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Category: Assertive Spiritualities

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…

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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…

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#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 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 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 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 Ordinary Conservatives Defend Billionaires: A Rhetorical Analysis

When Ordinary Conservatives Defend Billionaires: A Rhetorical Analysis

This past week, on the AS Facebook page, I posted a meme comparing Smaug, the greedy dragon villain in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, to billionaires. As usual, the responses from the conservative trolls were extremely illuminating, saying the quiet parts out loud. Thanks to these responses, this week’s article looks at the ways ordinary conservatives find themselves defending dragons…I mean, oligarchical billionaires that are trying to keep their loyalty through shady rhetoric. Where I’m Coming From Here As always, I’m coming…

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Book Banning, “Age Appropriateness,” and LGBTQ+ Content

Book Banning, “Age Appropriateness,” and LGBTQ+ Content

In recent weeks, I’ve posted several memes at Assertive Spirituality’s Facebook page that have, for whatever reason, gone what I like to call “troll viral.” One thread of rhetoric that has popped up a lot in this recently has had to do, interestingly to me as a scholar, with gaslighting the idea that there’s a “book banning” trend at all. No, these folks say, books are just being removed pending “finding a way to make them more age appropriate.” While…

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That Duggar Documentary and Unhealthy “Biblical” Conflict Management

That Duggar Documentary and Unhealthy “Biblical” Conflict Management

Like many people I know, I just finished watching Shiny Happy People—that documentary about the Duggar family of the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, their recent sexual abuse scandals,and the religious extremism behind that helps provide context for so much around this show and other American religio-political issues of the last few years. If you haven’t yet watched and want to, it’s on Amazon Prime video in the US. Today, I’m going to provide as few spoilers as…

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Why All Churches Are Vulnerable to Sexual Abuse: A Call to Action

Why All Churches Are Vulnerable to Sexual Abuse: A Call to Action

This week a report broke that the scope of Catholic clergy’s abuse of children was much, much larger than was previously thought, at least in Illinois. Almost 2000 children were abused by clergy since 1950 in that state. This report is shocking in some senses, but not really in others. Which is to say, it certainly seems to be yet another large set of additions to the #churchtoo canon, showing how much previously unspoken of sexual abuse happens in churches….

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