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Category: Spiritual Trauma

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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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 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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When Therapy Becomes a Devil Term, Especially in Church

When Therapy Becomes a Devil Term, Especially in Church

So I know so many people who grew up Evangelical who grew up with the overt message that therapy is terrible. I grew up with a more covert stigma about it in my right-leaning moderate neck of the woods, but it was effective all the same with me for a long time. As I’ll explain a bit later, I even see symptoms of this lingering in some progressive Christian spaces. In this piece I’ll unwrap some of this and how…

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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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The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

Okay, so in the wake of the anniversary of 1/6, I find my mind increasingly drawn back to the disruption of the counting of electoral votes. Which makes me think about bullying regarding representation overall, including this conservative political rhetoric we’ve long had about STATES’ RIGHTS! As you’ll see, this often ties back to the Electoral College. In this blog piece I plan to unwrap this conservative rhetoric both from personal experience and my scholarly training to help us process…

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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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When Conservative Christians Demonize Deconstruction

When Conservative Christians Demonize Deconstruction

This past week an intense Twitter war has been raging between conservative Christians (mostly white Evangelicals) and their critics over the nature and value of those who are “deconstructing.” In this blog piece, I plan to unwrap some of the messaging these white Evangelicals—mostly men—have been using to demonize those who claim the term deconstruction by those who have been leaving white Evangelicalism, especially since the 2016 election in the United States. Specifically, I’ll be looking at the rhetoric of…

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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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