice Gets All Complicit with Bullies

Why Christian Nice Gets All Complicit with Bullies

So as I write this it’s Black History Month. Which has me thinking again about Christian White Person Nice and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s words in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” about how “white moderates” are almost a bigger threat to equity and justice than the extremists are. (I previously talked about this here and here.) In this week’s blog post I’d like to parse some more of this out in terms of communication and conflict theory. So I’ll…

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Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: A Spirituality of Equitable Tangible Support

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: A Spirituality of Equitable Tangible Support

Okay, so probably many, if not most, of the people reading this blog KNOW they get super frustrated when they hear the words “thoughts and prayers.” If you are in this group, you may have even developed an allergy to the phrase. You probably even know that it bothers you because of a combo platter of hypocrisy and a lack of action. But you may not understand why you have such a visceral reaction to it, or why and how…

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Assertiveness in an Age of Herod(s)

Assertiveness in an Age of Herod(s)

So as I write this, it’s Advent, a time when traditionally people have focused on the time of waiting in the midst of deep and dark tension for good things to arrive. But speaking of darkness, bits of the Christmas story itself are remarkably dark and horrific, as the story of when Joseph and Mary have to flee the country because Herod saw a potential baby born to be the Messiah as a huge threat to his power. This week’s…

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“Don’t Tread on Me!”: A History of Unhealthy Rhetoric

“Don’t Tread on Me!”: A History of Unhealthy Rhetoric

So if you google the history of the “Don’t Tread on Me” symbol and flag (often called the Gadsden flag), as I did last week, you’ll find a wide range of storytelling styles about it—most of which are either right-wing or very right-leaning “moderate” in nature. Today I’m going to unwrap some of these narratives from a rhetorical perspective, take issue with some of these interpretations, and discuss why this flag has been a strongly questionable symbol of militant masculinity…

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Talking Healthy Disagreement with Jared Byas (on his podcast)

Talking Healthy Disagreement with Jared Byas (on his podcast)

Greetings, friends! Instead of one of my usual blog posts today, I’m excited to provide a link to a podcast conversation I had recently with Jared Byas on his new miniseries podcast, How to Disagree, where we talked about working toward creating healthy disagreement. I was deeply honored he invited me to talk about the stress, trauma, and conflict communication aspects of interpersonal situations involving deep disagreement. We got into the extra challenges that can come when some parties have…

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When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

This week I saw an image from a dating profile whose owner identified as politically conservative as well as Christian. Here’s what it said: “…if you voted for Joe Biden do not hit me up..I don’t date liberals that feel they are entitled..I believe in hard work, self accountability, and God!!!!!” There’s a lot going on here, and there’s no way I will have time to unwrap all of it in this post, but I wanted to discuss how these…

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How Humanism (And Empathy) Became a Conservative Christian Devil Term

How Humanism (And Empathy) Became a Conservative Christian Devil Term

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we got to where conservative Christians are literally demonizing empathy. And this week I had a breakthrough: I think the rhetorical move that most undergirded the acceptance of this came from when conservative and conservative-leaning Christian leaders started casting humanism as a devil term. In this week’s post I plan to unwrap how this worked in my moderate pastor’s kid past, how it’s connected to my previous analysis of pride as a…

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Churchy Exceptionalism Part 2: Or, Hearing the Critiques from Spiritual Trauma

Churchy Exceptionalism Part 2: Or, Hearing the Critiques from Spiritual Trauma

So this week I posted a meme on the AS Facebook page, in concert with last week’s article introducing the concept of churchy exceptionalism, stating the ways some people find the term “blessed” distasteful as used in some contexts. In light of last week’s article, I found the virulence of some of the defensive responses extremely ironic and illustrative. Someone even suggested that the the project was “deny[ing] God” by posting the meme. <insert horrified face emoji here> So yeah,…

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Churchy Exceptionalism Part 1; Or, When Church Becomes a God Term

Churchy Exceptionalism Part 1; Or, When Church Becomes a God Term

This blog post extends my previous series on “god terms” (things to be defended at all costs) and “devil terms” (things to be fought at all costs)—a series which started here. In this piece I plan to extend this analysis by directly looking at subtle ways in which church too often becomes a “god term” to be defended at all costs, even by more spiritually healthy Christians, and how that can lead to the problems of what I’m about to…

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When Pride Becomes a Devil Term: And How We Can Respond

When Pride Becomes a Devil Term: And How We Can Respond

As I’m writing this, it’s the 6th anniversary of marriage equality in the US, and the day of the first Pride Parade in a small city in the Midwest where I’ve resided. Because of these things, I find it fitting to confess that I, like the Supreme Court and that small city, was very late to the party of celebrating Pride Month and Pride Parades. And even, perhaps most sadly, to celebrating my friends’ and LGBTQ+ neighbors rights to celebrate…

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When the GOP Tries to Legislate Racial Cordial Hypocrisy

When the GOP Tries to Legislate Racial Cordial Hypocrisy

As I write this, it’s the first Juneteenth that’s a national holiday. It literally became one two days ago. This declaration has been met with unease by many Black voices I’ve been hearing. In this article I plan to unwrap why this is by bringing my usual communication studies lens to the subject, with a dash of Jesus thrown in. In short, declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday is a good step forward in a lot of ways. But especially the…

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