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Talking About Assertive Spirituality with the What in God’s Name Podcast

Talking About Assertive Spirituality with the What in God’s Name Podcast

I had the privilege recently of talking with the lovely folks over at the What in God’s Name podcast about the ideas and background behind this Assertive Spirituality project, and if you’re reading this before Wednesday, September 28, 2022 there still may be an opportunity for you to join in a Zoom talk back session with all of us at 7 p.m. Eastern. Here’s what you need to know: The podcast is in a 3-part series, with an intro, the…

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When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

Okay, so I’ll confess I had to go back and read up on Heather Cox Richardson’s latest update when I started seeing memes and posts about GOP immigration nonsense in my feed again. At any rate, it doesn’t actually feel all that new at all. That’s because this rhetoric is old as the fascistic hills. So today I wanted to unwrap a bit more of what happens in general with unhealthy rhetoric that frames “open borders” as a devil term—and…

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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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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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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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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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Simone Biles: Speaking Truth to the GOP’s Unhealthy Positive Projections

Simone Biles: Speaking Truth to the GOP’s Unhealthy Positive Projections

NOTE: This piece was originally published during the Summer 2021 Olympics, when Simone Biles withdrew after getting the “twisties.” Its principles continue to apply, but it might be helpful to look back at her statements then here. At the time, she received all sorts of abuse from the GOP, which, as noted below, were just starting the January 6 hearings. This past week Simone Biles withdrew from competition for the all-around gymnastics finals after faltering in the preliminary rounds of…

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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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Persisting Against Disinformation in the Post-Election Era

Persisting Against Disinformation in the Post-Election Era

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am thankful to have met this week’s guest blogger, Lee McIntyre, at a conference a few years back. Considering he’s way too modest in his author’s bio at the end of this guest post—he’s literally written the book on Post-Truth, and has spoken to the United Nations on the subject—I was thrilled that he agreed to offer us some post-election advice on how and why it’s important to keep speaking up against disinformation, and how to distinguish…

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Standing Firm in an Era of Public Gaslighting

Standing Firm in an Era of Public Gaslighting

The further things move along, the more intense they get out there. The religio-political gaslighting from the right wing is particularly intense right now, so I wanted to offer a quick post talking about what that looks like and offering some techniques for reasonable folks to stand firm in these challenging times. About Me As a reminder, I’m approaching this topic as a communication scholar who teaches interpersonal communication and has emphases in rhetoric and mediated communication. My research focus…

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Strategies for When You Can’t Fix Everything (Especially Now)

Strategies for When You Can’t Fix Everything (Especially Now)

NOTE: If you look at the date, you’ll see this post was written before President Biden was elected and before Russia’s invasion happened, and at a season when more wildfires were happening. But its advice is still starkly relevant here in March 5, 2022 when I’m adding in this note. Okay, so the world is scary and overwhelming. The Hopi, as a friend shared with me, have a word for this situation: kayaanisquatsi. It means “Nature that is out of…

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How to Push Back Against Demonization and Warmongering

How to Push Back Against Demonization and Warmongering

As I pointed out last week, 2020’s been really religio-politically intense so far. What with war being threatened between the US and Iran and Australia burning, it feels like the world is bating its breath to see what’s going to happen. Meanwhile, rhetoric from the current US administration is turning real humans into seeming cartoons, continuing to demonize and dehumanize the Other—especially the progressive/liberal other and the Middle Eastern other (not to mention other brown-skinned immigrant others). It’s important to…

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Avoiding Emotional Fallacies in Resolutions: Toward a(nother) Year of Assertiveness

Avoiding Emotional Fallacies in Resolutions: Toward a(nother) Year of Assertiveness

I don’t know about you, but I had been flagging a bit in my resolve in the end of the last year. It’s hard work, this relay marathon of speaking up and working against the toxic crap (and there’s soooo much of it!). It’s easy to be weary going forward. In this week’s post, I’ll discuss many of the emotional fallacies that often prevent us from forming and keeping resolutions toward acting toward the common good–as well as their antidotes….

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Feeling (Slightly Less) Betrayed by White Evangelicals: The Christianity Today Editorial

Feeling (Slightly Less) Betrayed by White Evangelicals: The Christianity Today Editorial

This week I’m going back to pick up the story of how Election 2016 in the US left me feeling betrayed by my white Evangelical folks (the previous parts of this series can be found here and here). This week I’m going to talk about how I saw religious rhetoric shift as a result of the religio-political apocalypse before I explain how this week’s events, especially Thursday’s bombshell Christianity Today post-impeachment-hearings editorial calling for the removal of the current head…

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